After The Latest Obama Botch, A Responsibility Check For Democrats, The News Media And The Public: Will They Face The Facts?

 

The trade: American security for Obama's "base." Like it?

The trade: American security for Obama’s “base.” Like it?

In its lead story today, the Washington Post noted that criticism was “coming from Republicans and the military” in the aftermath of the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an American prisoner of war held by the Taliban, in exchange for five Afghan Taliban detainees, also known as “terrorists.” The question should be why criticism isn’t coming from everyone.

Boatloads of ink will be spilled on this topic in the next few weeks, but the fact, as I see them, are not that complicated:

1. Bergdahl deserted his unit and betrayed his duty to his country by walking off the base in Afghanistan, apparently because he was tired of fighting.

2. He was captured by the Taliban, the U.S. enemy, and has been held for the past five years.

3. The U.S. government traded five potentially deadly terrorists back to its enemy to free Bergdahl, who, presumably, will now be tried as a deserter. The army once shot deserters.

4. This required negotiating with terrorists, though expect that Obama administration to go all Clinton on us, and dispute whether the Taliban is really the same as terrorists. Either way, it creates a precedent that endangers Americans, even those who do not abandon their country in combat.

5. The Government and the President did this while violating a law that required the Secretary of Defense to notify Congress before any such prisoner exchange.

What’s wrong with this scenario? What isn’t wrong with it?

And the capper is this: it was all political. In the midst of a Veterans Administration crisis so dire and embarrassing that the President is forced to actually fire one of the many rank incompetents he employs, an action he habitually refuses to take, and suddenly we are fed video of joyful family members exulting that their soldier-boy son has been freed from enemy clutches. Anyone who doesn’t think this was driven by politics is a fool. Besides the implications of the timing, we know everything the Obama administration does is driven by politics.

Oh, naturally this is designed for the Democratic “base.” Everything is for the “base” these days. You know, those progressives who hate war in all cases, who, like Obama, will roll over and play dead if it will avoid having to put boots on the ground. To those deluded and historically ignorant voters, President Bush never should have attacked Afghanistan—after all, all the government of that nation did was enable an unprovoked attack on U.S. soil that killed 3000 civilians. Bergdahl is a hero! Anyone who refuses to fight is a hero! Who cares about s0-called terrorists? Michael Moore is right—more people are killed by auto accidents in a week than were killed on 9/11/2001! Gitmo should be closed anyway! So what if Obama ignored the law and by-passed Congress? Congress is run by stupid, evil Republicans.

Yes, our nation is being led by people whose goal is to appease and please citizens who think like that.

In another Post piece, Fred Hiatt, the lone sensible member, apparently, of the Post’s editorial board, writes about the President’s “values-free foreign policy,” and he was even talking about this foolish, incompetent, dangerous, illegal exchange.

Our nation, our security, our future, safety and welfare is in the hands of untrustworthy, arrogant, incompetents, with the President the most dangerous and inept of them all. That is now a fact.

I wonder when those other than “Republicans and the military” will be willing to acknowledge it. If they care about being responsible citizens, and want to avoid entrusting our nation in the hands of political hacks and amateurs again, they had better.

 

104 thoughts on “After The Latest Obama Botch, A Responsibility Check For Democrats, The News Media And The Public: Will They Face The Facts?

  1. The most remarkable thing about this episode is that the Washington Post, of all newspapers, did a story today essentially confirming that Bergdahl deserted.

    The New York Post’s article could easily have been dismissed by Democrats as Rupert Murdoch-influenced hype. But if the WaPo is running the same story, that undercuts the progressive argument enormously.

    You’ve a keener eye for this sort of thing than I do, Jack, but this could turn into an H-O gauge ethics trainwreck.

    • Quite situational. If we believe the net impact does not add to the enemy’s capabilities against us, there is no real reason not to do them…that is to say, that even if returned to the enemy, the decisive outcome of the conflict is not in question and no further risk is added to our forces. However, I would submit, given the enemies we historically fight, returning their prisoners generally results in having to fight them again…which means added risk to our forces… so the situations would be few and far between.

      I prefer one sided prisoner exchanges that generally result in enemy prison guards all dead such as this one.

