Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, The Good Neighbor.


By: Chris Warren.

Editor’s note: I usually post a new blog article every Saturday, but due to the urgency of this week’s topic, I am moving my deadline up to Thursday. I hope by Saturday there will be positive news to report. 

I once had a “high maintenance” neighbor who was quick to ask for favors and help yet when any request was made of her would always have a reason why she could not come through. We would regularly mow her lawn, shovel her snow, and in one case lug out several old heavy appliances and muscle the new ones in. An older married couple in the neighborhood was particularly kind to this woman by providing her with free babysitting and handyman services around her house. The benefactor of their generosity repaid them with a weak excuse for not being able to do something as simple as pick up the mail while they were on vacation. This woman was not a horrible person, and not even a bad neighbor. But she had an inconsiderate manner and lack of grace and that made that her the type who no one would purposely choose to live near.

U.S. Marine Corps Sargent Andrew Tahmooressi was in southern California for medical treatment after serving two tours in Afghanistan. During the night of April 1, 2014 he was running a personal errand and by mistake lost his way on a dark road and ended up in Mexico. This might have been the makings of a funny “I should have made a left turn at Albuquerque” style crazy road trip story, but for Tahmooressi and those close to him, it was the beginning of a nightmare that is now in its second month.

What landed Tahmooressi in a Mexican prison was the three guns he had in his truck. He legally owned the firearms in the United States; instead of simply letting him turn around and go back down the road from which he came, the Mexican authorities arrested him for “gun running”.

This is not the first time an American service member has been sucked into the vortex of the Mexican justice system because of simple misunderstandings that could have and should have been quickly resolved at the scene, or at most within a day or two. Mexico seems to have a penchant for drama and goes out of its way to turn any little transgression into an international incident. This is the same Mexico that not only does nothing about thousands of illegal immigrants pouring over its border into the United States every year, but expects the US to give them immunity from deportation, eligibility for public services, and all the trappings and rights enjoyed by everyone who came here by the rules.

That is the logic of our mostly respectable but very one-sided neighbor: Mexican citizens who willfully and deliberately enter the United States in violation of our laws should be given a pass but if an honest American mistakenly wanders out of his own yard, he is given zero consideration, tossed in a notoriously nasty prison, and treated in a way that would give immigration activists a coronary if a Mexican detained in the U.S was given the same deal.

The U.S. State Department and the White House have remained faithful to the effete foreign relations philosophy that has become a hallmark of the Obama administration by being predictably coy about the whole mess, saying only that they are looking into it or some such pablum. As of Monday, May 4, over a month into this horror movie comes alive, a State Department spokesperson would not comment on the matter due to “privacy reasons” or even acknowledge if Secretary of State John Kerry was aware of Sgt. Tahmooressi’s situation.

Fortunately, public pressure is mounting; the White House and Secretary Kerry will not be able to hide behind their spokespeople for much longer. Kerry is scheduled to make a previously planned visit to Mexico on May 21 (and conveniently unavailable to testify before a Congressional hearing on the terror attack in Benghazi, but that’s a separate blog article) and the only acceptable excuse for not bringing  Sgt. Tahmooressi back with him would be because the Marine was already released.

As a goodwill gesture for the mountain of generosity the USA has shown Mexico, freeing Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi and returning all his personal possessions including the guns should be a no-brainer. It does not benefit Mexico to keep him and it involves zero cost or effort to let him go. But like my old neighbor who enjoyed the kindness of others and then had the nerve to act put upon when a very simple reciprocation was asked of her, Mexico exists in its own realm of one-way relationships.

The United States is owed a deep apology for this, but simply getting our Marine back would be good enough. I am demanding that the Mexican government immediately and without conditions free Sargent Andrew Tahmooressi, USMC, return his personal property, and assure his safe passage back to American soil.