June 2nd, 2014

The Bergdahl plot thickens

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.”

As I wrote yesterday:

…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.]

43 Responses to “The Bergdahl plot thickens”

  1. blert Says:

    Neo, Barry is trying to reinforce his narrative that AQ is so dead that it’s time to move on.

    Bergdahl was merely sweet cover for what is of the essence: coughing up the opposition’s leadership cadre.

    All five of these players would hold flag rank in jihadist circles.

    Barry is one-upping Karzai, who has been playing this game for years. (coughing up top rank prisoners)


    Afghanistan should’ve been partitioned — years ago — when Bush was in office.

    The country rings around a massive mountain range. All of the significant urbanities lie at the foot of it, gaining water by way of snow melt.

    The northern sectors properly belong to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan for reasons of language and culture. The only thing separating them is the Oxus River. (Amu Darya)

    The west is culturally Persian.

    The south is Pashto, and ought to have been deemed its own nation. This would shrunk the problem.

    All attempts at unifying these alienated tribes are hopeless. Considering the mountain range, why did anyone even try?

    The only time the window was open was during Bush’s first term. The world is still suffering from the imperial diktats of the 19th Century. (Durand line)

    BTW, Barry has triggered a wholesale rout for NGOs and contractors. The Taliban are sure to destroy everything the ISAF ever built.


    Don’t overlook the need to get our boys away from Iran now that Barry is giving them the license to go atomic.

    You’re looking at wholesale flight at a strategic level, nothing less.

  2. J.J. Says:

    As opined before, this is very bad juju. Bad message to the jihadis, bad message to the troops. The foolish knave is doing more damage by the day. (Anyone noticed the latest EPA plans?) Public opinion is slowly coming around. LIVs and “independents” are starting to take notice. They may not understand what’s happening, but they’re getting uneasy. The fire alarm bells have been ringing for awhile but they’re just now smelling whiffs of smoke.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    Well, it’s a victory. We got an American back. Btw, can we trade all those Democrat Americans for illegal immigrants? I think the citizenship pool would be stronger blood wise.

  4. George Says:

    Great post Neo. If it is true per statements made by those who were there that Bergdahl was a deserter, it must be assumed that the administration has in all this time been able to establish the facts. The burning question this raises is why would the administration do such a contemptible thing? I am not holding my breath for this question or anything like it to be presented in the establishment media.

  5. Mr. Frank Says:

    It’s all about Obama and the low information, emotional voter. Obama cares about our troops and brought our POW home. Never mind that the guy was a deserter and traitor. That’s not in the headline.

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    Emotions are like guns. Banning it only ensures that criminals get to use it alone.

  7. kaba Says:

    Abandoning your compatriots in the field is about as bad as it gets. We already know several died and were wounded in an effort to “rescue” him. And there is at least a hint that he was disclosing information to the enemy about tactics and capabilities to allow them to be a more effective.

    That we gave up five senior terrorist leaders to gain his freedom is an outrage. The fact that the Obama Administration is painting this a diplomatic victory demonstrates just how out of touch with reality they really are.

  8. Sgt. Mom Says:

    It may very well be that Bergdahl Jr. and Sr. may be so hard for the Administration to explain that they might very well wish that they had just endured the embarrassment of the VA ruckus. There’s a huge amount of anger among the military over Bergdahl, and it might be a tipping point. Especially when you can say that the prisoners in Guantanamo got better medical treatment than the American military veterans at the hands of the VA.

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Don’t overlook the need to get our boys away from Iran now that Barry is giving them the license to go atomic. You’re looking at wholesale flight at a strategic level, nothing less.” blert

    Yes, this isn’t about obtaining Sergeant Bergdahl’s release, it’s about getting the Taliban to agree to a long enough ceasefire that Obama can get US troops out without constant attacks by the Taliban. Obama needs the political cover that a ‘ceasefire’ with the Taliban would provide, so that the US isn’t seen to be being run out of the country.

    Obama wants to avoid the bad publicity of a defeated US forced to flee under his ‘leadership’.

