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This Lady KNOWS the Face of Evil

And yes, it actually exists, contrary to liberals' beliefs.

By Will Offensicht  |  July 31, 2008

On July 2, 2008, in one of the most intrepid special-forces operations seen in years, Ingrid Betancourt was rescued from FARC kidnappers by the Colombian military.  She had been held captive for six years after her 2002 kidnapping; her scars from being chained to trees give evidence of the heartless cruelty of her kidnappers.

She has become a symbol of French solidarity and courage; everyone wants to know what happened to her.  Under a headline "I Want to Forgive," Newsweek quotes her as saying:

I know that I have to testify to all that I lived. I know it is something that has to be done, but I need time. It is not easy to talk about things that still hurt. It will probably hurt all my life. [But] I want to forgive, but forgiveness comes with forgetting. I have to forget in order to find peace in my soul and be able to forgive. But at the same time, once I have forgiven and forgotten, I will have to bring back memories [to tell others]. They will probably be filtered by time so they won't come with all the pain that I feel right now. [emphasis added]

Another publication quotes her as saying that she knows that every human being has an animal inside.  "In any situation like the ones I experienced, perhaps any of us could do those kind of cruel things. For me it was like understanding what I couldn't understand before, how for example the Nazis, how (things like that) could have happened."

Right after her rescue, we wrote that Mrs. Betancourt had been treated badly.  The Tribune quoted what she said about her treatment by FARC:

"It was not treatment that you can give to a living being," Betancourt told France 2 television Thursday. She added: "I wouldn't have given the treatment I had to an animal, perhaps not even to a plant."

The New York Times follow-up reported that Mrs. Betancourt had been tortured and quoted her as saying that her captors had fallen into "diabolical behavior," adding, "It was so monstrous I think they themselves were disgusted." [emphasis added]

To name but one example, a couple of months after she was kidnapped, she was given her meal wrapped in a newspaper.  This was the first reading matter she'd seen since being snatched; she absorbed it eagerly.  It was the newspaper account of her father's funeral, brought especially to her for her reading pleasure.  Her vice-presidential candidate, who was kidnapped along with her, had a baby by one of their kidnappers.

Mrs. Betancourt has looked on the face of evil.  A gang of drug dealers tortured their helpless captive for years on end.  They were disgusted by what they did to her, yet they kept doing it.  There was no purpose in torturing her, she knew nothing they needed to know, they held her solely as a tool to get leverage against the outside world.

The men and women of FARC pretty much define evil.  They did evil, they knew it was evil, they were disgusted by what they did, they gained nothing from the evil they did, and they kept doing evil for the sake of doing evil.  If they were anything like the Nazis, they played games among themselves, trying to think of newer, more exotic ways to outdo each other in how evil they could be.  What they did to her taught her an understanding of what the Nazis did to their helpless victims.

Forgiveness is Not an Option

When something really bad happens, how often have we heard, "Just let go and move on."  It's true, of course, that wounded people have to move on, but "just let go" is far too simplistic to do any good.  Mrs. Betancourt knows it's not just "let go and move on," it's "forgive, then let go and move on.  You can't move on until you let go and you can't let go until you forgive.

Mrs. Betancourt has it right.  She realizes that she must forgive those who treated her with such inhuman cruelty.  She knows that forgiving is the only path to finding peace in her soul.

I have many friends who've been treated badly, but I don't know of anyone who's been treated as badly as Mrs. Betancourt except possibly for Sen. McCain.  As Sen. McCain went to Viet Nam, visited his former prison, and forgave those who mistreated him, Mrs. Betancourt knows that she must forgive if only to find peace in her own soul.  Her captors may never know of her forgiveness; they may not care if they ever hear of it, but granting forgiveness is essential for her to move on.  Forgiveness is for her, not for them.

Some writers have criticized Mrs. Betancourt for leaving Colombia so rapidly and for not coming back for the Independence Day celebration.  It may be impolite not to spend more time thanking the Colombian military for rescuing her, but she has asked for time to forget so she can forgive and heal.

Could she forget while still in Colombia?  She grew up there.  Everywhere she went, she'd be reminded of her youth, her friends, her family, of the father who died while she was, let's say, away.  Getting as far away from Colombia as possible will help her forget.

Lessons From the Face of Evil

What happened to her was so traumatic that she must forget temporarily in order to gain enough strength to forgive.  Once she forgives, however, she plans to remember so she can tell others.

Her experience led her to "understanding what I couldn't understand before."  She couldn't understand evil before being kidnapped and tortured; she realizes that ordinary citizens can't understand why we must fight the forces of evil.  She wants to help them really believe that evil exists.

Social workers and government agencies have misled us with the siren song of the perfectibility of man.  "Men and women are basically good," they tell us.  "If we clean up the slums, kids will grow up being good."  We've poured uncounted billions through government programs which, we were told, would improve the lot of the poor.

What do we see?  Our incarceration rate is up, we have more people in jail than ever before.  Fatherless children are more and more common.  Welfare holds people captive and multiplies feral children.

The people who set up these programs didn't mean to do evil, they simply believed that people are basically good instead of realizing that "every human being has an animal inside."  Having been subjected to years of evil treatment, Mrs. Betancourt knows better.  She gazed every day, every hour, in the face of evil, eyeball to eyeball, for six years.  She understands that "perhaps any of us could do those kind of cruel things."

She plans to bring back all her pain and tell us about it.  She wants us to know that she's gazed on the face of evil itself; she wants to tell us what it's like.  Then maybe we'll understand why we must fight the forces of evil which are loose in our world.  We hope she'll be able to convey her message before it's too late.

She's Not Alone

John McCain had the same experience of gazing every day, every hour, on the face of evil, eyeball to eyeball.  He passed up an opportunity to be sent home early because accepting unequal treatment would give aid and comfort to our enemies.  He suffered daily torture at the hands of evil for five and a half long years.  That's not as long as Mrs. Betancourt was tortured, but it's plenty long enough for him to recognize evil when he sees it.

Sen. McCain knows the evil of Kim Jong-Il who starves his people while building nuclear weapons.  He knows the evil of Syria's President al-Assad who murders his citizens and the Lebanese for political gain.  He knows the evil of Putin's government which murders businessmen who won't pay up fast enough and blows away journalists who dare to question his policies.  He knows the evil of terrorists who persuade their gullible followers to blow themselves up to kill innocent people.  Sen. McCain knows the face of evil.

Mr. Obama, in contrast, has worked amicably for years with an unrepentant terrorist who, after the statute of limitations on his acts of murderous terrorism had run out, stated that he wished that he'd been able to "do more."

Does Mr. Obama even know that evil exists?

An online biography reports "She [Mrs. Betancourt] was kidnapped by the FARC on February 23, 2002 while campaigning for the presidency, after she decided to campaign at a very dangerous location and ignored warnings from the government, police and military not to do so."  She said she could speak usefully with the terrorists "because they trust me."  As Nancy Pelosi stated that her talks with Bashar al-Assad, the murderous President of Syria, were "very productive," Mrs. Betancourt insisted on completing her trip so she could speak with the terrorists.

FARC trusted Mrs. Betancourt, all right.  They trusted that she'd make a very valuable bargaining chip; some reports say they kept a half-million dollar ransom without releasing her.

FARC spent six years methodically convincing her that evil exists in the world.  They were so thorough that she now understands the Nazis who made lampshades from their victims' skin.  Many of us know what the Nazis did; how many of us are able to understand?

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Pelosi believe in talking with evil rulers without preconditions.  So did Mrs. Betancount.  We hope she's learned the folly of her liberal views.