More than a week has transpired since the trade of Bowe Bergdahl for five top-ranking Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. Information and commentary has made all the circuits. The dust has begun to settle on the event and initial comments.
This commentary is not about the status of Bowe Bergdal – whether POW, MIA, AWOL, deserter or traitor; I hope the Army Criminal Investigations Division and Judge Advocate General conducts a detailed investigation and determination. Additionally, this is not about whether Guantanamo Bay Detention Center should be closed.
This commentary – like my other commentaries – is about the continued blatant disregard for the law of our land – our Constitution.
The two key points to this commentary are simple: 1) “negotiating with terrorists”; and 2) “no soldier gets left behind on the battlefield.”
Let me be clear – there has been, continues to be, and this incident makes clear – grounds for impeachment. Impeachment is a two-pronged process: 1) House of Representatives draws up articles of impeachment; and 2) Senate hears the impeachment process. The House presents their articles and tries them before the Senate as jury, and the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court presiding. Our Country will always be further divided by an impeachment process; however, a house divided can be saved – a house burned to the ground, as Rome burned, is gone forever.
Our country initiated a response to 9/11 to remove the Taliban from being unelected government of Afghanistan (1996, think coup d’état) to restoring an elected government. Without going into the issues of the seated government, let’s simply adhere to the premise that the Taliban is not the government of Afghanistan, never legitimately was or recognized, and Afghanistan has an elected government. Moreover, the Taliban and its members are on the US terrorist groups list. War is legally defined as between legitimate countries and governments, as are prisoners of war. Because of the 10-plus year War on Terror, recognizing both the actors and prisoners in war has become difficult and changed legal meanings.
Then PFC Bowe Bergdahl was reported missing from his Afghanistan post in 2009. In 2010 a US Army investigation concluded he deserted his post. He has remained the last US service member in captivity from the war on terror in Afghanistan. Was he a soldier left behind, or a deserter? That will be conclusive at a later time. For this commentary, his status as a prisoner of war is recognized.
The US has had a long standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists. By definition, terrorists cannot negotiate. They further their unjust causes through terrorizing people. That is how the Taliban came to be in power, and it is why they remain an enemy.
The US has also had a long standing military ethos of leaving no soldier behind. Soldiers have also had an ethos to not be traded for terrorists.
To negotiate with terrorists is to empower them. That is how the Taliban remained in power, and it is why they were removed. To have negotiated further gives them the recognition of the authority that the war was to have stripped them of.
The process of securing the release of Bowe Bergdahl became a priority when “Due to a near-term opportunity to save Sergeant Bergdahl’s life, we moved as quickly as possible. The administration determined that given these unique and exigent circumstances, such a transfer should go forward notwithstanding the notice requirement of the NDAA.” This requirement is a 30 day notice to the Congress of actions by the president, including prisoner exchange.
What was Bowe Bergdahl’s health concerns giving rise to exigent circumstances? How was that of more consideration than five high-ranking terrorist leaders? This is not to say that Bowe Bergdahl’s life was not worth saving or negotiating for. It is to say that when these terrorist leaders are free to return to the battlefield, they will endeavor to take the lives of more US soldiers. Of course, the terms of the release were that they would be confined to the borders of Qatar for a year. Well, that’s comforting. Remember when England negotiated with Libya to release the dying terrorist responsible for the Pan Am flight bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland? Yeah, he was in really bad health at the time of his release. The five terrorists were also greeted as heroes and the US continues to weaken.
-- President Barack Obama – some know who he is and what he represents, many still do not – or at least will not accept it.
After his initial statements, this is what the president had to say, “I make no apologies for it. It was a unanimous decision among my principals in my government, and a view that was shared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is something I would do again and will continue to do whenever I have an opportunity.” [underscored emphasis added]. We have not heard from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we have heard from former members. I certainly hope this was not unanimous – or even one vote of support – by them.
-- Sen. Lindsay Graham – a GOP (Getting Obviously Progressive) is reported to have said ‘If Obama pulls this again, there will be impeachment talk.’ First thought is, ‘AGAIN’?!; but…
What he actually said was, “It’s going to be impossible for them to flow prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay now without a huge backlash. There will be people on our side calling for his impeachment if he did that.” Graham did not say he would talk of impeachment, just some on his side would (his side, which side - he is most often Progressive leaning, but he calls himself a Republican).
-- Susan Rice – is the National Security Advisor, and has been during each scandal of this administration. She is the first to be sent out to inform the public of the position of the administration, as it relates to how the public is group think how events unfolded.