      • It’s good to remember the Alamo Scouts right about now. They saved the lives of a lot of good, loyal soldiers who had suffered terribly in captivity and were in imminent danger of being massacred by their captors as the Army advanced across the Philippines. Exchanging five top terrorist leaders for a deserter was not only a politically based decision by Obama, but also a political miscalculation insofar as it has not mollified the opinions of veterans, but has further inflamed them. And, of course, it handed a big propaganda victory to the enemy.

        • Hey it’s ok though! President Fiasco, in a completely unrelated and coincidental action, arrested a leader of the Ben Ghazi attack.

          Divert your attention that way.

          • And, as with Bergdahl, it was something they probably could have done at any time. A true Democrat, Obama calculates every move in terms of politics instead of duty. People are pawns in his grand scheme of things.

            BTW: It’s “Benghazi”. One word. “Ben Ghazi” is the fictional member of Obama’s national security team who orchestrates our foreign policy disasters for the glory of Allah!

    • Looks like the Dems are having a little trouble getting the talking points out on this one. Still, it’s a news cycle distraction from the VA and Benghazi, so there’s THAT…

    • This is when I most miss Barry, who would use his crack internet skills to hunt down some official policy saying that even a deserting serviceman is to be valued as much as any other, or to argue that Obama wasn’t the first to announce when signing laws that he wouldn’t follow them.

      • Just like the myriad laws and plethora of regulations governing our lives where we can pretty much rest assured, somehow each of us breaks the law daily, wouldn’t it be just as likely in our bloated bureaucracy and diarrhea of agencies that we can find any number of policies that support a particular action while also finding some that support the opposite action?

      • For the people who like to say you are partisan, I will find it amusing when (if Republicans get the White House) you start criticizing the ethical lapses of that administration, the Lefties start flowing back claiming “There’s the unbiased Jack we used to know!”

  2. Yep, I don’t think this guy is going to be a poster boy for Vets.However, they haven’t executed a member of the military since WW2 for desertion. This guy has also been a captive of the Taliban for 5 years which must have been frightening indeed. I think a dishonorable discharge would be appropriate. As far as Obama and the media, I hope more of them step forward and tell the truth about this incident. Perhaps I’m being a “cockeyed optimist!”

    • One of Abraham Lincoln’s best moves was to issue an order ending prisoner exchange, which struck a crippling blow at the Confederacy’s manpower. This exchange today was that coming full circle, to the point where we trade five valuable prisoners for a useless deserter – gold for dross, a rook for a pawn. I think the fact that one of this newly-freed man’s iinitial acts was to tweet for the release of five Tunisians still held at Guantanamo should tell us all we need to know as to what he’ll be all about.

      Cindy Sheehan has become useless and embarrassing as a poster child for the most anti-war element, in fact protesting when Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. They need a new standard bearer, and who better than a soldier who underwent a crystallization of conscience that the war was wrong and simply walked into the hands of the enemy where he suffered for years?

      This is going to be simply one more piece moved onto Obama’s chessboard to get us out of Afghanistan completely by 2016, no matter what’s going on there at that time, so that in turn he can clear the board for whoever runs for the Democratic party that year. Ironically Obama once said that Afghanistan was the good fight, the one we should focus on and should have been focusing on all along, he even ordered a surge to make sure it didn’t all fall apart in 2009. Apparently that was all for nothing, though, there’s no more political juice to be squeezed out of this orange and at this point the primary concern is that the Democrats retain the White House in 2016. That’s the only explanation for this increasingly rudderless and ridiculous zigging and zagging of policy.

      • What you really meant to say, by your 1st line, that since at one point a Republican President allowed prisoner exchanges, Obama is completely cool with this one.

        (I fixed your rant for you, now it is no longer a racist screed against Glorious Leader)

      • A deft move, but a cruel one, entirely responsible for the horrible fate of the Andersonville prisoners, as both Grant and Abe knew would happen. Then they hung the hapless Capt. Wirz, as if it was all his fault.

        • To be entirely fair, it was Grant that instituted the policy of no longer exchanging prisoners, Lincoln just supported the decision.

          And it was done because the Confederacy wasn’t taking black Union soldiers prisoner, they were killing them. Grant decided that until that stopped, the Union would no longer exchange prisoners.

            • … This is generally why I don’t read your site every day. Your view is _not mine_… because it fails my view of ethics. I’m sorry, but you’re claiming because Grant and Lincoln knew what was LIKEY (they did not know the future for an certainty, I hope), that Capt. Wirz was still not liable for the full punishiment HIS, I repeat, HIS actions and choices left him open for? Uh… how does this work again?

