Quotes of the day

posted at 8:01 pm on June 1, 2014 by Allahpundit

According to a senior Defense official, the handover occurred at approximately 10:30 am Eastern time Saturday along the eastern Afghanistan border with Pakistan, and took place quickly without incident, peacefully and without violence. Berghdal was in the custody of about 18 Taliban fighters and was ushered onto a waiting helicopter by U.S. special operations forces. Once aboard, Berghdal wrote on a paper plate “SF?,” asking over the loud aircraft engines whether he was being rescued by special forces operators. The official said the troops replied loudly “yes, we’ve been looking for you for a long time.” Berghdal then broke down crying…

The transfer was not directly negotiated with the Taliban, but through the Amir of Qatar, officials said, whose help is being called “instrumental” to the agreement. Talks to bring about Berghdal’s release resumed only in the last several weeks, after the Taliban showed interest in resuming dialogue regarding Berghdal and its prisoners being held at Guantanamo. Obama called the Amir Tuesday to confirm the transfers, and the Qataris facilitated the handing over of Bergdahl…

“I am eager to learn what precise steps are being taken to ensure that these vicious and violent Taliban extremists never return to the fight against the United States and our partners or engage in any activities that can threaten the prospects for peace and security in Afghanistan,” added [John] McCain.

***

The Taliban has long sought freedom for the “Gitmo Five,” all of whom are experienced jihadists and helped run the Taliban’s operations in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. They served in various military and intelligence roles.

All five of the detainees were deemed “high” risks to the US and its allies by Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO). Two of the five, according to files prepared at Guantanamo, have been wanted by the UN for war crimes.

One of them served as a key intermediary between the Iranian regime and the Taliban after 9/11. During meetings between these two former foes, the Iranians pledged to assist the Taliban in its war against the US…

A key goal of those talks is to get the Taliban to renounce al Qaeda, something Mullah Omar’s group has declined to do. It is difficult to see how the prisoner swap helps to achieve that goal. All five of the now ex-Gitmo detainees were closely allied with al Qaeda prior to their detention. And Bergdahl was initially captured by members of the Haqqani Network, which remains one of al Qaeda’s strongest allies to this day.

***

Top Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out…

The law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests…

A senior administration official, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity to explain the timing of the congressional notification, acknowledged that the law was not followed. When he signed the law last year, Obama issued a signing statement contending that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers as commander in chief and that he therefore could override it.

“Due to a near-term opportunity to save Sergeant Bergdahl’s life, we moved as quickly as possible,” the official said. “The administration determined that given these unique and exigent circumstances, such a transfer should go forward notwithstanding the notice requirement.”

***

“This is the only issue we’ve discussed with the Taliban in recent months,” said one senior Obama administration official involved in the talks. “We do hope that having succeeded in this narrow but important step, it will create the possibility of expanding the dialogue to other issues. But we don’t have any promises to that effect.”

But word of renewed, secret negotiations with the Taliban brought immediate criticism from some lawmakers, including Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “I have little confidence in the security assurances regarding the movement and activities of the now-released Taliban leaders, and I have even less confidence in this administration’s willingness to ensure they are enforced,” he said. “I believe this decision will threaten the lives of American soldiers for years to come.”

A Western official in Kabul said the Afghan government was not told ahead of time that the Taliban were going to hand over Sergeant Bergdahl or that the release of prisoners from Guantánamo Bay was proceeding, though the Afghans were broadly aware that the talks had been rekindled. American officials feared leaks could scuttle the deal.

***

I do not agree, as some Republicans are already arguing, that these individuals should not have been released. In my view, the U.S. would not be able to hold them forever. Indeed, it is likely that the U.S. would be required, as a matter of international law, to release them shortly after the end of 2014, when U.S. combat operations cease in Afghanistan. The Administration appears to have reached a defensible, hold-your-nose compromise by arranging, in exchange for the release of Sergeant Bergdahl, for the individuals to be held in Qatar for a year before they return to Afghanistan.

The backgrounds of these Taliban leaders does underscore, however, that the detainees in Guantanamo were not all “innocent” people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, a narrative that has been urged by many critics of Guantanamo, especially in Europe.

Moreover, the Taliban leaders’ backgrounds demonstrate that it would have been legally difficult, if not impossible, to prosecute them in federal courts — as many human rights groups have urged — because U.S. criminal statutes did not apply to their activities in Afghanistan and because the U.S. military had not collected evidence about them that would have been admissible in federal court. And, if the Taliban had actually been treated as POWs under the Geneva Conventions (for which there has always been a good argument), they would have had to be prosecuted in a military court, not a civilian court, pursuant to Article 102 of the Third Geneva Convention.

