Thursday morning, President Joe Biden announced the administration has successfully swapped Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed the ‘Merchant of Death,’ for American WNBA basketball player, Brittney Griner.
Griner, an outspoken critic of America and its national anthem, is now back in the states after a 10-month stint in a Russian penal colony after being detained for carrying THC (marijuana) oil cartridges on a plane.
The news has been celebrated by many, especially in the sports world. However, Griner’s swap for a murderous arms dealer also reminded many Americans that U.S. Marine Paul Whelan – imprisoned in Russia since 2018 – is still left to suffer, while a basketball player is returned safely after a short stint in comparison.
Dallas Cowboys superstar linebacker Micah Parsons, hailing from a family of military veterans, took to Twitter to share his frustrations:
Even Never Trump ‘Republican’ Congressman Adam Kinzinger made a very rare break with mainstream Left-wing thought, suggesting the administration could have done more to get Whelan back to his family:
The White House has defended its inability to trade for Whelan, insisting the U.S. Marine’s detainment is more serious than Griner’s in the Russian government’s eyes.
However, wondering why the United States of America – the most powerful entity in the world – was unable to get a two-for-one swap is a very fair question to ask; returning Viktor Bout, the ‘Merchant of Death,’ to Russia is quite a victory for Vladimir Putin and his regime, and Griner is merely a player in a basketball league that has never profited in its entire history.
Many Americans wonder whether Biden’s administration put more emphasis on Griner’s release due to social media-based pressure while failing to bring a veteran home.
What are your thoughts on Biden’s 1-for-1 swap? Is Griner’s return – without Marine Whelan included – worth handing one of the world’s most prolific killers back to Russia? Let us know in the comments below.