Trading Private Bergdahl

June 6th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

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Mad Magazine are the latest to pile into Obama on his trade of an American POW for five Taliban held at Gitmo. Bergdahl appears to be a deserter, and while this doesn’t mean you don’t try and recover him, it does suggest the five to one trade was far too high. Even Democrats are now attacking Obama on this.

James Taranto at the WSJ writes:

“If I’ve lost Neuman, I’ve lost Middle America.” That’s how we imagine President Obama reacting to being scathed by MAD magazine. The Usual Gang of Idiots tweeted a parody poster yesterday for “’s Unfortunate New Movie,” titled “Trading Private Bergdahl.” The tag line: “They got five Taliban leaders. We got one deserting weasel. The mission is a disaster.” Obama is depicted as the lead actor, with the Taliban quintet in supporting roles. The picture is rated “NC” for “No Congressional Approval.”

How in the world did an administration known for political competence, if for no other kind, manage to pull off such a public-relations disaster? The answer is that the left has a very large blind spot when it comes to military culture.

There’s been speculation that the White House intended the Bergdahl release as a distraction from the Veterans Administration scandal. Certainly it has served as such a diversion, not to mention a reminder to be careful what you wish for.

Adding to Obama’s woes is that there is a law saying the President must notify Congress 30 days before the release of any prisoner from Gitmo. Obama ignored the law, as he indicated he might do when signing the law.  This is not uncommon – but the heads of the relevant congressional committees were not even given a heads up in advance – and they are very peeved.

Obama is in his final term. This will however reduce his ability to get much done in the last two and a half years of his term. It also gives the Republicans another weapon for the mid-terms.

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57 Responses to “Trading Private Bergdahl”

  1. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    The disastrous press conference didn’t help Obama. The father looked and sounded like he had decided to join the Taliban himself, and used the opportunity to shit all over the US.

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  2. Rex Widerstrom (5,266 comments) says:

    Is it racist to note that every single one of those Taliban leaders looks like the kind of guy who, if you saw him eating in McDonalds, you’d make sure you got your Big Mac to go because he’d likely suddenly start ranting incoherently and spitting chips this way and that, before randomly accosting the nearest diner and likely peeing his pants?

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  3. thor42 (922 comments) says:

    “They got five Taliban leaders, we got one deserting weasel.”

    One deserting traitor *and* a traitor in the White House.

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  4. Huevon (189 comments) says:

    I don’t buy into the idea that Obama has some secret Islamist agenda or is part of some crazy conspiracy. I’m a believer in Hanlon’s razor: never assume malice when a decision can be adequately explained by stupidity. Obama is hopelessly out of his depth in the presidency. He probably thought he was doing the right thing, but just can’t see the problem. How much longer do we have to put up with him? 2 years? 3?

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  5. Other_Andy (2,304 comments) says:

    Why bother to elect Congress?
    Obama behaves like a dictator and rules by executive order.

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  6. goldnkiwi (994 comments) says:

    I am surprised that they didn’t put a beard on Obama.

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  7. Longknives (4,464 comments) says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBrp0VDUvjA

    What the fuck is going on here?? This guy’s father is clearly a Terrorist sympathizer and he is standing with the President speaking Arabic?
    The world has gone mad…

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  8. tvb (4,209 comments) says:

    Why did he get promoted to Sergeant if he was a deserter. I think we should not rush to judgement on this.

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  9. Lucia Maria (2,208 comments) says:

    I find the timing of this scandal interesting. Obama is in Poland, talking to Poles and her nearby neighbours about their security. Poland has been asking for a military base to be set up there, of the size that already exists in Britain, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy. NATO originally signed an agreement with Russia to not set up a base in Poland, but with recent events, the Poles consider that agreement to be abrogated. See Obama, in Poland, Renews Commitment to Security

    The president’s main goal here in Warsaw was to reassure NATO allies that once were in the Soviet orbit that they could count on American support. In multiple public and private settings, he repeated his commitment to Article 5 of the NATO charter stating that an attack on any member was an attack on all.

