Arizona Representative Trent Franks thinks that Obama’s decision to trade the Taliban 5 for Bowie Bergdahl’s release may have signaled to ISIS that it was okay to execute James Foley.
ISIS captured Foley more than a year before the prisoner exchange, and they wanted $100 million for his release. Think Progress notes that the reason we didn’t do that is because we have long had a policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Franks appears to be conflating a prisoner exchange with a civilian hostage situation.
When ISIS executed Foley, they released a video that was promptly removed from the whole of the Internet. However, the statement they made alongside the video said that the airstrikes we’ve been carrying out against them had put us on a path towards a new war front against Islam. The black-clad executioner added, “Any attempt by you, Obama, to deny Muslims liberty and safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”
So one could conclude that Franks’ comments are a sorry attempt to spin a bad situation against Obama and Democrats. According to the Think Progress piece, Franks said:
“To somehow signal to terrorists that all they have to do to bring America to its knees is to kidnap one of our own, and hold them for ransom, it is a signal to the whole jihadist world, to go out and do it again and it is extremely dangerous.”
But then he added:
“I don’t want to say anything politically to exacerbate the tragedy with the James Foley but I’m afraid James Foley is an example of that in his family and friends are feeling the tragedy more than anybody else could possibly imagine.”
Blaming Obama by saying the release of the Taliban 5 was “a signal,” is politically inflammatory no matter how one tries to play it down. The Think Progress article says that Obama had, in fact, launched an operation to rescue Foley and other American civilian hostages. Unfortunately, that was unsuccessful, because they’d been moved to new locations.
Many in the GOP have blamed the President for much of the strife in the Middle East. Franks himself said on his official House page last month that Obama was “the bedfellow of the Palestinian Authority,” after Obama said that peace was possible between Israel and Palestine.
What the people who blame Obama for ISIS’ actions need to understand, is that nothing we do will be the “correct” thing. Continued attacks and stepping up attacks will make it worse. Backing off will make it worse. We can’t denounce them, we can’t support them, we can’t remain neutral. Everything we do will make it worse. It’s ISIS, it’s not Obama.
Watch Franks in the video below: