This is something that I would do again and I will continue to do wherever I have an opportunity, if I have a member of our military who's in captivity ~ President Barack Obama talks about his decision to do the right thing (6/6/2014).
The Extreme Rightwing publication known as World Net Daily, or WND (or "World Nut Daily") has a petition up on their website calling for the impeachment of President Obama. The reason? The Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap amounts to Obama aiding terrorists (and is the last straw)!
WND is, by the way, the Obama-hate-site that generates a lot of traffic by pandering to racists in a BIG way... being a publication that ruminates NOT infrequently on the danger of "Black mobs" (although WND sez they "consider it racist not to report racial abuse solely because of the skin color of the perpetrators...").
According to the "expert" opinion of one ex-military
man scumbag named William Boykin, President Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors in regards to the Bergdahl swap (among other things). Boykin, a crayZee Conservative "Christian" who was caught on a hot mic saying "Jews are the problem" and the "cause of all the problems in the world" and "that President Obama identifies with and supports Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood", is quoted in the petition as saying Obama ignored federal law in pursuit of an administration goal.
A Slate article by Emily Bazelon says the problem is that Obama "didn't tell Congress about the prisoner release 30 days ahead of time, as a recent federal law requires... [although] to justify this omission, the administration has invoked Obama's signing statement, which he added to the law for certain circumstances, like negotiating over detainee transfers, in which it would violate constitutional separation of powers principles to consult Congress".
Emily Bazelon refers to this as Obama's "Gitmo Fail" (the title of the article), but frankly I don't give a shit. LET the Repubs TRY to go after Obama on this. The truth is that they are all fking hypocrites in regards to the stink they are currently raising, as MANY Cons criticized the President for not doing enough (previously) to bring Bergdahl home.
|"Lawmakers Change Their Minds After Demanding Every Effort Be Made To Free Bergdahl" (ThinkProgress 6/3/2014, excerpts) ...many of the administration's loudest critics have previously demanded that it do more to bring Bergdahl to safety. ...John McCain told Anderson Cooper in February that he "would be inclined to support an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting man", like the one Taliban officials had offered in 2012. He has since labeled Obama's deal "ill-founded" and a "mistake".|
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) also thinks that "the administration's decision to release these five terrorist detainees endangers U.S. national security interests"... But since 2011, Ayotte has issued multiple press releases and public statements calling on the Obama administration to "redouble its efforts" to find Bergdahl. "I renew my call on the Defense Department to... find Sergeant Bergdahl and return him safely to his family" she wrote just one week ago.
Sen. Jim Inhofe - the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee - has also said that the U.S. "must make every effort to bring this captured soldier home to his family". But appearing on Fox News just days after Bergdahl's release, Inhofe criticized the administration for agreeing to free "people who have killed Americans, people who are the brain power of Taliban". (article by Igor Volsky).
I don't know how bringing home a US serviceman, especially given that we were going to release five Taliban Gitmo prisoners anyway, could possibly be a "mistake". OBVIOUSLY the motivation for the Repub criticisms NOW over the deal that brought Bergdahl home - when they were critical of the administration NOT DOING ENOUGH previously - is ENTIRELY political in nature, and SHAMELESSLY so.
|"Why The Five Taliban Detainees Had To Be Released Soon, No Matter What" ThinkProgress 6/2/2014, excerpts) The US is engaged in an armed conflict in Afghanistan against al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces authorized by Congress under the 2001 AUMF. It remains controversial whether this armed conflict extends beyond Afghanistan and the border regions of Pakistan, but what is not in doubt is that of the enemy forces party to this conflict, the Taliban is confined to Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Obama recently announced that the combat role for the US in the armed conflict in Afghanistan will end this year and all participation will completely cease by 2016.|
When wars end, prisoners taken custody must be released. These five Gitmo detainees were almost all members of the Taliban, according to the biographies of the five detainees that the Afghan Analysts Network compiled in 2012. None were facing charges in either military or civilian courts for their actions. It remains an open question whether the end of US involvement in the armed conflict in Afghanistan requires that all Gitmo detainees be released. But there is no doubt that Taliban detainees captured in Afghanistan must be released because the armed conflict against the Taliban will be over.
In traditional conflicts, both sides would release their prisoners at the conclusion of hostilities. This is not a traditional conflict, however, and the Obama administration rightly had no expectation that Sgt. Bergdahl would have been released when US forces [left] Afghanistan. As that date neared, any leverage the US possessed would have been severely undermined. (article by Ken Gude).
Furthermore, the ThinkProgress notes the following (IMO) pertinent facts...
|Conservative critics... refuse to appreciate the cunning maneuvers that secured the release of the lone American soldier taken prisoner in Afghanistan at little risk to the security of the United States.|
...the evidence demonstrates that the Obama administration has been remarkably successful at preventing detainees it has released from Guantanamo from engaging in militant activities against the United States.
Statistics from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence show that only 6 percent (5 in total) of Guantanamo detainees released during the Obama administration have been assessed to have potentially engaged in militant activities.
That compares with a rate of nearly 30 percent under the Bush administration. (Attribution same as above).
The issue of whether or not Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter is separate, and can addressed in full now that he is in our custody and can present his side of the story. What we absolutely should not have done was to deem Bergdahl guilty and that the "punishment" would be to allow him to remain a Taliban POW (and possibly be executed by them).
(Although there are some who say they have "never argued that we shouldn't have tried to repatriate Bergdahl", but now that we have him, he should be given a trial as a "formality" and then put to death. And with the putting to death there are some who agree).
