Colombians now have their own Entebbe


    "We have an amazing military. I think only the Israelis can possibly pull off something like this."

            — Ingrid Betancourt

Just a week or two back, I read a front-page story in the WSJ about Ingrid Betancourt. The thrust of the story ("A Hostage to Fame") was that she was such a cause celebre around the world that she had too much value to the FARC, and therefore would probably never be traded. This caused me to think, "And this story isn’t helping with that, is it?"

But what wonderful news yesterday! Just goes to show good things can happen, even when they seem impossible.

And good for the Colombian military — they now have their own Entebbe, and that’s saying something. Nobody but the Israelis can say that, and the Israelis have gone through a good, long dry spell without one. Sure, there was the Syrian/North Korean nuke plant, but that’s nothing like putting boots on the ground way into the interior of Africa, complete with major-league deception and an impossible rescue.

One of my colleagues said this was better than Entebbe — it was, after all, cleaner. No hostages or rescuers killed, the deception complete from start to finish. Absolutely. Of course, the rescuers in this case had a lot more time to plan, months in which to infiltrate and gain the guerrillas’ trust. In the end, different kinds of operations. Entebbe was a brilliantly executed military coup de main. This latest caper was more of a perfect intelligence operation, involving no actual combat between armed antagonists. No, that’s not a perfect distinction — the military operation involved great intel, and the intelligence operation required military skills and discipline — but it serves.

Anyway, it was a great job, and the Colombians deserve a big Way to Go! from civilized folk everywhere.


7 thoughts on “Colombians now have their own Entebbe

  1. Brad Warthen

    The picture I couldn’t find on the wire and would like to have is on of the look on the guerrilla leaders’ faces when they realized they’d been so totally FARCed.
    Sorry. Couldn’t resist that. Someone else around here said it (actually, he said, “The operation was over before FARC knew they’d been FARCed.”), and I just had to use it…

  2. Steve Gordy

    The story in the WSJ gives a lot of emphasis to patient and systematic police-cum-military planning. It’s a good day when something causes Hugo Chavez to wind up with egg on his face.

  3. Mike Cakora

    Brad –
    You’ve overlooked the most delicious part, a detail near and dear to your heart: Some of the army rescuers were wearing Che T-shirts.

    Looking at helicopter’s crew, some wearing Che Guevara shirts, Betancourt reasoned they weren’t aid workers, as she’d expected — but rebels. This was just another indignity — the helicopter “had no flag, no insignia.” Angry and upset, she refused a coat they offered as they told her she was going to a colder climate.
    But not long after the group was airborne, Betancourt turned around and saw the local commander, alias Cesar, a man who had tormented her for four years, blindfolded and stripped naked on the floor.
    Then came the unbelievable words: “We’re the national army,” said one of the crewmen. “You’re free.”

    That’s the only occasion on which that T-shirt has ever been appropriate.
    My favorite style of Che T-shirt is here. (Scroll down one screen.)
    Do you think Pelosi will now allow a vote on the Colombia Trade Act?

  4. Mike Cakora

    Uh-oh. Did Brad introduce this topic to help McCain? Was the hostage rescue staged to benefit McCain? McCain was down there, knew about the operation twelve hours in advance, so who knows what the truth is. This guy knows all about it.
    The institutionalization program has brought us this stupidity.

  5. Lee Muller

    There were more police and local political leaders murdered last week in Mexico by narco-terrorists, than there were murdered by terrorists in Iraq.
    I bring that up to note that Iraq is not much more unstable than Mexico, which is still pretty bad, and to note how the situation in Mexico is given the silent treatment by liberal politicians and the media.


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