It has been more than five months since veteran American Marine Andrew Tahmooressi took a wrong turn into Mexico and landed in jail. It took President Obama and the White House almost four months to respond to the petition on Tahmooressi’s behalf at the WhiteHouse.gov website, and there is still no sign of any action being taken on his behalf. In contrast, it took President Obama all of three days to respond to the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The timeline of President Barack Obama’s response to the two events sends an unmistakable message about his priorities. It is apparent that the fate of a decorated American soldier carries far less weight to the Commander in Chief of the United States than the death of Michael Brown.
It was on March 31, 2014 that Sgt. Tahmooressi made that fateful wrong turn into Mexico, and he has been unjustly incarcerated in a Mexican prison since April 1. A month later, after it was clear that help was needed from President Obama to bring about justice for Tahmooressi, who had served faithfully, even earning a Purple Heart. He suffers from PTSD, due to trauma endured while serving his country, and even yet is in need of treatment.
A petition was launched on Sgt. Tahmooressi’s behalf on May 1 on the White House petitions website, a site on which the Obama Administration states that a response is required from the White House when a signature threshold is reached.
“If a petition meets the signature threshold, it will be reviewed by the Administration and we will issue a response.” That threshold is 100,000 signatures within 30 days.
The petition for Tahmooressi met, and exceeded, that threshold within the allotted 30 days, on May 31, reports his mother, Jill Tahmooressi, to CNN. By the end of Friday night, May 31, there were 110,000 signatures. Yet, from President Barack Obama, there has been little more than the sound of crickets.
It was not until last week, August 29, that President Obama finally issued a response to the Tahmooressi petition. When it finally did come, Obama’s response was remarkably underwhelming.
“The U.S. State Department continues to provide extensive consular assistance to Mr. Tahmooressi, and will do so until his case is resolved. As in all cases when a U.S. citizen is arrested overseas, our goal is to see that Mr. Tahmooressi is treated fairly during the judicial process with the hope that he can receive the support, both emotional and medical, that he may require now and at the conclusion of the proceedings.
“Mexico is one of the United States’ most important partners. We have close economic and cultural ties, and we work closely with them on numerous sensitive issues. While we will not go into detail about our private diplomatic discussions on this case, U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have spoken to Mexican officials at the highest levels regarding Mr. Tahmooressi’s case.
“Mexican authorities have been very willing to engage on this issue. They have provided prompt and continued consular access and visitations. As a result, the State Department has been able to provide regular updates on Mr. Tahmooressi’s condition to his family, Members of Congress, and the press.
“We respect the rule of law and expect the judicial process of sovereign nations to protect other U.S. citizens who might find themselves in similar circumstances in the future. We will continue to monitor the case and work with the Mexican authorities as this case proceeds through the Mexican judicial system. We continue to urge the Mexican authorities to process this case expeditiously.”
It is that phrase, “We respect the rule of law…” that has many Americans frustrated and angry. A number of Tweets have picked up on the phrase, responding, “Since when?” They point out the obvious disconnect between that statement by Obama’s administration and the flood of illegal immigrants pouring across the border from and through Mexico.
The truth of the matter is that President Obama and the White House could place a great deal more pressure on the Mexican government to free Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi. But he hasn’t.
In contrast, President Obama got involved almost from the beginning in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, by a police officer. It was on the third day after Brown’s death that the President released a statement, offering condolences to the family, and directing the federal Justice Department to get involved and provide resources.
Tahmooressi is a decorated Marine, who has faithfully served his country. Yet, the President refrains from acting or advocating for him, even though he is in prison allegedly for making a wrong turn, a situation that Greta Van Susteren has pointed out on FOX News could have happened to anyone. The President expects the public to wait patiently for the judicial process to sort through the case, even though Tahmooressi’s life and mental health are at risk, and even though there has not yet been a trial date set.
Talk show host and 22-year Navy veteran Montel Williams made an impassioned plea Thursday for somebody in the White House to do something to help Sgt. Tahmooressi, reports BizPac.
“… this is a soldier who could use the help of Secretary Kerry. He could use the help of Eric Holder, reaching out to the Attorney General of Mexico and saying, ‘Look, we’re not trying to tell you to change your law … but your law itself states there had to be intent … and it’s clear that this was done by mistake.”
On the other hand, in the case of the shooting death of Michael Brown, the President was all over it, right from the start. While he is content to wait for the Mexican legal process and investigation, there was no sign of such patience being given to the local law enforcement of Ferguson, Missouri. There still remain facts of Michael Brown’s case to come forth.
That investigation is not yet over, yet the police department was quickly condemned by President Obama’s administration. Eric Holder flew to the scene of Michael Brown’s shooting, a scene that is presumably the responsibility of local and state law enforcement, not federal.
Information has since come to the surface through the investigative process that show that, unlike Tahmooressi, Brown was not the most honorable of characters. As The Inquisitr has reported, Brown was video taped being involved in a robbery shortly before the shooting. He had drugs in his system, got into a physical altercation with the police officer, breaking a bone in the cop’s face, and, according to Clash Daily, Michael Brown may have been allegedly involved in a second-degree murder case as a juvenile.
No matter the outcome of the legal proceedings, it is clear that Michael Brown was not the saint he was originally portrayed by the media to be. No one deserves to be shot unjustly, but all of the facts of the case are not in, and the picture of what actually happened with Brown is still murky. It is to be hoped that if there was wrong-doing by the police department, the truth will come out and justice will be served.
Yet, the speed and urgency with which President Obama responded to his situation indicates clearly that Michael Brown is far more important to the President and Commander in Chief of the United States than Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi. The American Marine is the responsibility of the President. Obama’s inaction has greatly prolonged Tahmooressi’s imprisonment. President Obama could do something about that. Yet, he doesn’t. Why is that?