The Cowardice of Abandoning an American Citizen

November 30, 2013

Probably enough has been written about American Pastor, Saeed Abedini, who has been arrested and tortured in Iran, to fill a Library. I can add little to the discussion except to raise my voice in outrage. The outrage is over the fact that this American citizen was abandoned by the United States in the recent deal with Iran that tried to slow Iran’s mad rush to build nuclear arms. As a matter of fact, the persecution of Saeed wasn’t even brought up. The administration admitted as much.
But just in case you haven’t heard about this (How, I don’t know, unless you only listen to main stream media), let me fill you in on some of the facts. Saeed is an American citizen and a pastor who went to Iran. Shortly after his arrival, Iran’s radical Revolutionary Guard arrested him and threw him in one of Iran’s worst prisons. They put him on trial and convicted him on trumped-up “national security” charges and threw him in prison where he has sat for over a year. But his real crime, as everyone knows, is his Christian faith.
As the negotiations were progressing between Iran and the West, Saeed was transferred to an even worse prison where prisoners are sent to disappear or die – a prison full of murderers and rapists, where his life is in danger at every moment.
So what did our negotiators say to Iran as they worked up this grand non-deal allowing them to keep their centrifuges? NOTHING! “President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry turned their backs on a U.S. citizen by refusing to secure his freedom before reaching an agreement with Iran,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice. “The Obama Administration has left Pastor Saeed behind.”

This oversight was in spite of the fact that the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution calling for the release of Saeed and the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a resolution calling for his release. But the President chose appeasement instead of confrontation. Charles Krauthammer likened the actions of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to Europe’s appeasement of Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s, when Germany’s borders were expanded. “It’s really hard to watch the president and the secretary of state and not think how they cannot be embarrassed by this deal,” said Krauthammer, who called the agreement a “farce” and the “worst deal since Munich” in 1938.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz added, “American citizens are not bargaining chips, and there should be no further discussion while they are languishing in prison,” Todd Starnes warned, “It is beyond reprehensible that this administration would make any sort of deal with a nation holding an American hostage.”

What recourse does Saeed have now that his own country has abandoned him? “Iran has no incentive for them to release him. I don’t think we have any more leverage,” Saeed’s wife said. “We now have to consider other avenues and having other countries speak out because our country when we could have used our leverage chose to stay silent.” That is the outrage!

What is so astonishing to me is that our President is our Commander in Chief bestowed with the duty to protect American Citizens. He has the full power of the United States Military behind him, the best fighting force on the face of the earth. Yet he failed Saeed, and he failed our country.

As our Commander and Chief it is certainly right that we evaluate our President’s actions by holding them up to the Soldier’s Creed – a creed that all military personnel are expected to uphold. The full text of that creed is presented at the end of this paper, but three vitally important clauses are these: I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade.

Our President certainly accepted defeat in the deal with Iran. He quit. And he quit on Saeed. He left this United States Citizen for the Iranians to continue to persecute in the most painful, degrading, and inhuman ways. Could it be because of cowardice? Is he afraid to stand up to bullies? Or is it because of Saeed’s faith? Since our President has been systematically undermining religious freedom in our country, could we expect him to stand up for the religious freedom of a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran? Apparently not.

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The Soldier’s Creed:
I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.
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Rev. Daniel Packer has been a pastor for twenty years (Currently he serves as pastor of the Orrington Center Church in Orrington, Maine). He is an active proponent of Biblical morality. His e-mail address is


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