Perhaps this exchange really is, as Obama said in defending it, an excellent thing “regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be.” His confidence in its excellence is striking, considering that he acknowledges that we do not know the facts about what would seem to be important “circumstances.”
Such as the note Bergdahl reportedly left before disappearing, in which he supposedly said he did not approve of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. And the notably strong and numerous expressions of anger by members of Bergdahl’s battalion concerning his comportment and its costs.
Obama did not comply with the law requiring presidents to notify Congress 30 days before such exchanges. Politico can be cited about this not because among the media it is exceptionally, well, understanding of Obama’s exuberant notion of executive latitude but because it is not. Politico headlined a story on his noncompliance with the law “Obama May Finally Be Going Rogue on Gitmo.” Politico said Obama’s “assertive” act “defied Congress” — Congress, not the rule of law — in order “to get that process [of closing Guantanamo Bay prison] moving.” It sent “a clear message” that “Obama is now willing to wield his executive powers to get the job done.” Or, as used to be said in extenuation of strong leaders, “to make the trains run on time.”