June 1st, 2014

Connecting the dots in the Bergdahl release

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight.

We have Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, released in exchange for five of the most notorious Taliban terrorists 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.

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:

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed hope Sunday the release of US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl would lead to direct US talks with the Taliban.

“It could, it might and we hope it will present an opening,” Hagel said in an interview from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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.”

The Associated Press could not independently authenticate the emails published by the magazine in 2012. Bergdahl’s family has not commented on the allegations of desertion, according to Col. Tim Marsano, a spokesman for the Idaho National Guard. Marsano is in regular contact with Bergdahl’s mother, Jani, and father, Bob, who has grown a long, thick beard and has worked to learn Pashto, the language spoken by his son’s captors.

A senior Defense Department official said that if Bergdahl is released, it could be determined that he has more than paid for leaving his unit – if that’s what really happened – “and there’s every indicator that he did.”

Here’s more:

Bergdahl’s dream was to help Afghan villagers rebuild their lives and learn to defend themselves, his dad told the magazine [Rolling Stone].

“The whole ‘COIN’ thing,” Bob explained, referring to America’s strategy of counter-insurgency. “We were given a fictitious picture, an artificially created picture of what we were doing in ­Afghanistan,” the dad said.

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, and later that day, a drone and four fighter jets ­began to search for him.

Last but hardly least, Obama did not comply with a law that requires he give Congress 30 days notice if releasing prisoners from Guantanamo:

The Obama administration is required by law to notify Congress 30 days before any terrorists are transferred from Guantanamo Bay.

Rice said the administration began telling members of Congress once Bergdahl had been recovered and before the prisoners left the Guantanamo Bay facility.

“This was held closely within the administration. 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?

45 Responses to “Connecting the dots in the Bergdahl release”

  1. waitforit Says:

    Obama is continuing to build the case against him for impeachment. Andrew McCarth’s new book is meant to educate the public about the right to impeach a President on political performance.

    http://www.amazon.com/Faithless-Execution-Building-Political-Impeachment/dp/1594037760

  2. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Essentially, what this has done is to put a bounty on the head of every American living in, visiting, or doing work in any Muslim country, or a country with a active radical Islamic element – if it might not have been a particular danger before, it certainly is now.

    So, thanks, Barry. Heck of a job, Barry.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Sgt. Mom:

    Didn’t they already all have a bounty on their heads? Maybe the bounty is somewhat increased, but I think the motivation was always very strong to capture any American.

  4. Ymarsakar Says:

    Victory, as they say.

  5. vanderleun Says:

    Deserter.

  6. Sgt. Mom Says:

    The risk is increased now, Neo – because it worked! They got their people back, swapping them for Bergdahl. Of course, it seems to be emerging that Bergdahl likely was a deserter – but this will only encourage the Talibunnies, as well as those in other lawless regions where radical Muslims are active.

  7. kit Says:

    Why is this lawless man still president?

    Is the Constitution now just toilet parchment or can it be invoked to impeach him and get him out of the White House and into a prison.

    Bergdahl is a traitor and so is Obama.

    If this former soldier/traitor hates America so much, why does he want to come back. Is it to commit jihad here.

  8. Oldflyer Says:

    This really has a bad smell. The very questionable circumstances of his disappearance and capture were reported on extensively at the time.

    It is hard to generate sympathy for an individual in an all-volunteer Army who decides that his judgement trumps the chain of command, and gets his tail in a crack as a result. It is extremely hard to understand why Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum would bargain 5 for 1 to get a deserter back. Now they will brag about it, and act like he is a Bloody Hero.

    His father stood next to Obama, aka Twiddle Dee yesterday and said his goal is to have every one released from Gitmo. Sweet.

    Time left to 1/20/17 is 963 days, 9 hours–Now!

  9. leelu Says:

    This is damning… https://twitter.com/CodyFNfootball

  10. FOAF Says:

    It’s coming out now that the administration is claiming the swap might lead to “peace negotiations” with the Taliban. As usual national security is nothing but a political football for Obama. This administration makes Benedict Arnold look patriotic.

  11. Eric Says:

    Bergdahl was taken as a PFC (E-3). How did he get promoted from PFC to SGT (E-5) while held by the Taliban?

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    FOAF, by all accounts, Benedict Arnold was the very model of a modern major general, even Washington believed in him. Until they found proof, that is.

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    Eric, I was surprised anyone would let a SGT speak certain demoralizing things about the Mission. In my vision of the 2006 US military, that just wouldn’t have been leadership and morale building, even at the lowest NCO level.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    In Hasan’s day, the idea was to terminate US soldiers and break morale. But they will eventually figure out that by making Americans submit to 1000 to 1 prisoner exchanges, in the Jihad’s favor, will break American will faster than anything.