    Polish officials had hoped for something more tangible. In an interview before Mr. Obama’s arrival, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski argued for a permanent American military base. “There are major bases in Britain, in Spain, in Portugal, in Greece, in Italy,” he said. “Why not here?”

    NATO and Russia signed an agreement in 1997 in which the Western alliance said it did not intend “additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces” in Eastern Europe. But Polish officials argued that Russia had effectively abrogated the agreement because it violated another provision barring “the threat or use of force” intended to violate the “sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence” of its neighbors.

    “Russia is testing the strength of the international system set up by the United States after World War II,” Mr. Sikorski said. “She tested it in Georgia, which was an implied ally of the United States. She has now tested it in Ukraine. And I don’t think we can discount the possibility that she will test it again. And therefore our security guarantees have to be credible, which is to say physically enforceable.”

    Sure, this is probably a major clusterF***, however it just seems that it’s taken over, when more important things are afoot.

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  10. RRM (9,471 comments) says:

    Even Democrats are now attacking Obama on this.

    Funny, I thought Democrats were at the forefront of wanting Gitmo shut down, and the political prisoners / abductees sent home.

    Now 5 of them are going home, and suddenly that’s a problem too?

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  11. dime (9,458 comments) says:

    pretty sure ive been in the cab owned by the guy second from the left.

    took his cab from showgirls to home a while back

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  12. questions (170 comments) says:

    If it was Bush or McCain or Romney doing this you’d all be singing their praises. You lot are all hopelessly partisan, no news story here.

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  13. niggly (799 comments) says:

    Putting to one side for a moment Obama’s incompetence in handling this issue, I do feel a little uncomfortable about Private Bergdahl being publically humiliated under the intense glare of a gleeful MSM. I mean for someone to supposedly desert, to the Taliban of all groups (i.e. not being known for treating westerners well e.g. beheadings etc), was Private Bergdahl suffering from post traumatic stress or does he have mental health issues? And it’s not like the guy was willingly used as a propaganda puppet was he all this time? I’m saying this in order to better understand Private Bergdahl’s state of mind (and perhaps the gutless MSM journos should get their useless lazy arses off to a war zone and see how they would cope).

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  14. Andrei (2,504 comments) says:

    The Poles are allowing themselves to be occupied by foreign troops.

    They have only managed to be an independant nation for 20 years out of the last 200 (1919 -1939)

    The empire needs a supply steady supply young educated Polish girls to serve as hotel maids in their imperial capitals.

    Decorum prevents me from telling the fate of uneducated young Eastern European women at the hands of the Godless evil empire

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  15. xy (152 comments) says:

    The same people who are bitching now were bitching about SOLDIERS BEING LEFT BEHIND before this happened.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/43450_Flashback!_1-2014-_PJ_Media_Encourages_Readers_to_Sign_Petition_to_Free_Bergdahl_By_Any_Means_Necessary/comments/#ctop

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  16. kowtow (7,636 comments) says:

    niggly

    If you’re uncomfortable with all the publicity ,again go back to Obummers incompetence.

    The WH wanted this as a PR coup. Initially arranged illegally behind Congress’ back but then everything else was done in the full glare of publicity. Deliberately.

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  17. andretti (127 comments) says:

    Fox news had 6 off Bergdahls army mates on and they all said he told them he was going,not only that but he also took alot of printed info with him.They all agreed that he should be court marshalled and even tried as a traitor.Releasing these 5 taleban men is unbelievable even the cia said the chances of them returning to wage war on the US was 9 out of 10.

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  18. dime (9,458 comments) says:

    “was Private Bergdahl suffering from post traumatic stress or does he have mental health issues?”

    translation – surely it wasn his fault! so what 6 of his mates died while looking for him, the poor guy was feeling blue!

    war is bad wah wah wah

    “If it was Bush or McCain or Romney doing this you’d all be singing their praises.”

    LMAO

    you sound like the partisan one. you cant seem to acknowledge what a total fuck up this was

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  19. andretti (127 comments) says:

    How many US soldiers lost their lives capturing these 5,id be more than pissed off if i had lost my son atempting to capture them just for Obama the idiot to simply let them return.I would think most Americans will not agree with Obama over this.Time will tell.

