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Bergdahl: connecting the dots

Bergdahl: connecting the dots

So, we have Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl released in exchange for five of the most notorious Taliban held in Guantanamo, the place Obama keeps saying he wants to empty. This certainly helps to empty it.

The five men will now be held by Qatar, which has reassured us they’ll be in secure conditions but won’t say what those conditions are, except that they can’t travel out of the country for a year. Qatar is a Wahabi country, by the way, with a history of assisting Islamic movements worldwide.

Obama has been winding down the Afghan War, and one of his stalled goals in connection with that is negotiations with the Taliban. So it may be that the release of these particular prisoners wasn’t just a reluctant move in order to free Bergdahl, it may be more accurate to say that Bergdahl’s release was negotiated at this point in time in order to free the Taliban Five:

The official’s comments hinted that the deal is seen as potentially helping the Afghan government, which soon will have a new president, in efforts to end strife with the Taliban — a point seconded by Jonah Blank, a senior political scientist at the Santa Monica, California-based RAND Corporation.

“The Taliban prisoners released weren’t mere bargaining chips: It’s quite possible that, as influential figures, they’ll facilitate a broader negotiated settlement,” in Afghanistan, said Blank, a former staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Doesn’t sound as though the plan is to keep them locked up in Qatar, does it?

And then there’s the goal of the resumption of direct talks between the Taliban and the US:

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” from Bagram, Hagel said the prisoner trade could provide a window of opportunity for peace in Afghanistan.

“So maybe this will be a new opening that can produce an agreement,” he said, noting that the United States had engaged in talks with the Taliban in the past.

As for Bergdahl himself, his capture in Afghanistan involved some interesting circumstances:

Rolling Stone magazine quoted emails Bergdahl is said to have sent to his parents that suggest he was disillusioned with America’s mission in Afghanistan, had lost faith in the U.S. Army’s mission there and was considering desertion.

Bergdahl told his parents he was “ashamed to even be American.” Bergdahl, who mailed home boxes containing his uniform and books, also wrote: “The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong.”

Here’s more:

Bowe Bergdahl would detail his disillusionment with the Afghanistan campaign in an e-mail to his parents three days before he went missing.

“I am sorry for everything here,” he wrote. “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.”

Bergdahl also complained about fellow soldiers. The battalion commander was a “conceited old fool,” he said, and the only “decent” sergeants, planning to leave the platoon “as soon as they can,” told the privates — Bergdahl then among them — “to do the same.”

“I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools,” he concluded. “I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

Bob Bergdahl responded in an e-mail: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”

One night, after finishing a guard-duty shift Bowe Bergdahl asked his team leader whether there would be a problem if he left camp with his rifle and night-vision goggles — to which the team leader replied “yes.”

Bergdahl then returned to his bunker, picked up a knife, water, his diary and a camera, and left camp, according to Rolling Stone.

The next morning, he was reported missing…

Last but hardly least, Obama did not comply with a law that requires he give Congress 30 days notice if releasing prisoners from Guantanamo. Here’s the reason, according to Susan Rice in an interview:

“We could not take any risk with … losing the opportunity to bring him back safely,” she said, adding the Department of Defense had consulted with the Department of Justice before making the decision.

“Given the acute urgency of the health condition of Sgt. Bergdahl, and given the President’s constitutional responsibilities, it was determined that it was necessary and appropriate not to adhere to the 30-day notification requirement, because it would have potentially meant that the opportunity to get Sgt. Bergdahl would have been lost.”

So, supposedly Bergdahl’s health was an urgent concern, after five years of it not being such an urgent concern. That of course is possible, but somehow I’m skeptical. Disregarding the law about informing Congress seems completely in line with the Obama administration’s notion that the law is for the little people or for Obama’s opponents, not for them. After all, who’s going to stop them? Eric Holder’s Department of Justice?

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Juba Doobai! | June 2, 2014 at 8:52 am

We released five Taliban to get one.