    So instead of having sleepers like Hasan blow up some unarmed US soldiers at Ft. Hood, they will coordinate an internal and external raid, with the US military officer sleepers told to provide information on potential high ranking targets for capture, including their families.

    As luck would have it, AQ will probably do this in a few months. As it wasn’t more than a year after I talked about Hussein dropping a kill squad on a US military base to take the families hostage in order for the Regime to command US military loyalty, did Ft. Hood 1 occur.

    I can smell these things from a ways off.

  15. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    kit,
    The Constitution can only be invoked to impeach Obama if a majority of the Senate is likely to convict him and currently there is no possibility of that happening.

    Eric,

    Time spent in enlistment, it’s pretty much automatic.

    FOAF,

    IMO, you have the right of it. This isn’t about obtaining Sergeant Bergdahl’s release, it’s about getting the Taliban to agree to ‘peace negotiations’. Obama needs the political cover that a ‘peace treaty’ with the Taliban would provide.

    Obama wants to avoid the bad publicity that would occur if the remaining 10,000 US troops are under continual attack by the Taliban with US troops obviously being forced out of Afghanistan.

    Obama also wants to avoid another Saigon with desperate Afghani’s clinging to helicopters as the last Americans leave Afghanistan.

    He wants to be able to claim to the LIV that we left Afghanistan pacified and that, when the Taliban retake control of the country (and they will) that it’s due to the failure of the Afghanistan people rather than a direct consequence of Obama’s foreign policy in Afghanistan.

  16. big al Says:

    A peace deal with the Taliban would certainly be a feather in his cap in the eyes of the International community and would take Obama a step closer to the next post he desires: Secretary-General of the UN.

  17. Alan F Says:

    I watched the parents’ speeches, before reading Neo, and got a sense of suspicion about them. Now it’s clear that the questionable deserter status is being glossed over by the press as well as the Obama admin. I really wonder who and what are behind the lengthy and carefully crafted speech of the father.

  18. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    This was not a spur of the moment move by Obama. Plenty of time to carefully craft their move, think of all the angles and coach the Father. The political ramifications with the left, liberals and LIV are always the Obama administration’s first, last and only consideration.

  19. Harry the "Extremist" Says:

    GB: “Time spent in enlistment, it’s pretty much automatic.”

    Normally you’re required to have completed a primary leadership course, go before a promotion board then amass points (Infantry usually has lower cutoff scores because of the demand). In wartime this is often waived but one might expect the soldier actually serve in the unit, not defect. In other words, it inst automatic. The command has a say in who gets promoted.

  20. Charles Says:

    And if it turns out that he really deserted and some terrorists were released to “get him back” . . .

    If that turns out to be the case I won’t hold my breath waiting for the news media to report such facts.

    Report NOTHING to portray Obama in a bad light will trump the “public’s right to know” that the MSM always crows on about.

  21. Bob From Virginia Says:

    We now know the names of five cabinet members of the Taliban government that will take over in 2017.

  22. LindaF Says:

    So, he is ashamed to be an American?

    No problem. Revoke his citizenship. After he gets a dishonorable discharge.

  23. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “In wartime this is often waived but one might expect the soldier actually serve in the unit, not defect.”

    He was in a combat zone, right? My understanding is that he never gave a formal declaration of having deserted. He just walked off the base and disappeared. Suspicion is not grounds for an accusation of desertion, even if it seems likely.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    big al:

    Obama can’t become Secretary General of the UN, because he’s from a Security Council country.

  25. Harry the "Extremist" Says:

    GB: “He was in a combat zone, right?

    Ive already allowed for that remember?

    “Suspicion is not grounds for an accusation of desertion, even if it seems likely.”

    True, but the command would not be assessing guilt or innocence, they would just be holding off on a promotion, That would make better sense to me.

  26. Cornflour Says:

    Some of the articles implied it, but didn’t come right out and say what this is about: Obama is trying to form a post-occupation alliance with the Taliban, in opposition to Al-Qaida. I know it sounds preposterous, but he tried the same thing in Egypt and other places. In his mind, the Muslim Brotherhood and even the Taliban are moderate Islamists. Before the great force of Obama’s personality, they will become American allies.

    Bergdahl is an accidental actor in this escapade, and Qatar will happily provide plausible deniability for Obama. For the most part, Qatar is a close American ally, and — in this instance — the Emir is almost certainly acting at Obama’s behest.

  27. OldTexan Says:

    Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot.

    If he was held in Afghanistan I bet would could have payed off a few warlords and they would have bought him back for us without too much fuss. This crap makes my head hurt and now we are going to have to spend a lot more money to drone these released guys when they start doing what they do naturally, and you know they will.

