Monday, June 2, 2014

: Prisoner Trade Yields Rare View Into the Taliban

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: barry levine
Date: Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 5:38 PM
Subject: re: Prisoner Trade Yields Rare View Into the Taliban
To: ""

To the Editor:
   It was widely known in antiquity that Jews felt keenly the obligated to ransom one of their own who was held captive.  this made Jews something of a hot commodity. Every pirate, brigand and thug knew he could extort ransom from the Jewish community by hold one of them prisoner.  This perverse incentive was later modified (Mishna, Gittin 4:6) to preclude ransoming a captive for more than his worth.
    American Jurisprudence has its own rules, but the incentives are the same. By bargaining for the release of Bowe Bergdahl, president Obama has made every American serviceman, diplomat, journalist and tourist a target for kidnapping. As to the second, what is Bergdahl's worth, and what are the prisoners released worth? In American law, a criminal is a criminal only when a court has ruled so. Until then, he is merely a detainee awaiting trial. These five--despite senator McCain's ravings--are alleged to have done awful things, but have been convicted of nothing. To continue holding them is an embarrassment to the United States. We're well rid of them.
  It remains to be seen not so much  if we have paid too much for the release of one of our own, but whether we have paid to much to be rid of these five whom we couldn't legally hold.
Barry Haskell Levine

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