I believe Obama’s policy has been the appeasement of the Taliban. There have been no major terrorist attacks of the WTC level because he has been giving them what they want. He gets to look effective in the WOT and they get money and weapons and years to put their ducks in row for the big push. But he will be gone soon and sometime in the next 3 years the S will hit the fan. I don’t know if they will wait until he is out or if they will go ahead while he is still in. If he’s still in perhaps he will use their attack as an excuse to activate certain contingency plans. The Pentagon has given $4 billion worth of military equipment to local police forces. These include everything from tactical gear to weapons to those mine resistant, ambush protected vehicles known as MRAPs. Does your local police force have one?

    Neo in reply to JohnC. | June 2, 2014 at 11:20 am

    About now, the Taliban is trying to figure out who and how many US assets they need to subdue in order to get Gitmo closed .. excuse me .. that is the dream of the Obama Administration.

Calypso Facto | June 2, 2014 at 9:22 am

I don’t know … seems pretty clear to me. (And I note, no exception for health of a US prisoner are provisioned.)

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014
Sec 1033.Requirements for certifications relating to the transfer of detainees at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to foreign countries and other foreign entities
(a)Certification required prior to transfer
(1)In general
Except as provided in paragraph (2) and subsection (d), the Secretary of Defense may not use any amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise available to the Department of Defense to transfer, during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2014, any individual detained at Guantanamo to the custody or control of the individual’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity unless the Secretary submits to Congress the certification described in subsection (b) not later than 30 days before the transfer of the individual.

    Awing1 in reply to Calypso Facto. | June 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    That’s likely why this transfer required State Department approval, since their assets are not restricted in this way.

(Self) promoted from the Tip Line…

“The American postwar elites, like their British counterparts, have been in ascendance so long they too have ceased to believe defeat can exist; that all that was necessary was to control Washington and the universe was theirs to command.

And that is probably what Obama still believes. He arose in an environment where the Stash always existed. Where all that was necessary to find more money was to shake the tree. He’s learned how to push every button, run every trope, invoke every grievance — everything except how to win against thugs more ruthless than any he encountered in Chicago. He’s a sheltered creature, bred in a special, coddled time in American history who suddenly finds himself at sea at a moment when the tides of the world have begun to flow again.”

In Richard Fernandez’s view, the Berghdal trade is just a sign of our surrender to the Taliban.

And there will be more, including the emptying of GITMO and repatriation of some of the worst pirates in the world.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to Ragspierre. | June 2, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Gitmo should be emptied all right, not by shipping these people home, but by execution.

    Donate the large screen color TVs, medicines and other luxuries lavished on these criminals to VA hospitals and veterans.

      Awing1 in reply to Uncle Samuel. | June 2, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      That’s disgusting, is petty revenge on these lowlifes really worth even a piece of American’s conscience? We’re better than they are because we do not act like lawless barbarians.

    Humphrey's Executor in reply to Ragspierre. | June 2, 2014 at 11:22 am

    So congress did not appropriate the money to fly the five to Qatar, and they did it anyway. So much for the “power of the purse.”

      MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Humphrey's Executor. | June 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      It’s been documented that he’s illegally moved hundreds of millions of dollars between accounts, ostensibly as part of his Obamacare scam (though I have a strong hunch “irregularities” will be uncovered when those accounts are audited). So, illegally moving a few thousand dollars around to put five terrorists back on the battlefield to plan new assaults on Americans is chicken feed.

      If it’s possible to simultaneously be both a tyrant and a traitor, I think Obama has pulled it off.

      If Democrats took their oath to the Constitution seriously, Obama would be facing an impeachment trial. But Democrats oath is to the Party, just like Soviet Communists loyalty was to the Party. Democrats are neo-communists.

Uncle Samuel | June 2, 2014 at 10:36 am

If, as some have said, he packed up his stuff and had it shipped home shortly before he left, it was not a capture, but desertion.

The guy studied ballet and was a moslem sympathizer with strong Anti-American sentiments. That gives him a lot of credibility with Obama. If he had demanded a sex-change operation, he could be a General in Obama’s army.

Henry Hawkins | June 2, 2014 at 10:48 am

And all of a sudden the VA scandal is off the screen.

