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We're learning that 'Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout wasn't such a bad guy, actually

We’ve been assured by the White House that it was either trade Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for WNBA player Brittney Griner or get nothing. That was Putin’s deal; there was reportedly no chance of freeing retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who’s been held for four years. President Joe Biden has bragged about having gone toe-to-toe with Putin, but a lot of people think that was a bad trade.


The liberal media’s job, then, is to convince us that it was a good and shrewd trade. An arms dealer for a basketball player? Well, stop and look at the facts, and “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout wasn’t really such a bad dude, as CornPop was.

The New Yorker assures us that Bout wasn’t driven by cruelty.


Yes, they are. Here’s the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson explaining why it was a good trade:

Robinson writes:

As for Bout, I’m willing to believe the intelligence officials who say that in the 1990s and early 2000s he was one of the biggest illegal arms dealers in the world, violating U.N. arms embargoes in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo and providing weapons to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. But he wasn’t in prison for doing any of that.

Bout was arrested in 2008 in a U.S. sting operation. A Drug Enforcement Administration informant, posing as a representative of the Colombian rebel group FARC, negotiated a deal for Bout to supply the group with surface-to-air missiles and rocket launchers. The weapons were to be used against the Colombian military and also against DEA agents seeking to disrupt the illegal cocaine trade that provided much of the FARC’s income.


It was a sting operation!

“He has already served 10 years, a penalty even the judge in Bout case suggested this summer was fair, relative to the offenses on which he was convicted,” Robinson continues.

In addition to valuing life, democratic societies must also value justice. We imprison people not for what we know they did, but for what we can prove in a court of law that they did. If nine months was too long for Griner to be in prison, 10 years seems reasonable for Bout. And swapping him for Griner was the right thing to do.

Plus, the FARC guys are cool now, and some even serve in the Colombian government.


He’s probably a completely different man now than he was when he entered prison 10 years ago.


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