Edward Snowden Should Take John Kerry’s Advice: “Come On Home!”

South_Boston_MaEd Snowden wants to come back to the United States.  Here’s what he is reported to have said: “I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home. Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That’s a debate for the public and the government to decide. But, if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.” 

Secretary of State John Kerry said theUnited States would welcomed him: If Mr Snowden wants to come back to the United States today, we’ll have him on a flight today… and he should come back, and that’s what a patriot would do. A patriot would not run away and look for refuge in Russia or Cuba. A patriot would stand up in the United States and make his case to the American people. The fact is that he can come home, but he’s a fugitive from justice which is why he is not being permitted to fly around the world.”  Kerry added that “If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice.” Finally he said, “I think he’s confused. I think it’s very sad. But this is a man who has done great damage to his country.”

Rarely lately has Kerry hit the ball out of the park (don’t you just love the sports metaphors we all get trapped in) but this is a walk off home run comment right on the money. Snowden’s like a guy who committed a serious crime and doesn’t want to do the time. I don’t blame him, no one wants to go to prison but Snowden has to realize he can never come back to America except in handcuffs.

Are you surprised he doesn’t like his new found home Russia? Maybe after a taste of living under the thumb of Putin and his henchmen he realizes the so-called sins of America he wished to expose are like ant hills when compared to the mountains of abuses under dictators. If Snowden were well advised he’d come home, face trial, perhaps get lucky and get a deal, do 8 or 10 years, still get out in his thirties, after all he may have been entrapped into his folly; he was surrounded by people with an anti-American bent who abused his trust, took advantage of his naiveté and ended up sending him off to a country most normal people would prefer to avoid. He should realize he is better off in an American prison than the Russian prison he now occupies.

We all make mistakes. Snowden’s was a whopper. He got caught up in the crowd that cries out against any America action that’s is in the slightest manner less than what they deem as perfect. Reading them you’d think we were living in a dystopian country like those in the famous Apple ‘1984’ advertisement during Super Bowl XVIII. Snowden a loner succumbed to their anti-American rhetoric and gravely erred. Now he’s paying the price while they, free to travel wherever they wish, urge him on, much like those cruel men who have misguided young kids become suicide bombers.

We’re a country with a heart. He should come home; Kerry is right on the mark – Snowden’s confused, it’s sad but if he comes home he can expect to get a break, unlike he’d receive in any other country in the world considering the damage he did to our nation.

I was reading an article by Sidney Hook, a brilliant man, the other day called: “The Communist Peace Offensive.”  He made some observations that I think are tangentially related to the Snowden affair. He suggests: “prestige by association is easier to gain than guilt by association.” He goes on to tell how some of the sponsors of a group running a cultural and science conference for world peace in New York City believed it was ”not Communism but Catholicism, not the Kremlin but the Vatican, threatened peace and freedom in the world” which he called “a bizarre judgment that had no relevance to the issues and anti-American orientation of the conference.”

When Hook objected to the conference’s stark anti-Americanism, its sponsors replied in the same way we hear those who beguiled Snowden reply that they are concerned: “with the sins of our own country. We live here and not abroad. Whatever the actions of Stalin we cannot affect them.” Hook pointed out that these same people had no trouble protesting British and French imperialism, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Chiang Kai-shek which undermined their defense that they were only concerned with home issues. So is it with the anti-Americans today who find fault with America and our allies and stay silent when faced with great horrors committed by dictators.

Snowden failed to realize there is no perfect country and that there is a scale upon which things should be judged. I too, like him, am unhappy at some of the things our country does. But when compared to others they are tiny blips and not major blots on the civil rights of us Americans. Europe, Japan and others enjoy much freedom having been under our protective umbrella; we offer a vision of hope and openness as opposed to the dark cellars that exist in some others.

I’d like to paraphrase Sarah Vaugh’s suggestion to Bill Bailey: “I know you’re to blame but ain’t that a shame Ed Snowden come on home, come on home!


3 thoughts on “Edward Snowden Should Take John Kerry’s Advice: “Come On Home!”

  1. Matt- What is your take on the release of POW that was released in a American Hero swap for Terrorists? GOP is acting like President Obama did it for another reason??? How about leave no soldier behind is a pretty good reason?

    1. Doubting:

      For the kid who gets to come home, his family and friends I am glad; for our nation it is another question. First, the idea that we don’t leave anyone behind on the battlefield in prisoner of war camps etc., is something that we strive not to do but we sometimes have done that: Korea, Vietnam. In Korea we had some guys who were captured and then went over to the other side.
      The kid walked off the base and into hostile territory letting himself be captured – at best it can be said the pressures must have been great on him and he just wanted to get away but the way in which he fell into Taliban hands makes this an unusual case. How much responsibility do we have for people who put themselves at risk?
      There are some big problems: 1. Anyone confined without trial at Guantanamo for 12 years even if not a terrorist when he arrived is surely going to be one now. The five guys realeased seem to have direct connection with the Taliban and will be back in the battle against us or the Afghan government – will it matter, I guess so because that is why we had them at Guantanamo. It also seems one of them, at least, had to be in on the planning of the 9/11 attacks. (Maybe we plan to kill them with drones when they get back to Afghanistan.) 2. Just the other day I heard we were putting pressure on the Nigerian government not to exchange prisoners for the captured girls. We have said that is our long standing policy one that we followed with the Somalia pirates and elsewheres. It will be difficult to tell others to do what we don’t do. The Administration defended itself saying there’s a difference between a prisoner of war and a hostage but for me it is hard to see that, especially in this case. Finally, it does make it more likely the enemy will want to grab more Americans and make a deal. How do we tell the families of any newly captured we won’t deal for their release by releasing others in Guantanamo.
      I can’t think the release was done for a purely non-political means. His approval rating is in the low 40s which augurs poorly for Democratic candidates this fall. His foreign policy is under attack. Obama got a big jump in popularity after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Maybe he hoped this would be a feather in his cap. His action does have great downsides.
      It’s a hard question – we uphold the idea we don’t leave a person behind but we breach the idea we don’t deal with hostage takers. A tough call. I’m glad I didn’t have to make it but had I been forced to I would have gone with the concrete, bringing the kid home, and hope the abstract which is the danger to Americans doesn’t come about.

  2. What if Snowden was recruited by FSB in his early twenties, and, has spent his entire career, working for defense contractors, as a Russian Intelligence agent? It’s been done before (See Stasi agents recruit University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) spy ring/Progressive Magazine). In the early seventies, two Stasi agents posing as father-and-son ran a network of agents recruited from the UWM student body. They guided the careers of their recruits, encouraging them to pursue grad studies, and, eventually, apply for government service jobs. They were advised not to seek positions in defense industry, and/or, the security apparatus, too much scrutiny, instead, the Stasi guys encouraged them to find work in those bureaucracies that were deeply involved with the economy. The UWM espionage ring ran successfully from 1972-1989. The fall of the Soviet Union meant the end of money from Moscow. In desperation, the group shopped their product around, eventually, striking a deal with the ANC, who promptly sold the whole lot of them to the FBI. Those were the days.

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