Grassroots Commentary

Obama, Bergdahl and the Hornet's Nest

Leigh Bravo · Jun. 6, 2014

Everyday is like opening a Pandora’s box! A new lie, an old promise broken, a new scandal revealed, a hornet’s nest disturbed!

President Obama, while in Brussels for the D-day celebration, made a statement, saying:

“We saw an opportunity and we seized it, and I make no apologies for that.

"I think it was important for people to understand that this is not some abstraction, this is not some political football. You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land, who they hadn’t seen in five years, and weren’t sure whether they’d ever see again. And as commander and chief of the United Sates armed forces, I am responsible for those kids.

"I write too many letters to folks who unfortunately don’t see their children again after fighting a war. I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents, and that the American people understand that this is somebody’s child and that we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try and get them back.”

But what about the parents of all the other servicemen fighting this war on terror? Are their lives not just as important, if not more so, if in fact, Bergdahl is a deserter and collaborated with the enemy? Won’t the release of these terrorists put all our servicemen and Americans around the globe in greater danger by placing them right back into the war on terror we remain fighting today?

Back in 2007, a senior Defense official said, in regards to the release of Gitmo detainees, “I can tell you that we have confirmed 12 individuals have returned to the fight and we have strong evidence that about another dozen have returned to the fight.”

In May of 2007, Pentagon officials repeated their concern that thirty former captives had returned to the battlefield in testimony before the Congress. In January of 2009, the Pentagon said that 18 former detainees are confirmed to have participated in attacks and 43 are suspected to have been involved in attacks. The Pentagon has also had a long history of describing the Guantanamo prisoners as “the worst of the worst.”

So why would the President even consider releasing 5 of the worst prisoners at Gitmo? Obama, in defending his decision to release the prisoners, said, “Is there a possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely.”

According to the New York Daily News, reporters said:

“A top Middle Easten official said officials in Qatar would do little to hinder the terrorists. The unidentified official told Reuters that the Taliban leaders had already moved into a residential compound in the capital, Doha, and could ‘move around freely’ within the nation. The source said the terrorists will not be treated like prisoners and U.S. officials will not be allowed to monitor them. A Taliban commander in Afghanistan said the men were already bracing for battle. ‘As soon as they arrived in Qatar, they rejoined the Taliban,’ he told the Daily Beast website. ‘We don’t care about U.S conditions and obstacles.’”

In a story today by Time Magazine, a Taliban commander close to the negotiations that led to the release of Bowe Bergdahl told them the group wants to grab more Americans for similar deals. “Its better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people. It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”*

Villagers in Afghanistan told the Wall Street Journal that they were terrified of the newly-freed Taliban leaders. A farmer said that his son has been killed by Fazi’s men and feared they would return to his village to do more damage.

Let’s look at the bios of the five terrorists that were released by Obama:

1- Mullah Mohammad Fazi - Taliban army chief of staff:

He is wanted by the United Nations for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites. He is associated with terrorist groups urgently opposing the United States and Coalition forces. As one of the Taliban’s most experienced military commanders, Fazi worked closely with a top al Qaeda commander, Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, who headed as Qaeda’s main fighting unit in Afghanistan prior to 9/11.

2- Mullah Norullah Noori - senior Taliban military commander:

He is wanted by the United Nations for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims. He began to work alongside as Qaeda in the 1990’s as a Taliban military general and continued to work with al Qaeda in the years that followed.

3- Abdul Haq Wasiq - Taliban deputy minister of intelligence:

He arranged for al Qaeda members to have crucial intelligence training prior to 9/11. He was central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups who would fight alongside the Taliban against the U.S and Coalition forces after the 9/11 attacks.

4- Khairullah Khairkhwa - Taliban governor of the Herat province and former interior minister:

He helped secure Iran’s support for the Taliban’s effort against the United States. He was a major drug trafficker and oversaw on of Osama bin Laden’s training facilities in Herat.

5- Mohammed Nabi - senior Taliban figure and security official:

He was a senior official and served in multi leadership roles. He held weekly meetings with al Qaeda operatives to coordinate attacks against U.S. led forces.

What about the six American soldiers that lost their lives looking for Bergdahl when he left his post? According to a 35-page report, Bergdahl had wandered away from his post on two other occasions, once in California and the other in Afghanistan. When he left the third time, he left all of his equipment behind except for his compass, knives and water. He evidently had shipped home his laptop and journal before he disappeared.