In regards to the desertion charge, obviously that is something that a soldier absolutely can NOT do. Surely Bergdahl could have objected in another manner if that was his inclination (and it is my understanding that it was). However, according to the Libertarian Reason Magazine (a 5/6/2014 article by Sheldon Richman) "[we] shouldn't blame Bowe Bergdahl for deserting in the fog of endless war".
|Reason article excerpts... The "fog of war" is a reference to the moral chaos as well as the rampant confusion on the battlefield. Individuals kill others for no other reason than that they are ordered to. Things deemed unambiguously bad in civilian life are authorized and even lauded in war. ...Bergdahl seems to have been plagued by this question [his responsibility in regards to the deaths of innocent civilians].|
The author of the Reason article goes on to quote Anand Gopal, author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes.
|By mid-2002 there was no insurgency in Afghanistan: al-Qaeda had fled the country and the Taliban had ceased to exist as a military movement. Jalaluddin Haqqani (whose "network" held Bergdahl captive) and other top Taliban figures were reaching out to the other side in an attempt to cut a deal and lay down their arms.|
[However], driven by the idée fixe that the world was rigidly divided into terrorist and non-terrorist camps, Washington allied with Afghan warlords and strongmen. Their enemies became ours, and through faulty intelligence, their feuds became repackaged as "counterterrorism".
So, death for Bowe Bergdahl, a soldier with a conscience who questioned his role in combat that lead to innocents being killed, but no repercussions for those at the top who got us involved in this pointless war (the war criminals in the bush administration)?
That, I've got a huge problem with. I've also got a huge problem with our current president keeping us involved in said war... and even foolishly "surging"... based on the dishonest idée fixe that surging worked in Iraq (when it did not).
An article by Jean Mackenzie of Global Post (via the Salon website) notes that "Bergdahl was a troubled young man, with naive and very unrealistic views on his service in Afghanistan [who] thought he was joining the Peace Corps with guns, going over to help Afghans".
So, who is responsible for the soldiers who were killed while looking for Bergdahl? Obviously Bergdahl bears some responsibility, but what about those who made the decision to involve us in this unwinable conflict? And why the hell did we think we could prevail when the Soviets did not?
Yes, those deaths were regrettable, but Bergdahl obviously shouldn't have been there to begin with. Or he should have been removed from that situation as soon as those around him realized he was "troubled". In regards to that point, I'd place some of the blame on the stigma that is attached to the mental health issue... and in regards to that the same Global Post article I just quoted notes the following...
|...journalist Matthieu Aikins, who reports regularly from Afghanistan, tweeted: "Does running unarmed into Taliban terrain seem sane to you? Maybe Bergdahl's act should be seen through PTSD/mental health prism".|
Maybe. Surely I would not be so stupid/uncaring as to say the "dude is going to be just fine", or that "I have no concern for Bergdahl per se, [instead] my concern is the principle of the matter"... when we're talking about a job (being a soldier) that involves KILLING people. Surely only a moron could not see that this might affect a person's ability to think rationally.
So, yes, I do have some concern for Bergdahl. I've also got concern for the war criminals who stupidly decided to get us bogged down in a pointless and unwinnable war - especially given the fact that the Taliban offered to turn over bin Laden prior to our invasion but bush refused to negotiate (as the author of the Reason article points out)... concern that they will never be held accountable for their actions. And I've also got concern for the Obama administration that let the bush war criminals off the hook.
But assholes like William Boykin and those at WND who are calling for impeachment while citing the fake Benghazi and fake IRS scamdals? And the hypocrite asshole Repub politicians who are criticizing Obama for bringing Bowe Bergdahl home when the previously criticized him for not doing enough to bring Bowe Bergdahl home? F*ck them. And f*ck the idiots and racist bigots who are signing the petition too.
I'm not going to say f-you to whoever created a petition at the White House site to punish Bergdahl, however. He did break the rules and these people - the creator and the 19,156 individuals who signed to thus far - are entitled to voice their opinion on the matter.
I surely am not going to sign it, however. I found the petition after doing a Google search looking for a White House petition in SUPPORT of Bergdahl. Apparently there isn't one. In any event, my f-you is reserved for, as Grung E Gene of the blog Disaffected And It Feels So Good puts it, the "dishonorable conservative hypocrites [who] piss on the troops, veterans and Bowe Bergdahl".
Well said, Gene. I must say that I agree completely that these evil individuals hate our servicemembers. For the record, I added the word "evil", and if you think that is too harsh, keep in mind that the definition of evil is something that is "morally wrong or bad".
Is it morally wrong or bad to use service members as political cudgels - by first calling for an administration you seek to destroy to "free Bergdahl by any means necessary" - and then attacking the administration when it does just that... well, that is most certainly morally wrong and bad in my strong opinion.
(By the way, the Taliban has never been designated as a terrorist organization, so the Obama administration did not "negotiate with terrorists". Finally, I was very disappointed to see the WND impeachment document quoting Jonathan Turley who "says Obama's deserter-for- terrorists deal proves that 'what's emerging is an imperial presidency'". And he said this on Sean Hannity's program for crying out loud. Ugh).
 h/t to Infidel753 for the word "scamdal" in reference to the fake Obama administration scandals.
 h/t to Grung E Gene for the link to the story concerning the "by any means necessary" January 2014 petition created by the conservative opinion and commentary website PJ Media.
See also: OST #17.