On Saturday, May 31, 2014, President Barack Obama announced the exchange of five senior Taliban terrorists for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the lone American prisoner of war in the Afghanistan war. In doing so he violated the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 – a law that he himself signed into law.
It is this Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl:
“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. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american.[sic] The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.
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“In the US army you are cut down for being honest… but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank… The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools…I am sorry for everything here. 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, that they have no idea how to live. We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks… We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them…I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting…There are a few more boxes coming to you guys. Feel free to open them, and use them.” [From a June 25, 2009 e-mail to his parents.]
This Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl:
“If this deployment is lame, I’m just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan.” [From Michael Hastings, America’s Last Prisoner of War and retrieved by Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone.]
But this is less about Mr. Bergdahl and whether he is a deserter, traitor or unfortunate victim. This is about Mr. Obama – vintage Mr. Obama. Not one thing said by Mr. Obama in this whole affair is true. Mr. Obama has lied again – and again – and seemingly without ability to discern the difference between the world as he would believe it and the reality of the world as it is.
The aforementioned National Defense Authorization Act requires the president to notify Congress at least thirty days in advance of the release of any terrorist prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Obama did not – that is a lie of omission.
Mr. Obama justified his failure to notify by citing exigent – but undefined – circumstances. However, subsequent information indicated that the negotiations with the Taliban had been underway for over two years – hardly anything exigent. Mr. Obama lied.
Mr. Obama, through his press secretary Jay Carney, said that the Congress would, in fact, be notified prior to any prisoner exchange involving Mr. Bergdahl. This was said during the period in which active negotiations to obtain this exchange were occurring. Mr. Obama lied – he never intended to notify Congress.
Mr. Obama introduced further justification for his failure to notify by citing his “signing statement” of the National Defense Authorization Act complaining that it interfered with his executive authority as Commander in Chief. Mr. Obama, as a self-proclaimed constitutional expert should know that such “signing statements’ are self-aggrandizing and do not alter the plain meaning of the language. (In reality there are better “constitutional scholars” in high school freshman history classes than Mr. Obama.) Mr. Obama lied – an act of self-deception.
Mr. Obama suggested that Mr. Bergdahl was in danger of eminent execution by the Taliban. He presented no evidence in support of this claim and what is known about Mr. Bergdahl’s time with the Taliban – five years – suggests that he had a relatively friendly relationship, that he spoke Pashto, he participated in sports with his captors and that he enjoyed the status of a “propaganda tool” much more than he constituted a threat to the Taliban. Mr. Obama lied.
Mr. Obama suggested that Mr. Bergdahl was in ill health and in need of medical attention. He offered nothing to support this notion and, in fact, when Mr. Bergdahl was returned, observers indicated that he appeared to be in good condition considering the life of deprivation that people who live in caves and under rocks normally experience. Mr. Obama lied.
Mr. Obama suggested that the five senior Taliban terrorists did not constitute a threat to national security and that their location and activities were known and closely monitored in Qatar. Qatar is friendly territory for the Taliban terrorists. Their “supervised” period will be no longer than twelve months and, in truth, can end at anytime they, or any one of them, chose to steal off into the night and rejoin the Taliban forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The United States does not possess the ability to monitor them once they leave Qatar – and minimally while they are there. Once into the wilds of the Afghani/Pakistani border areas they will become as invisible as the rest of the Taliban leadership. The ability of the United States under Mr. Obama to surveil and control these terrorists is best measured by the fact that not a single person involved in the killing of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi has yet to be arrested and brought to justice. Mr. Obama lied. These five terrorist have been released without actual conditions upon the world and will, like so many others released from Guantanamo, return to the world of terrorism quickly.
Mr. Obama has suggested that these terrorists would have to be released in twelve to twenty four months anyway because the Geneva Convention requires release of prisoners of war after cessation of the conflict. This is in direct contravention to previous assertions by Mr. Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder that these prisoners are not combatants but common criminals who must be tried in civilian courts. If they are criminals the Geneva accords are inapplicable and their release was not required. Mr. Obama lied – a lie of convenience and duplicity.
The saga of Mr. Bergdahl and his culpability will continue for sometime. What the outcome of that saga will be is anyone’s guess. But there is one constant that you can be assured will continue. Whatever Mr. Obama says in furtherance of this melodrama will not be the truth. Mr. Obama is a documented and undeterred liar.
This country deserves better – a lot better.
Mr. Obama would have better served the nation by telling the truth. He should have acknowledged that Mr. Bergdahl’s departure from his post in Afghanistan raised serious questions and that the Army would pursue its investigation without interference or encouragement from the White House. He should not have invented excuses about Mr. Bergdahl’s safety or health but rather simply stated that he was the lone prisoner of war left as hostilities end in Afghanistan and that he was determined to not leave him behind regardless of his status. He should have acknowledged that the five terrorists released were dangerous and would likely return to the world of terror but that was the price to pay to secure the lone prisoner of war. And he should have promised that the moment that the prisoners left Qatar and/or reconnected with the Taliban that he would secure their demise at the earliest opportunity. That’s what a leader would do – but that is as far from Mr. Obama as is honesty.