Dr. Shakil Afridi was convicted of treason in Pakistan on Wednesday for helping the United States find Osama Bin Laden.
In the kind of double game that has been characteristic of the Obama era, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for his release. But where was the administration during Afridi’s arrest and trial? Four months ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta openly admitted that Afridi had run a hepatitis B vaccination program in order to gather DNA samples from members of Bin Laden’s family, who were thought to be living nearby. When Afridi was charged with treason in January, Panetta lamely said that Pakistanis should be against the charge, because they were threatened by terrorism, too: “For them to take this kind of action against somebody who was helping to go after terrorism, I just think is a real mistake on their part.”
A “mistake”? How about a cataclysmically immoral, terrorist-supporting decision that would not be accepted by the United States under any circumstances?
Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a tribal court in northwestern Pakistan and sent to Central Prison in Peshawar. The Pakistanis were careful to indict Afridi by using a British-era regulation for frontier crimes, because normal penal law would have required his execution.
The Pakistani government, which likely knew of Bin Laden’s whereabouts, was furious after Bin Laden’s killing, because they viewed the attack as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. American officials claim that Afridi did not know Bin Laden was the target of the plot.
So the Obama Administration used Afridi to help find Bin Laden, spiked the football repeatedly about the Bin Laden killing, then abandoned Afridi by publicly confirming his participation. Now they weakly protest his imprisonment. Where is President Obama hiding when a man who put his life on the line for the United States is in danger?