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June 3rd, 2014 - 3:50 pm

Josh Gerstein at Politico restates an argument made earlier on this site.  Bowe Bergdahl’s return was only ever incidental to Obama’s main objective: letting the Taliban go, or perhaps more acceptably stated, emptying Guantanamo. Gerstein writes:

President Barack Obama swore as far back as 2008 he’d close the U.S.-run prison for terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay.

Five and a half years later, he finally took a real risk to get that process moving.

The president defied Congress over the weekend, ignoring a 30-day notice rule required by law to greenlight the transfer to Qatar of five alleged members of the Taliban held at Guantánamo in exchange for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.

It’s Obama’s most assertive move to shrink Guantánamo’s population since U.S. embassy bombings suspect Ahmed Ghailani was flown from the island prison to New York City under cover of darkness on June 9, 2009.

And it sends a clear message: As liberals and some conservatives have long urged, Obama is now willing to wield his executive powers to get the job done. … The transfer of the five Taliban prisoners fulfilled — to an extent — a fantasy long held by Guantánamo closure advocates: that the president would take an important symbolic step toward closure by ignoring or overriding congressional restrictions piled on by lawmakers in recent years.

It was all about ‘engaging’ al-Qaeda, satisfying domestic left-wing constituencies, about making the sheiks happy. Bergdahl was the means to the end.

As for Bowe Bergdahl himself, it now seems clear that he is going to be thrown to the wolves. Under the bus, as it were. The Washington Post reports, “the nation’s top military officer said Tuesday the Army could still throw the book at Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the young soldier who walked away from his unit in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan and into five years of captivity by the Taliban.”

Dempsey said he does not want to prejudge the outcome of any investigation or influence other commanders’ decisions. But he noted that U.S. military leaders “have been accused of looking away from misconduct” and said no one should assume they would do so in this case.

Perhaps he’ll get what’s coming — whatever justice says that might be — but in the ensuing commotion the bus driver will speed away.

That is a distinct departure from Susan Rice’s assurance to George Stephanopoulos, uttered before rumors of his desertion — and perhaps worse  – became widely public. On that occasion Rice said that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction.” No doubt she made that assertion based on the “best available intelligence” and the “briefings provided to her at the time” which gave her the impression that Bowe was a hero. Rice invoked the “sacred obligation” to leave no one behind, a shrine at which the administration had not yet learned to worship when the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, but an omission that has since been rectified.

One wonders though why Warren Weinstein wasn’t included in the deal. Weinstein, remember him? Well maybe Susan Rice doesn’t either. Weinstein’s family wrote two days ago to remind the administration about their grandfather.

“In the wake of this good news, we implore our government to redouble its effort to explore all possible avenues to free our father, husband, and grandfather, Warren Weinstein. He has now been held in Pakistan for more than 1000 days. He will be 73 years old this July and his health is failing—time is of the essence. Warren has dedicated his entire life to working on development and humanitarian aid projects that have improved the lives and livelihoods of countless people around the world. Like all families with loved ones held in captivity, we are desperate for his release before it’s too late. We can only hope that our government will do everything in its power to bring him and all American hostages home.”

Weinstein, 72, was kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan in 2011, just days before he was scheduled to leave Pakistan after serving for several years as country director for J.E. Austin & Associates, a US development firm. In a videotaped plea released by al-Qaeda on December 25, 2013, the last “proof of life” provided to the President, Secretary of State, the media and his family, Weinstein is seen urging the Obama administration to negotiate for his release.

You would have thought they’d throw him in in exchange for the Fantastic Taliban 5.

Bergdahl now occupies the same place that the Los Angeles YouTube video producer held in during the storm over Benghazi,  the object who will hold the public’s attention, the rabbit the press will chase while Obama goes about his business.

As for Bergdahl himself, “no date has been set for his return to the United States.” The Stars and Stripes reports “as of Monday afternoon, Bergdahl had not yet reached the stage in the Army’s prisoner of war reintegration program in which he would be ready to speak to his family, officials said.”  And right on cue NBC tells its readers that Bergdahl “could face a long road to ‘reintegration’”.

How long? No dates are given but NBC spares no effort to suggest it may be a long, long time before anyone gets to ask Bowe Bergdahl any questions.

The military hasn’t said yet how long Bergdahl will remain at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center as specialists work to help him with his “reintegration.”

“An inherent and critical part of the reintegration process is the decompression period that has been established to maximize returnee health and welfare,” hospital officials said in a statement. “The decompression process begins in earnest at LRMC.”

That decompression process has many purposes, said Dr. Elspeth Ritchie, a retired Army colonel who oversaw the reintegration of Korean prisoners of war. A big part of it is to prepare the soldier for “the blast of media publicity,” said Ritchie, who is currently the chief medical officer in the District of Columbia’s department of behavioral health.

Perhaps the decompression has as one of its many purposes affording the administration time on how to “reintegrate” its narrative with the emerging facts.  On how to smooth the rough edges. They are going to have a lot of people working on Bergdahl’s skull.

The reintegration process involves hundreds of people, officials said, including not just medical professionals but attorneys, chaplains and public affairs specialists. There is no predetermined timeline for the process.

The next step for Bergdahl will be transfer to the San Antonio Medical Center in Texas, accompanied by at least one doctor and one psychologist trained in survival, escape, resistance and evasion.

SERE — or survival, escape, resistance and evasion — is a formal training that is given to pilots and others who are considered to be at risk for capture, Ritchie said. In Bergdahl’s case, any of that will be given ex post facto.

It sounds like Bergdahl is getting more training coming out of the army than he got going in.  You’d think they were preparing him to jump into Russia or something. But maybe that’s not far off the mark. Sooner or later Bergdahl is going to face the dangerous mission of meeting the press. At least they’re training him to run when they turn him loose in the howl-echoing forests, thronged with journalists, political operatives and attorneys.

