The Wall Street Journal | 6/21/2010 12:00:00 AM
Colombia's Army Shows Its Stuff
June 21--A dramatic hostage rescue reflects the military's increasing professionalism.
The triumph—just a week before yesterday's runoff presidential election—was fortuitous for U Party candidate Juan Manuel Santos, who is President Alvaro Uribe's former defense minister. During Mr. Santos's defense-ministry tenure from 2006-2009, the Colombian military scored several decisive victories against the FARC. Those events were crucial for a country that only a decade ago was considered nearly a failed state. And as expected, Mr. Santos defeated Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus in a landslide.
Yet the success of Operation Chameleon, as the army's rescue was dubbed, carries profound significance that goes well beyond election results. It inflicts major damage on the FARC's global propaganda campaign against the Colombian military and provides new revelations about the rebels' ruthlessness. What was learned in this spectacular liberation also reflects badly on leading Democrats in Washington who've been sympathetic to the FARC line.
When the freed men went before television cameras they were still wearing the shackles around their necks that the FARC had used to tie them to trees at night. Those chains are but a symbol of the cruelty the hostages experienced. Their treatment was despicable. Yet in 2008 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed the FARC's most notorious ally in Colombian politics, Senator Piedad Córdoba, to her congressional chambers in Washington. Aside from palling around with the terrorists' favorite politician, Mrs. Pelosi has displayed her animus toward the Colombian government by blocking approval of the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement.
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