    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.

  10. Mike Says:

    When I assume Obama’s sole intent is to harm (“fundamentally transform”) America, none of this surprises me. Hearing that he has double crossed an ally and ignored a law is like…ho hum what else is new?

    No one will fight him. Therefore we deserve what we get. America will pay for his sins for a long long time. Actually, we are paying for our own sin – the one that elected him twice.

  11. Artfldgr Says:

    aybe the killing of Bin Laden; that’s about the only event that comes to my mind.

    and he may still be allive…
    as they made sure there was no body..
    and then were caught about what they did with the body
    and now, its about as sure as anything else

  12. parker Says:

    When this story first broke I thought it was ok to exchange hostages; now it seems Bergdahl was a defector and not a POW. I should have known better given all I know about Team Obama. Team Obama have now tried to distract from a scandal with another scandal. This latest “phony scandal” doesn’t top all prevous scandals of this rogue regime, but perhaps it may have more legs in the MSM than all the others.

    Plus, Bergdahl’s weird parents are coming across like card carrying members of code pink. The father only needs a turban to step into a mugshot of a scraggly bearded jihadist.

  13. M J R Says:

    George, 1:25 pm — “The burning question this raises is why would the administration do such a contemptible thing?”

    Because (it, they, whatever) *detest* this country, and this was a golden opportunity to rub it in our faces. Good ‘n’ hard.

    Welcome to President Hussein’s “transformed” America.

  14. M J R Says:

    “fundamentally transformed”

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    The thing about the Left is something I can sum up this way.

    Whenever an American patriot is killed or tortured, the Left gets a Big Phat Smile on their face.

    You can derive and infer almost every policy option out of that.

  16. waitforit Says:

    This thing gave me a stroke.

    How can this shit stand? Has our country become a dysfunctional family where the kids get the shit knocked out of them and are powerless?

    Sometimes I wonder if the collective Christian and conservative crowd are traumatized.

    To me, as a soldier, a 101st grunt dog faced ground pounder, the Benghazi/West Point speech/Bergdhal terrorist release are all one thing: an enemy in the White House. He aids the enemy; he diminishes friends and allies; he opposes our military; he threatens our national security.

    More soldiers and Americans will be kidnapped and ransomed. More petty and evil tyrants will kill and destroy. More liberties will be lost here at home.

    Because a fool is a knave if he has power. The distinction is of motive not results. Our America, the country with that lovely Constitution, needs to rise up and cast down those fools and knaves that deign to speak for us.

  17. RickZ Says:

    This whole Bergdahl thing smells fishier than a lesbian bar on a Friday night.

  18. Yancey Ward Says:

    I have been puzzling this move over for two days, and the only explanation that makes sense to me is that the administration is colossally incompetent. I think that what happened is that the VA scandal stung and someone somewhere had the bright idea that recovering a POW would help ease the bad press from the VA scandal- “Showing Obama Cares About the Soldiers”. However, this plan was instigated without learning anything about Bergdahl himself.

  19. Yancey Ward Says:

    Yes, this isn’t about obtaining Sergeant Bergdahl’s release, it’s about getting the Taliban to agree to a long enough ceasefire that Obama can get US troops out without constant attacks by the Taliban. Obama needs the political cover that a ‘ceasefire’ with the Taliban would provide, so that the US isn’t seen to be being run out of the country.

    Yes, maybe this is the real explanation. A treasonous one at that.

  20. southpaw Says:

    Not sure if I heard this right, but one report when the story first broke said this guy was the LAST American being held by the Taliban. If true, that may have played into the the thinking some way.
    All we know for sure are 2 things – 1. Something was calculated to be politically advantageous to Barry, because there’s nothing else that motivates him to leave the tee. 2. The republicans led by the big weenie Bohner won’t do a thing that might risk criticism- for being cynical about a returning POW. In other words, they will do what they calculate to be politically best for them.
    They’re both disgusting.