              • Your comment, Andrew, is nearly incoherent, but let me try to clear up your confusion, for that is indeed what it is.

                Lincoln and Grant knew with absolute certainty that Union POW’s would suffer horribly if there were no more prisoner exchanges. They knew the Confederacy couldn’t feed its own troops adequately, meaning the prisoners would get even less sustenance, and that the Grays also couldn’t spare enough able men to guard the prisoners, which would result in the kind of brutal treatment seen at Andersonville. They knew the overcrowding would be horrendous. It was a certainty, not “likely”: the welfare of the prisoners was sacrificed to win the war.

                Wirz was a captain, a middle manager. His superior gave him orders, and he had few options, and inadequate resources. An innovative, courageous, inspired camp commandant might have been able to make things a little better, but not much. The malnutrition and inhuman conditions at Andersonville were his responsibility, yes, but absolutely not his fault. They were the direct results of Lincoln and Grants’ decision. Yet Wirz was executed. He had no “choices.” No historian gas argued that he did. He was a scapegoat and a patsy, nothing more or less.

                And let me recommend a less snotty tone in making your debut comment, especially when you don’t know what you are talking about.

  3. I can respect conscientious objectors, those who do some other unpleasant tasks because they did not want to fight in wartime. If he was serious, I’m sure there is a procedure so he can not be a risk to other soldiers. But we have NO draft today. I can feel sorry for his family, they don’t know and/or won’t admit his culpability in what happened to him, they just want him home safe. I’m sure Snowden’s family feels the same. I also question the traded terrorists threat level, did they provide an apartment for a cousin who made threats or did they make a letter bomb?

    But walking off into enemy hands is a colossal case of dumbth, and a five for one? This isn’t a special at the grocery store. Exchanges have happened before under questionable deals in our history, despite long policies against it. But this one reeks.

    • I will however give kudos if we were Machiavellian enough to insert GPS transmitters during their release physical exams and in a year or so, 5 Hellfire missile strikes take out separate collections of high level meetings of our enemies…

  4. Putting the exchange aside, I have other ethical questions:

    1) Does abandoning one’s duty justify being held as a POW indefinitely? I am not military, but my guess is that there are lesser judgments normally issued.
    2) If the answer to No. 1 is “no,” then why did he abandon his duty? What if he was suffering from mental illness? Shouldn’t we explore that before leaping to conclusions about the fact that he abandoned his post?
    3) These guys were being held in Gitmo, presumably because we can’t bring them to trial — either because we have no evidence OR the evidence can’t be used. We release murderers every day in the US if we can’t try them in a court of law. So, even if these guys are of the super-dangerous variety, aren’t we compelled to release them? Before Tex starts screaming, “you’re rationalizing!,” I’m not. I have no idea whether a prisoner exchange is appropriate. What I am asking is, “Shouldn’t we (ethically) have to release every damn prisoner in Gitmo, whether or not there is any real or perceived benefit to us?”

    I also disagree with the spin here. My jaded self is telling me that this is all a part of trying to get Gitmo to shut down — not about the Wars, Bush, etc. I think there are only about a dozen prisoners there, and Obama just reduced Gitmo’s numbers by 5. This is all about filling a campaign promise, my guess is that he doesn’t give a damn about this POW overseas. So, in that sense, I agree that he is appealing to his base — and ironically the Tea Party at the same time.

    • 1) Nope. Deserters (or those accused of such) should still be rescued to receive a trial and punishment *via our system of laws* not left to rot on the assumption they are guilty. However, that doesn’t justify the release of 5 enemy prisoner’s of war. Military trials of that nature can wait.

      2) I don’t think this question makes a ton of sense.

      3) Or they are Prisoners of War, in which case I’m not sure what “trial” they are waiting on…

      4) Why would I accuse of rationalizing? Just sloppy logic.

      • Re my second question, “would he be charged for abandoning his post if it were found that he was having some sort of psychotic break at the time?”

        My understanding is that these guys fall into the “detainee” status, not POW status. I could be wrong.

        • Very likely he’d be charged with desertion, whether or not he is found to have been mentally unstable (which may mitigate the punishment phase).

