From the very beginning, the Obama administration’s scheme to gain the release of Bowe Bergdahl had more to do with electoral politics than it had to do with any humanitarian impulses on the part of Obama and his henchmen.
Two years ago Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings writing in America’s Last Prisoner of War noted that political calculations were first and foremost in the mind of US officials:
On May 1st, in a surprise visit to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, President Obama announced that the United States will now pursue “a negotiated peace” with the Taliban. That peace is likely to include a prisoner swap – or a “confidence-building measure,” as U.S. officials working on the negotiations call it – that could finally end the longest war in America’s history. Bowe is the one prisoner the Taliban have to trade. “It could be a huge win if Obama could bring him home,” says a senior administration official familiar with the negotiations. “Especially in an election year, if it’s handled properly.”
Obama, however, is gifted with a version of the Midas Touch that turns everything into s***. Having convinced themselves that this was a good political move they are now stunned at the criticism. Via Mediaite:
[Chuck Todd:] “What’s been interesting, Andrea, what’s caught the White House off guard here, they were expecting Gitmo criticisms of the detainees that were chosen,” Todd said. “They did not expect this criticism of the attempt to go get Bergdahl in the way that it was done.”
“It does seem they thought that the military would rally around them,” Mitchell observed. “That that would give them the protection, if you will, political protection from dealing through the Qataris with the Taliban.”
“On Sunday, I think they thought there would be some euphoria around this,” Todd agreed. “That there would be a rally around the flag. That didn’t happen.”
He added that the White House is surprised that criticism of the prisoner swap has not focused more on the ranking Taliban detainees released.
This shows an alarming level of self-deception. It has been known from the beginning that Bergdahl had not been captured but rather walked away from his unit. Why the administration thought bringing home a seeming deserter would be welcomed by the military and why they thought they could portray Bergdahl’s release as a grand gesture remains a mystery. Wikileaks provides us with the tick-tock of the search (this links to a pdf that is NOT at Wikileaks. It is interesting because it combines what the Taliban were saying via cellphone with US actions.)
S:1 X US SOLDIER
A: MISSSING SOLDIER
L:VB 592 478
U: Bco 1-501
R: INITIATE DUSTWUN (editor note: abbreviation for duty status – whereabouts unknown)
TIMELINE: 0430z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS SOLDIER IS MISSING
UPDATE: 0505z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS B6 HAS BEEN NOTIFIED. B6 ORDERS ALL VEHICLES, LATRINES, BUNKERS, AND ANP FACILITIES ARE TO BE SEARCHED. BOTH IN MEST AND SHARAN
UPDATE: 0520z BLACKFOOT TOC NOTIFIED 1 GERONIMO TOC THAT BR# BBB 5187 IS MISSING
UPDATE: 0535z 1 GERONIMO TOC INITIATES DUSTWUN FOR MEST OP VB 592 478 NET CALL WAS SENT OUT NEED 100% ACCOUNTABILITY OF ALL PERSONEL
UPDATE: 0536z STOW MAIN AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL
UPDATE: 0538z SEMINAL MAIN AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL
UPDATE: 0541z BLACKFOOT TOC AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL
UPDATE: 0542z SHAMSHEER TOC AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL
UPDATE: 0543z STOW MAIN REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL
UPDATE: 0545z KUSHAMOND AND APACHE TOC AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL
UPDATE: 0550z VOLUNTEER 22 AKNOWLEDGED NET CALL
UPDATE: 0551z VOLUNTEER 22 REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL
UPDATE: 0555z MOHAWK AND APACHE TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL
UPDATE: 0605z BLACKFOOT TOC REPORTS 100% EXCEPT THE SOLDIER THAT IS MISSING
UPDATE: 0620z SHAMSHEER TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL
UPDATE: 0622z KUSHAMOND TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL
UPDATE: 0644z SEMINOLE MAIN AND EASY TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL
UPDATE: 0645z GERONIMO TOC REPORTS 100% ON ALL PERSONEL
UPDATE:GERONIMO TOC INFORMS MOHAWK 6, BLACKFOOT 6, BLACKFOOT 3-6, THE ETT FROM KKC, AND THE PRT W SYOPS TO START MOVEMENT TO MEST OP ( VB 592 478) TO SET UP BLOCKING POSITIONS TO TRY AND FIND MISSING US SOLDIER. ALSO HAVE REAPER, SHADOW, PREDATOR, GUARDRAIL, AWT, AND CAS ENROUTE TO ASSIST IN THE SEARCH
As you can see, this comports very closely with the series of tweets sent by a man from Bergdahl’s unit and the accounts given by other members of his unit.
The preview of the coming crap-storm was readily apparent when Chuck Hagel, without doubt the densest person to ever be appointed Secretary of Defense, visited Afghanistan on June 1 and was met with silence when he told an assembled group at Bagram Airbase that Bergdahl had been ransomed. (Newsbusters is a must read for AP’s shenanigans in trying to rewrite history about this visit.)
The only good news here is that this shallow gambit has failed in the most decisive way possible. The only defense the administration and its toadies have left is that anyone criticizing the exchange, which would include the military and the intelligence communities, hates soldiers.
In a way, the unnamed operative in the Hastings story was prescient. This could be a big win in an election year. This year’s election will determine just how interesting the last two years of the Obama regime gets. A GOP Senate and House could act in concert to make many of the actions Obama has taken under the doddering Harry Reid very painful. With Obama’s approval rating dipping below 40% and the public blaming him for the VA scandal, this additional bit of too-clever-by-half duplicity could push undecided voters to vote against Democrats in the fall.