I disagree with the way that the prisoner hand-off was handled (not receiving authorization from congress), however had the government followed the correct procedure it would not have been that big of an issue. As OEF winds down we are going to have to release our POW’s at some point. Just because those prisoners were not captured under a national flag, doesn’t mean that we get to detain them forever without trial. Those that are still in Gtimo at this point are so psychologically damaged that i doubt they will be able to function in society at anywhere near a normal level and the same goes for Bergdhal. None of them are a serious threat. Point being, Bergdhal might have been a deserter but we don’t turn our backs on someone just because we don’t like them. Bring Bergdhal back and try him under UCMJ for desertion.

    Captain Keogh in reply to aerily. | June 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    “Those that are still in Gtimo at this point are so psychologically damaged that i doubt they will be able to function in society at anywhere near a normal level and the same goes for Bergdhal.”

    Not true. Many of them have gone straight back to terrorism without missing a beat. The same with Palestinian terrorists freed by Israel.

      aerily in reply to Captain Keogh. | June 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      I don’t doubt that they went back to terrorism but at what capacity? Terrorist’s are bats**t crazy to begin with.. but being able to effectively plan and lead takes a certain level of functioning in society that gets stripped with years of isolation. Many of these guys have been in Gitmo for over 10 years now.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Captain Keogh. | June 2, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      “Many of them have gone straight back to terrorism without missing a beat.”

      1 of 4 known, meaning a likely 1 of 3 or 1 of 2 in reality, assuming there are those not yet identified as having returned.

    healthguyfsu in reply to aerily. | June 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I’d love to know where you get sources for all of these elegant generalizations.

    Ragspierre in reply to aerily. | June 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Another thing…

    Taliban terrorist pirates are NOT “POWs”.

    That term has a definition, and these thugs are NOT it.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to aerily. | June 2, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    AERILY: “Those that are still in Gitmo at this point are so psychologically damaged that i doubt they will be able to function in society at anywhere near a normal level and the same goes for Bergdhal. None of them are a serious threat.”

    OK, we’ll place them in your neighborhood then, harmless as they are. This is a truly idiotic statement. Did years inside the Hanoi Hilton, a POW experience 1,000 times worse than anything suffered at Gitmo, render John McCain unable to function in society? You might recall he was elected as a US Senator and ran for the US presidency? About 30% of Gitmo releases went right back to the battlefield, no problem. You are dangerously ignorant.

    Here’s a list of other POWs who managed to ‘function in society’ afterwards. You might recognize these names: Winston Churchill, Charles DeGaulle, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Kurt Vonnegut, Jean-Paul Sartre, Francois Mitterand.

    AERILY: “Point being, Bergdahl might have been a deserter but we don’t turn our backs on someone just because we don’t like them.”

    Yes we do. That is exactly what the US military did with Bergdahl. They eventually suspended efforts to find him because of the nature of his going missing and our unwillingness to risk further assets.

    AERILY: “Bring Bergdhal back and try him under UCMJ for desertion.”

    We haven’t simply brought Bergdahl back. We’ve traded for this POS by giving up five high-level Taliban leaders – the equivalent of trading one private deserter for five generals.

Captain Keogh | June 2, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Bergdahl reminds me of deserter James J. Dresnok who went over to the Norks in August 1962.

mostly anecdotal. My grandfather was a POW in Japan from ’42 to ’45 so I got to see first hand how that sort of thing affects a person.

    Ragspierre in reply to aerily. | June 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Oh, yeah, sure.

    American POW in Japan = Taliban detainee in GITMO.


    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to aerily. | June 3, 2014 at 12:39 am

    With the deepest appreciation and admiration for your grandpa, somehow I think his experience was different than those of all of our other soldiers captured in this theater, seeing as how he wasn’t beheaded or quartered and hung from a bridge. They were all slaughtered in the most publicly brutal and vile methods possible – save one. Bergdahl.

    Why might that be?

2nd Ammendment Mother | June 2, 2014 at 1:17 pm

This whole story is just too bizarre and convenient to get your mind around all the implications.

