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2 Hamas hostages released isn’t enough! We need to bring them all back

As we celebrate the news that two U.S. hostages have been released by Hamas we cannot not lose sight of at least 11 more American citizens who remain hostages in the Gaza Strip.  We still do not know where they are being held, how they are being treated, or if they are still alive.  

While Joe President Biden told the families of the hostages that he would do everything in his power to bring them to safety, his national security council has no plans for an American-led rescue operation.  

Instead, the United States says it will rely on Israel and diplomacy to free captive Americans. This is unacceptable. American intelligence and military power are capable of more; the president should unleash our decades-long experience dealing with terrorists in combat zones and bring our American captives home.  


With 32 Americans murdered and 11 more Americans unaccounted for or taken hostage by Hamas, the Gaza war is America’s war, too. How we handle the plight of captured American citizens will determine whether adversaries and terrorist organizations think they can benefit from capturing or killing more Americans in the future.  

Over the past three years, we have failed to deter Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and ISIS from taking American hostages. Given this record, Hamas likely believes it has more to gain by holding hostages than releasing them. That is why it is critical we shift the paradigm immediately and rescue our citizens.  


Roger Zakheim is director of the Ronald Reagan Institute and a former general counsel on the House Armed Services Committee. He is a commissioner on the National Defense Strategy Commission. 


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