[caption id="attachment_3783" align="alignleft" width="605"] President Obama and Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl on the announcement of the release of their son, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, by the Taliban -- (AP Photo)[/caption]
I'm very happy for Sergeant Bergdahl and his family that he will be returning home.
Not that's out of the way, the cynic in me arises at the timing of the release (as in Obama political machine maestros, "hey, Mr. President, we're in deep trouble with the one demographic of Americans we can't afford to lose, the veterans, and their families. We gotta do something, and something really BIG!") However, the negotiations were underway for some time, and only when the militants signaled they'd be open to an exchange for five Gitmo prisoners, did the talks accelerate.
Saturday evening, when I saw the televised announcement in the Rose Garden and heard these words,
"Sergeant Bergdahl has missed birthdays, and holidays and simple moments with family and friends which all of us take for granted. But while Bowe was gone, he was never forgotten”— not by his family or his hometown in Idaho, or the military. “And he wasn’t forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind."
my stomach did a flip as I screamed at the TV, "it's called Benghazi, Mr. President. You left four good men to die there." This comment is particularly cold, now that we know from the Congressional testimony of retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell, that we never even tried to send help. You'll note how the President's speechwriters were very careful to delineate men and women "in uniform."
This -- what is the White House calling it, "transfer?" -- of five Taliban terrorists, two of whom are senior commanders wanted by the UN for war crimes, for Sergeant Bergdahl is already being defended by the Left as being comparable to Reagan's Iran-Contra deal for the release of the Americans held hostage by the Iranians back in 1981. Really? Seriously?
It is still too soon to know how Sergeant Bergdahl was captured, whether he wandered off the base himself, as in desertion, or whether he was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. What we do know for certain is that we paid a high price for his release, and the President continues to thumb his nose at Congress. Granted that Congress leaks like a sieve, but we used to have a Constitution that set out three equal branches of government. Therefore, senior leaders of Congress and ranking intelligence committee members should have been briefed, at least while the swap was in progress.
It's easy to Monday morning quarterback the decision of the prisoner swap, especially for those who don't have family members serving in the military, or those who have already served. Certainly I wish Defense Secretary "Chuckles" Hagel would keep his mouth shut about this swap now opening the door for future talks with the Taliban, "it could, it might, and we hope it will present an opening." Yes, the same stone-age Taliban who likes to commit atrocities against girls because they want an education. Just ask Malala Yousafzai. Or Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Now that we're effectively gutting our military back to pre-1940's levels, (yes, I know, smaller, but more agile) and the President effectively signaled during his speech at West Point, that the US will act unilaterally only when "'core interests,' such as the free flow of trade" are at stake, we better be sure we have enough Gitmo prisoners left and cash on hand to trade with. No less than the editorial board of The Washington Post, an in-the-tank for Obama publication, is now wringing its hands over how this President's foreign policy is at odds with all his US presidential predecessors.
No, Mr. President, we have not forgotten our prisoners-of-war. For the past six years you've been setting the stage, and with your actions in the release of Sgt. Bergdahl, your red line in Syria, the announced withdrawal date of troops from Afghanistan, and all your other foreign policy gaffes, as a nation, we're going to be remembering many, many more prisoners-of-war in the future, as well as victims. Another 9/11? Not if, but when.