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  20. JMS (303 comments) says:

    Guantanamo was a waste of time from the beginning.
    Would be amazed if it has prevented a single terrorist attack on the USA.

    Not like there aren’t hundreds more of the same type wandering the planet freely.

    Ethnic/religious profiling, surveillance and targeted killings are the best approaches to take.

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  21. dime (9,458 comments) says:

    “Guantanamo was a waste of time from the beginning.
    Would be amazed if it has prevented a single terrorist attack on the USA.”

    urgh

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  22. goldnkiwi (994 comments) says:

    Watch out for more kidnappings and trades. A sad precedent that will end in more tears. Not sure what else one can do but this just encourages more of the same.

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  23. s.russell (1,564 comments) says:

    it does suggest the five to one trade was far too high.

    I am a bit shocked to read this from DPF. This is absolutely wrong. ANY price is too high. You should NEVER NEVER NEVER make any trade with terrorists – not even two cents for a banana.

    I am not a member of the Obama-is-Anti-Christ brigade. Like Huevon above I prefer the incompetence / left-wing idiocy theory, and think Republicans in general are just as loopy as Democrats (I weep for the US sometimes).

    But I am genuinely shocked and appalled by this trade. What was he thinking?

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  24. gump (1,488 comments) says:

    If they let five men go from Guantanamo, then it would seem that the US authorities don’t consider those men particularly dangerous.

    Which raises the rather obvious question – why were they being held in Guantanamo?

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  25. Fentex (867 comments) says:

    Complaining that people deal with their enemies is childish hysterics. The fools who whine about it are as likely to be the same as people who complain that soldiers are left behind by refusal to negotiate their fates.

    As for the people exchanged – some who fought with the Taliban in an internal civil war for control of Afghanistan who owed no duty to the U.S and who could face no charges there should be of no interest to a U.S that has (as it will soon) left Afghanistan.

    Using them constructively to retrieve a U.S citizen is a good and sensible way to resolve the pointlessness of keeping them locked up as participants in a battle for a country no longer occupied.

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  26. niggly (799 comments) says:

    @ kowtow,

    Yeah good points, the WH feeding the press and using Private Bergdahl as their PR pawn. Pretty disgusting.

    Well I guess if Private Bergdahl tops himself due to the MSM coverage, Obama ought to do the right thing and accept full responsibility and consider stepping down. (But will he)?

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  27. RRM (9,471 comments) says:

    I think it’s really cute, the way people sitting st their PCs curse and denounce soldiers who desert while on active duty like they have a clue.

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  28. Scott Chris (5,881 comments) says:

    Hell its a good deal if you consider the relative value most Americans place on human life.

    Currently trading 1 American = 21.34 Ay-rabs. /cynical

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  29. mara (726 comments) says:

    America used to be a Country deserving of respect but since the deluded masses elected Obama, not once but twice, America is now seen as a spent force and is widely ridiculed. Why would an American President do that? Republicans… grow some balls, and get rid of this pretender.

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  30. Crusader (279 comments) says:

    Obama is in his final term. The two-term limit has problems, i.e. you’ve got nothing to lose by being unpopular. You have no incentive to seek re-election.

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  31. big bruv (13,314 comments) says:

    “Decorum prevents me from telling the fate of uneducated young Eastern European women at the hands of the Godless evil empire”

    The odds would be that the men trading in this European slavery are very much men of God.

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  32. Manolo (13,380 comments) says:

    The greatest mystery on Earth: how a Kenyan managed to become POTUS?
    Poor Stephieboy must be devastated.

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  33. Ed Snack (1,738 comments) says:

    It’s more than just being a deserter, there’s at least some evidence (would need to be tested though) that he actively collaborated. Under which circumstances it wouldn’t be worth trading a bent nickel to get him back.

    However the real cluster-fuck in this is Obama’s tin ear. How could he possibly think that the details wouldn’t leak out about Bergdhal. And the Army has actively taken part in these political games, the non-disclosure agreements, the promotion, it simply stinks of incompetent PR management and spin.

