Sadly, I had forgotten the plight of Robert Levinson and his friends and family. Indeed, the plight of a nation, I suspect.
I try to stay off my political soapbox. My wise wife advises me to do that on a frequent basis. Nonetheless, here goes my latest rant.0
I've been reading about it for years, ever since it first happened, then it fades from the news and I forget it until the next time it appears in the headlines.
I apologize for that.
If I were in his shoes, I'd want people to remember me.
This article from the Huffington Post does a good job explaining the dynamics and the basics of the story.
I trust our government knows more about this situation. There are a lot of questions to be asked about just how he came to be in Iran in the first place, as I understand it is difficult for Americans to go there.
All that aside for now, he needs to be brought home by our government.
There is a tremendous air of mystery and secrecy around the disappearance and captivity of Mr. Levinson, and again, I hope our government knows more, and a lot more, about this whole situation than the media does.
Several years ago, it was announced by our government that he was being held in Southeast Asia, with the implication being Pakistan or Afghanistan.
In any event, a Presidential response is needed here.
This family needs their loved one back, and the President needs to lead the way.
Make a direct request. If that requires exposing issues of national security, so be it. Do what it takes.
We have an American being held hostage. Maybe it's just me, but if I were abroad lawfully doing my business and got somehow captured or held hostage under similar strange circumstances, I'd want 100's of government folks looking for me. I'd hope they'd be personally obsessed with finding me and bringing me, an innocent just like them, home to my family.
I'd want the alphabet agencies of our government to be looking for me and having their ear to the ground about my locale and captors. In six years, one would think tidbits of chatter or emails or some kind of intelligence would be known about what's going on with Mr. Levinson.
I'm not saying our government has not expended all sorts of resources to find Mr. Levinson. Hopefully, our government has made all sorts of extraordinary efforts to figure out where he is and who is behind this and all the details.
Likewise, I'd assume that numerous private entities including but not limited to the Association of Former FBI Agents, since Mr. Levinson was a retired FBI agent, and I suspect his friends and comrades have done everything they could to find him and those responsible for this.
I know from reading some different articles that the Association has been giving significant financial support to the family of Mr. Levinson, particularly his children. Bravo to that, I say. Bravo. That's putting your money where your mouth is, and it's highly commendable.
This isn't Hollywood. It's not always so easy, I suspect, what with the fragmented nature of crime and religious zealots in the Middle East and South East Asia, to track down these diverse and numerous groups.
We know from the history of all kinds of criminal and terrorist and sometimes a combination group of both criminal and terrorist operate with sometimes diverse goals and that there are groups within groups and all kinds of factions and always those groups going off on tangents.
There's not a lot of fact in the history of the articles about Mr. Levinson to discuss. He was a retired FBI agent, working as a private detective on cigarette smuggling cases and was somehow on the Iranian island of Kish. That's about it for the media report on this case for six years, so there's not much fact but plenty of fodder to speculate on.
I won't repeat what little the articles of today say when talking about the newly released photos of Mr. Levinson, which if I understand correctly they surmise these photos sent to the family via email in 2011 were taken before a video and pictures sent to them in 2010 as the hair was too long to have grown from what it appeared in the 2010 video and pictures.
What ever the situation is, we need to work vocally and actively to extricate Mr. Levinson from captivity.
Obviously, the disappearance and captivity of Mr. Levinson is far different than that of Raymond Davis, who was publicly held by authorities for months in Pakistan until our government finally secured his release. The unlawful detention of Raymond Davis was fairly well covered in the media, and the wildly inaccurate middle east internet "media" had some pretty tall tales about Mr. Davis and who he really was.
I was glad Mr. Davis was able to make it back home to America, and I think we as a country should expect the same effort be put forth to bring Mr. Levinson safely home.
To our public servants who could make this happen, I say, what if it were you in this situation? Wouldn't you want all kinds of resources and personnel devoted to securing your safe return to America? I mean, I'm talking 24/7 and 365 of intelligence efforts devoted to finding this man and freeing him, by force if necessary.
I apologize to the family for forgetting about their horrid plight. I won't forget again. I'll email my Congressional representatives. I'll keep track of the developments, if any, that appear in the media. I'll certainly pray for the return of your loved one.
And I won't forget.