Headline: "Did we just witness one of the nuttiest foreign policy blunders in American history?" Jim Bell doesn't thing so.

jim bell jdb10987 at yahoo.com
Fri May 8 23:45:45 PDT 2020


"I cannot be the only American who somehow missed the news that on March 26 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the United States would offer bounties of a combined $55 million for the capture of President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and four of his top associates. By the end of March, most of the country was living under some sort of mandatory lockdown. People were fighting for toilet paper and stocking up on bags of rice and making plans for aspirational quarantine reading. Millions of us were preparing for Mad Max.
"It now appears that we were thinking of the wrong '80s action flick. Last weekend it was reported that a group of more than 100 American mercenaries, including two former Green Berets and one ex-agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration, had failed in some kind of apparent coup attempt and that some of them were being detained by the Maduro government. What was being called "Operation Gideon" perhaps unsurprisingly failed to bring about regime change, much less result in the apprehension of the country's socialist dictator. Reports suggest that 50 of the mercenaries stormed Venezuela by sea, joining up with around the same number of fellow soldiers of fortune already waiting behind enemy lines. The Venezuelan army (and Maduro's own paramilitary loyalist forces) outmatched them by around 350,000. A small ragtag band of American warriors attempts to force the commies out of South America against all odds? This is basically the plot of Predator if the Predator hadn't shown up.
"Pompeo maintains that the United States government was not involved in this offensive. For what it's worth, he is probably telling the truth. Instead it appears that the plot was launched long ago by a bunch of former Venezuelan military officials who have been training deserters from the Maduro regime in secret Colombian camps for a year. One of the principals, a retired general named Cliver Alcalá, was arrested in the United States back in March for drug smuggling and is imprisoned in New York."   [end of partial quote]

Jim Bell's comment follows:
I consider the headline of this article foolish.  It suggests that a single attempt to remove Maduro and his corrupt cronies, having failed, somehow means that the entire concept of offering a reward for their removal is somehow ill advised.  To the contrary, it might have succeeded, at which point the plan would have been labelled "brilliant".   The world doesn't get just one chance to do so.  

If there was one thing about this idea that was foolish, it was offer to give that money only if Maduro et al were "removed", not killed.  It would probably be much easier to kill Maduro than to engineer his physical removal from Venezuela.
I also wonder if the United States Government set up any sort of system to allow people to anonymously collect this $55 million.  So, how do these people imagine that they will  be able to successfully get away with this money?  IF the US government secretly says to them, "We're only giving you one tenth of what you were promised.  Be glad we gave you that much.  If you complain we'll broadcast your name, picture, and location to the entire world!"
A large promised reward is only useful if the potential collector is confident he will actually receive all of it, and won't be killed by enemies before he is good and old.  
            Jim Bell
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