  21. DaveindeSwamp Says:

    Two words:Bobby Garwood

  22. M J R Says:

    Yancey Ward, 7:50 pm — “I have been puzzling this move over for two days, and the only explanation that makes sense to me is that the administration is colossally incompetent.”

    Malevolent, Yancey Ward, MALEVOLENT.

  23. Ymarsakar Says:

    A lot of people cannot understand the amoral nature of Hussein, because they don’t hate humanity the way the Left does.

    Well, the only way to predict and understand the enemy is to learn about the enemy.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:


    This was for 2012 collation. Imagine what the 2016 collation will be.

  25. Don Carlos Says:

    Who did Hussein promise he would close Gitmo? The same people he promised could keep their doctors and insurance policies? Probably not. The same people to whom he swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution? No.

    So, to whom was this promise made?

    To the Taliban? To the only 240,000 Qatar inhabitants who are the world’s richest people per paid-out share of national oil income? To Big Vladimir? To George Soros? To the Wahabis at large? To the soul of Saul Alinsky? To prognathic Michelle?

  26. Don Carlos Says:

    The really outrageous thing is how many thousands of Afghanis will be slaughtered commencing the day after Emir Hussein al-Hawaii declares our victory. Just like Nam. Democrats are real killers.

  27. rickl Says:

    M J R Says:
    June 2nd, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Malevolent, Yancey Ward, MALEVOLENT.

    As has been pointed out many times, if Obama were merely incompetent, he would have done something that was beneficial to America, strictly by random chance.

    That has not happened.

    His domestic policies have thrown monkey wrenches into the economy at every turn. He is clearly trying to force as many people as possible to become totally dependent on the government.

    On the international scene, he has systematically alienated America’s allies and empowered America’s enemies. This cannot be explained by incompetence.

    Not only has he shown that America cannot be trusted, he has thrown America’s support behind the forces of Islamic Jihad, which is the enemy of the entire civilized world.

    His hatred of America and Americans knows no bounds. He is going to get us nuked before he is through, and 90% of the world’s population will say, “Good. They deserved it.”

  28. J.J. Says:

    Don Carlos: “The really outrageous thing is how many thousands of Afghanis will be slaughtered commencing the day after Emir Hussein al-Hawaii declares our victory. Just like Nam.”

    Just so. But we’ll never see anything about it in our MSM. Just like Nam.

    It was a democrat Congress that deserted the South Vietnamese. Now it’s a democrat C-in-C that’s deserting the Afghanis. Quislings!

  29. Cornhead Says:

    Bread and circuses.
    NBA. Don Sterling.
    Change the subject.

    Scandal fatigue.

    Seriously, name another president with so many scandals. You need a scorecard.

  30. waitforit Says:

    “Prognathic Michelle!”

    That’s rather slippery of you agent Carlos.

    Actually, I find that bitch to be rather lovely at times, especially her prognathesis when it is subdued and not expressed in a threatening bite, ala, alien like. Then, God help the male spider who fertilized her eggs.

  31. waitforit Says:

    I like Ann Althouse for her mind, less for her politics, but then her mind is extraordinary so I often read her posts. She alerts that the 30 day tell Congress rule is open to interpretation. I agree and we should not make that a point in skewering Obama. Procedural law is never as convincing as substantive law, although it is just as important. But don’t make it political!

  32. J.J. Says:

    Over the last five years I have been somewhat aware of the Bergdahl story and sympathetic to the father’s attempts to get his son released. In light of all that has gone down I wanted to try to find out more about Bob and what makes him tick. So, I did a bit of searching. Here’s an interesting story from the NYT on May 12, 2012:

    His son, Bowe, fits a certain sort of mold. One that I saw quite a lot of back when I was recruiting for Naval Aviation. The idealistic, somewhat aimless/unfocused, restless, and wanting to become a man sort of young man. Bowe might have been a good candidate for the military – athletic, a good marksman, and outdoorsman. What he seems to have lacked was the ability to stick to something – to persist even when it wasn’t to his liking. It appears his parents never insisted that he stick to something. He was a free spirit and they apparently liked it that way. War can be a sobering thing and often requires boys to become men rather quickly.

