Barack Obama might well have been right in saying this week that Donald Trump wasn’t qualified to be president.
But there is a problem — Obama isn’t qualified to make that judgement, and frankly with the revelations about his actions in supplicating America to the Iranian mullahs this week, it’s time to begin talking about what the personal consequences should be to himself and his team for what they’ve done.
Specifically at issue is the story, first reported this week by Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, that Obama secured the release of four Americans held hostage by the Iranians by flying in $400 million in grease-money to buy them back.
Apparently it was so much of a quid pro quo that perhaps the most famous of the four, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, told the Fox Business Network Thursday that he and the others were made to wait at an airport for hours before release and when they asked about what the holdup to their release was, it was clearly the arrival of the money.
“[T]hey told us you’re going to be there for 20 minutes,” he told FBN’s Trish Regan. “But it took like hours and hours. We slept at the airport, and when I asked them why you don’t let us go, because the plane was there, pilot was there, everyone was ready that we leave the country, they said we are waiting for another plane, and until that plane doesn’t come, we never let you go.”
The plane finally did come. When it did, reports say it contained wooden pallets of paper currency — Swiss francs, Euros, and other notes totaling $400 million. The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. federal government secured the money from the central banks in the Netherlands and Switzerland, then flew it into Tehran — clearly to satisfy a condition of the release of Abedini and the others.
One would imagine that it would be a lot easier for the federal government to simply wire the money; if nothing else, there would be no reason to prolong the agony of the hostages at the airport.
So why didn’t that happen? National Review’s Andy McCarthy explains it pretty well…
Obama has long taken the view that the federal law making it a felony to provide material support to terrorism does not apply to the enormous aid and comfort he has provided to our Iranian enemy, the world’s leading state sponsor of anti-American jihadist terror. He evidently had qualms, however, about laws denying Iran access to the U.S. financial system, which bar transactions with Iran in U.S. dollars. To skirt these, the State Department recruited the Swiss and Dutch governments into Obama’s conspiracy. The equivalent of 400 million in U.S. dollars was transferred to their central banks in exchange for hard currency. The piles of euros and francs were then boxed up and flown to Tehran.
There is simply no plausible way to deny that McCarthy is correct Obama provided material support to terrorism by transferring that $400 million to Iran. If nothing else, that ransom money paved the way for the Iranians to snatch more Americans in hopes of another big payday from Stupid Uncle Sam. If you don’t agree, then tell that to the family of Baquer Namazi, an 80-year old diplomat who was kidnapped by the Iranians in February, after that ransom was paid. Namazi’s son, Siamak, an energy executive, had already been snatched last October.
Or tell it to the crew of the two swiftboats the Iranians snatched in the Persian Gulf back in the spring; we haven’t been told what was given to the Iranians in return for their release following the humiliation they were subjected to.
There was a time when paying ransom to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and an avowed American enemy without notice to or permission of Congress, made in a way skirting U.S. law and outside the view of the American people, would have been viewed as treason, and those carrying it out would have been subject to a trial and a potential hanging.
There was a time. Apparently, that time has passed. We are now told that this is “old news” because it happened months ago, that this money was actually Iran’s money because it represented assets frozen by America during hostilities decades in the past, and that it wasn’t ransom because it was an installment on a $1.7 billion settlement the U.S. was to pay to Iran over those frozen assets which was a coincidence.
Tell that last bit to Abedini, who couldn’t board a plane out of Mehrabad Airport in Tehran until the money came in. Tell it to the Iranians, who insisted on the installment arriving before boarding that plane. And tell it to the mullahs who specifically claimed it as ransom, before snatching more Americans.
That leftist propagandists like those at Vox.com would attempt to spin Obama’s “Iransom” as normal, humdrum business is a good indication of just how far gone some Americans are. It’s also an indication of just how badly separated the current administration and its political allies are from American national interests.
There are even some peddling an equivocation between the $400 million and the Iran-Contra Affair, and saying that paying ransom to free American hostages is a time-honored practice going back to Ronald Reagan. But there are key differences; for one thing, Iran-Contra was a scandal, and these same people are insisting the current imbroglio was on the up and up. And for another, while what was alleged in Iran-Contra would have been illegal, there was an American interest served in selling the Iranians spare parts for fighter jets in exchange for hostages held by Hezbollah in Beirut; Iran was in the process of losing a war to Iraq, which at the time was a Soviet client state, and it was absolutely worth our while for that war to be as long and bloody as possible.
Where is the American interest being served here? Sure, Abedini is home, and we can all be glad about that. But his freedom has a bitter taste if it means the loss of père and fils Namazi, or dead Jews in Israel, Christians in Belgium, or even Muslims in Turkey thanks to Iranian-funded jihadist terror that $400 million will surely fuel.
Not to mention the terrible precedent set by this president. The refusal to pay ransom to jihadist bandits is what birthed the United States Marine Corps well more than 200 years ago, and yet now that refusal has been turned on its head. There will be many more Saeed Abedinis, and if this president and his equally corrupt ideological successor have their way, many more Euros and Swiss Francs flying in on jets at Mehrabad to reward their capture.
This must be punished by the American people. The laws bent and broken in this depraved bargain, disguised as a ministerial exchange, must be defended against those who perpetrated it. Our honor and national security are at stake.