Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Danger And Dishonor
President Obama has gone ahead and released five of the most notorious and dangerous al-Qaeda jihadists from Guantanamo prison in exchange for U.S. army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who had been held captive in Afghanistan for five years. Bergdahl is a man who reportedly walked off his post - possibly going AWOL, the facts aren't clear - before being picked up by the Taliban. Such a deal!
Bret Stephens (WSJ) and Rich Lowry (National Review) note that some of Bergdahl's former colleagues aren't all that thrilled with his release.
I spoke Monday with a highly decorated former Special Forces operator and asked what he thought about Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant who was released over the weekend after five years of Taliban captivity in exchange for five hard cases out of Gitmo.
The former operator suggested a firing squad might be appropriate.
Afghan vet Nathan Bradley Bethea participated in the search for him. In a powerful piece for The Daily Beast, he writes that “Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”
At least six soldiers were killed looking for Bergdahl who had expressed his pre-captivity attitude in e-mails to his parents,
the US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at,
I am sorry for everything here (Afghanistan). These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.
I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. … I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.
Berdahl's father weighed in with this lovely sentiment on Twitter (before he removed it):
I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen! (sic).
Andrew McCarthy itemizes the bill paid for Bergdahl's release:
(The released detainees) include Mullah Mohammed Fazl, perhaps the Taliban’s senior warrior (its “army chief of staff”) and a longtime al-Qaeda ally; Mullah Norullah Noori, a senior military commander who fought side-by-side with al-Qaeda; Abdul Haq Wasiq, a senior Taliban intelligence official who helped train al-Qaeda and fought with it against U.S. forces after 9/11; Khairullah Khairkhwa, a Taliban governor and al-Qaeda trainer who brokered an alliance with Iran to collaborate against American-led forces; and Mohammed Nabi, who worked with the Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda to coordinate attacks against American and coalition forces.
The swap is great for the released terrorists, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Bowe Bergdahl. Taliban leader Mullah Omar is happy, saying the release of his troops is a "great victory". Obama is happy too. He managed to free a like-minded American soldier wishing his country harm and five highly trained and experienced enemy soldiers willing to do his country harm. Stephens:
Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice states: "Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct."
But wait: We are not "in time of war." We are in Time of Obama.
In Time of Obama, dereliction of duty is heroism, releasing mass murderers with American blood on their hands is a good way to start a peace process, negotiating with terrorists is not negotiating with terrorists, and exchanging senior Taliban commanders for a lone American soldier is not an incentive to take other Americans hostage but rather proof that America brings its people home.
In Time of Obama, we may get the facts about the circumstances of Sgt. Bergdahl's disappearance and captivity. But first his parents are going to get an invitation to the White House so Mr. Obama can milk the occasion for his own political purposes.
...In Time of Obama it has become impossible to credit claims by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and National Security Adviser Susan Rice that a prisoner exchange had to be made because Sgt. Bergdahl was in dangerously declining health.
This assertion was instantly contradicted by eyewitness accounts that the sergeant was "in good condition" when he was released by his captors. "Freed U.S. soldier Bowe Berghdal developed a love for Afghan green tea, taught his captors badminton, and even celebrated Christmas and Easter with the hardline Islamists," the AFP reported Sunday, citing a Pakistani militant commander.
In Time of Obama, the testimony of the Pakistani militants regarding Sgt. Bergdahl's health is at least as credible as anything Susan Rice has to say, on any subject, on any Sunday talk show.
Most importantly, for Obama, that scourge of humanity known as Guantanamo is that much closer to being emptied. Lowry assails the administration's twisted thinking:
“I will continue to push to close Gitmo,” President Obama said in his West Point speech last week, “because American values and legal traditions do not permit the indefinite detention of people beyond our borders.” Pressed on the Gitmo releases, Susan Rice said Sunday that “the existence of Guantanamo Bay is itself a detriment to our national security.” By this logic, trading terrorists for American captives, so long as those terrorists come from Gitmo, makes us safer.
Our willingness to negotiate with terrorists won't go unnoticed warns Rep. Mike Rogers.
The No. 1 way that al-Qaeda raises money is by ransom – kidnapping and ransom. We have now set a price. If you negotiate here, you’ve sent a message to every al-Qaeda group in the world – by the way, some who are holding U.S. hostages today – that there is some value now in that hostage in a way that they didn’t have before. That is dangerous.
Expect 9/11 architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed to be at the top of al-Qaeda's shopping list.
And, another day, another broken law. Obama managed that by releasing prisoners from Guantanamo without consulting with Congress.
Obama claims that "This is how wars end in the twenty-first century", with the bad guys winning. What ever happened to, “Here’s my strategy on the Cold (or any) War: We win; they lose.”?