          “detainee”, “POW”, ah how the War on “Terror” has obfuscated things with sloppy phraseology. I don’t see there being much of a distinction except for that invented by politicians pandering to an American population that likes to avoid War terminology…

          • There are huge and important differences between the 2. They aren’t POWs if we aren’t at war with them. We don’t get to “detain” every person who hates America, or even every foreign national who wants to see us die. If we aren’t at war with their country of origin, then there are legal channels to go through to try and arrest them. And if those don’t work, we are SOL unless we catch them on our soil — and even then, they most likely have to be tried in a non-military court.

                • Don’t have to be at war with a named “nation-state”. But if we are pursuing our *national* enemies militarily, it is a war, regardless of the legalese built around it.

                  • So, let’s say there are a group of terrorists in the United States (and they are US citizens), but they don’t want to blow up the US, they want to blow up the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Is France allowed to declare war on them and send drones into US air space to kill them? Can they land paratroopers, scoop them up and detain them in a French military prison without counsel?

                    My guess is that you would say no. I also would guess that the US would frown upon this action. A nation cannot be at war with an idea, a religion, or a group of people — even if those people despise your own nation and would prefer that it go up in flames. A nation can only be at war with another nation.

                    • Ridiculous question, Beth – at least, ridiculous right now (by the end of Obama’s presidency, based on what we’ve seen so far, I wouldn’t put it past them, nor blame them if they did)..

                      For the nonce however, your argument is a straw man. The French would not need to do this; at least, they shouldn’t have to; they are a NATO ally and we are bound by treaties pledging mutual protection.

                      The French would merely need to notify us, and we’d mop up the dudes who’d blow up the Eiffel Tower (though I have a personal modicum of sympathy for those who’d want to do that. The damned thing isn’t that cool).

                    • The question is intended to be absurd. It doesn’t matter the country — you can fill in the blank. The point is what we are doing is unlawful. I obviously don’t want to see another 9-11 or Boston Bombing either — but we cannot violate the sovereignty of other countries and assassinate their citizens. If ANY other country did that to us, we would immediately declare War. But because most of these countries do not have the means to wage war against us, we can get away with it. But it doesn’t make it right.

              • When capturing someone in combat with your forces, they are all Prisoners. If they are captured in uniform they are to be treated as Prisoners of War, which International “Law” affords certain rights and expectations to – none of which include a trial, lest they be accused of crimes against humanity.

                If they are captured not in uniform, they are considered Spies or Saboteurs, in which case International “Law” doesn’t afford them many rights at all.

                It’s only in this nebulous War on “Terror” do we have odd legalese that has been birthed to try to claim these guys have rights to a civil trial of some sort. They don’t.

    • If that’s the motive, then BO and his advisors are really, really beyond hope. If just ONE of those five released is implicated in a terror attack anywhere, there goes his Gitmo argument. A stupid, irresponsible gamble.

      • I do think it’s his motive — at least partially. “Congress, you won’t cooperate with me and shut down Gitmo — then I will show you that I can do so through other channels.”

        This is poor leadership on the part of the President. We also are seeing horrendous leadership out of Congress. It’s embarrassing.

    • 1. 3) These guys were being held in Gitmo, presumably because we can’t bring them to trial — either because we have no evidence OR the evidence can’t be used. We release murderers every day in the US if we can’t try them in a court of law. So, even if these guys are of the super-dangerous variety, aren’t we compelled to release them? Before Tex starts screaming, “you’re rationalizing!,” I’m not. I have no idea whether a prisoner exchange is appropriate. What I am asking is, “Shouldn’t we (ethically) have to release every damn prisoner in Gitmo, whether or not there is any real or perceived benefit to us?”
      Beth the simple answer to point three is your comparing US citizens under US law and its unique protections to international citizens committing acts of war and terrorism. Gitmo is grey area, which is why it is used to get around those unique protections.

      I ranted on Jacks latest post on this subject, it applies equally to this post.

      • 1. He has sent drones against US citizens overseas.
        2. Nothing you said addresses the fact that Obama (and Bush to a lesser degree) is invading foreign countries and capturing people without a declaration of war.

        • 1) If you are bothered by Obama sending military force against US citizens who have taken up arms against the Country, don’t read about what Lincoln did, it will appall you…

          2) the silly anti-war meme of “No declaration of war” is tiresome and worn out. Just because Congress hasn’t gotten together and said “Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congreʃs aʃsembled, That the state of war between the United States and the extremists within the Islamic countries which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared”, doesn’t mean Congress still hasn’t authorized force against another entity… it is a distinction without a difference and quite Constitutional.

