To the editor:
I find it very difficult to understand the complete lack of concern exhibited by President Barack Obama and our State Department regarding the U.S. Marine imprisoned in a Mexican prison. Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi had served two tours in Afghanistan, engaged in combat and by all accounts by his fellow marines, was an outstanding soldier.
Three months ago, March 31, after spending the afternoon in Mexico, he walked back across the border in the U.S., got into his vehicle to return to his quarters. Leaving the parking lot he mistakenly turned into the lane that led to Mexico. (Several have attested that at that particular crossing it is very confusing and mistakenly entering Mexico is not uncommon.) Upon reaching the Mexican guards at the border he immediately told the guards he had three registered guns in his vehicle. It should be emphasized that the guards did not find the guns; he immediately told them about the guns and willingly showed where they were located. He was imprisoned, chained to a bed and suffered abuse.
President Obama went to great lengths to secure the release of a soldier who, according to his fellow soldiers, deserted his unit while on the front line in Afghanistan. Obama held a ceremony in the Rose Garden to tout his "success" trading five very high ranking terrorists for that soldier. His administration said the soldier had served with honor and distinction. The State Department spokesperson shrugged off the testimony of his fellow soldiers by saying State Department officials knew more than those present at the time he left his post.
Bur for a Marine who served honorably in combat Obama is unwilling to seek his release. This in spite of petitions signed by, according to one account I heard, nearly 200,000 citizens.
When he recently spoke with the president of Mexico, it was reported that President Obama did not bring up the subject. How long do you think it would take to get this resolved if Obama requested it? It seems very strange that the president was very concerned about the welfare of a soldier labeled as a deserter by his comrades and has not exhibited any concern about an imprisoned soldier who apparently had the admiration of all his comrades.
A few weeks ago I telephoned the Washington, D.C. offices of Rep. Collin Peterson and Sen. Amy Klobuchar regarding the Marine. To my surprise, at one office the person said they were unaware of the imprisoned Marine. At the other office, the first person I spoke with was not aware of it.
He turned me over to another aide who said he wasn't familiar with it except that he heard about some guy getting put in jail for crossing the border with guns. Even though the Marine is not from Minnesota, he fought for people living in Minnesota. I think it is shameful that our president and legislators, Republican and Democrat, show little to no concern.