There’s a lot of dirt on the prisoner swap wherein President Obama traded the Taliban All-Star team for Bergdahl, who deserted his post and might very well have collaborated with the enemy, over the weekend.
Including a major question this morning involving two pieces of information which can’t be squared.
First was Susan Rice’s appearance on the Sunday shows, where she made the claim that Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction.” Now, anything Susan Rice says can be immediately dismissed as a lie – she made that bed in the aftermath of Benghazi when she claimed a pre-planned military assault complete with mortar fire was a protest sparked by a YouTube video. But why would Rice make a point of treating Bergdahl as a hero when the evidence is incontrovertible that he walked off his post in the middle of a war (which fulfills the definition of treason, by the way)?
She can’t say “I didn’t know.” Neither can the administration.
Because there is this…
Commanders on the ground debated whether to pull the trigger on a rescue several times in recent years, according to one of the sources, a former high-level intelligence official in Afghanistan, who said the conclusion each time was that the prospect of losing highly trained troops was too high a price to pay for rescuing a soldier who walked away from his unit before being captured by the enemy.
A second source told The Washington Times that the rescue operation plans were “high risk” and became even less attractive in recent months when officials in the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command grew convinced that the Taliban and the militant Haqqani network, whose operatives were holding Sgt. Bergdahl, were eager to cut a deal for his release.
“Joint Special Operations Command always had the rescue mission on the table and it was entirely under their ownership, but the big question centered on whether Bergdahl was somebody you risk lives for when you still have time and space to maneuver diplomatically,” said the source, a high-level congressional aide, who, like the former intelligence official, spoke only on the condition of anonymity.
The aide also said there was frustration among some on Capitol Hill that the Obama administration had botched an opportunity to exert leverage over the Taliban, particularly since the U.S. military could have used force to secure Sgt. Bergdahl’s release.
“The prisoner swap was being built up as the only option that was available. But there’s been knowledge of the general vicinity of where Bergdahl was, down to how many guys were guarding him,” said the aide.
Punctuated by this…
The aide said military officials in Afghanistan spent recent months pushing for a stronger deal than was ultimately struck, but were “superseded” by the White House and State Department. The aide would not comment on what the parameters of a “stronger” deal may have looked like, beyond saying they would have involved the Pakistani government.
The former intelligence official who spoke with The Times corroborated that assertion but declined to offer further details, saying only that the deal turned out the way it did because “the administration wanted to close the door on this no matter what the price was.”
Why would Susan Rice characterize Bergdahl as a hero?
A Defense Department staffer writing under the pseudonym “Joseph Miller” penned a piece yesterday at the Daily Caller savaging the administration for the political quality of the Bergdahl trade. If he’s right, the magnitude of the scandal here can’t be oversold…
When CNN’s Candy Crowley asked National Security Advisor Susan Rice if the U.S. had negotiated with terrorists, Rice once again proved she shouldn’t be allowed on Sunday shows when she said no, because the United States had negotiated the deal through Qatar. But a child can understand that the Qataris passing our messages to the Taliban — and vice versa — makes the Qataris no different than a telephone or email service. We were negotiating with the Haqqanis no matter how you try to spin it.
And when asked why the administration failed to notify Congress about the Guantanamo Bay prison transfer despite U.S. law requiring the administration to notify Congress 30 days in advance of any transfer of prisoners from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, she said it was because they were worried it would jeopardize the deal.
So Rice and the administration were afraid that congressmen exercising their oversight might object to the release of five battle-hardened terrorists and suspected war criminals, or that the deal could leak. So instead, the administration chose to willfully violate U.S. law by not informing Congress.
And as for fears of a leak, the administration informed members of Congress about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden before it took place — something far more sensitive in terms of intelligence resources. Rice did, however, let us know that the administration had seen fit to consult with the Department of Justice about the deal.
It also appears that the five Taliban all-stars Obama traded for Bergdahl weren’t all he gave up to get him back…
In late July of 2013 there was a release of 5 Guantanamo detainees as a good will gesture to the Taliban. In other words, they got five of their people back and we got the right to open peace talks with them. Do you find that the least bit submissive? It was not widely reported, because compared to the news of that time it seemed relatively insignificant.
I had somewhat forgotten about this release and stumbled upon it by accident in our site archives. But in light of the Obama Administration trading five very dangerous Taliban leaders for a traitorous American deserter who once told his father that he was ashamed to be an American, I think this is very important.
Whether it supports the view of many, that Obama is a secret Muslim and terrorist sympathizer, or if it just proves that he is an incompetent idiot, the math is pretty clear. We released ten Taliban terrorists and got nothing but a liability in return.
The president has characterized this as “what happens at the end of a war,” meaning that since we’re winding down our presence in Afghanistan it’s time to exchange prisoners with the enemy.
That’s problematic. We’re not at war with the government of a country in Afghanistan. In fact, the administration didn’t even consult with the Afghan government before the release of the five Taliban All-Stars over the weekend. They also didn’t consult with Congress. They just did a deal with the Qataris, who are the only country in the world hosting a diplomatic mission from the Taliban (telling you where their sympathies lie), that nobody else either in our government or among our allies would have been happy with.
Furthermore, we’re not going to have a peace treaty with the Taliban. None of the people involved on their side will agree to stop trying to kill Americans. And frankly, if we will bargain with them for a deserter, why shouldn’t they snatch American diplomats or businessmen in Islamabad or Istanbul or Sana’a?
You’d want to think this scandal would be Obama’s undoing. It won’t be. It should be, but the administration has a formula for getting off the hook after the public discovers its abuse and misdeeds. It doesn’t matter what the scandal is. Obama has the magic solution on how to ride it out. There are three acts to each of these plays…
1. Express shock and anger at the existence of the problem, which you’re going to see now that Rice put down a marker with Bergdahl being a hero – as contrary evidence tumbles out you’ll see the administration swear to investigate the situation and have a full accounting of Bergdahl’s record which they already know is that of a deserter;
2. Distract the public by starting an argument over some new effort at giveaways to an influential Democrat constituency – yesterday we heard about his new war on the power grid; the global warming nuts have a fresh reason to defend Obama, and if that’s not enough there is no shortage of Obama giveaways to his people in the pipeline; and
3. Blame the entire fiasco on unfeeling, racist Republicans – this Bergdahl mess will undoubtedly be laid down as a function of the sequester, plus there will be charges of Islamophobia and attacks on GOP hawks who “want to keep us in Afghanistan forever.”
That three-step dance has allowed him to survive each of his previous scandals and it would be surprising if it won’t work to insure he survives this one.
And Obama and his people know it. The Bergdahl mess might insure he loses the midterms, but he’ll still have a pen and a phone and a tee time every Saturday.