And people think my Benghazi/Blind Sheik theory is too far fetched…. I’m beginning to think that they just over thought it a little too much and caused it to backfire.

I’m beginning to think wearing a tin hat might not be sufficient these days.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to 2nd Ammendment Mother. | June 3, 2014 at 12:46 am

    I think this was all set up several years ago along the lines of a ‘rainy day’ fund/’ace up his sleaze’ for obastard.

    He wanted the VA thing in particular off the front page, and what better way to do it than to help out some old muzzie friends while he was at it. He scored huge points with his masters for this deal.

Henry Hawkins | June 2, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Either Obama did know Bergdahl was a deserter and not a hero, or he did not know. Either one is muy muy bad.

    Hepcat in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    He doesn’t care. It’s all about him.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 3, 2014 at 12:35 am

    If obastard isn’t a muzzie, he’s a muzzie sympathizer. He’s got long-standing connections to muzzies, as does manchelle.

    Suppose that, either directly or through channels or the deserter’s muzzie dad, it became known that this lover of all things Afghan or Paki lad was in the army. Suppose it was suggested, through channels, that he desert and become a voluntary POW, the only one never to be quartered and hung from a bridge. Suppose this was done so that, at some point when, over time, our forces had captured a number of very high-ranking Talidudes who were sent to the Gitmo country club (muzzie prisoners living better than most of our soldiers and veterans), btw). Now comes a time when enough of these big-time Talidudes have accrued to our custody that it became personally advantageous to obastard to go beyond bowing to Arab leaders and apologizing for America (sounds kinda like Bergdahl, eh?) and cut them loose in exchange for his little altruistic ace-in-the-hole, Bergdahl, the only “POW” in theater to NOT be beheaded and/or quartered and hung from a bridge.

    It’s all just too coincidental.

by no means are they the same, nor was that what I was trying to infer. I was trying to relate the effect of years of isolation.

    Ragspierre in reply to aerily. | June 2, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    You keep referring to “isolation”.

    Please support that these 5 pirates were in “isolation”.

    Next, support that American POWs in Japan were in “isolation”.

      AZ_Langer in reply to Ragspierre. | June 3, 2014 at 1:46 am

      ‘Next, support that American POWs in Japan were in “isolation”.’

      They weren’t. Even with the horrendous death rate (the Japanese didn’t subscribe to the Geneva Convention), they wouldn’t have been able to keep that many POWs in isolation. Heck they were using them as slave labor, not trying to isolate them.

      My father, like many of his POW buddies died young, but I still keep in contact with one survivor.

They weren’t trading terrorists for Bergdahl, if you haven’t caught up, Obama does not care about the military. They need to get rid of the terrorists, but because of political sensitivities the unlike the little ones they can let go at the end of the afgan war, the big ones are very hard to get rid of politically. Bergdahl is just a token that they got something to cover up getting rid of the big boys. The White House may be surprised at how bad it’s gone, but they don’t really care in the end. Congress didn’t arrest Eric Holder for defying a congressional supeona or lying before congress, they know congress doesn’t have the balls to do anything more than bluster and it’s too far away from an election to matter.

My take: A Classic Obama Squirrel Operation

Despite Jay Carney saying (a full year ago, no less) that under no circumstances would the administration carry out an exchange of 5 Taliban leaders for Bergdahl without 30 days Congressional notice in accordance with the law (yes, the reporter’s question was that specific), the hit BO has taken to his pride with the VA scandal and the roundly-denounced West Point speech called for desperate measures. There is/was simply no other reason for this to happen [i]now[/i]. It was a calculated ploy, triggered not by any concerns for Bergdahl’s health or risk of execution (I call ‘bullshit’), but by the need to somehow change the subject. He’s wanted to get these terrorists back home for a long time and the cover of ‘never leaving a man behind’ was strategy on his part. Weak strategy, but strategy nonetheless.

This turd may have a thin coat of polish, but it still stinks to high heaven.

PS. Sending out Susan Rice, of all people, to defend this was his way of telling us all to go f**k ourselves. He has nothing but contempt for the lapdog media who have no effing clue and for the citizens who do.