Friday, July 02, 2010

Gilad Shalit and Bowe Bergdahl

Sometimes, visiting blogs I don't agree with can bring up interesting information. On a visit to Mondoweiss, I learned that Congress has passed a resolution calling for the release of Gilad Shalit. The writer of the post, Jeffrey Blankfort, asks when was the last time Congress passed a resolution referring to an American soldier. He has a point.

Congress is trying to show support for Israel by calling for Gilad Shalit's release, and I have no problem with the resolution. But Congress should have also called for the release of captive American and allied servicemen in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One commenter on Mondoweiss had this to say:

How about someone important publicly asking Mike Oren, with an eye toward embarassing that robo-likudist, if the Israeli Knessett has any plans to introduce a resolution calling upon the Talibanists in Afghanistan to release PFC Bowe Bergdahl?

That's actually not a bad idea at all. The Knesset should thank Congress by reciprocating and calling for the release of all captured US soldiers. Sure, the Taliban won't listen to Israel, but neither is Hamas listening to Congress. These would be American and Israeli unhelpful (but unharmful) non-binding resolutions in support of each other's captive soldiers.

In a way, I think the US's approach towards its M.I.A's is much healthier than Israel's. Here people call 23-year old Gilad Shalit "the child of us all" and press the government to agree to all of Hamas's demands, including the release of the worst, most dangerous terrorists who are certain to return to plotting attacks against civilians. "What if it were your son being held captive?" supporters of the deal ask Prime Minister Netanyahu (one could just as well ask "What if it were your son killed by a terrorist released in the deal?") Civilians are willing to risk dying at the hands of a released murderer in exchange for Shalit, forgetting that it is the job of soldiers to protect civilians, not the other way around.

Americans don't know who Bowe Bergdahl is. He is being held captive by the Taliban. Nobody is thinking of swapping hundreds and thousands of Taliban terrorists for him. If the Taliban wants to gain something from his capture, its demands need to be modest, or they will not be met by the Obama administration. In the Shalit case, though, Hamas knows it can increase its demands because it just might get its way thanks to public pressure. Netanyahu's steadfastness on this issue is one of the very few policies of his that I support.


  1. How about Congress also show some support for the 213 Palestinians being held by Israel in similar conditions to Shalit: without charge, without trial.

    ..and those held in whatever hellhole Israel has replaced Facility 1391 with:

  2. Touche, Anon...

    He has a point, Emm.

  3. I actually don't oppose the idea of Congress condemning the misuse of administrative detentions. Still, I don't see it as comparable to Shalit's situation. They have access to the International Red Cross, they're usually released within a few months and they aren't being held for ransom, but rather because they're suspected of something.