    About the only thing I can think of, apart from proposing that Obama and his team real are that stupid as to imagine this would look good in any way, shape or form, is that this is a diversion ploy that’s gone horribly wrong. From Obama’s point of view, at least it’s got the VA “affair” off the front pages to a degree, and pissing off the military even more probably doesn’t bother the left anyway

    And this is noteworthy for another reason: in the 6 years he’s been in office, this is the first time that some real cracks are showing in the near monolithic support and cover that Obama’s had from the mainstream media. The only way he even got elected (and re-elected) was because the media decided that he was “the answer” and steadfastly refused to examine his qualifications for that role, they presumed the answer but never, ever, asked the questions. Once that cracks, Obama’s got to be absolute toast. And it will setback race relations in the US for decades because the only comeback the liberals have got is to make this a straight up case of overt racism. Only, that won’t fly like it did, but it will sure induce bitterness and hatred. Which may be the intention, who knows.

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  34. doggone7 (703 comments) says:

    If the critics of the release of the Taliban had their own son as the American to be swapped would their attitude be the same? I reckon most would swap 20 Taliban for their own son.

    How terribly easy it is to sit in our cosy little corner of the world and tell everyone else how they should be running it. And how they are cocking it up because they’re not doing it how we would like.

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  35. Southern Raider (1,587 comments) says:

    The father is frecky. He almost looks like what you would get if Osama bin Laden butt raped Billy Ray Cyrus

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  36. marcw (227 comments) says:

    One interesting point which somewhat reduces the significance of the 5:1 ratio is that most of the Guantanamo inmates who will not be charged (and that is many of them) will be required by law to be released next year anyway. The five hostage collaterals were in this category. So at most, it’s 1 American for a total 5 person years of continued imprisonment.

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  37. lilman (892 comments) says:

    Crap to this deal.
    Got news for R@m Ive served overseas and you dont desert your mates,EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  38. SHG (364 comments) says:

    Obama is so bad I hear he’s a Muslim AND an atheist!

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  39. gump (1,488 comments) says:

    @marcw

    That makes a lot more sense. Thanks for answering my question.

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  40. Gulag1917 (659 comments) says:

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and desertions, to be expected in wartime. Lot of armchair generals around who have got no idea of the realities of war.

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  41. Bingo99 (64 comments) says:

    DPF – your commentary and insights on NZ politics are second to none. But as usual, on international affairs, you’re wholly out of your depth and offer only the most superficial of analysis. This situation is a whole lot more complicated than presented. Oh and extremely depressing to see the armchair bigots come out to play on KB yet again.

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  42. stephieboy (2,190 comments) says:

    Manolo,
    I can’t help it if you sttill remain bitter and twisted post 14/11/ 2014 where “the Kenyan”contrary to Birther and tea bagger nutters expectations such as yourself he romped home.
    Note the US has often negotiated with Terrorists groups for POW exchanges as Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate.
    Israel e.g has often exchanged a thousand Palestinians foe one of their own as in 2011.
    Yes, it could be seen as a grave error on Obama’s part but we await to here Bergdahl’s side of the story.

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  43. tom hunter (4,429 comments) says:

    If they let five men go from Guantanamo, then it would seem that the US authorities don’t consider those men particularly dangerous.

    Their relevant details are here, and here’s an even briefer précis for three of them:

    Mullah Mohammad Fazl (Taliban army chief of staff): Fazl is wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites.

    Mullah Norullah Noori (senior Taliban military commander): Like Fazl, Noori is wanted by the United Nations for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims.

    Abdul Haq Wasiq (Taliban deputy minister of intelligence): Wasiq arranged for al Qaeda members to provide crucial intelligence training prior to 9/11. The training was headed by Hamza Zubayr, an al Qaeda instructor who was killed during the same September 2002 raid that netted Ramzi Binalshibh, the point man for the 9/11 operation.

    They seem plenty dangerous to me. It would be more precise to say that the US authorities in the form of Obama and his staff don’t think they’re dangerous, but we’re far past the point where the administration’s competence and judgement can be trusted.

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  44. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Obama is no different to any other left-wing politician. They will shit on anyone of substance, in support of their pathetic ideals.

