The United States has demonstrated many times that it does not leave its dead on the battlefield, or forgive killers of the men and women who serve in its Armed Forces or its security and diplomatic services.
We fear that some members of the Greek government do not realize this, so they do not fully understand the seriousness with which Washington looks upon the case of Savvas Xiros, who murdered four Americans, including Greek-American George Tsantes.
We hope that the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias grasped the message sent to him during the meeting with his U.S. counterpart, John Kerry, through words and body language. And we hope he relays that message to his colleagues in Athens.
For better or for worse, Kerry sent a message of his own by putting Xiros’ brother Christodoulos Xiros and Nikos Maziotis on the U.S. terrorist list.
While that in itself does not mean very much, in this case, it constitutes a warning shot that Washington’s response might reach as high as the level of a travel advisory. (Remember what President Ronald Reagan did in 1985, when he called upon American airlines to “review the wisdom” of flying to Greece because of lax airport security?) It is the last thing the Greek tourism industry needs.
Xiros is serving six consecutive life sentences plus an additional 25 years for taking part in six assassinations, bombings, and robberies, among other criminal activities.
On January 6, 2014 he was declared wanted by the police when he did not report to the police station as he was required to do after being given a furlough on January 1.
Only a case of collective amnesia to the highest degree would explain exhibiting apathy toward such news about a member of the November 17 terrorist gang.
One would need to be completely insane not to take into account that the November 17 assassins killed 23 people and caused untold suffering to their families and untold damage to the country, during its operation from 1975 until 2002.
Moreover, all of us would be complicit if we allowed some officials of the Greek government, for their own dark purposes, to again raise the issue of terrorism in that country.
Accordingly, we hope that Prime Minister Tsipras will personally look into this matter and put an end to an issue that should never have arisen in the first place.
National security matters should never become entangled in internal partisan games or for the satisfaction of ideological druthers.
It is one of those issues about which politicians, no matter what their personal feelings, will adopt the position of the military.
And the military – rightly so- will defend its people until the bitter end.