America must extract Meriam Ibrahim from Sudan

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The solution to the case of pregnant Meriam Ibrahim, 26, who was sentenced to death by a Sudanese court, is simple: drones and U.S. Navy SEALs.

Ibrahim was condemned to death by the Sudanese high court because she refuses to renounce her Christian faith. Her Christian husband, who was recently allowed to visit her in prison, says she is being held in shackles. Her 18-month-old son, Martin, is with her in jail.

This is not a case of a sovereign nation freely exercising its laws; this is a case of the planned murder of an innocent woman based on her religion. This is a case of a young boy watching his pregnant mother locked up as a prelude to her execution. This is the cover of “religion” in an unhealthy alliance with government being pulled back to reveal an “evil empire,” to use the words Ronald Reagan once ascribed to the USSR.


Meriam Ibrahim is, to stretch a metaphor, a living embodiment of the mythological Helen of Troy, the daughter of Zeus and Leda, whose abduction by Paris was said to have brought about the Trojan War.

I mean this in one sense only: The abduction of a woman who has done no wrong can still galvanize the attention of the world and ought to be enough to trigger military action.

Those who abducted Helen of Troy were morally bankrupt, and their city was ultimately destroyed.

Those who have condemned Meriam Ibrahim to death are morally bankrupt and offer America the chance to demonstrate that we do not stand for brutality disguised as the exercise of justice or religious faith – not anywhere we know of it, not when we can oppose it.

One woman. There are certainly injustices involving whole populations. There are plagues and pestilences to defeat here and abroad. But this one woman is now iconic, with the world’s attention focused upon her – and for a reason no one need explain, but we may as well consider an act of God.

And now America has a chance to demonstrate, definitively and unsparingly, what we stand for: freedom of religion and opposition to savagery, among other things many in this nation seem, at times, to have forgotten.

The U.S. military should extract Meriam Ibrahim from Sudan even if it is supremely risky, purely because no nation or court or jail on earth should believe it can hold a pregnant woman hostage, subject her to a bizarre “court” proceeding, sentence her to death and then keep her in shackles with her little son in the same prison.

Any loss of life attending the attempted extraction of Ms. Ibrahim is life well spent, because that loss would testify to our people standing for good and decency in a world veering toward darkness. And if the “violation” of Sudan’s “sovereignty” should offend the Sudanese or anyone else, that’s good, too. Let them know who our enemies are. The existence of America should mean that there is no sovereignty on earth for barbarians.

The fact that a court anywhere in the world would feel that rendering a sentence like that rendered to Ms. Ibrahim might be tolerated by America is a sign of America’s decline. Now we have an opportunity to demonstrate, quite definitively, that we are, indeed, the world’s policeman when forces align to highlight a known evil with which we can and must do battle.