          • 1. I am appalled by many things Lincoln did. And, what is the running theme of this blog, oh right, two wrongs don’t make a right. Commenters try and ignore that when it suits their purposes.
            2. You’ve got blinders on. This is an INSANE foreign policy — we claim to be allies with some of the countries that we are essentially invading. And, the administration has acknowledged that US citizens have been targets as well. It is UNconstitutional to kill them without a trial.

            • 1) Staying on topic then, you must not think Lincoln should have prosecuted War against the South.

              2) Still staying on topic, you have a bad habit of veering, when American citizens have taken up arms to fight against us as a nation, they aren’t common criminals, but *at war*. Due Process is a bit different and considerably shorter in that case.

          • There’s no way to defend droning as a general policy, and to the extent Obama has done it. I defended the drone killing the American ex-patriot terrorist, but that was before Obama declared that there was no war on terror, and before it became a bad habit. I’m with Beth.

            You do know the Lincoln argument is one of the rationalizations, right?

            • No actually it isn’t. It was a subtle reminder that acts of war engaged by President’s (authorized by Congress) are Constitutional, and that if Obama utilizing the military killing Americans who have clearly taken arms against America bothers her, she shouldn’t look at other Acts of War other Presidents have been fully authorized to use against our Enemies. Lincoln was a convenient parallel since he too was using military force against American citizens.

              It isn’t an “everybody does it” rationalization.

              • No, it’s this one:

                32. The Unethical Role Model: “He/She would have done the same thing”

                This is a fantasy rationalization, and therefore a wonderfully versatile one. Just pick the great, famous and admired man or woman who you think would be most likely to engage in the wrongful conduct you are considering, and you will immediately feel good about it. If you are doing no worse than Churchill, of Gandhi, or Lincoln, or Martin Luther King or Princess Diana, after all, how bad can you be? This is a clever rationalization, but a transparent one. Andrew Jackson was a racist and a killer, but he isn’t admired for being a racist and a killer. FDR was vindictive and ruthless, but those aren’t the qualities that made him a great President. Lincoln, Jefferson, Oprah—it’s easy to cherry-pick flaws among the great and famous, but absurd to use those aspects of their personalities as objects of emulation. It is true: Clarence Darrow would have bribed a jury (and did); Arthur Miller would have neglected a disabled son; Jackie Kennedy would have lived a lie. The fact that we can find someone objectively remarkable who engaged in just about any crime or unethical act we can imagine merely proves that even the best of us fail to negotiate the challenges of life perfectly. It isn’t an excuse to stop trying to do the best we can in our own lives.

                It doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t right, just that the fact that Lincoln did similarly, or worse doesn’t justify Obama.

                    • Well, #32 seems to rely on behavior the “idol” might do or rely on the idol’s behavior actually being wrong. I’m not sure Lincoln fits either.

                    • All it means is that whether or not Good Guy X would have agreed with or engaged in conduct similar to Conduct Y doesn’t prove the ethical nature of Conduct Y one way or the other.

                      (I’m sure Lincoln would have loved droning. If he could have possessed Andrew Johnson, I bet he would have droned John Surratt. I hope he would have…)

                    • I think it should be noted also, that my use of Abraham Lincoln applying military force against citizens engaging in war against the country was in no means the premise used to demonstrate why drone strikes on similarly warlike citizens is right.

                      The drone strikes are ok as an act of war independent of Lincoln’s military use. I just felt that Beth, worried about Obama blowing up citizens who have taken arms and used them against us was wrong, when it isn’t, would be truly sickened to know that another President had killed 200,00 – 300,000 citizens similarly with authorization of Congress as per the Constitution.

                    • Tex — I specialized in Civil War history and even considered getting a Masters or Doctorate. No more history lessons please — I assure you I don’t need them, especially on this topic.

              • And to be clear, it would have been the “everybody does it” rationalization if A) Lincoln was WRONG to fight the South and B) Lincoln was violated the Constitution in doing so. But he wasn’t. So, his behavior, not being wrong, isn’t utilized to justify the use of Drones against citizens who have taken up arms in war against the Country.

