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The Five Unjust Men

June 1st, 2014 - 3:06 am

While most media interest has been focused on Bowe Bergdahl’s negotiated release, the five men he was exchanged for are very much more interesting.  Thomas Jocelyn of the Long War Journal has profiles of each of them. “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.” The real value of Bergdahl may have been to serve as an excuse to play these five men as chips in whatever negotiations the administration is embarked upon.

Consider the men swapped for Bergdahl.

Abdul Haq Wasiq … intelligence official… “was central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against US and Coalition forces after the 11 September 2001 attacks.”

Mullah Norullah Noori … “wanted by the United Nations (UN) for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims” … “associated with…senior al Qaeda members and other extremist organizations.”

Mullah Mohammad Fazl … [also] … “wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites.” Fazl “was associated with terrorist groups currently opposing U.S. and Coalition forces including al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), and an Anti-Coalition Militia group known as Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami.”

Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa … former governor of Herat province … “represented the Taliban during meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support hostilities against US and Coalition Forces” … oversaw one of Osama bin Laden’s training facilities in Herat, too. One US government memo noted that only Khairkhwa or bin Laden himself “could authorize entrance” to the facility, which was one of bin Laden’s “most important bases”.

Mohammad Nabi Omari … “was a senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles” … “involved in attacks against US and Coalition forces” … brother-in-law [of] … the “Butcher of Khowst” … “to have all personnel identified and vetted to prepare for future al Qaeda control of the area under Jalaluddin Haqqani” … smuggle “an unknown number of missiles along the highway between Jalalabad and Peshawar,” Pakistan … with the intent of … attacks near the Jalalabad airport …”two Americans were killed during attacks against the Khowst, Gardez, and Jalalabad airports.”

Fantastic Five

Fantastic Five

Etc, etc. It is safe to say that these men are unlikely to retire to the peaceful condition of herder or bazaar trader. Much more probably they’ll take up their former occupations such as the “murder of thousands of Shi’ite Muslims”, or the commission of war-crimes and winning the title of “Butcher of [insert place here]“.

What can the administration expect in exchange for the release of these men? First of all, the administration gets the privilege of speaking to the Taliban, who had hung up on them. The Wall Street Journal explains how Qatar brokered the release. The five men named above are to be given rock star welcomes in the Gulf.  With any luck someone in the Taliban office will now pick up the phone when the State Department calls.

KABUL—A deal struck with Taliban militants in Afghanistan to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only remaining U.S. prisoner of war, could revive efforts to broker peace talks between the insurgency and the Afghan government, officials in Kabul said.

On Saturday, U.S. officials made public an agreement with the Taliban to release Sgt. Bergdahl to U.S. Special Operations Forces in exchange for the release of five Taliban prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The arrangement was brokered by the Gulf emirate of Qatar.

In a statement, the Taliban said the freed Guantanamo prisoners would arrive in Qatar on Sunday, where they would be greeted by members of the Taliban political office established in the Qatari capital city of Doha last year. The statement added that Sgt. Bergdahl was freed in a remote area of Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province at around 7 p.m. local time.

What happens next? Nobody’s talking. But one can infer that negotiations with the Taliban offer president Obama a way out of what appears to be a bad situation.  The WSJ article continues:

The potential peace opening comes amid a crucial political transition in Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai must step down this summer, and two candidates, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani, are vying to succeed him in the June 14 election.

A Western diplomat said Saturday’s exchange, coupled with a new government in Kabul, could give new momentum to any peace effort.

“It seems to be a positive sign,” the diplomat said about the prisoner releases. “It makes it easier to get the process going after there’s a new president.”

Efforts are under way to negotiate a new power sharing arrangement between factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, a process in which without a substantial troop presence, the Obama administration will not have an oar in the water. One way to influence events is for the administration to reach a deal with a major player, i.e. the Taliban. The Council of Foreign Relations seemed to think a winning endgame in Afghanistan for the administration is a long shot, though it is perhaps Obama’s only remaining option.

