Apparently we do negotiate with terrorists
I know Americans are torn by the Bergdahl story. Face it, given how poorly things are going, they desperately want a “feel good” story. The Bergdahl repatriation is one where you want to celebrate it, but as the facts come out, you can’t find it in yourself to do so. The guy wasn’t a POW, he deserted and sought out the enemy with the apparent desire to join them.
The administration just as desperately wanted a distraction from all it’s ongoing failures and scandals. But this story and its ending are anything but that. In fact, it stinks to high heaven.
First there’s the way it was done by the administration, which strongly supports the hypothesis that this was done in haste to change the subject and redirect the focus of the news cycle. The subject they were trying to change was their abject failure with the VA. How better to distract from that than repatriating an American soldier and rescuing him from the clutches of the Taliban? Paint him as a hero and take a bow. Let a sympathetic media take it from there.
Except this guy isn’t a hero. He wasn’t “captured”, he deliberately set out to find those who eventually grabbed him and kept him. Since 2010 the Army has determined that this guy deserted his post in time of war. But of course that didn’t stop the Baghdad Bob of this administration, Susan Rice, from heading out to the talk shows soon after the deal was made, and telling us how this deserter had served with “honor and distinction”.
What the administration hadn’t counted on was former soldiers from his unit coming forward and telling the real story. They apparently didn’t know about the 6 soldiers killed in attempts to find and rescue him. The backlash from their attempt to whitewash who this guy was has been overwhelming. And, as usual, points to a clueless administration again bungling it’s attempt at distraction.
But that’s only one part of the story. How about the trade itself? What did it accomplish?
Well for the US, another in a long line of stupid failures. Why “stupid”. Because, as usual, it was ill-conceived plan and a self-inflicted wound. We got back a PFC that deserted (yeah, I know he was promoted while in captivity, but in reality he’s a PFC) and they got this:
- A senior Taliban military commander
- Their deputy minister of intelligence
- Their army chief of staff
- Their governor of the Herat province and former interior minister
- and a senior Taliban figure and security official.
Not only that, the Taliban (aka “the enemy”) got a propaganda coup of unrivaled proportion as “NightWatch” lays it out for us:
The mainstream media have covered the increased risk of hostage-taking as the direct and foreseeable result of the hostage exchange. This was not a prisoner of war exchange.
Two points not mentioned in most mainstream commentary are noteworthy. This exchange invests Omar and his Islamic Emirate with stature that neither had when the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan. It negotiated as an equal with the US and got the better deal. That sets a precedent for potential deals with other NATO members. It is a powerful disincentive for Pakistan to rein in Omar and his cohorts.
The second point is the release of the five Taliban leaders will boost Taliban morale; help improve their organizational and fighting skills and enhance their operations. It might have a ripple effect on the now divided Pakistani Taliban.
The timing could hardly be worse for Allied forces. As NATO draws down its forces, the Taliban get an influx of experienced leaders, undermining years of effort to degrade the leadership. These were men Mullah Omar trusted in the early days of Taliban rule. He now has a seasoned core around which to build a reinvigorated administration and movement.
We, as a nation, have constantly stressed the Taliban is a terror organization. Both Democrats and Republicans. And we’ve also made it a firm rule that we don’t negotiate with them because it does exactly what NightWatch notes this has done. If the Taliban want to empty Guantanamo, they now know how to do it – capture American soldiers. The price and precedent have been set. One can imagine all sorts of scenarios where enterprising Afghans will try to kidnap American soldiers for money from the Taliban. And the Taliban will then expect to trade them for more terrorists. 5 for 1 seems to be the going rate. But with this crew, they’re likely to be able to get an even better deal.
Yes, Afghanistan, which is a deeply hostile place to our soldiers now, just got more dangerous for them. Meanwhile, troop levels will be drawn down to all time lows. Yup, nothing could go wrong with that. Thanks Mr. “Commander-in-Chief”.
I’d like to say the American people are terribly ill served by this abomination of an administration, but that’s just not the case. The majority of them have elected this boob twice. What you see is what you get. You wanted it, you got it – how do you like what you elected?
For the adults in the room who saw through this empty suit and the propaganda machine behind him from the beginning, you will also recognize the terrible damage this man and his administration have done to our national security and foreign relations. It will take decades to recover from this debacle of a White House.
And then there’s the economy, and VA, and Benghazi, and the IRS scandal and the NSA, Fast and Furious, executive orders, EPA …