***

On Obama’s side, the argument is that the statute is unconstitutional, a congressional encroachment on presidential power. There’s no way to undo the exchange, and acting in secrecy, without informing Congress, is an exercise of the very power that the President says the statute violates. Taking this action embodies an argument that this power does and should rest with the President. Is there anything that can be done now to press the opposing argument? We can criticize the President, as we always already do. The only other alternative I see is to impeach the President.

Go ahead. He’s daring you. Perhaps part of his motivation for the prisoner trade was a predicted political boost as the President’s opponents are distracted into seeming to complain about the return of a hero and tripping all over themselves as they posture about impeachment.

***

But for the young soldier – 23 when he became a prisoner of war, now 28 – those debriefings also will include difficult questions about how and why he happened to be in a position where he fell into the hands of Taliban fighters.

There have been no reports that he was captured during direct combat, that the “fog of war” had put him involuntarily in a vulnerable location.

At this point in the developing narrative, Sgt. Bergdahl seems to have grown disillusioned with the mission, bitter about the Army and especially higher ranking enlisted men and officers, and simply walked off – gone “outside the wire” or protective base limits – and disappeared.

That could indicate that he had gone AWOL (Absence Without Leave), also referred to as “Unauthorized Absence” (UA), which could bring charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)…

“The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at,” he wrote from Afghanistan. “It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies. The few good SGTs are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same.”

***

Within an hour of the announcement that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. special forces by the Taliban Saturday evening, Army Times’ Facebook page lit up with hundreds of comments reacting to the news…

“He is a dirtbag that now should spend the next 20yrs+ in Leavenworth … his fellow soldiers were affected by his actions, he is a sympathizer and deserves to be tried for desertion,” said Kirouac, whose Facebook profile identifies him as a company commander at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Many others felt no matter the circumstances, the military has a duty not to leave any of its members behind.

“My opinion, we never should leave our own [with] the enemy [and] if he needs to be punished, that should be left up to his former chain of command to ensure it happens!!!!” said Tom Robinson, whose Facebook profile identifies him as a veterans counselor for New York State.

***

I say the following fully respecting the fact that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl*and his family/loved ones might have an extremely understandably different opinion on the situation:

1. The people we exchanged for Sgt. Bergdahl will end up running terrorist operations in Afghanistan if we’re lucky, and Afghanistan and abroad if we are not. And they will likely be doing it considerably sooner than a year from now.

2. The Taliban will step up their kidnapping campaigns, because from their point of view said campaigns have been proven to work.

3. Democratic, liberal, and progressive partisans will freak if you point out either #1 or #2 to them. That particularly smarmy freaking that the more obnoxious examples do when they think that they’ve got the moral drop on you.

***

***

“What we did was ensure that, as always, the United States doesn’t leave a man or a woman on the battlefield,” Rice said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“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 ear for the safety of our personnel and for the nature of our commitment to our men and women in uniform,” she continued. “Because it was the Taliban that had him did not mean that we had any less of an obligation to bring him back.”


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Bergdahl volunteered for military service. He enlisted. He wasn’t drafted.

So… how do we reconcile this: “I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools,” he concluded. “I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

Bob Bergdahl responded in an e-mail: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”

And:One night, after finishing a guard-duty shift Bowe Bergdahl asked his team leader whether there would be a problem if he left camp with his rifle and night-vision goggles — to which the team leader replied “yes.”

Bergdahl then returned to his bunker, picked up a knife, water, his diary and a camera, and left camp, according to Rolling Stone.

The next morning, he was reported missing, and later that day, a drone and four fighter jets ­began to search for him.

thatsafactjack on June 2, 2014 at 8:07 AM

If we had just done the right thing at Gitmo and tried the people there under the GC, we wouldn’t have had this problem.

They classify as spies and saboteurs for their actions.

Or we could have done just as a prior president did with General Orders No. 100:

Art. 82.

Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers – such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates.

Oh, and this was the exact, same criticism I had of President Bush in creating Gitmo. Can’t say that I’m saying something different just because of the guy in office, as I am not. Bush failed to follow the Laws of War and so has Obama. Worse he is not carrying out his duties as CinC as set forth for the troops by Congress. The President gets to execute those orders and ‘contingency’ only means one thing to the CinC: the active battlefield.

POWs are handled via normal channels, not for expediency in non-combat situations.