U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is “to deny safe haven to AQ and deny the Taliban the ability to overthrow” the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Pentagon states in its November 2013 progress report to Congress…. Some military analysts see the Pentagon’s complete withdrawal from Iraq in late 2011 as a cautionary tale for Afghanistan. …

But even if Karzai and Obama sign a BSA and international forces remain in Afghanistan after 2014, the Pentagon is set to end combat operations against the Taliban. … The United States sees political reconciliation with the insurgency as “the solution to ending the war,” according to the August 2013 joint U.S. Embassy, Kabul–U.S. Forces-Afghanistan strategic framework.

But as the Council of Foreign Relations article points out, the Taliban are not too hot on the idea of political reconciliation. “Talks between the Afghan Taliban and the seventy-member Afghan High Peace Council, which Kabul established in 2010 to broker peace, have suffered repeated setbacks over the past three years. Most notably, in September 2011, Kabul’s chief peace negotiator, former president Rabbani, was assassinated.”

Ken Hughes at History News Network argues that Obama may be grasping for a “decent interval” — a phrase made famous in the Vietnam era. The president may be hoping to persuade the Taliban to wait awhile before renewing hostilities so he can claim victory.

It’s a sordid story, too long kept secret, but it needs to be told today, when the editor of Foreign Affairs in the pages of the New York Times actually urges President Obama to model his exit from Afghanistan on Nixon’s exit from Vietnam. That’s a formula for political triumph at the cost of geopolitical failure, moral squalor and human devastation.

“We want a decent interval,” Kissinger scribbled in the margins of his thick briefing book (as historian Jeffrey Kimball discovered). “You have our assurance.”

It’s a strange phrase, nearly forgotten, but “decent interval” meant something in the latter days of Vietnam, when our leaders groped for a way to get out of the war without admitting they couldn’t find a way to win it. As Daniel Ellsberg wrote a few months before the secret trip, “During 1968, Henry Kissinger frequently said in private talks that the appropriate goal of U.S. policy was a ‘decent interval’—two to three years—between the withdrawal of U.S. troops and a Communist takeover in Vietnam.”

This interval, it was argued at the time, would protect the nation’s credibility from the humiliation of defeat. But a transcript prepared by Kissinger’s own aides of his first meeting with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai reveals how willing Nixon was to sacrifice America’s credibility abroad to preserve his political credibility at home. As Kissinger explained it, the president would agree to complete withdrawal of American troops in return for Hanoi’s release of American prisoners of war and a ceasefire (“say 18 months or some period”).

A release of prisoners in exchange for a chimerical victory. It would be a sham of course. But maybe shams are the stock in trade of politicians.  That would close the circle. The sixties are back again. Just as John Kerry the protester went to Paris, John Kerry the Secretary of State can go to Doha. Two Vietnams in one lifetime. How awesome is that? Mark Twain may have been right. History never repeats itself, quite. But it rhymes.

Recent items of interest by Belmont readers based on Amazon click-throughs.

Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific
A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East
The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Energy Revolution
Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality
The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014

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Top Rated Comments   
Two points.
1. The fault is not George Bush's. Not for overthrowing Saddam Hussein and not for seeking a strategic base in Iraq and not for seeking to inject the good viruses of democracy and pluralism and female education to effect a cultural change in the Arab Middle East. His goals were good goals and after he found a winning strategy to back he left a winning legacy. The fault for all the pain and suffering and shame are solely with the Democrats and their enablers both foreign and domestic. Anyone who blurs the responsibility for the failures of Obama is doing the work of the Democrats and their foreign enemy allies. The fault is with Obama.

2. This is looking like a blurred copy of the rabbit from a hat propaganda triumph that the death of Osama bin Laden was played as. This time the back room brain trust arranged things without involving those pesky SEALs. We can expect chest thumping and Democratic politicians crowding the microphone for when Bergdahl returns. Unless that is the chorus of questions from other soldiers becomes too loud. We can expect charges of "Swiftboating" and character assassination to be directed at them.

