The troubling deal for Bergdahl.
“It was an extraordinary day for America,” said National Security Advisor Susan Rice on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, referring to the announcement of a deal that would free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Afghan captivity after five years. Indeed it was an extraordinary day: it was a day when we signaled to the world that America officially caves in to terrorists for hostages.
Well, not America herself, but President Barack Obama specifically. Obama, who has openly expressed frustration with the Constitutional constraints of checks-and-balances on his dictatorial impulses, circumvented Congress’ collective back to clinch a deal that would free five of the most dangerous guests at Club Med Guantanamo in exchange for Bergdahl. Even the Afghan government condemned it as a breach of international law.
His administration denies, of course, that it broke any laws or this country’s longstanding policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists. Bergdahl wasn’t a “hostage,” claimed our anti-war, anti-Israel, anti-military, anti-American exceptionalism Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: “We didn’t negotiate with terrorists. Sergeant Bergdahl is a prisoner of war. That’s a natural process.” What does that even mean? Is he saying we didn’t negotiate, or that the enemy aren’t terrorists? A prisoner of war can’t be a hostage? Sorry, but a prisoner of war becomes a hostage the moment the enemy makes demands for his safe return. A “natural process”? That phrase is meaningless.
I should concede that Hagel is technically correct: we didn’t negotiate, because giving the enemy exactly what they ask for isn’t negotiation – it is capitulation. Though America should not abandon her dead, wounded, or captured warriors, trading five Taliban leaders for one soldier who deserted after expressing his disgust for our own military is surrender, not a successful trade that benefits American interests. Bergdahl reportedly emailed his parents that “the US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at,” that he was “ashamed to even be an American,” and that “the horror that is America is disgusting.” Some report that he converted to Islam during his captivity and, outrageously if true, trained his captors in bomb-making and ambush skills.
And let’s get this clear about Bergdahl – he didn’t “wander” off base that June day in 2009, as the media so often put it, like a lost toddler; if reports from the ground are to be believed (and they are), he intentionally and premeditatedly deserted. In the wake of that, at least six good American soldiers died or were wounded in search attempts. Their names: Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen, Pfc. Morris Walker, Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss, 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews, Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek, and Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey. Their families and friends have suffered a far greater loss than the Bergdahl parents.
As Jake Tapper reports, “other operations were put on hold while the search for Bergdahl was made a top priority... Manpower and assets – such as scarce surveillance drones and helicopters – were redirected to the hunt. The lack of assets is one reason the closure of a dangerous combat outpost, COP Keating, was delayed. Eight soldiers were killed at COP Keating before it was ultimately closed.” What punishment will Bergdahl face? An anonymous senior Defense official told CNN that he will not likely face any: “Five years is enough.”
Meanwhile our enemy rejoices. Five more dangerous Guantanamo terrorists are back in the field to plot havoc against American infidels, to kill and wound more American soldiers, soldiers who are already fatally hamstrung by Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan that don’t even allow them to engage unless they’re already under attack – and sometimes not even then. Taliban leader Mullah Omar rightfully declared the trade a “great victory.” It will result in more Americans – and not just soldiers – being targeted for hostages, because terrorists everywhere now know that that will pay off.
Not to worry. In his Rose Garden announcement, Obama declared that Qatar, which had a hand in the so-called negotiation, “has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security.” Well, that’s comforting, because we all know that Islamic governments have our backs. By his side was Bergdahl’s bearded father, a seeming Islamic sympathizer, who tweeted about the “cult of democracy” and recently deleted this tweet promising God’s (read: Allah’s) vengeance for the Afghan children America has supposedly murdered: “I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen!”
This is an increasingly complex, ongoing story (as novelist Brad Thor relates in his piece for The Blaze), and who knows what revelations remain to be uncovered. Perhaps Bowe Bergdahl was merely playing along with his captors to save himself from a beheading. Perhaps his father feigned anti-war and pro-Taliban sentiments for his son’s sake. Perhaps there are presently unknown diplomatic elements to the prisoner exchange that will justify Obama’s actions. Perhaps hell finally will freeze over. Anything is possible.
But the evidence currently points to a President that once again has undermined American efforts in the longest war in our country’s history. This is the President who has expressed that he is uncomfortable with using the word “victory” regarding winning our war against Islamic fundamentalists and who repeatedly discusses “winding down” the war rather than winning it. (Imagine Churchill or Reagan talking about “winding down” the war against Nazis or Communist Russia – you can’t, can you?). This is the President who once warned ominously that “the future doesn’t belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” This is the President who has devoted himself to dismantling America’s economy, military, and superpower status.
Dinesh D’Souza asserts in his new book and film that if Hillary Clinton assumes the presidency next, she will not steer the country back toward the center but will continue Saul Alinsky’s radical work that Obama began, and leave this country as we knew it irreversibly damaged. That is an optimistic assessment, because we are already irreversibly damaged and Obama still has two years and a half to go. What will it take for American citizens to say “enough” to the radicals in this administration?
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