                • But “everybody does it” as an invalid rationale isn’t dependent upon right or wrong at all. It simply means that how many people do it does prove anything ethically. Similarly, neither does the character of WHO may do it. Capiche?

                  • Correct. Again, the Lincoln example wasn’t used as a “Lincoln did it, so it’s ok Obama did it”. It was used as a “Lincoln had the same reasons Obama did… citizens taking up arms against the nation”

                  • And, I assume both of you are aware that Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War, an act that SCOTUS found, after the war, to be unconstitutional.

                    • Lincoln essentially behaved like a dictator to save the Union, and yet was prepared to leave power if he had lost the election of 1864. That’s the key for me—courage to go the limit and cross lines when the alternative is disaster, and being willing to accept the consequences of doing so.

                    • You have to wonder if the same could be said (willing to leave office) of the current officeholder.

                    • The topic is the general notion of using military force against US citizens who have taken up arms against the nation.

                      We can segue into Lincoln’s violations of the Constitutions if you’d like.

            • I think there’s no way to defend droning *as a specific policy* of an administration without limits. But as a general policy as an extension of military strategy? How is that indefensible? That’d be like saying “There’s no way to defend killing enemy soldiers as a general policy”, when you meant to say “There no way to defend the killing of enemy soldiers after they surrendered as a specific case of killing enemy soldiers”…

                • If we are using Obama’s words (which he clearly knows neither the definitions of, the implications of, or the severity of) as a standard, then sure. But he’s an imbecile. We are still at War.

                  • War with Pakistan, Yemen, etc. apparently.

                    What about the Boston Marathon Bombers? Could we have droned them on US soil without due process?

                    Tex, it is easy to argue that this is okay but we can be virtually certain that the President is getting bad guys who are out to get us. There are a myriad of problems though — 1) we are killing innocent bystanders, including children; 2) it is causing more harm than good because other nations can use this in their anti-American propaganda efforts; and 3) because we are allowing this tremendous abuse of executive power to happen, it allows our leaders to presume that other abuses are okay.

                    • Don’t be silly Beth. Proportion and ability to capture are completely different in the two situations.

                      1) yup war is hell.

                      2) is it? And the opinion of nations that already hate us, quite frankly is a non-consideration.

                      3) yeah, and in the case of Obama he certainly is out of control. But on general war making ability, drone strikes are just another means to prosecute war against our enemies.

                    • It’s NOT War, we aren’t at war with Pakistan. Last I checked, that country is officially our ally — as dubious a designation that may be.

                      You are wrong re No. 2 as well — these nations hate us because we are meddling in their affairs. I’d hate any country too that sent drones against US citizens on our soil. We are continuing this bad cycle instead of stopping it.

                      Re No. 3, you are entitled to your opinion — I’ll note that this is the one area where most centrist Democrats and virtually all Republicans agree with you. The only people who tend to agree with me are the Rand Paul types unfortunately.

                    • There you go being silly again. Our allies haven’t approved of killing our and their enemies?

                      2) no, I am distinctly not wrong on this effect. We have been hated for far longer than we have engaged in behavior that may have added to that hate. Read some history. The Muslim world has *never* liked the West, and especially *never* liked America, and have only (isolated sectors have only) moderately tolerated us as long as we advance their temporary prestige versus other Muslim groups.

                      3) I will be entitled to my accurate opinion, thanks.

                    • Yes, history continues to repeat itself — West vs. East; Christianity vs. Islam. I didn’t think we waged holy wars anymore though. The only way to fix the problem is stop escalating it.

                      And, no, we aren’t asking permission from our “allies” before we are sending in our drones and attack dogs and killing suspected or known terrorists — as well as random children, families, pets, innocent bystanders, etc. We are just doing it.

                      Notice that Bush and Cheney are not doing much international travel following their time in office. I wonder if the same will be true for Obama — he might fear getting arrested and tried.

                      Opinions can neither be accurate nor false.

                    • 1) Holy wars? What the hell are you talking about Beth? Certainly the Crusades were a byproduct of the cultural hatred, they weren’t a cause of it though.

                      2) Stop escalating the conflict. You really are daft aren’t you? Those people hate us. They will continue hating us even if we carpet bombed their country with ice cream, poured money into their societies with no expectation of return, and gave each of them a herd of goats.