Does this mean that General Motors is alive again?
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Qataro delanda est.

“It makes it easier to get the process going after there’s a new president.”
We need to make the traitors desperate to also enter into a negotiating process with America. By traitors I mean the elites in academia, monopsony regulated or contracting businesses, the media, and the government.

The alternative to the culture of failure that Kissinger faced that lead to our defeat in Vietnam was expressed by Ronald Reagan. As an ethic and a policy it goes, "We Win, They Lose."

We need to destroy the Taliban. We need to destroy al-Qaeda. We need to destroy the cultural and intellectual and social structures that enable them. We need to destroy their sources of money and influence.

At the beginning of the Cold War Kennan and Nitze worked out a theory of Containment of the then threat based largely on keeping it from gaining control over more than one of the then five key critical resource rich strategic industrial zones. They were the Ohio valley in the US, the industrial Northwest of England in the UK, the Rhine Valley in Germany, the Don Basin in the Soviet Union, and Kanto Plain in Japan. Please note that the Russians are reestablishing control over the Donetsk region, demonstrating their respect for the quaint notion of industrial based hard power. The current nodes of threat are more diffuse but center on three totalitarian or authoritarian centers that cooperate as an Axis of Evil to attack the West and specifically to weaken the United States. They are Islamism based in the Gulf, Neo-Sovietism based in Moscow, and Great Han Chauvinism based in Beijing. All are implacably hostile to the United States as both a capitalist power and as a liberal republic. All are essentially fascist in their expression. All are tied to having advanced the current administration in office in America.

Qataro Delanda Est. Ursus Delanda Est. Sinis Delanda Est. Obama Delanda Est.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even by the already pitifully low standards of intelligence, wisdom and common sense displayed by the Obama administration this is an idiotic move. Seriously, is there no one in the White House or the wider Democratic establishment capable of standing back from the immediate political priority of covering Obama's sorry backside to point out just how dangerously stupid it is to pay Dane Geld. More so because the hoped for outcome, can so easily be refused by the Taliban/AQ who only have to wait to get what they want. Have they ever shown any restraint when given any opportunity to humiliate Obama. This is a move of utter desperation by a man who has frittered away every advantage given him by the hard work, skill, sacrifice and spilled blood of your military. This is what happens when the fantasy world of leftists collides with reality. Sadly a lot of real people will pay a very heavy price for this attempt to delay the inevitable consequences of Obama's combination of wrong headed actions and slothful indolence. More time should have been spent talking to Karzai to cement long term security in Afghanistan (and an American presence on Iran's borders) and less time on the golf course and multi million dollar holidays.

Whilst it may be brilliant news for Sgt. Bergdahl and his family there will now like as not be scores or more families that will have the pain of seeing a loved one kidnapped. If you reward behaviour then you will get more of that behaviour. It is now open season on all Americans everywhere.

If you thought Bengazi was bad (and it is so much worse than most people think) then to coin a phrase, you ain't seen nothing yet. Kidnapping is a fully fledged industry across wide swathes of the globe and especially in the Middle East. You really don't have to be too bright to see where this will end up.

If ever there was a moment for the GOP establishment to grow a spine and fight for the American people they claim to represent now is the time. My fear is that they have become so inured to the lawlessness of this rotten, corrupt regime that it will just be viewed as yet one more scandal and not for the deadly danger that it exposes all Americans abroad to.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (78)
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The war's over, see? It will be Father Bergdahl, excuse "Imam" Berghdahl, who will be taking over for Jay Carney.

You fellows have had this all wrong. The war hasn't been against radical Islam, its has been against those potential terrorists, the veterans, and we've beaten them down and degraded them so they can be no threat and pretty soon law officers with scout cars and breaching charges will outnumber serving members of the armed forces (once you discount the number of single parent mom's and homosexuals and transsexuals in uniform.)

Next target, the coal states with all those rednecks and all that ignorance of global warming, whoops, climate change.