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  45. ross001 (124 comments) says:

    @Rex

    Yes it is racist. But being a racist is almost a pre-requisiste to be a member of Winston First.

    You and others seem to be unaware that Guantanamo Bay is likely to be shut down at the end of the year when the US withdraws from Afghanistan. In other words, any prisoners still there will likely be freed at that time. So, these five Taleban were released about six months early. A pretty small concession considering the payoff.

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  46. ross001 (124 comments) says:

    Tom,

    What you seem to be saying is that 3 of the released men should have had their day in court. Instead they have been held without charge for the last 12 years…

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  47. tom hunter (4,429 comments) says:

    Actually I think all five of them should have been shot at dawn on the Afghan battlefields, but I guess this way Obama will at least drone their ass at some point.

    Of course they could have been processed through a military tribunal but for Obama’s delusional desire to put them through US civil courts. Yet another failure of competence as his own party rose against him when he tried to bring Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to New York.

    And what is this crap about Guantanamo Bay being shut down at the end of 2014? Yet another Hope and Change dream that’s still alive? It’s existence was not predicated on the Afghan war. There are jihadists in there who’ve been captured in many other places as well.

    Complaining that people deal with their enemies is childish hysterics.

    It’s how people deal with their enemies that is at question here. Rumsfeld was sent to shake hands with Saddam in the mid-1980′s. Goff held hands with Arrafat. More recently John Kerry had a lovely dinner with Bashar Assad when he thought he was a man who could help resolve the Middle East situation, and there are other examples of diplomatic hope being raised above hard facts about murderous assholes.

    In any war that ends there are exchanges of POW’s, but as with many other aspects of international law, the existence of groups like the Taliban screw all that up. They’re not the government of Afghanistan and have not been for a long time. They were, and remain, in bed with Al Queada. I’m not saying that they do not have to be dealt with – their existence is a hard fact also – but nobody should be kidding themselves that this will lead to anything peaceful. Like the Israeli prisoner exchanges this was more about political objectives than hostage negotiation – and as unlikely to be productive. I don’t blame the Israelis for their actions either but you’d have to be delusional to think it would make a difference.

    In any case, such discussions should not distract from the main point of this thread, which is the Obama administration’s almost obtuse incompetence in handling this and the eerie similarities it has with all his other clusterfucks – primarily that these clowns never shifted off their backsides to look into the details of Bergdahl, his capture, his dingbat father or much else before they decided to go for the dog and pony show at the Whitehouse.

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  48. Twocan (24 comments) says:

    As someone who is regularly on your side of the fence DPF your analysis of the situation here is poor. I have followed the events etc and quoting the WSJ and Mad is a poor way to create an argument. There are the shrill fox news presenters/pundits having a crack yet retired 4 star generals (who have been active in afghan) and republican members of the house who are not joining the criticism in their view on the statement. To categorically state that this creates 2.5 years of hard legislative slog for Obama is just bizarre from someone who is usually politically astute. Let the story come out in full and discover the reasons for the soldiers unusual actions. The above posts discussing mental state and the effects contain far better and pertinent analysis than this tripe.

    This is the sort of rubbish that comes from the far left regarding war, these are human beings putting their life on the line for the worlds security in extreme circumstances we can not hope to understand and you want to join the fox news nuts in writing them off without waiting for any solid facts? Poor form.

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  49. tom hunter (4,429 comments) says:

    I have followed the events etc and quoting the WSJ and Mad is a poor way to create an argument.

    The snark of Mad was perfectly acceptable to Obama supporters during the Bush years, in fact they gloried in it and took no notice of the few who complained that such attacks were pathetic. As in so many other aspects of Obama’s presidency this is sauce for the goose.