Congress, however, has decided to dissolve its powers in favor of letting the President rule over the Nation and its people as he sees fit.

How the man wound up in enemy hands is something for the military to decide via the UCMJ… unless Obama decides that his CinC powers means that he can defy Congress on even that. Then the military is the personal apparatus of the President, just like in Ancient Rome as it went Imperial.

A republic.

If you can keep it.

ajacksonian on June 2, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Good Morning, Patriots! And, Trolls.

What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is a’goin on here? – Mr. Taggert (Slim Pickens), “Blazing Saddles”

My take: Obama Brokers Deal: 5 Afghan Muslim Terrorists for One Deserter Who Was “Ashamed of America”

kingsjester on June 2, 2014 at 8:09 AM

bazil9 on June 2, 2014 at 7:39 AM

According to the liar Susan Rice, they did not have TIME to notify Congress, thus breaking the law. Of course they did not have the 30 days because they needed something new in the news cycle to take the attention away from the VA scandal.

We all think in our mother tongue.

thatsafactjack on June 2, 2014 at 7:57 AM

I love your mind and never skip a comment you write. On the issue of mother tongue, I will beg to differ. My sons and I are Americans (native English speakers) living in Germany. If we did not speak English in our home, the children would have lost their English skills. Seen daily in the youngest, who searches for a word in English when the German rolls right off his tongue. We have been here 5 years and they both go to school and learn in German.

This whole story stinks, but on the issue of forgetting how to speak his native language I’ll suspend my suspicion.

pillepalle on June 2, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Bergdahl must be prosecuted, to preserve the rule of law, to insure military discipline and cohesion is maintained, and to serve justice, but most of all, because he directly cost these men, the brothers in arms he deserted, their lives.

thatsafactjack on June 2, 2014 at 7:33 AM

I don’t know what the legality of this is. Can he be prosecuted because soldiers were killed looking for him?

crankyoldlady on June 2, 2014 at 8:20 AM

pillepalle on June 2, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Bergdahl is not a child.

bazil9 on June 2, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Yhanks B9 for posting that information on the bad guys.

crankyoldlady on June 2, 2014 at 8:21 AM

thatsafactjack on June 2, 2014 at 7:33 AM

I don’t know what the legality of this is. Can he be prosecuted because soldiers were killed looking for him?

crankyoldlady on June 2, 2014 at 8:20 AM

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/bowe-bergdahl-must-be-held-accountable-deaths-his-desertion-caused-he-should-face-article-32-hearing/0BD0xzZw

Bowe Bergdahl should face charges under Articles 85, 92, 119(b)(2), and 134. This should be a Capital case. He must answer for the deaths of members of the 4th BCT 25th ID tasked with recovering him after he quit his post in violation of his first General Order. He is a deserter and must be punished.

bazil9 on June 2, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Bob Bergdahl is a dhimmi.

kingsjester on June 2, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Thanks. Forgot to look.

crankyoldlady on June 2, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Yhanks B9 for posting that information on the bad guys.

crankyoldlady on June 2, 2014 at 8:21 AM

No problem..

bazil9 on June 2, 2014 at 8:24 AM

Obama just gave away the travel safety of every American…military and civilian.

kingsjester on June 2, 2014 at 8:30 AM

This whole story stinks, but on the issue of forgetting how to speak his native language I’ll suspend my suspicion.

pillepalle on June 2, 2014 at 8:15 AM

I think if he spent 5 years speaking a foreign language he might have trouble. One does start to think in the foreign language. i’ve known people from Germany who have spent their time speaking English and if I speak to them in German they have to stop and think. My father spoke nothing but Low German at home and had to learn English in school. I never asked him what it was like flipping back and forth in 2 languages.

crankyoldlady on June 2, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Bergdahl was AWOL. He left under his own free will, and after reading a little history of him and his family, I’m not surprised. Like I said in my post, donning a uniform doesn’t change you, it may educate you and give you something to believe in, but if you are broken, you are going to stay broken. You are the sum result of your Personality, Experience and Training (PET).

He had issues. He left with his Afghan buddies and went to the other side. Six people died directly or indirectly because of his actions, not to mention how many were injured and died getting the five Taliban we just released.

The smartest thing anyone could do is let him go home quietly, and never let him on a stage where he can embarrass us with some stupid statement- like his dad.

http://truthandcommonsense.com/2014/06/02/bergdahl-the-taliban-and-obamas-vision-of-the-world/

archer52 on June 2, 2014 at 8:45 AM

crankyoldlady on June 2, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Did the people you refer to forget how to speak English altogether? Because that’s what Bergdahl’s parents are claiming. There’s a difference between searching for a particular word and not being able to recall an entire language. Bergdahl’s own father spoke to him in Pashto and in English publicly.