39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well that did not take long to kick off did it! Less than 24 hours after this shameful capitulation and very public humiliation (over a soldier that by all accounts is a deserter or worse) the Taliban have started kidnapping foreigners. The first to come to our attention is the head of a charity based in Herat, an Indian national.

Seriously I ask you was there really no adult anywhere in the upper reaches of the US government. No one who could have explained to these professional politicians what would happen if they carried out this swap.

The fact that this did go through leads to one of two conclusions, either they are so wilfully blinded by their ideology that they cannot see what consequences their actions would have outside of the desire to get the Taliban/AQ to sit down and talk with them. Or they do know and don't care. After all it won't be them or any of their loved ones getting kidnapped. Neither of these options fills me with much hope for the near to mid term future of your country under such leadership. Longer term, well you are Americans.

It would appear that the consequences of the Democrats controlling schools, colleges, universities, the media and dominating popular culture with the concomitant loss of the ability to think in a logical or critical manner outside of the hive mind is coming home to roost.

To borrow and mangle a phrase that may have been uttered by Harold Macmillan how many more events have to occur before the perpetrator has to fear the consequences. That might depend upon the first US journalist getting nabbed and your useless mainstream media rediscovering what it is supposed to be doing and why.

On another note, just how much more lawlessness and genuinely anti American activity will you continue to put up with from your government ? Looking in from the outside it can be seen that the Democrats have been very lucky in the nature of their mainstream opponents. I don't mean the establishment GOP (Boo! Hiss!) or Tea Party here but conservative with a small c America. Given that conservatives would tend not to be too introspective (doers rather than talkers) this might be worthy of some research and discussion. What happens when decent, law abiding people are pushed too far. I have American relatives and would be genuinely interested to hear what the erudite readers and posters on this fantastic Blog would have to say on the matter.

Sorry if this is all a little wordy but after three odd years blurking here I seem at last to have found my voice. In my own small way I have been pushed too far by what has transpired in the last 24 hours.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the biggest failing of the Western gentry class -- but most especially the American progressive 'elite' -- is that they sincerely believe that everyone can be bought. I guess because they can't see past their own apparent lack of principles.

This suspect this latest BS dane geld exchange is gonna bite them on our arse in ways they haven't the imagination to imagine.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment

So glad I am that I am not a skeptic
For if I were I’d surely be dyspeptic
But now that I believe White House pronouncements
I know that even lies are mere announcements
That mean the opposite of what they’re saying
Or else it’s just a game that they are playing
I knew whenever Carney made denials
That people everywhere just turned the dials
Now take the five guys just released to Qatar
Were I a betting man I’d take a flutter
On odds that all five guys rejoin the jihad
While our returned guy spurns the life that he had
As I recall he walked away and sought out
The Taliban when all his plans were thought out
He learned to speak the language of his new mates
So now the six guys going home are crewmates
We know the five guys will be bent on terror
Were I a skeptic I’d hope I’m in error
That people in the White House surely know that
Our guy returning home will one day show that
He spent five years in training for the day when
He’d come alive when Mullahs somewhere say when
But like I say my skeptic days are over
It may be that our guy was just a rover
Who wandered off until he was surrounded
By Taliban and surely was dumbfounded
The White House couldn’t know he’s turned now, could they?
They wouldn’t let a turncoat home now, would they?
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm picturing you as a 25 year old Patriotic Rapper, Walt!
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Will Bowe become the first suicide bomber in America?

“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.”

-- Bowe Bergdahl
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, I guess I have to agree with him on one thing, I too am ashamed he is an American.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just think, that might be regarded as patriotic rhetoric according to the standards of John Kerry, who is now our Secretary of State. John Kerry is a patriot – in his own mind.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment

"He had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."
...or said somebody else did.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
" addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging..."

Bowe Bergdahl joins the Pantheon of Patriotic Veterans.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Imagine the terms Israel received for Pollard's release. Compare and contrast to the negotiations with the Taliban (granted, we'll need to wait 20 years for the truth to come out, though the ripples are obvious to those who look).