                      3) Amusing stories to read on Yemen and Pakistan not giving us permission to use drones on their soil:

                      Yemeni president acknowledges approving US drone strikes

                      Pakistan endorsed drone strikes

                      4) Your Bush/Cheney/Obama send off is fairly immaterial rambling.

                      5) Johnny is of the opinion that 2+2=5, his opinion is false.

  5. These people took the Berghal’s son and kept him five years, and the father is Tweeting things like (since removed) “I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen” and praising Allah at the White House press conference.. “Bismillah al rahman al rahim (“In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate”). They just strike me as really, really, weird. How far do you bend over backwards to convince yourself that the people who kept your son for 5 years are ‘just like us’ and you can befriend them despite the fact that they are the Taliban, known terrorists, and they kept your son for 5 years ?

    The five-for-one deal is just beyond understanding. They have to be kept in Qatar for one year? Then what? They’re going to be so overjoyed at being out of Gitmo after what, 13 years, that they are just going to go their merry ways and we should fear no retribution at all….uh-huh…and I guess there will be no increase in attempts to capture American military personnel…what a horrible decision.

      • Well, I think Obama stopped worrying about laws once he launched his squadron of flying killer robots into other nations.

        • This is essentially a structural problem to be concerned about. A President who has the popularity (or skin color) to be assured that any impeachment effort would fail in the Senate has no incentive to obey the law…other than the fact that the damn President of the US is supposed to obey the law.

    • crella, What would you tweet if your son was being held by these scum?

      I can give the father a pass, a private citizen doing whetever he can think of to get his son back.

      • Saying that you can understand why an individual writes absurd and offensive crap is not to justify it. It’s still crap. I can understand why a soldier might want to bolt, too. That doesn’t make doing it less wrong. This is the misuse of empathy.

  6. I don’t understand all the legal ramifications…can the President be censured for this? From what I read this morning-

    Of course, the Bergdahl case is a special one. Partially due to concern over Bergdahl’s fate, Congress actually gave up a significant amount of oversight of Guantanamo releases last December by passing a defense policy bill that eased the burden on the administration before releasing prisoners. Now, it’s just a simple Congressional notification. The law itself contains no enforcement measures and Obama even issued a signing statement at the time saying even the remaining restrictions violated his Constitutional prerogative.”

    The President has to give 30 days notice, but there is no penalty if he doesn’t.

    “The White House agreed that actions were taken in spite of legal requirements and cited “unique and exigent circumstances” as justification.”

  7. Re: Jack’s last…is there no repercussions for a President who ignores Constitutional issues and/or outright breaks the law? Who’s in charge of this, anyway? Anybody? Where’s Congress? Oh, I forgot…John Boehner. Like I said before, is anybody in charge of this? No? Oh, well. Have I mentioned that we are doomed?

  8. I spent several hours last night reading about this case, this family.
    Something is radically wrong.
    Bergdahl is a traitor and a deserter and he deserves death.
    He’s a rotten little bastard coward and his father is a disgrace as well.

    Read the interviews with other soldiers, the Rolling Stone piece, and check out some of the actions of the father.
    These people are a knife in the back of anyone who is presently serving our country and anyone who has served in the past.

    Forgot how to speak English?
    Are you serious?
    Anyone believes that?
    Sometimes I can’t tolerate the rank stupidity of some Americans.

    • And yet, reports indicate that the Administration thought Americans were dumber yet: they are reportedly shocked, because they assumed the trade would be met with near unanimous praise, except for those old sourpuss conservatives who care about stuff like law, precedent, negotiating with terrorists, that kind of old-fashioned trivia.

  9. “Forgot how to speak English?
    Are you serious?
    Anyone believes that?”

    I know…one’s mother tongue is extremely hard-wired, in fact even if a person has been living abroad and speaking another language for decades, when they get Alzheimer’s they forget the acquired language and revert to the mother tongue, invariably. It’s that deeply rooted. Even if it were so, why would a father supposedly speaking to his son for the first time in years say ‘Bismillah al rahman al rahim’? (I’ve seen several spellings in the past day or so, I don’t know which is correct). ‘Bismillah al rahman al rahim. I am your father’. Looks like he is translating what he said into English, but no…he praises Allah first then speaks to his son.

    So what’s the deal? A hippy who is singing Kumbaya to the Taliban,
    because we really all can get along, or something more sinister?

  10. “crella, What would you tweet if your son was being held by these scum?”

