And it was already plenty thick enough.
Reaction in Kabul:
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.
It’s difficult to come to any other conclusion, isn’t it?
And even CNN is covering the widespread allegations that Bergdahl was a deserter, and that the hunt for him led to loss of American lives:
Many soldiers on the ground at the time said insurgents were able to take advantage of the intense search for Bergdahl.
“A huge thing in-country is not building patterns. Well when you are looking for a person everyday that creates a pattern. While searching for him, ambushes and IEDs picked up tremendously. Enemy knew we would be coming. IEDs started being placed more effectively in the coming weeks. Ambushes were more calculated, cover and concealment was used,” Cody tweeted.
On August 18, 2009, Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen and Pfc. Morris Walker were killed by an IED in the search for Bergdahl. Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss was killed on August 26; 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews and Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek were killed after being attacked in Yahya Khail District on September 4; Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey was killed September 5 by an IED at the Forward Operating Base, Sharana.
Moreover, other operations were put on hold while the search for Bergdahl was made a top priority, according to officers who served in Afghanistan in that time. 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.
There’s more at the link—much more. Including this:
Many of Bergdahl’s fellow troops — from the seven or so who knew him best in his squad, to the larger group that comprised the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division — told CNN that they signed nondisclosure agreements agreeing to never share any information about Bergdahl’s disappearance and the efforts to recapture him. Some were willing to dismiss that document in hopes that the truth would come out about a soldier who they now fear is being hailed as a hero, while the men who lost their lives looking for him are ignored.
Who was behind these agreements, and why? I could understand if they were time-limited in the sense of being in effect only as long as Bergdahl remained in captivity. But they seem to be lifelong (“to never share”). I’m not sure what the penalty for disclosure was, but people seem to be willing to pay the price and talk, now that Bergdahl’s out. And the opinion of the talkers seems to be nearly unanimous; I haven’t heard of any so far who are defending him.
There hardly seems to be a single thing the Obama administration does that could be considered straightforward, is there? Maybe the killing of Bin Laden; that’s about the only event that comes to my mind. Even the release of an American POW turns out to be loaded with suspicious and powerfully disturbing elements that ought to outrage all Americans.
I suspect that Obama thought this would enhance his reputation as a defender and protector of the military, but I wonder if it will. One thing it has done, though, is to change the subject from the mess at the VA hospitals.
[ADDENDUM: The first sentence of this article indicates that the non-disclosure agreement may have been only for the duration of Bergdahl's captivity:
For five years, soldiers have been forced to stay silent about the disappearance and search for Bergdahl. Now we can talk about what really happened.
Interesting article; read the whole thing. I think the author is too kind to Bergdahl.
Here's another piece of interest, which voices a concern I've had:
“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."
...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...
Obama has been stymied by the fact that he promised long ago to close Gitmo, and he hasn't done it. Now he may be fufilling that promise.]