(Not that I think Pollard should have been released, he should have been tried and executed long ago - as soon as they'd squeezed him dry, same as these terrorists)
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I must disagree. Pollard was not committed to war with America, or making war on America. If we can't trust our politicos, why should Israel? It's life or death to them.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those five have all got it. What is it? The "Dead Man Walking" look in their eyes.
Yes, they thirst for death. I've seen it a few times. It is the most chilling thing to encounter in another human being. We love life. They don't. They have dedicated themselves to killing others without mercy and welcome a jihadi death. Obama, Kerry, Hagel, and other high mucky-muks in our defense establishment should be locked in a room with these five killers for a couple of hours of chit chat. It might just change some attitudes.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Stone cold murderer eyes.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Shark's eyes. Yep, that's what I thought, too. Just looking at those faces makes the hair stir on the back of your neck, doesn't it? Like the dead-black eyes of Atta.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
It gets worse.

From Breitbart:
"In 2010, The Taliban claimed U.S. soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had converted to Islam and had taught them bomb-making techniques. Bergdahl had also changed his name to Abdullah, the Taliban claimed".

There are also numerous indicators that his father, Bob, converted to Islam and has posted numerous times linking radical Jihadi websites.

So this is the guy we traded for?

Buraq's administration by law was to"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.”

That law was clearly broken. There cannot be honest and credible assurances that these five of the Taliban will not go back to Jihad and not be a threat to American interests.

Nor can this "prisoner" exchange give-away be the reason for some kind of genuine peace agreement as SecDef Hagel claims. The only kind of peace agreement that will come out of this will be the peace of submission to Islam.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
A Clinton crony was buried in Arlington and later disinterred when he turned out to be a faker, can't we return this traitor to his Jihadi brethren?
(Properly chipped as Charles suggests, of course, with a transmitter for when we find him in a crowd of terrorists ready for the taking)
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Top Intel GOP: 6 Months Ago, Obama Admin Promised No Taliban Release Without Coming to Congress

Rice wouldn’t delve into the security arrangements with Qatar for the housing of the Taliban commanders, but they have to stay there for at least a year with “restrictions on their movement and behavior.”
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time to intercede with Allah to grant this bunch some of the Predator pardon he doled out to one of the murderers of Robert Stethem after our oh so staunch and eternally supportive German allies released him from prison. Or should we ask Allah to shower us with the blessings of more selfie bomb detonations like the one that paradised another of the Stethem murderers ?

Anyone remember Garwood ?
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh great, they're on probation! I doubt that a psychopathic killer would never violate his curfew. The Obama folks are delusional.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Won't it be like, cool, if this Dude does Pressconferences?

Hillary Hires ‘Dude, This Was Like Two Years Ago’ Aide To Help With Book Roll-Out

WASHINGTON – As she prepares to answer questions about the Benghazi attacks of 2012, Hillary Clinton has hired former Obama aide Tommy Vietor to help with the roll out of her new book.

Earlier this month, Vietor, a former Obama administration national security spokesman, appeared on Fox News to defend the administration’s response to the attacks and famously said to anchor Bret Baier: “Dude, this was like two years ago.”

Here is the transcript from that exchange:

BAIER: Did you also change ‘attacks’ to ‘demonstrations’ in the talking points?
VIETOR: Maybe. I don’t really remember.
BAIER: You don’t remember?
VIETOR: Dude, this was like two years ago. We’re still talking about the most mundane thing.

Read more:
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exclusive: Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi chapter

On Friday, Politico obtained the chapter of the book many observers are most interested in reading: her defense of her handling of the Benghazi attacks. Four Americans died in the Benghazi attacks of 2012, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The Benghazi chapter will likely enrage critics: Clinton claims that an anti-Islamic video was “indeed a factor” in causing the attacks, despite CIA officials and others saying it was the result of a planned attack and not a spontaneous demonstration.

39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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