    Men who thought they wanted to be warriors can find out that it’s not their cup of tea. A pilot in my squadron with 13 years of experience, great Fitness Reports, and seemingly headed for command turned in his wings rather than fly another mission over North Vietnam. It’s not just the inexperienced tyros that can lose their convictions during war.

    Anyhow, I feel for the parents. I understand that Bob Bergdahl has gone completely overboard in his desire to get his son home safely. It looks just crazy to many, but he was willing to try anything to get his boy back. As a father I can understand that.

    What happens going forward is anybody’s guess, but at the very least, Bowe should be subject to all the proper military investigations and courts martial, if such is indicated.

    The way forward for his parents may be as trying as the years he was in captivity.

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    Trash, on par with the Santa Rog killer.

  34. Eric Says:

    J.J.: “Bad message to the jihadis, bad message to the troops.”

    blert: “Barry has triggered a wholesale rout for NGOs and contractors. The Taliban are sure to destroy everything the ISAF ever built.”

    Don Carlos: “The really outrageous thing is how many thousands of Afghanis will be slaughtered commencing the day after Emir Hussein al-Hawaii declares our victory. Just like Nam. Democrats are real killers.”

    The resurgent terrorists flowing in from Syria are back mass murdering again in Iraq and Obama doesn’t care. Instead the propagandists are touting that Obama ‘ended the war’ in Iraq.

    What’s the message to the Afghan people?

    They know better than anyone what the Taliban are capable of and will do once back in power.

    It looks like the American government isn’t just leaving Afghanistan, but reneging on all promises, abandoning all wards, and eagerly trying to give the country – and their lives – back to the Taliban.

    We were decisively winning the War on Terror when Bush left office. Obama is giving it all back.

  35. Tonawanda Says:

    I wish someone with the expertise, like Neo, would consider writing a post on the Passive-Aggressive President.

    To me, BO revealed a critical side of his psychology by publicly giving the finger to an opponent on several occasions, including during a nationally televised presidential debate, including Hillary and McCain.


    “Childish” is just the beginning of the analysis. The persistence of the gesture under the circumstances is a disturbing reflection of his psychological approach to life and the most basic ingredients of his personality and character.

    This Bergdahl matter is fundamentally BO once again giving the finger to America. BO understands that many millions of Americans will be nauseated. He wants them to be.

    And part of this is one aspect of being a Leftist which is never commented upon, the pleasure of getting away with it, the mendacious denials and explanations, the more absurd the more pleasurable. Ha, ha, ha, I am smarter than you! I got you!

    Destroying evil America is fun stuff, like torturing and raping for allah.

    BO cannot just tell us how much he hates us, otherwise he gives up the game.

    But he can make it unmistakably clear, like with Bergdahl.

  36. Tonawanda Says:

    Another thought: although not provable, my guess is that this trade would not have happened if the soldier’s political views were as pronounced as Bergdahl’s in the opposite direction.

    Anyone want to rule that out?

  37. Artfldgr Says:

    from the 200 girls to this…

    what will happen is that more girls and others will be taken, as that will bring targets to them, rather than they be helpless to reach their targets.

    from this point on in the obama presidency, americans will be in a lot of danger, because if an AWOL soldier can buy back 5 of the best you lost, then what can a busload of children on a school trip get you? how about minor politicians?

    i know… wealthy liberal communsits get the most…
    so now its open season on them…

    Rabbit Season, Duck Season trilogy

  38. Ymarsakar Says:

    Tonawanda, looks more like a shout out to Berg’s father, the Islamo mullah.

  39. Don Carlos Says:

    Thanks, Tonawanda. Good one.
    BTW, I lived in WNY long long ago.

  40. Eric Says:


    It’s more than pleasure. It’s clear-eyed rational calculation for fundamental transformation of the US position in the world and the world order prefaced on the American liberal hegemony.

    The activist game involves recalibrating social norms and stigmas, such as the Overton window.

    In very large and successful measure, Obama, the Left, and complicit elements of the Right since 9/11 have radically moved the markers of what long was normal for US foreign policy.

