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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


President Obama has set a new tone in Washington and around the World. What has been the effect of this new tone, based on the premise that Washington should "talk softly and then talk softly some more"? A corollary question is, "What do Captain Richard Phillips, Gilad Shalit, and Roxana Saberi have in common?"

The answer to the latter question should lead us to the answer to the former. Captain Phillips, Gilad Shalit, and Roxana Saberi (a name you are only just getting to know, just as Captain Richard Phillips name was new only a week ago) are or have been kidnapped and captive to terrorists. The media has made a distinction between pirates and terrorists that does not really exist based on the presumed lack of devotion to political motivation among pirates and the greater respect for life thus far shown by pirates. These both will change as time emboldens acts of piracy. Even despite the recent French and American successes, three new ocean piracies have occurred this week.

Gilad Shalit has been captive to Hamas since June of 2006. Captain Phillips and his crew were captive at sea briefly, and though the crew managed to retake the ship, Captain remained captive at sea by the pirates, sharing a tiny boat. The boat was finally taken in tow by a navy vessel, and sharpshooters shot the pirates, killing them and freeing Captain Phillips alive and well. As I write, Roxana Saberi, a young American-Iranian journalist with dual citizenship, is imprisoned in Iran; given her Iranian citizenship, ostensibly, the USA can do nothing about her situation. Essentially kidnapped off the street by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in January, she is in the infamous Evin Prison and is being tried by Iran's Revolutionary Court as a spy. May God help her....

In the mundane world if President Obama is "listening" to Ahmajinidad, he should perceive Ahmajinidad's response, which in children's terminology is, "I double-dare you...."

President Obama rightly praised our successful effort at sea in rescuing alive Captain Richard Phillips. The only question remaining is, if the answer at sea is so clear and obvious, why not also in Iran and in Gaza?

It is time to "make it rain" in Iran and in Gaza. It is long overdue that Gilad Shalit's freedom be forced. And Roxana Saberi should not have to suffer, as others have, in imprisonment in Iran.