    As far as the WSJ and FoxNews are concerned they’re hardly the only ones, with normally solid media supporters of Obama ripping him for this whole debacle, as shown by the following WaPo article which directly addresses the point of “discussing mental state and the effects”:

    It is difficult to believe that the president actually understood last weekend the enormity of what he had done. All the details of how Bergdahl left his unit may have to be teased out in the setting of a court martial, but it has long been known that he was a malcontent who had sent his belongings home well before the day in June 2009 when he left his unit in Afghanistan, that he wrote that the army he served in was a “joke” and that he was ashamed to be an American. Was the president perhaps not aware that desertion is an act viewed with such seriousness under the Uniform Code of Military Justice that in wartime it can carry the death penalty?

    That is entirely “pertinent analysis” rather than “tripe.”. Similarly there were articles in the Daily Mail in 2010 from an interview with a named Taliban leader where he claimed that Bergdahl was helping them out with information, plus the Rolling Stone article of two years ago where Hastings – a true font-line reporter who paid with his life for that role – clearly had the sources who are now angrily speaking out about Bergdahl and defying their Non-Disclosure Agreements the military had them sign to keep them quiet.

    These are human beings putting their life on the line for the worlds security in extreme circumstances we can not hope to understand and you want to join the fox news nuts in writing them off without waiting for any solid facts? Poor form.

    Pfft. This sort of rubbish is typical of craven Obama supporters, who are happy to claim such a defence for Bergdahl at the same time they talk about how these comrades of Bergdahl are “swift-boating” him, are “not credible witnesses” and are possibly symptomatic of the pathologies and poor unit leadership that led to Bergdahl’s discontent. All because they turned up on Foxnews, at least before other networks decided the story could no longer be ignored.

    But tell me again about how we cannot hope to understand the motivations and issues of human beings who put their lives on the line. Poor form all right.

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  50. Yoza (1,547 comments) says:

    Oliver North’s criticism has got to be the most enjoyable aspect of this fiasco. Ollie North criticising one administration for swapping 5 alleged terrorists – they haven’t been tried and found guilty of anything – for one alleged deserter, if you can accept the premise that a sane person from a first world country would desert his post to live in the kind of abject hand-to-mouth subsistence poverty that is characteristic of the average Afghan’s lot, the same Ollie North who was pivotal in swapping/selling thousands of missiles and parts for hostages with Iran then using that cash to fund cocaine fuelled Contra death-squads in Nicaragua under the auspices of a previous administration.

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  51. Fentex (867 comments) says:

    I don’t know much about this affair, this post on Kiwiblog was the first I heard of it.

    It occurs to me that if the recovered person had some value other than just being a U.S soldier (or citizen), that perhaps he was an attempt at inserting a mole or is thought to be an intelligence asset or some other reason then critics might accept it was a good idea.

    Thinking about that raised the question of why assume there is no good reason to retrieve the person at some cost? Isn’t making decisions like this the purpose of an executive command?

    If a staunch Republican President did it (as many have done similar things in the past) I suspect they would be given benefits of doubt as making harsh choices on behalf of the U.S.

    But not this President, and the rationales made about why he can’t be trusted seem to be references to other decisions derided for similar reasons. It seems tiresome partisan allegiances than considered opinions.

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  52. wahior (8 comments) says:

    Cunning move from Obama. Couldn’t have offed them while in Gitmo. Now they’re drone fodder.

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  53. Ed Snack (1,738 comments) says:

    I see the usual Obama apologists are indeed out in force. One can indeed debate the wisdom of the move itself, ransoming Bergdhal, and whether or not Bergdhal suffered some form of mental illness etc and still acknowledge the incredibly cack handed “lets celebrate Bergdhal as a returning war hero” narrative that the administration tried to foster. That’s the real cluster-fuck.

    There seems little doubt that Bergdhal effectively deserted, the only issue could be was he so affected by stress or a related condition that he was unaccountable for his actions. Did he collaborate, that’s less clear. We have the Taliban comment that he did but that could be misdirection as odd as that might be if they valued him as a bargaining chip for the release of their people held by the USA. After all, would the US really want to trade senior Taliban commanders for an acknowledged traitor ?

    But people are noticing, this administration is so incompetent that they thought that the press would, as usual, roll over for them and play along with the narrative. Maybe, at last, that worm is turning.