  28. waitforit Says:

    i have held less than this
    in the senate’s IRKSS,

  29. waitforit Says:

    Where are you Konai? \\

    Hunh?\\

    Bitch!~

  30. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “For the most part, Qatar is a close American ally, and — in this instance — the Emir is almost certainly acting at Obama’s behest.” Cornflower

    Well Qatar certainly pretends to be our ally. But…their actions prove otherwise. Qatar’s Emir, its ruler, advocates the view that the Muslim Brotherhood and even the Taliban are moderate Islamists.

    The U.S. Department of State’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report reports:

    “Qatar is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser ‎extent, forced prostitution.”

    “The Emir of Qatar is a Wahhabi fundamentalist. He founded Aljazeera in 1996 and it broadcast‎ in Arabic only for many years. It enabled the emir to greatly influence the Arab masses and to ‎radicalize them.”

    “Italian journalist Giulio Meotti has investigated Qatar’s reach into Europe:

    “Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who has cultivated the image of a pro-Western reformist, vowed to “spare no effort” to spread the teachings of Wahhabi Islam across “the whole world”. Last December Qatari Emir inaugurated the “Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab” Mosque in Doha, dedicated to the founder of the most virulent, anti-Jewish and totalitarian Islamic school of religion.

    Qatar Casts a Giant Shadow

    “Qatar’s octopus is working on three fronts: overthrowing despotic Arab regimes and replace these with sharia-based countries; destroying Israel by financing the terror groups (the emir just visited Gaza) — and Islamizing the European continent through mosques and investments.”

    “Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal maintains a residence in Qatar, while the Taliban opened their first representation in a foreign country in its capital, Doha.”

    Op-Ed: EXPOSÉ: Qatar’s takeover of Europe

    Qatar’s actions are not those of an ally of the West but instead, those of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  31. Cornflour Says:

    Geoffrey Britain,

    I worked in Qatar for two years, and my experience provides no basis for disagreement with the passages you cited. Still, especially by the standards of the Arabian Gulf, Qatar is an ally of the United States government. If you care to do the research, it’s not hard to determine why this is the common assessment.

    More to the point of this particular episode, given the Emir’s relationship with Obama and the State Department, it’s easy to believe that the future release of the five Taliban prisoners from Qatari custody is part of Obama’s plan, rather than a betrayal of the plan by a perfidious Emir.

  32. J.J. Says:

    My sympathy to the family. Good parents love their children, no matter what. Bowe reminds me of the mind set of a lot of young kids back in the 60s and 70s. Of course, they were draftees. Bowe volunteered. He should have done the honorable thing and just requested to be relieved. That would lead to a bad conduct discharge, but at least he would be out of the war, which he was so disillusioned over. What was he thinking when he wandered off from his unit? Did he plan to become a cause celebre?

    The honorable thing would be for him to at least face a court of inquiry and possible UCMJ punishment. How many here want to bet that will happen?

    It’s bad juju all the way around. Bad message to the jihadis, bad message to the troops. But it’s SOP for Obama and company. I’m so angry about Obama’s incompetence/knavery (and all his dumb and dumber Cabinet Secretaries) that it’s hard to see any good in the world. 2.5 more awful years. 🙁

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    The US isn’t an ally of the West. So why the hell should Qatar, a US ally, be an ally of the West?

    Unlike Bush who wasn’t AWOL, that Berg is actually AWOL.

    So what did the Left say about being AWOL, that it was worthy of being declared a promoted war hero?

  34. waitforit Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsePsTEgiqU

    ddiciibedtr.lto.ldots.

  35. Otiose Says:

    Obama reminds of Gilligan – he excels at finding improbable new ways to screw things up.

  36. J.J. Says:

    waitforit, Thanks, that one put a smile on my face. There is some good!

  37. gracepmc Says:

    LindaF Says:
    June 1st, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    So, he is ashamed to be an American?
    ********

    Michelle Obama’s kinda’ guy.

  38. M J R Says:

    Here is a comment from “cfbleachers” (the piece itself is

    http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2014/06/01/the-law-requires/ )

    Now here’s cfbleachers’ comment:

    True the Vote, Dinesh and Phil Mickelson all voiced dissent.

    Each has been isolated for punishment.

    A videographer was used as a phony scapegoat for the dirty plot in Libya, arrested, perp walked in front of the alerted media and jailed.

    These are not merely failures to adhere to checks and balances, this is a direct assault on the citizenry.

    This is not merely ignoring the Constitution, this is a Woodstock Jihad against those clinging bitterly to liberty.

    This is not merely lawless. It is criminal…in a high crimes sort of way.

    This is not merely “liberals” using “political maneuvers” to get their way. These are enemies of the free market, enemies of free speech, enemies of Judeo-Christian religion, enemies of freedom…overthrowing our representative self-governance nation.

