The Hedgehog Blog has been remiss in not previously offering a hearty "Well Done!" to the Columbian commandos, and the Columbian government of President Alvero Uribe, which last week pulled off without a hitch the spectacular rescue of Ingrid Betancourt (photo right) and 14 other hostages, not incidentally including three American defense contractors, Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Thomas Howes, all longtime hostages of FARC, the Columbian pseudo-Marxist terrorist group. Well done, Columbia; as we say in Hebrew, "kol hakvod" [all honor to you]. To the extent that the United States government and military may have played a supporting role (reportedly supplying the technology for jamming FARC communications and helping to locate the prisoners), kol hakvod to them as well.
So what explains this tardy recognition by the Kosher Hedgehog of such a daring exploit, which has struck a stunning blow for freedom and against international terrorism? Perhaps a little wistfulness. Caroline Glick explains it well in a column in the Jerusalem Post:
Exalting at her liberation by the Colombian military last week, former hostage Ingrid Betancourt exclaimed, "This is a miracle, a miracle! We have an amazing military. I think only the Israelis can possibly pull off something like this."
Betancourt's statement made thousands of Israelis wince.
Held hostage in the Colombian jungles for six years by the narco-terror group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Betancourt, a dual Colombian-French citizen who was a Colombian senator and presidential candidate at the time she was abducted, obviously had not heard the news about the "new Israel."
Her statements were based on her memories of the "old Israel." She didn't know that the "new Israel" doesn't fight terrorists. The "new Israel" views fighting terrorists as an exercise in futility. Its leaders and military chiefs alike repeat endlessly the mantra that there is no military victory to be had, only a political accommodation.
She didn't know that the week before she was rescued, the "new Israel" made a deal with Hizbullah to release five senior Lebanese terrorists, an unknown number of Palestinian terrorists and hundreds of bodies of dead terrorists in exchange for the bodies of IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were murdered by Hizbullah two years ago.
The "new Israel" is the Israel that maintains one-sided "cease-fires" with Hamas and is poised to make a deal with Hamas by which it will release up to a thousand Palestinian terrorists in exchange for IDF hostage Gilad Schalit.
Glick describes exactly how I felt. She goes on to note how the government of Columbian President Uribe, in contrast to Israel's abdication to terrorism under Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, "has never veered from its single-minded goal of defeating FARC both militarily and politically." The irony is that both Sharon and Olmert thought that their policy of going soft on terrorism was politically expedient. Yet today, Olmert's public approval hovers within the statistical margin of error of zero, and his government does everything to avoid new parliamentary elections, while Uribe, who won a landslide re-election victory in May 2006, the first re-election of a sitting Columbian President in more than a century, has seen his public approval rating jump from an already robust 73% to 91%. He is toying with proposing a change to the Columbian constitution to allow him to seek a third term. [Source: The Christian Science Monitor.]
It should be noted, and Ms. Glick does note, that Uribe has unswervingly pursued his campaign to defeat FARC militarily [who says there is no military solution to terrorism?] in the face of the fervent opposition of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, the anti-American left-wing government in Ecuador and, of course, Cuba, to round out the list of usual suspects. Ecuador provides sanctuary for FARC bases and, after a Columbian cross-border raid that killed FARC deputy commander Raul Reyes, Ecuador cut off diplomatic relations with Columbia, and Chavez massed Venezuelan troops on the Venezuelan-Columbian border. After last week's display of Columbian military prowess, Mr. Chavez may think twice about deploying those troops.
It also should be noted that the Democrat-led U.S. Congress has rewarded President Uribe's stalwart defiance of terrorism by rejecting a free-trade pact with Columbia. Senators Obama and Hillary Clinton voted against the pact, to the embarrassment of former President Bill Clinton. The Democrats thus displayed the feckless attitude that will dominate U.S. foreign and defense policy should Senator Obama capture the White House. Unfortunately, the present Israeli regime displays it as well.