Monday, June 02, 2014

More Bergdahl

The stories coming out on the sergeant and his father are pegging the weird-stuff-o-meter.  From CBS News:
"But most of all, I'm proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people and what you were willing to do to go to that length," Bob Bergdahl said, choking up as his spoke. "I'll say it again: I'm so proud of how far you were willing to go to help the Afghan people. And I think you have succeeded. He did not explain what he meant by his comments.
Go help the people?  Succeeded?  Well, one explanation could be that he thinks his son deserted to help the Taliban, which would in turn help Afghan children by stopping us from 'air raiding villages and killing civilians' or the like.  Guess it depends on the meaning of "Afghan people".

It's tempting to jump full monty into thinking the worst here, but maybe there's a surprise ending.  Is it possible the father played a role, pretending to have sympathy and talking about getting prisoners out of GTMO or pandering to the "Islamic Emirate" to keep his slim hopes alive for his son's return, while son was playing a role to save his skin?  Yes.  Then again, the stuff coming from some soldiers makes it seem less likely:
"I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on," said former Sergeant Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl's platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. "Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him."
It's hard to believe the son was playing a role if he walked off the base in that fashion.  Surely he wasn't acting on behalf of the intel agencies--losing other soldiers in the pursuit of finding him just to keep his cover protected would be outrageous.  It's certainly possible he was just a confused peacenik who realized he was a peacenik when he got to Afghan then checked out, not directly wanting to assist any enemies.  Maybe dad is still playing a role hoping the military will go easy.  But did he really need to open his comments with Arabic (or Pashto)?  

If Bergdahl is indeed a deserter who deliberately turned on America and was exchanged for 5 serious Taliban terrorists then the Saturday photo-op at the White House was one shameful event.  Not that such a thing is surprising-- it fits in with his overall philosophy of outreached hands to our foreign enemies and dovetails with the West Point speech and his overall promise to "end the war responsibly", which requires negotiating with terrorists not named "the GOP".  This, despite past words....
The central front in the war against terror is not Iraq, and it never was. What more could America's enemies ask for than an endless war where they recruit new followers and try out new tactics on a battlefield so far from their base of operations?
That is why my presidency will shift our focus. Rather than fight a war that does not need to be fought, we need to start fighting the battles that need to be won on the central front of the war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
....words used to win an election so he could downsize the imperialistic military and transform America into the kind of socialist Utopia his father dreamed about, as discussed in the D'Souza movie.  He previewed what ending a war in the 21st century looks like to the cadets the other day; funny, it looks just like losing.  A new fight lies ahead--battling global warming. 

While it would have been hard to imagine the current state of affairs back in 2001, negotiating with the guys who helped AQ pull off 9/11, at least we got bin Laden and took out the terrorist government of Saddam Hussein.  Mughniyah and Arafat are gone, along with Saleh and Gaddafy.  Gaddafy's nuke program was smashed and some of Assad's WMDs are gone.  All that yellowcake sitting in Iraq has been moved. KSM is in lockup.  So there were some successes.  At the same time Iran is worse and Pakistan is no worse, while AQ has spread out far and wide.  We're considerably deeper in debt and unable to project as much power for good.  The populace is detached and divided.  The mother of all battles has yet to be decided, outside of Washington DC at least.  

At any rate, the questions will continue coming in--not about the VA scandal, which has now largely been erased from the headlines.  Not about the blowing of cover of the Kabul CIA Station Chief--that's under an internal investigation even though they know exactly who did it.  If Bergdahl wasn't a hero that will be bad, but it won't matter that Obama broke the law to get him out because like everything else, nothing will result.  The age of accountability ended on January 21, 2009.   There's still plenty of time left before it starts again.

MORE  6/2/14

Carney is on the air right now being grilled with marshmallow questions about all of this--of course he's rationalizing and saying that there's 'ample precedent' for such a thing in 'armed conflict'.  In other words, these morons somehow consider the war in Afghanistan somehow different than the overall GWoT.  That's a scary thought.

But here's another thought bubble.  If the administration didn't mind sending five Talibanis to Qatar in exchange for a possible deserter, why would they have any problem trading Ramzi Yousef, KSM or the Blind Sheikh if there were other questionable characters to bring back home?   Yousef claims he converted to Christianity, so surely Qatar could assure us he wouldn't go back to war again. 

MORE  6/3/14

This entire event is astounding, jaw dropping, really.  The administration spent the day arguing that this was not a hostage-terrorist situation, but a 'prisoner swap' in an 'armed conflict' and that the law was skirted due to a threat to Bergdahl.  That presumes a few things.

One, that this 'armed conflict' really has nothing to do with terrorism at all, it's just some war over there somewhere.  That's how Obama wants the vast Kardashian middle to see it, therefore he can end it without people feeling like we're still threatened--after all, the Taliban never attacked us!  That's like saying the Italians never attacked us in World War Two.

Two, if this was a 'prisoner' swap that means we just swapped "enemy combatants" (State Dept's designation) for a prisoner of war.  Does that mean the war on terror is actually a war, and are enemy combatants now just like regular combatants?

Three, the administration keeps referring to Sgt Bergdahl "getting the care he needs" at VA/DoD facilities.  How weird, coming only a day after General Shinseki was fired from the VA for allowing a scandal about other veterans (presumably not deserters) not getting the care they needed. 

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