Is the Bergdahl Deal How Obama Plans to Shut Down Gitmo?

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


gitmo_w_soldiers

One reason Republicans are upset about the Taliban swap is that aside from the safety issue and the violation of the law, this could set the precedent that Obama needs to shut down Gitmo.

Let’s recall the real reason why Obama went after Osama.

Obama saw an opportunity to resurrect the idea of a criminal trial, which Attorney General Eric Holder had planned for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

This time, the president tells Bowden, he was prepared to bring bin Laden back and put him on trial in a federal court. “We worked through the legal and political issues that would have been involved, and Congress and the desire to send him to Guantánamo, and to not try him, and Article III.” Obama continues:

“I mean, we had worked through a whole bunch of those scenarios. But, frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr.”

Bergdahl may have been a similar sort of lever, used to also shut down Gitmo.

Obama released five Taliban leaders from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on Saturday without consulting Congress and without strict assurances that the militants won’t somehow return to the fight. Republicans on Capitol Hill worry that the swap of these Taliban leaders for American hostage Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a prelude to a bigger move—the emptying out of Guantanamo entirely.

“This whole deal may have been a test to see how far the administration can actually push it, and if Congress doesn’t fight back they will feel more empowered to move forward with additional transfers,” said one senior GOP senate aide close to the issue. “They’ve lined up all the dominoes to be able to move a lot more detainees out of Guantanamo and this could be just the beginning.”

Now there’s growing concern on Capitol Hill that President Obama now intends to bypass Congress to fulfill his promise to close the prison by releasing scores of more Guantanamo prisoners with little public or even private debate. Lawmakers and staffers see the Bergdahl case as only the latest maneuver in a larger plan to cut Congress out of the Guantanamo issue; and they’re not exactly reassured by senior administration officials’ refusal to disclose what steps will be taken to mitigate the risk that these prisoners could become involved again in the Afghan insurgency.

Obama has bypassed Congress numerous times and is making up his own laws. He’s running a unilateral amnesty. Compared to that closing Gitmo is easy.

There’s no chance Congress will pass an appropriations bill this year, meaning Congress can’t remove the funding for transfers. That gives Obama plenty of time to use the current looseness of the law to push forward the releases of many more prisoners.

Or all of them.

I expect there will be a speech, the usual nauseating stuff in which Obama pretends to speak about “our values”, some mention of a new chapter and they’ll be on their way to civilian courts and/or Qatar.

  • tagalog

    Obama has been pushing the limits of presidential power for the past five years now. When are Congress and the federal judiciary going to say “enough?”

    When I read the book “Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obama” and read repeated assertions that both the federal judiciary and Congress think that federal governmental power has no limits, I realized why no one is saying “no” to the president.

    It’s time to begin.

  • truebearing

    Obama is just doing what the Meccan Horse is expected to do: enable Islamists in any way possible and destroy America from within. It wouldn’t surprise me if he engineers a release of Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

  • DogmaelJones1

    “…that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaeda…” Come again? Al-Qaeda has respect for our rule of law? Why should al-Qaeda give a flying flounder about rule of law? Rule of law? Obama doesn’t give a fig about it, either. Somebody bring me a barf bag.

  • Jeff Ludwig

    Release of other terrorists from Gitmo, possibly Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is on the horizon. Release of an American superficially sounds good, but the more I assess the reality that is transpiring, this “deal” may be one of the darkest, most malignant events in U.S. history.

  • SoCalMike

    Obama killed several birds with one stone.
    He released 5 dangerous Taliban leaders in exchange for a deserter so he demoralized the US public and gave the Taliban an emotional lift.
    Big surprise here.
    Helping the enemy (well the enemy for most Americans except Obama and others with treason flowing thru their veins) and hurting and demoralizing American soldiers and the public.
    If he had a shred or even the tiniest iota of decency he would resign or think of committing suicide but that will never happen because it is impossible to bruise a pillow.

    • liz

      Nope, not even a smidgen. (Of decency)

  • mcbee555

    If he cannot be stopped during his presidency, then a case must be opened against him for his many constitutional trespasses and prosecution of him must be after his term of office.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Let’s see…Obama negotiated with the Mujahideen of the Taliban to free a deserter. For what? Hopefully, so we can put him on trial, court martial him, and then execute him.

    How many troops were lost searching for that deserter? Six!

    Meanwhile, he wasn’t even a prisoner! Instead, he was a fugitive from the justice of the USA. Yet, Obama released five Mujahideen for that one deserter. Probably because they both mutually hate the USA and at the same time are both ashamed of the USA.

    Of course, now it will be open season on kidnapping more innocent Americans to deal for more Mujahideen. Way to set a counterproductive precedent!

  • Hard Little Machine

    I feel Obama should be beholden to the same stick they beat over the heads of the Israelis and free hundreds if not thousands of mass murdering psychopaths. Open every door of every Federal prison and free them all. Except Jon Pollard of course.