October 16, 2014
This past Sunday, President Obama played his 200th round of golf as president of the United States. And tragically, it has been just over 200 days that Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a decorated U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, has languished in a Mexican jail.
In April, Tahmooressi crossed the southern border at San Ysidro by mistake after taking a wrong turn; he was stopped by Mexican officials who found three U.S.-registered guns in his truck. Since Mexico has extremely strict firearms laws, he was taken into custody.
The ensuing six months have been a nightmare for 25-year-old Tahmooressi, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress (PTS) stemming from his combat service, and his family. In April, Tahmooressi even attempted to take his own life. Mexican authorities have dragged their feet on the case.
In response, several U.S. government authorities have shown diligence and commitment to the cause of securing Tahmooressi’s release. The U.S. State Department has maintained an open line of communication with the Mexican government on the matter, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee has advocated forcefully for the Marine’s release.
Yet missing in action is the voice of Tahmooressi’s commander in chief—President Barack Obama. When will the president weigh in on behalf of this decorated combat veteran held unjustly in foreign captivity?
Six months into Tahmooressi’s captivity, the president has yet to place a phone call to his counterpart in Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to discuss the matter and to urge the Marine’s release. But from the president, nothing is heard and when asked, the president’s spokesman punts responsibility to the State Department.
Nor has the president even picked up the phone to contact Tahmooressi’s mother, Jill, who has worked tirelessly on her son’s behalf and recently testified before a Congressional subcommittee about her family’s plight (a hearing at which I [Pete Hegseth] also testified on Tahmooressi’s behalf, along with talk show host and Marine veteran Montel Williams).
But the president’s time is limited, one might argue, since he has to deal with a deteriorating situation in the Middle East, a potential Ebola epidemic and countless worries both domestic and global.
True enough—but one can’t help but to notice that Obama’s tight schedule still allows him plenty of time to attend fundraisers where he rubs elbows with wealthy Democratic donors and Hollywood A-listers like Gwyneth Paltrow. And he certainly hasn’t allowed any global disturbances—like terrorists beheading an innocent American journalist or an Ebola briefing—to keep him from playing golf.
Earlier this year, Obama laid down a strong standard for detained service members. In May, the president stood in the Rose Garden to proudly announce that his administration had negotiated the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan, trading five terrorist killers to the Taliban in exchange for a soldier who reportedly deserted his front-line unit less than two months into his first tour of duty.
US MOVES TO SECURE TRADE WITH MEXICO (TAHMOORESSI, JUST NOT AN ISSUE)