Three American civilian government contractors held hostage for 5 years in Colombia have been released. Another hostage released, of the 15 total, was Ingrid Betancourt, held hostage for 6 years, captured as she ran for President of Columbia.
This surprise release was a strictly Colombian effort, with the blessing and intelligence assistance of the U.S. government. Republican Presidential candidate, Senator John McCain was briefed on the Colombian military plan to rescue the hostages yesterday as he visited the country as a show of support for the progress the current President has made on diminishing the stranglehold of FARC and to acknowledge Columbia's importance as a friend to the U.S. in the region. Although the Democrat leadership in Congress refuses to reward Columbia with a Free Trade Agreement, even though the country has greatly improved working environments for workers and other benchmarks demanded of the country. The failed Democrat leadership in Congress has successfully slapped in the face our only true friend in the region as other countries continue to be led by Socialist dictators like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
Was the timing of the rescue a coincidence that Senator McCain, along with Cindy McCain, Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Lindsay Graham were in the country at that time for a quick visit during a Presidential election campaign? Maybe. Or, maybe it was a nod to a potential President and his strong commitment to democracy, without bowing to negotiating with Marxist terrorists. This action by the Colombian government does show the sharp contrast between failed liberal led policy of negotiating with terrorists and the use of military as an option not to be taken off the table, and even used when necessary.
Kudos to President Uribe for getting it. His strength of character and commitment to reform have taken a toll on FARC. The organization is unraveling and growing weaker.
Negotiating with terrorists never works. These hostages held by FARC, a band of Marxist terrorists who have controlled 25% of Colombian land for the past 40 years, were captured when their plane crashed in 2003. As is the policy of the U.S. government, there was no negotiation with Washington for their release. All ex-pats working overseas understand this when they accept foreign employment assignments. Families, however, rightfully pursue every option available for the release of loved ones. My own husband has been in hostage situations three separate times overseas and fortunately for us, the outcomes were different for him. I have told him, though, that I would do everything possible to get him home alive if the situation was different. It's human instinct.
In this case, the families contacted Bill Richardson to go in April to 'negotiate' for the hostages release. Some negotiators have motives for personal gain. For instance, the hostage situation was an excuse for face time and tea with Hugo Chavez when a delegation consisting of Massachusetts Congressmen Jim McGovern and Bill Delahunt, along with Bill Richardson, declared Chavez to be an important key to the release of the hostages. As an editorial in this afternoon's edition of Investor's Business Daily stated, "In fact, Chavez was the worst player in this whole affair. Along with Ecuadorean cabinet members, he used the pretense of mediating with the FARC to rescue hostages to support FARC and aid its effort to overthrow the Colombian government. This rescue slaps that weapon - along with his pretenses to meddle and encourage appeasement - right out of his hand."
You may remember Delahunt is the Congressman who declared his pleasure that al-Quada operatives could see the face of the member of VP Cheney's office on C-SPAN, implying he'd enjoy seeing the target on his back now. Another man of integrity and class supporting Obama. Plus, it was Delahunt and McGovern who accepted the heavily discounted heating oil for the citizens of Massachusetts from Chavez, as a slap in the face to President Bush.
Character matters. And, you are known by those with whom you keep company.
"Although FARC still holds some 700 other hostages in the jungle, this victory demonstrates the importance of force and the political courage to defy pressure from appeasers. It's what McCain stands for, and it's what Colombia has shown in the wake of his visit. FARC now has lost the human bargaining chips it used to exert leverage, demand concessions and otherwise manipulate its enemies. With the rescue of these 15, FARC has only two options: surrender or run."
This Colombian military operation has been in the works for two weeks now. The U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield, was in full cooperation with Uribe and his Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santo. U.S. intelligence was used to pinpoint the location of the hostages. The Colombians planted a mole and he convinced FARC to move the hostages, allowing the rescue to be successful. Not a shot was fired. The military option was the answer.
Bill Richardson was asked tonight by Anderson Cooper of CNN if he was surprised by the success of the operation. The poor, deluded guy still said he believed diplomacy and negotiation would work. The likes of him will never get it. And, more will die as hostages will continue to be taken and held. Richardson and his ilk continue to encourage the naive foreign policy beliefs of Barack Obama. Although in an Obama administration, Richardson won't be needed as a negotiator, Obama will do it himself, directly one on one with Marxist dictators. Originally Obama was ignorant enough to fall for declaring he'll meet with any dictator without pre-conditions, then after he became aware of his folly, he backtracked. The original statement still went out around the world, though.
"Coincidence or not, it underlines that massive force, even the threat of it, is the most effective way to deal with terrorists", the article concludes. This mission proves the point. And, not a shot was fired.
Unlike The New York Times, when John McCain was asked to keep the upcoming operation today a secret, he did. McCain, unlike Democrat politicians, declared he would not criticize another politician on foreign soil. He didn't. He did, however, use the proper space to do so with journalists. He spoke on the plane en route from Colombia. He said Obama must "cut loose" Wesley Clark and discredit his remarkably nasty remarks. Obama, showing he is just another politician after all, again, said McCain's trip to Colombia was more of President Bush's 'failed' policies.
Excuse me, Barack Obama. Naively wrong again. This mission was completely successful. Not only is Obama not the candidate of hope and change. He also is not the candidate of civility. Or class.