According to Nathan Bradley Bethea, the soldiers who were involved with Bergdahl were forced to stay silent about the disappearance and search for Bergdahl, but now he tells his story. Nathan served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army from 2007 to 2014 and is now a creative writing MFA student at Brooklyn College. You can read the entire transcript at, in an article titled: "We Lost Soldiers in the Hunt for Bergdahl, a Guy Who Walked Off in the Dead of Night.“ I have posted a paragraph below from this article in which he describes the death of his fellow soldiers.

"Though the 2009 Afghan presidential election slowed the search for Bergdahl, it did not stop it Our battalion suffered six fatalities in a three week period. On August 18, an IED killed Private first class Morris Walker and Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen during a reconnaissance mission. On Augusrt 26, while conducting a search for a Taliban shadow sub-governor supposedly affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss was shot in the face and killed. On September 4, during a patrol to a village near the area in which Bergdahl vanished, an insurgent ambush killed Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews and gravely wounded Private First Class Matthew Martinek, who died of his wounds a week later. On September 5, while conducting a foot movement toward a village also thought affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey stepped on an improvised land mine. He died the next day.”

Should President Obama have released these five terrorists in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl? Was Bergdahl a prisoner of war or was he just a deserter? Did he aid the terrorists during his time with them? According to the UK Daily Mail report in 2010, “Afghan intelligence told the British newspaper that one of Bergdahl’s captors has gone on the record of saying that Bergdahl taught him how to dismantle a mobile phone and turn it into a remote control for a roadside bomb. He also claimed that he received basic ambush training from the U.S. soldier.”

According to the late Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone Magazine, Bergdahl told his fellow infantrymen that he no longer supported the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, “The future is too good to waste on lies, and life is too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be an American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

Oh what a tangled web we weave!! Do you remember Michael Hastings? He was the reporter with Rolling Stone that was investigating the disappearance of Bowe Bergdahl. Hastings was killed in a controversial car accident in Los Angeles in June of 2013. Accusations were flying as to the possibility of foul play in Hastings fatal car accident. His death was never proven to involve foul play, but there are those who believe otherwise. Hastings was also a critic and a very vocal critic of President Obama’s investigation of reporters. His last story was titled, “Why Democrats Love to Spy on Americans.”

Hastings did speak with several men in Bergdahl’s unit, who were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements forbidding them from discussing Bergdahl’s disappearance. The FBI was paying quite a bit of attention to Hastings investigation and his article, “America’s Last Prisoner of War.” The FBI file, which was released after Hasstings death in request to a lawsuit, said that Hastings got caught up in an “international terrorist investigation” into Bergdahl’s disappearance. In a statement by the FBI following Hastings death, it was said, “Hastings was never directly under investigation by the agency, despite having pissed off a lot of people in very high places.”

The fact that the FBI was looking into the files of Hastings’ sources should definitely raise some serious questions about the reasons there was such an interest in Bergdahl in the first place. Why was President Obama so determined to trade 5 top terrorist for a possible deserter? Questions that remain uninsured, but will, no doubt, cause quite a stir when Bergdahl returns home.

In moving back to President Obama, we need to ask ourselves, “What is the current law that the President was obligated to follow?”

President Obama signed into law Congressional restrictions that require him to notify Congress 30 days before transferring prisoners. In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Representative Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said, “Despite Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo, Congress has passed a law and he has signed a law that he will not close Guantanamo. Whatever his desires are, that does not conform to the law and he is the chief administrator of the law of the nation and should uphold his constitutional obligation to follow the law.”

When President Obama signed the restrictions, he attached a notice saying he reserved the right to bypass the notification requirement if there was a national security interest. The President cannot change the law with a signing statement. Interestingly enough, back in May of 2008, then Senator Obama made the following comments: *When a bill comes to the oval office, the President can either veto it or he can sign it. What George Bush has been trying to accumulate more power in the Presidency is to say that I can change what Congress passed by attaching a letter saying I don’t agree with this part or that part… I’m going to choose to interpret it this way or that way…. I don’t agree with that. I taught constitutional law for 10 years and I believe in the constitution and I will obey the constitution.“

Would you say that the powers at be have changed their colors? If attaching a letter saying you disagree with a portion of the bill does nothing to change the bill, then why would Obama call out former President Bush on the power grab and then expect Congress and the American people to accept his letter as a legal change to the very bill he signed into law?

An interesting story that will have an interesting future and an interesting end. Somehow, I feel Bergdahl’s homecoming will definitely disturb the hornet’s nest!

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