Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
News Opinion

Don't free Jonathan Pollard

In Kenneth Lasson's commentary, "Freeing Pollard benefits all" (Feb. 27), who is "all?" Jonathan Pollard passed classified information to Israel to circumvent U.S. policy. Is "all" the thousands of Americans with security clearance who do not betray that confidence, or does it refer to the country Mr. Pollard betrayed? He is serving a life sentence because of a plea bargain. His cooperation was in no way exculpatory. Mr. Lasson writes, "It is now more clear than ever that he is being severely punished for deeds he never did." Mr. Pollard confessed, and Israel acknowledged his espionage years later. That's why he's in prison.

Is this "Perhaps the administration's most egregious failure to correct a clear miscarriage of American justice?" The Innocence Project works to free prisoners wrongly convicted for crimes they didn't commit. Surely that's more egregious.

Mr. Lasson wonders why President Barack Obama doesn't use the presidential pardon as often as his predecessors did. Is there a quota?

The suggestion that pardoning Mr. Pollard would "mend political fences" begs the question: Does the special relationship with our "staunchest ally in the Middle East" need mending? As President Obama said on March 5 of last year, "Our commitment to the security of Israel is rock solid ... the [U.S.] will always have Israel's back when it comes to Israel's security." Yet the mention that the two states have different interests is often met with outrage. If there's anything to worry about, it's the permanent entangling alliances that our forefathers warned us about.

Would pardoning Mr. Pollard "… guarantee [Mr. Obama] a warm popular reception in [Israel]?" If our foreign policy courts popularity overseas, why do we repeatedly defy world opinion? The U.S. is sometimes the only U.N. vote on Israel's side against international consensus — because this is not a popularity contest.

Israel receives more annual U.S. aid than any other country, in absolute terms, and on a per capita basis. Perhaps "our staunchest ally" will refuse our generosity in these times of economic distress. Or perhaps Israel will refuse to accept the money to express disapproval of our judicial handing of Mr. Pollard. Don't hold your breath.

W.N. Howell, III, Ellicott City

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    • Obama should free Pollard
      Obama should free Pollard

      Clemency for spy would both serve justice and improve U.S.-Israeli relations

    • Obama faces reality
      Obama faces reality

      Perhaps six years too late, President Barack Obama gave strong indications in his State of the Union address last week that he's finally bought into Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    • Charter schools are a solution in search of a problem

      New efforts to change Maryland's charter school law, buoyed by a recent report from the Abell Foundation, appear to be a solution in search of a problem. Maryland is among the best states in academic performance and achievement. The public school system here has been applauded by observers...

    • Why Greeks should dump the euro
      Why Greeks should dump the euro

      By electing left-wing Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras to be premier, Greeks voted to end the draconian economic measures imposed by Germany and other international lenders. After the dust settles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will either backpedal on the austerity imposed on Athens or...

    • Move over, Sarah Palin, the GOP's got a new star
      Move over, Sarah Palin, the GOP's got a new star

      Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, you are now officially the Republican Party's gone girls. The GOP has a new diva: Joni Ernst, the just-elected United State senator from the cornfields of Iowa.

    • Fitness trackers [Poll]
      Fitness trackers [Poll]
    • Politicizing the chancellor
      Politicizing the chancellor

      When University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan announced that he planned to retire, the state's Board of Regents hired a firm to conduct a nationwide search to recruit a top-notch academic leader for what is and should be a plum post in American higher education. The...

    • Hogan tackles the deficit
      Hogan tackles the deficit
    Comments
    Loading