Bergdahl had also traveled to France, learned to speak French while there, and even volunteered to join the French Foreign Legion, but was turned down. He has no problem learning, and retaining, languages.

thatsafactjack on June 2, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Just to be clear, the men Bergdahl served with have every right to call him a deserter and he has no right to the title POW, since to qualify as a prisoner of war, the individual must be, according to international law, “a lawful combatant”, and desertion in time of war excludes Bergdahl from that status.

thatsafactjack on June 2, 2014 at 9:00 AM

I think it would be hilarious if the management here would suss out every single sock, then start “disappearing” one sock at a time in reverse order of registration, until the culprit’s earliest remaining nic was left.

Kind of like the way socks get “lost” in the washer or dryer.

Christien on June 2, 2014 at 12:52 AM

I’m of the opinion that a couple of posters have many socks..:)

Dire Straits on June 2, 2014 at 12:57 AM

I share your opinion. And I like Christien’s idea. It would be nice to have all of the insincere, disruptive trolls suffer elimination. =)

non-nonpartisan on June 2, 2014 at 10:11 AM

I don’t know bluegill,

coolrepublica on June 2, 2014 at 12:02 AM

Bmore on June 2, 2014 at 10:11 AM

I get a sense that Ed doesn’t like the viciousness either. Don’t be shock if vicious people start getting banned, while the people some of you consider trolls are around for a long, long time.
coolrepublica on June 2, 2014 at 12:02 AM

The tell.
Bmore on June 2, 2014 at 12:06 AM

Indeed.
thatsafactjack on June 2, 2014 at 12:09 AM

boom

bazil9 on June 2, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Obama just gave away the travel safety of every American…military and civilian.

kingsjester on June 2, 2014 at 8:30 AM

…nice take kj!…and as to this ^ …the press won’t be reporting on any incidences.

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2014 at 10:40 AM

KA-BOOM!

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2014 at 10:41 AM

…KA-BOOM!

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Watch yourself KA2..

bazil9 on June 2, 2014 at 10:47 AM

bazilthatsafactjack on June 2, 2014

9 on June 2, 2014

…Thank You!…Both!

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Why is it that Krispy Kremers talk about everything other than the issue at hand. The guy aided and abetted the enemy. His father is an American Taliban. This was not a foreign policy victory

Brock Robamney on June 2, 2014 at 12:07 PM

“I, Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik, 36896415, confess to the desertion of the United States Army. At the time of my desertion we were in Albuff [Elbeuf] in France. I came to Albuff as a replacement. They were shelling the town and we were told to dig in for the night. The following morning they were shelling us again. I was so scared, nerves and trembling, that at the time the other replacements moved out, I couldn’t move. I stayed there in my fox hole till it was quiet and I was able to move. I then walked into town. Not seeing any of our troops, so I stayed over night at a French hospital. The next morning I turned myself over to the Canadian Provost Corp. After being with them six weeks I was turned over to American M.R. They turned me loose. I told my commanding officer my story. I said that if I had to go out there again I’d run away. He said there was nothing he could do for me so I ran away again AND I’LL RUN AWAY AGAIN IF I HAVE TO GO OUT THERE.

—Signed Pvt. Eddie D. Slovik A.S.N. 36896415″

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Slovik

COL you asked..
“I don’t know what the legality of this is. Can he be prosecuted because soldiers were killed looking for him?”

crankyoldlady on June 2, 2014 at 8:20 AM

they prosecuted eddie slovik for a lot less…
and he gave no aid to the enemy..
they shot eddie… no ticker tape leftist parades..!!

going2mars on June 2, 2014 at 1:47 PM

we used to say ‘Mary Jo Kopechne’ was not available for comment.
in this case..
private Eddie D Slovik was not available for comment…

going2mars on June 2, 2014 at 3:41 PM

I’m old enough to remember when America killed it’s enemies…

PointnClick on June 2, 2014 at 3:21 AM

….yeah……we should start in The Senate and The NYT…..

williamg on June 2, 2014 at 10:03 PM

we gave away 5 top terrorist planners and got one sympathizer in the exchange. Therefore we did not recover a thing, our President just sent 5 Taliban home and brought one into our country.

MSGTAS on June 3, 2014 at 9:22 AM

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