It’s been some time since we’ve heard the term “czar” kicked around Washington, D.C.
But here it comes again, this time in the form of legislation that creates a “hostage czar” who would coordinate efforts to gain the release of Americans held hostage abroad.
U.S. Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., has proposed the Warren Weinstein Hostage Rescue Act, named in honor of the man killed early this year in a drone strike on a suspected al-Qaeda compound.
Allow me this one request for the legislation: no negotiating with terrorists, please.
Delaney said this: “Hostage rescue is incredibly complex and multiple agencies have a role in the process, which at times has complicated our ability to act efficiently.”
So, he wants to create a hostage czar to coordinate those efforts.
It’s at best a symbolic gesture. It could prove fruitful, but only if it maintains a policy of refusing to negotiate with terror organizations to gain the release of these captive Americans.
I know what you’re thinking: Hey, we “negotiated” with the Taliban to obtain the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; we released five Taliban officers in exchange for Bergdahl. Isn’t that “negotiating with terrorists”? Well, I believe the Taliban is a terrorist organization, but the White House doesn’t call it such — so, technically, the U.S. government didn’t negotiate with a terrorist outfit to gain Bergdahl’s release.
In hindsight, it looks like a mistake because (a) the Taliban comprises terrorists and (b) Bergdahl now is facing desertion charges.
Still, the Weinstein Hostage Rescue Act should be free of language that allows us to negotiate with any recognized terrorist outfit.