    The perception the press creates can be very powerful, witness the enduring fake turkey and “mission accomplished” memes about G W Bush, both were lies created by press partisans to smear Bush, but both were widely repeated and became at the time, the accepted truth. Just for those “bitter clingers”, the turkey was real, and “mission accomplished” referred specifically to the Aircraft Carrier that Bush was visiting at the time which had just completed the first ever 2 year combat assignment, and it was that specific mission that had been accomplished.

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  54. goldnkiwi (994 comments) says:

    Considering the 5 + 1 in the picture are we sure that the 1 weasel it refers to is the kidnapee? This is MAD after all.

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  55. tom hunter (4,429 comments) says:

    Cartoonist Michael Ramirez is brutal with his take on Obama as Patton

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  56. Fentex (867 comments) says:

    If they let five men go from Guantanamo, then it would seem that the US authorities don’t consider those men particularly dangerous.

    I wondered about this, the argument that the price was too high. It is a separate point to childish complaints about dealing with foes, and it is one that can conceivably be true.

    That the bag included, from the Taliban organization, a provincial governor, a deputy defence minister, a deputy intelligence minister, arms smuggler and military commander is not much to concern the U.S.

    The U.S has conceded they can’t succeed in Afghanistan and will shortly not be fighting the Taliban, and as Taliban members owed no duty to the U.S simply being one is no crime against the U.S. Getting rid of them only helps the U.S deal withv the problems of Gitmo.

    The claim that two of them are wanted by the U.N for crimes against humanity I find odd. If that’s true, and the U.S had them, and the claim was known, why weren’t they on trial in the Hague? Why hadn’t the U.N taken them to the ICC? Why wouldn’t the U.S hand them over, surely successful prosecution of crimes would engender support for U.S claims of fighting a good fight?

    I find it suspicious to claim “the U.N wants them” and for them not to have been on trial. So I went looking for the indictment that is implied by claims “the U.N wants them”.

    I cannot find such. I find reports that they are suspects in investigations into probable crimes, such as a 1998 massacre of some 8,000 Shi’ites (it is said in a purge ordered in part by Noori, then governor of Balkh). Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch appear to be trying to make a case against them.

    I find some repeated reports that “A classified U.S. Department of Defense document, prepared in February 2008, said Mr. Noori, a farmer and tailor by trade, was wanted by the United Nations for war crimes, “including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims.”

    A problem with “classified” reports is they aren’t open for investigation and analysis, and reported as hear-say they are easily out of context.

    I think it’s clear that a lot of people wish to try Taliban, Noori included, probably others in this bag from Gitmo, for crimes in the manner the International Criminal Court was constituted to deal with.

    And it seems clear to me there is a strong case, in particular against Noori.

    I don’t know why the U.S didn’t make him, and others available to the ICC. I suspect it was all about internal U.S politics, and issues caused by their refusal to submit to the court out of fear their own crimes would hang themselves.

    It seems like another problem caused by not being willing to uphold rule by law from the beginning.

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  57. tom hunter (4,429 comments) says:

    It seems like another problem caused by not being willing to uphold rule by law from the beginning.

    Law loves being interpreted:

    According to the memo, our “constitutional structure requires that any ambiguity in the allocation of a power that is executive in nature must be resolved in favor of the executive branch.”

    If only Jay Carney had had this explained to him last year:

    Q Jay, going to back to Afghanistan, the Taliban has offered to release Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five members of the Taliban who are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. Is this something that the administration is considering? Is this something that the President would agree to?

    MR. CARNEY: What I can tell you is that the main dialogue that we support is the dialogue between Afghans — between the Taliban and the Afghan government. However, there are some issues that we would like to discuss with the Taliban directly, and this includes the safe return of Sergeant Bergdahl, who has been gone for far too long.

    We continue to call for and work toward his safe and immediate release. We cannot discuss all the details of our efforts, but there should be no doubt that on a daily basis we are continuing to pursue — using our military, intelligence and diplomatic tools — the effort to return him home safely. And our hearts are with the Bergdahl family.

    With regard to the transfer of Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, we have made — the United States has not made the decision to do that, though we do expect the Taliban to raise this issue in our discussion, if and when those discussions happen.

    As we have long said, however, we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.

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