June 4, 2014

White House Somehow Surprised by Reaction to Bergdahl’s Release

Most Americans haven’t taken kindly to the commander in chief materially supporting terrorists.

On May 31, Barack Obama announced that he had exchanged five of the most dangerous Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay for the return of an America-hating Army deserter, Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held (or, as many military forward operators say, “hosted”) by the Taliban-Haqqani network for five years. This trade is yet another Obama political charade, this one to divert attention from his VA “death panel” scandal and his highly politicized Memorial Day and West Point commencement remarks, which were panned from Left to Right.

We’ve learned more about the administration’s moves in recent days. Obama’s “Taliban Five” exchange for PFC Bowe Bergdahl arguably violated the legal requirement that the Executive Branch give Congress 30 days’ notice on any negotiated release of a Gitmo prisoner. Obama claims his executive prerogative superseded the requirement and his “signing statement” at the time this requirement was made part of the 2014 Defense Authorization Act is his bypass authority. However, recall if you will that Obama asserted in his first presidential campaign, “I will obey the Constitution of United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.” And a year ago, his spokesman Jay Carney proclaimed, “We have long said we would not make any decisions about the transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.” Of course, such BIG Lies are Obama’s trademark.

Even Democrats are crying foul. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, “It’s very disappointing that there was not a level of trust to tell us. … I think our views were clearly transmitted both to the president and Secretary [Hillary] Clinton so it comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law.”

But far worse, writes former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, “The president has knowingly provided material support to terrorists. More importantly, he has replenished the enemy in wartime by giving the Taliban and Haqqanis back five senior, capable, rabidly anti-American commanders at a time when, as the president well knows, the Taliban and Haqqanis are still conducting violent jihadist operations to kill our troops. This is a shocking dereliction of duty.”

The reaction of Obama’s own party must have been rather surprising since the White House reportedly expected elation and accolades. “This is a happy day. We got one of our own back,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gleefully told U.S. troops at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. His cheer was met with deservedly deafening silence.

Many in the military have already expressed outrage that at least six men gave their lives looking for Bergdahl. They were PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Chance Murphrey and 2LT Darryn Andrews. The Battle of Kamdesh also left eight Americans dead and 22 wounded in part because resources were diverted to the search.

Meanwhile, according to the Director of National Intelligence, as of January 2014, 29% of the 614 Gitmo detainees released had returned to the battlefield. The commander in chief knows this. And he doesn’t care. “Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely,” Obama said. “There’s a certain recidivism rate that takes place.” Indeed, Qatar received the five Taliban jihadis and they are now free to move about the country.

But whatever; we had to get a deserter back home, or as he put it, the “sacred rule” that we don’t leave prisoners behind. He argued that such prisoner exchanges are merely “what happens at the end of wars,” adding, “That was true for George Washington, it was true for Abraham Lincoln, it was true for FDR. That’s been true for every combat situation.” See, he’s just another great president.

Yet the administration’s ignorance knows no bounds. In fact, it’s downright insulting. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf lectured a reporter that Bergdahl is “probably the person who knows best what happened on that night” he deserted his post, and his squad mates should quit misleading people about him. Instead, “Google it on the web,” she said, where they’ll “find a ton of conflicting reports.” Other aides have reportedly accused Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers of “swift-boating” him.

We’ll let Fox News analyst Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters respond: “[W]hat you just saw and heard was Benghazi 2.0 – a political flunky in the State Department insisting that she knows better what happened on the ground than the soldiers on the front line or the people in a firefight. The arrogance is boundless. You know, I wish the Obama administration, if it can’t have the grace to be decent about anything else, at least stop insulting our troops. She called those soldiers from the front lines liars. And by the way, she’s a liar because I can tell you from the first days, the first hours the military knew exactly what Bergdahl’s status was. And I have never heard of or seen any report conflict the allegation that he is a deserter. Never. … [T]his is an example of a very deep cultural divide between Team Obama that knows nothing about the military – and cares less – and those who actually serve. And I think when you listen to Susan Rice and Obama they think that desertion is kind of like skipping class. You’re hung over Monday morning so you don’t want to get up and go to Gender 101. [Desertion] is the second gravest sin in the military catechism, right behind turning your weapon on your brother soldiers.”

Indeed, the Pentagon says Bergdahl may face disciplinary action for deserting and possibly aiding the enemy. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey says that the Army “will not look away from misconduct,” but will they “look into misconduct.” For the record, 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.” In the end, we may have given over five jihadis, alive and well, in exchange for a dead traitor.

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