    Let’s stop mincing words.

    Traitorism, tyranny, totalitarianism are words that may frighten people. Good. We ought to be so frightened we wake up from the nightmare and start saving the damn country from it.

    This soldier and his father ought to be given a very close inspection. And why we gave five high value enemies up in exchange for him in secret ought to be examined. Phil Mickelson complained that he was having nearly two thirds of his income seized in obnoxious taxes. Which one represents a greater need for intense scrutiny?

    By God, it is time to stop the madness.

  39. Ymarsakar Says:

    Just cut it short and put “Enemies of Humanity”. Don’t worry, killing enemies of humanity doesn’t make you guilty of mass murder. Any more than flushing out an ant nest makes you guilty of bad things in human society.

  40. blert Says:

    Folks seem to have forgotten that Qatar recently had a change in CEO.

    The old man has been turfed out: he was spending the family firm into bankruptcy.

  41. RickZ Says:

    What a surprise. This is my shocked face. Not to be confused with my disgusted face.

    http://news.msn.com/world/afghans-say-taliban-prisoners-freed-by-us-will-rejoin-battle

    Afghans say Taliban prisoners freed by U.S. will rejoin battle

    KABUL (Reuters) – The release of five Taliban prisoners in exchange for a U.S. soldier has drawn criticism from some Afghans, who say the detainees are dangerous and will rekindle ties with terrorist networks to resume fighting, just as most foreign troops leave.

    The men had been held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002 and were classed by the Pentagon as “high-risk” and “likely to pose a threat”.

    Two are also implicated in the murder of thousands of minority Shi’ite Muslims in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. military.

    They were released in a swap with U.S. army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the sole American prisoner of war held in Afghanistan who was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Germany on Sunday.

    “They will definitely go back to fight, if health-wise they are able to go,” said a top official at Afghanistan’s spy agency, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the topic.

    “They will be very dangerous people, because they have connections with regional and international terror organizations around the world.”

    The Taliban denied the prisoners would return to battle but said the swap should not be regarded as a gesture of good will or a step towards the revival of peace talks between Islamist insurgents and the Afghan government.

    “This is purely a negotiation between the Taliban and the Americans… It won’t help the peace process in any way, because we don’t believe in the peace process,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

    The prisoners would return to their families and live in Qatar – the Gulf emirate that brokered the exchange – where they would lead normal lives, he added.

    The prisoner swap comes just days after the United States announced plans to withdraw all but 9,800 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and the rest by 2016.

    Many senior Afghan officials and diplomats say the drawdown will happen much faster than expected and reflects a U.S. desire to disengage from Afghanistan as quickly as possible.

    LOOSE ENDS

    The prisoner swap is further evidence of U.S. efforts to tie up as many loose ends as possible before leaving, diplomats say.

    “They have made a mess of things,” said one Western diplomat, frustrated with the pace of the drawdown.

    In a further reflection of the rupture in relations between the two countries, the United States did not inform President Hamid Karzai’s government about the swap in advance.

    His palace declined to comment.

    On the streets of the capital Kabul many expressed anger at the decision to release the five men, a contrast with scenes of celebration in Bergdahl’s home town in Idaho.

    “This decision showed that the region, Afghanistan and its people aren’t worth anything to American government,” said Gul Mohammad, a high school teacher.

    “Otherwise, why would they swap a useless army soldier who broke the law with the five most dangerous Taliban fighters?”

    Some among Afghanistan’s security forces also expressed unease about the release, which comes as the Taliban’s summer offensive gathers pace ahead of a second round of voting in the presidential election on June 14.

    “This act will boost the Taliban’s morale and encourage them to fight harder to capture foreign soldiers. Now they are confident that their efforts won’t be wasted,” said army colonel Asadullah Samadi.

    —–

    Eric Says:

    Bergdahl was taken as a PFC (E-3). How did he get promoted from PFC to SGT (E-5) while held by the Taliban?

    PoWs are regularly promoted within the parameters of time served/rank. Bergdahl being promoted while being held prisoner is not unusual. Now once he’s convicted of desertion, then that’s a whole ‘nother story. But in a war zone, the promotion boards do not assume desertion without solid evidence.

  42. lacune Says:

    How long until Bergdahl becomes the latest Nidal Hasan?

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    So how many people are going to die to kill those 5 Taliban commanders?

    And those lives will be paid for by… what, Berg’s salary or retirement fund?

  44. Don Carlos Says:

    If there was ever need of evidence that BHusseinO is an Emir, an islamist knave, this is it.

  45. Don Carlos Says:

    In reply to Ymar’s question at 1:37 re killing the released Taliban, the answer is, None, not while Hussein is Emir.

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