Politics

Mark Steyn: ‘Screw Algeria’s sovereignty,’ rescue the hostages

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

National Review columnist Mark Steyn wants the United States to be more aggressive in its efforts to rescue to Islamist-held hostages in Algeria.

As of Friday, at least one American had died in a hostage standoff near the Algerian border with Libyan border amid growing speculation that the United States may attempt a rescue operation. And according to National Review columnist Mark Steyn, it’s time the United States got more aggressive in its efforts.

On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Thursday night, Steyn, the author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” scoffed at the idea of Algerian forces conducting the rescue and said that only a handful of nations would be capable of handling such an operation.

“I mean, ‘Algerian special forces’ is something of a contradiction in terms,” Steyn said. “I think when these things happen somewhere on the other side of the world, you hope that the highly trained elite forces will come to the rescue. And that belongs to a very select group of nations. I mean, if you remember that Russian theater siege for example, where the Russians went in and killed a bunch of people — I mean, even the Russians aren’t any good at that. There’s maybe half-a-dozen nations in the world capable of rescuing those guys without leaving a lot of blood on the floor.”

“It does call into question —  I mean I would have thought that the first thing that would happen is that the nationals, the government of the nationals being held hostage would have conferred as to who had people, who could get there and screw Algeria’s sovereignty,” he continued. “We got into a lot of trouble in Libya from over-respecting the sovereignty of nations that cannot enforce their own sovereignty. And that’s what we should have done in Algeria, too. We should take as saying we’re not going to fuss about visas from the Algerians.”

But Steyn speculated that the press would continue to give U.S. officials a pass, and said that inaction spoke to what missions the United States is willing to conduct on its own behalf.

“I think they know the press are not going to make a big deal about it on their watch,” he said. “I mean we had two guys die on a rooftop in Benghazi after hour-by-hour contacting Washington, demanding to know whether help was on the way. And they died — they saved a lot of people’s lives, but they died waiting on the cavalry that never came.”

“At some point, Americans have to ask themselves — they’re responsible for 43 percent of the world’s military spending,” Steyn said. “Why can’t they do a raid on Entebbe? Why on earth does that have to be outsourced to Algerian special forces? Is this just another job Americans won’t do? At some point, Americans have to get serious about these questions.”

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