    I supported Bush’s foreign policy after 9/11 in large part because I understood he reacted to the aggressive challenge to US hegemony under extraordinary circumstances by moving to uphold the conventional norms of longstanding US foreign policy, and shore up the cracks that had opened in the US-led world order. This was best represented in the Iraq mission, the defining international and liberal internationalist US-led enforcement of the post-Cold War.

    Instead, the Left used an openly false narrative to use the Iraq mission to recalibrate US foreign policy norms and stigmas, a course since set in cement by the Obama admin.

    Neo and some of her commenters, including me, are angered by Obama’s actions as Commander in Chief, but we are angered based on a set of norms that is being made obsolete and replaced in a deliberate, methodical fundamental transformation. The norms animating us are perhaps already as irretrievable in reality as a memory of childhood.

  41. Tonawanda Says:


    I am not quite sure I follow exactly. I am always interested in what you and Neo have to say and have a lot of respect for your individual analyses, even if I don’t always agree.

    I have met many, many Obamas, red diaper babies, trust fund Lefties, middle class aspirants to societal acceptance among the cognoscenti, union thugs, play revolutionaries and the whole lot.

    You and I agree on one thing, I believe, that their chief goal is to destroy as a “necessary” precondition to their glorious vision.

    Maybe where we disagree is on how and why they destroy.

    Neo very cogently gives some credence to mere incompetence in many cases, even in BO’s case, although she believes BO’s case is mostly knavery.

    Pursuing destruction is a lot easier than considering cost benefit analysis, unintended consequences, exercising personal modesty, and building up something valuable.

    The Overton Window is just another way of saying what a Leftist can get away with. Believe me, beyond the use of coercion and violence, the Leftist “rational calculations” are based on propaganda and mendacity. Not a lot of sophistication there.

    If you insist enough times that someone must use Ivory Pure enough times, he will finally run around the corner and buy a cake.

    After 911, the West made the huge mistake of not directly and aggressively confronting Islam. We lost as soon as we decided that our battle cry was going to be “Islam is a religion of peace.”

    Likewise, even the most skeptical look for elaborate ways of perceiving BO’s and the Left’s behavior by positing some rational explanation.

    It is like having chest pain. To call or not to call? There really is an understandable reluctance not to be more dramatic than necessary.

    Personally, BO has never looked like anything other than a political hater and destroyer, and nothing he has done has ever made me think differently.

  42. Eric Says:

    Tonawanda: “I am not quite sure I follow exactly”

    I’m responding to what you said along this line:
    “part of this is one aspect of being a Leftist which is never commented upon, the pleasure of getting away with it, the mendacious denials and explanations, the more absurd the more pleasurable.”

    That implies thoughtlessness, gratification only, and lack of rational calculation and purpose.

    I don’t think so. Rather, I think what’s in play with the ‘more absurd’ character of their actions is a deliberate exercise of “2+2=5”.

    I agree the Overton Window is what they can get away with, but that insight falls short, like a petty shoplifter who steals candy without being caught or significantly punished. In that case, petit larceny is still a taboo.

    For activists, the Overton Window is a construct that can be changed to “Four legs good, two legs better!”, to reference another cautionary tale. Activists can make it so that ‘stealing’ candy is no longer a taboo at all, but the new normal.

  43. Tonawanda Says:

    TY for responding Eric. I truly do value your remarks.

    I think the pleasure Leftists get in “fooling” the opposition is not thoughtless or lack of gratification.

    I believe it is thought out in detail and almost a sexual type gratification, pursued with the same ardency as a man who pursues intercourse with a woman.

    Is there a woman alive who has not heard a man use “love” as an aphrodisiac? Not a woman who gets it, just a woman who has heard it.

    I realize, there is no woman who can “prove” that the man did not “love” her. After all, he said so. Who would say such a thing?

    It is all after the fact.

    What BO relies upon is the seeming absurdity of doubting his sincerity.

    But it is sincerity which America haters count upon.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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