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Captives, What Captives?

Four Americans are now being held captive by foreign governments or non-state actors: two journalists in North Korea, one journalist in Iran, and one ship captain off the coast of Somalia.

Has anyone heard from the president about these incidents?

In regard to North Korea and Iran, Barack Obama is too dug-in to a capitulationist stance to make a peep.  While free and safe journalists praise Obama for “listening” to autocrats and fanatics, their less fortunate colleagues have been listening in vain for a word from the American president. Tragic as that is, it does at least free up Obama to speak forcefully about the Somali pirates now holding the brave and selfless Capt. Richard Phillips. After all, we can’t possibly have an interest in engaging these stateless thugs. So what message has Obama sent?

“So far President Barack Obama’s role in the U.S. response to an American sea captain’s kidnapping by Somali pirates has been careful – and quiet,” writes the Associated Press’ Liz Sidoti. “The new commander in chief has been kept abreast of negotiations over the captain’s release, but advisers say Obama has delegated the heavy lifting to high-level administration officials and his military commanders. The president himself has yet to speak publicly about the incident near the Horn of Africa. He brushed off a reporter’s question Thursday. Instead he has let his top surrogates do the talking, although their comments have been brief, perhaps mindful that their words could influence the sensitive negotiations with the hostage-taking pirates.”

It is far too easy to criticize the president for failing to do or say the right thing in regard to these fragile situations. Missteps could prove fatal. But to do and say nothing about Americans being held captive in foreign lands is a scandal in itself and another global advertisement for America’s new and pervasive sense of trepidation.


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