    I didn’t see your comment, Steve, I’m sorry. I had a few thoughts on the father’s Tweets and statements as I read various articles yesterday and today. Is it a private citizen’s purview to negotiate with the Taliban for release of one’s child? For a private American citizen to publicly make statements? Silence is an option…Mr. Bergdahl’s actions have been quite public…’Democracy is a cult in the West’ ‘God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen.” and then a Arabic salutation at the press conference. He seems like at the very least a loose cannon, at worst someone very turned around. He has no authority to negotiate.

    Now that his son is freed, let’s see if the rhetoric dies down, or if this is his real political position. I’m willing to wait. I do have to confess to being a bit mystified by it though.

    • For a private American citizen to publicly make statements? Silence is an option…Mr. Bergdahl’s actions have been quite public…’Democracy is a cult in the West’ ‘God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen.” and then a Arabic salutation at the press conference. He seems like at the very least a loose cannon, at worst someone very turned around. He has no authority to negotiate.
      ********
      Yes, and remember he conducted his little tirade in The Rose Garden, aside of The President.

  11. 1) To be clear this is all just a sideshow to run interference for all the other feckless incompetence the Democrats and especially Obama are accountable for.

    2) His initial aim, to make it look like a soldier was rescued is clearly backfiring. If I were a gambling man, I’d bet the rhetoric will shortly and subtly shift from “we rescued him” to “we brought him back to face justice”.

    3) Even though Sarge983 disagrees with me, I think his former comrades and especially his former platoon leader need to shut their traps on verbalizing their disgust of this guy to the media. If our system is truly built around Innocent until proven Guilty, then their vocal condemnation of this guy already skews public opinion of this (which doesn’t matter much since any trial would be a Court Martial, but its the appearance that matters, and as soldiers those guys are expected to eschew emotion from their jobs).

  12. “Yes, and remember he conducted his little tirade in The Rose Garden, aside of The President.”

    Yes, I know. I was addressing just Steve’s question of what I would say if it were my son being held. Personally I would not consider ever contacting the Taliban myself, one misstep and your child could be dead. This is why I said silence (not Tweeting the Taliban) was an option.

  13. To address the extremely small cluster of right wingers calling for Bergdahl’s execution as a deserter / traitor.

    I understand your fervor, and maybe it is time to execute a deserter… I mean, it has been over 70 years since we’ve made the point that to abandon your post is a death penalty worthy offense. I am sympathetic to the values.

    It’s not gonna happen. The only guy we executed in WW2 for desertion was Eddie Slovik…out of several thousand if not ten thousand deserters, and that was only because at that point we really did need to make a statement. And we didn’t make a statement to the deserters… we made a statement to “the good men” on the front as General Cota is quoted.as having said “Given the situation as I knew it in November, 1944 I thought it was my duty to this country to approve that sentence. If I hadn’t approved it—if I had let Slovik accomplish his purpose—I don’t know how I could have gone up to the line and looked a good soldier in the face.”

    Because when it boils down to it, Americans are a dichotomy, and hopefully this dichotomy is in our DNA for the rest of time, we abhor killing, and war and leaving our comfort zones to do what is necessary for the World. But when we do it, we are Damned good at it, and occasionally enjoy it. We hate this about ourselves and because of that we hate killing deserters, who deep down inside, we sympathize with, because, although all of us know we need to be about killing the enemy and killing him quickly, we’d much rather be back home plowing our fields. But we can’t sympathize with them forever. Because we have to kill the enemy first or else none of us can get back to plowing our fields.

    This is why despite all of our necessary wars, we have let MORE deserters walk than we have killed even though they deserve it; and since Bowe Bergdahl, if he is indeed the punk-ass quitter he seems to be, deserves to be killed, he won’t, and shouldn’t…because deep down inside, although we need to annihilate the evil in Afghanistan (and that part of the world) we’d much rather be home, plowing our fields.

        • Actually, that comment wasn’t germane to drone strikes at all. I was referring to “we have let MORE deserters walk than we have killed even though they deserve it” and the earlier comments about Lincoln’s choices.

          • My mistake. I thought you were making a sideways link to the drone discussion, where I posited a parallel in military action, but several instances of Unconstitutional actions by the President were mentioned as a “well he did this wrong and this wrong and this wrong” which were irrelevant to the Military action parallel I made.

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