Montel Williams took Republicans to the woodshed on Saturday for putting American lives in danger by criticizing the Iran prisoner swap.
It was a gesture that Iran did not have to take. After all, it wasn’t part of the nuclear deal reached with President Obama and other world leaders last summer. But Iran released four Iranian-American prisoners on Saturday, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, pastor Saeed Abedini, and former Marine Amir Hekmati, in exchange for Iranians imprisoned in the United States for sanctions-related violations.
Republicans had demanded that the release of the Americans be a condition of the nuclear deal, and had President Obama listened both efforts would have been put in jeopardy. Six months after the nuclear deal was finalized, President Obama has now successfully negotiated an end to Iran’s nuclear program and the release of the Americans the GOP used as pawns to sabotage the deal.
But the good news didn’t stop Republicans from whining anyway. Even though the released prisoners weren’t even home yet, GOP presidential wannabes cried that there should not have been any swap at all.
“We shouldn’t have to swap prisoners,” Christie said. “These folks were taken illegally in violation of international law and they should have been released without condition.”
Rubio claimed that the swap will embolden other nations to take Americans prisoner so that they can get something in return.
“Governments are taking Americans hostage because they believe they can gain concessions from this government under Barack Obama,” Rubio said. “It’s an incentive for more people to do this in the future.”
Jeb Bush responded by saying he would have threatened Iran with war to get the prisoners freed.
“I would say . . . ‘If you do not release them, that there’s going to be military action, that that’s an act of provocation, an act of war,’ he said.
In other words, Republicans would have left these Americans in jail because they didn’t get their way or they would have declared war on Iran and sent thousands of American troops to their deaths over the imprisonment of four people. That doesn’t sound like responsible foreign policy. And former Marine and talk show host Montel Williams feels the same way.
Republicans have now given us a clear demonstration of how they would handle international affairs and it doesn’t look good. The GOP would risk war and the sullying of our reputation around the world in a desperate effort to not look weak. Since when did peace and diplomacy come to equal weakness?
Not only did diplomacy secure a nuclear agreement that will keep the world from being set ablaze for decades to come, it helped four Americans gain freedom. The fact that President Obama was willing to swap prisoners and make concessions makes him a strong leader, not a weak one. And the seven Iranians released in exchange were not even a threat to us. They simply violated the economic sanctions put in place to get Iran to the bargaining table. They weren’t terrorists.
The bottom line is that President Obama achieved success on both initiatives without having to fire a single shot or spill one drop of American or Iranian blood. That is true strength that Republicans will never have.