The ransom that dare not speak its name

Did the United States really owe the Islamic Republic of Iran $1.7 billion because of a previousl Iranian regime’s payment of $400 million to us? Somehow I doubt it. The previous regme was a friend of the United States; the current one is a deathly enemy. Even if we owed it, there must be a loophole somewhere in the nature of a self-preservation exception.

Did the $400 million cash payment the administration delivered to Iran constitute a payment of ransom for a few hostages? President Obama has sarcastically denied it, in the fashion to which we have grown accustomed. Custom has not staled its infinite offensiveness.

The Wall Street Journal has rather authoritatively demonstrated that the payment was a ransom in common parlance, of the Groucho Marx who- ya-gonna-believe? variety. The Journal’s most recent story on it, the second by Jay Solomon and Carol Lee, shows up the Obama version as a lie, bald-faced division. The story — “U.S. held cash until Iran freed prisoners” — is accessible online via Google here.

The ransom payment has done great harm. If President Obama’s words have any credibility, the ransom payment has damaged it. The ransom endangers the lives of Americans all over the world. Shocker: the Islamic Republis of Iran has followed up by taking more American hostages. The ransom payment sets a rather high price on the lives of Americans overseas. Seth Lipsky raises related questions in the context of the current presidential campaign in the New York Sun editorial “Latin lesson.”

I will only add that President Obama seems to revel in the humiliation and abasement of the United States before its avowed enemy. To the humiliation he adds his transparent dishonesty to the American people.

NOTE: See also David Sanger’s New York Times article “U.S. concedes $400 million payment to Iran was delayed as prisoner ‘leverage.’” They think we’re stupid and they have the evidence to prove it!

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