She was directly asked, "Did the US negotiate with terrorists for his release?” To which she responded, “…what we did was ensure that, as always, the United States doesn’t leave a man or woman on the battlefield. In order to do this, it’s very important for folks to understand, if we got into a situation where we said because of who has captured an American soldier on the battlefield, we will leave that person behind. We would be in a whole new era for the safety of our personnel and for the nature of our commitment to our men and women in uniform. So, because it was the Taliban that had him did not mean that we had any less of an obligation to bring him back.”
The Taliban is not the government of Afghanistan, never legitimately was or recognized, and Afghanistan has an elected government. Moreover, the Taliban and its members are on the US terrorist groups list. Rice was reminded of this, to which she responded, “We actually negotiated with the government of Qatar, to whom we owe a great debt.”
-- Hillary Clinton – was the Secretary of State during the 9/11/2012 attacks on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Four US citizens were left to die – the Ambassador to Libya and three operators holding down as best they could, their Alamo.
Hillary Clinton was asked if a deal was made with the devil. She responded with, “I think this was a very hard choice… If you look at what the factors were going into the decision, of course there are competing interests and values. And one of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can. It doesn't matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation…we bring our people home.”
First, this latest scandal is the predicted result to distract from the multitude of more serious scandals impacting our Country. I am not diminishing one soldier’s captivity – regardless of circumstances. I am asking why it is so easy to have one event about one person take away from the reality in which we find ourselves.
The two key points, as taken by many, from this commentary are simple: 1) “negotiating with terrorists”; and 2) “no soldier gets left behind on the battlefield.”
I believe the president has the power and duty to act in the release of prisoners of war – or any captive of any military action. That power and duty must fall within specific parameters, whether Congress is notified or not - exigency has not been defined in the applicable law. For purposes of this commentary, let’s simplify this to three things: 1) a soldier in captivity (status unknown); 2) a recognized terrorist group; and 3) five recognized high-ranking terrorist leaders. The latter two are the key – the US does not negotiate with terrorists and no president has the authority to negotiate with terrorists, whether in unanimous agreement by 'his principles in his government or not'.
These negotiations involved Qatar, perhaps an ally – but all countries will always be beholden to and complicit with their counterparts. Susan Rice would now have us believe that foreign countries tell us what to do. That the US did not know five senior Taliban terrorists would be traded. Regardless of an intervening party, terrorists were negotiated with and sworn enemies were released to return to the battlefield.
We cannot forget that Hillary Clinton is the media favorite to run on the Democrat ticket for president. This would be her second round; her first officially. Recalling that as a very forgiving First Lady, she set the precedent for the current First Lady in making policy recommendations and decisions as if elected to office. “We bring our people home.” To her it doesn’t matter if it’s in body bags or not, or if the terrorists are given aid and comfort.
Listen closely to what is being said about this prisoner trade...
"His father, Bob Bergdahl, spoke a few phrases in Pashtun, saying that his son is having trouble speaking English after his captivity in Afghanistan, according to a military press service."
-- I haven't heard of any POW forgetting their native language. Sen. McCain was broken, but he didn't speak only Vietnamese.
Secretary of Defense Hagel was asked if this prisoner exchange could lead to more breakthroughs with the Taliban. Getting Bowe Bergdahl out of captivity was the first concern, he said. “Whether that could lead to possible new breakthroughs with the Taliban, I don’t know. Hopefully it might,” he said.
-- Breakthroughs with the Taliban? The Rules of Engagement have long been insufficient. A breakthrough is not needed - just breaking them. I guess this affirms that the US policy on negotiating with terrorists has changed.
Those responsible – apparently unanimous – should be held for treason in the prisoner swap. They returned five leaders of our sworn enemies back to the battlefields and we now ‘owe a great debt’ to Qatar.
Meanwhile...everyone will become distracted by the (yet another) scandal. Begs the question...what's really up?
Remember this – 'my principles' in 'my government' and the president would do so again - that is, act as his own government – even negotiate with terrorists, recognizing them and legitimizing them, while endangering US military personnel, embassy personnel and citizens. The point that should be taken from this commentary is that the president continues to act unilaterally, and without recourse. There has been time for investigation and resignation. We are long past that time.
Dean A. Beers, American Patriot
Author and Speaker – Beers with our Founding Fathers
Please refer to the following related commentaries:
Past the Time for Resignations - the Time is for Impeachment
The RICO Administration
Constitutional Apathy is Destroying Our Country
2014 Year of Reclamation
Nationalized Train Wreck
UPDATED - Tri-Fecta of Scandals - Benghazi
UPDATED - Tri-Fecta of Scandals - Journalists, DOJ and OUR First Amendment
Tri-Fecta of Scandals - IRS Corruption
President's Legacy Tour - Avoiding Scandals and Scams
Are You an Enemy of the State?