Are you ready Bowe?


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Top Rated Comments   
There could be hundreds like Bergdahl out there. The bad guys have been working to infiltrate our institutions, and the Armed Forces are a prime target. It is easy to spot the risk of hiring someone like Bradley Manning, not simply because of his sexuality but because of his obvious instability. Edward Snowden would have been harder to catch in advance. That is why security screening must be done by the book every time, even though it frustrates good people. Look at the Before picture of Boe Bergdahl. When he walked into the recruiting station the sergeant probably wet his pants with excitement. If he had been an officer sent through a Pilot or SpecWar pipeline with SERE training he might have been screened out, or not. As an enlisted, even with a red beret, the system simply isn't equipped to catch him.

James Jesus Angleton spent decades chasing for moles in the CIA, and got laughed at and called a paranoid or psycho. Imagine what has burrowed in under Obama's watch. How can we ever dig the termites out? Remember from "Catch-22" when a character said something to the effect that there were so many diseases that can afflict the human body that it takes a diseased mind to think of them? The totalitarians revel in the knowledge that even when they lose we do ourselves harm just by hunting for them.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
His reintegration is basically coaching him in the story that is decided upon by the Regime. He will be told that any deviation from the approved Narrative will have consequences that he will not like. The question is, what would those consequences be? If the subject was American, mere threats of what the system could do to him would probably suffice. But Abdullah Bergdahl is no longer the standard issue American, if he ever was. He is now a Jihadi, and his motivations are not our motivations. Threats of prison, or possibly death [although he was raised in at least part to be a tofu eating Pajama Boy and some of that may remain] may not have the same effect. If a threat of death is made, it may have to be made in the context of John "Black Jack" Pershing in the Philippines.

If his return was involuntary [and it likely was] he may have his own, personal, agenda for martyrdom. I'm pretty sure that making the dubious assumption that anyone in the Federal government has a lick of sense, that they are going to keep him far away from anyone not classified as expendable. Which is a pity. There could be a certain poetic completeness if Bergdahl came face to face with Obama.

>>>accompanied by at least one doctor and one psychologist trained in survival, escape, resistance and evasion.<<<

I am a cynical bugger, but I kinda believe the presence of the specialist psychologist is to spot attempts by Abdullah to make a break for it, rather than for his benefit. If he gets out from under the Regime's control and free in the countryside, he kind of re-defines the concept of loose cannon from a number of viewpoints.

As to why? CharlesWhite has a definite part of it. And it may well be that he is doing it for the same reason that Caligula made his horse a Senator. Because he can and it degrades us publicly.

And no one from the Institutional Republicans has done anything serious about it, other than promising another "hearing" that will founder on the standard refusal of Obama and Holder to do anything but, as Monty Python said, "Fart in your general direction".

They must have accustomed themselves to the scent.

Subotai Bahadur
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
The mealy-mouthed apologists of islam as a “Religion of Peace” have deprived the US and the rest of Western civilization of the clarity of thought required to deal with the reality of the world. The persistence of the government in maintaining that fiction has afforded O’Bama the
conceptual room to act in outright aid of the enemy. This fiction also allows the media (who are not too bright anyway) to find a basis for papering over his perfidy.

There is a crippling denial of clarity that, for instance, denied the Purple Heart to the Fort Hood dead and wounded for the “workplace violence” done to them by a muslim soldier acting in support of the Taliban. It continues and grows as the administration’s muslim policy has proceeded to this latest absurdity.

One wonders how much excrement the nation will willingly eat before grasping the awful facts of reality that permits this quisling administration to continue its destruction of the nation and the world.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
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Interesting. I am getting the "REQUEST-TOKEN" message when I try to "like" a comment [OldSaltUSN's]. I assume that PJM is being its usual lovely self.

Subotai Bahadur
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
" to greenlight the transfer to Qatar of five alleged members of the Taliban"

So... has the flight taking these precious jewels to Qatar MH370'd yet?
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Juxtapose Obama's fairly extreme action and willingness to put the nation at risk to bring Bergdahl home, against his total inactivity to free Sgt Tahmooressi. One was arguably a traitor, and the other undeniably an innocent hero. Yet Tahmooressi rots a few miles across the US Border and his guns, pickup, and everything else he owned and bought with his combat pay, sits in some corrupt Mexican officials garage.

And Obama does **nothing** !

(Actually, I just checked, and Fox News has also addressed his, about 48 hours after the thought first occurred to me.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/06/03/lopsided-deal-with-enemy-for-bergdahl-in-sharp-contrast-to-inaction-on/

It's so easy to hate Democrats - the rank and file, just down-home folks, who put this charlatan and foreign national in the White House, and continue to support him in lock step through every and any outrage he commits. The country and US Constitution to the shiite hole in record time, and it's apparently what these "good folks" Democrats want.
**** them.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday that the White House has been surprised by the concerned reaction to the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. He said that the White House expected criticism of the decision to release five Taliban in exchange for Bergdahl, but they also expected “euphoria” over the release of the last American soldier held captive in Afghanistan.

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/chuck-todd-white-house-anticipated-euphoria-over-bergdahl-release/
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
This seems odd to me. So many of President Obama's actions are exquisitely calculated insults--the laundry list of diplomatic slights toward Britain and Israel, for example.

I'm all in favor of getting Bergdahl back, if he'll come. Whatever else he is, he's an American serviceman and we should retrieve him. However, Pvt. Bergdahl's proclivities seem to be obvious to anybody who skims his file for five minutes, and someone like that should debark the plane home without fanfare, without acclamation. He's an embarrassment to the country. Did nobody at the same White House that specializes in sneaky insults stop to think about the "optics" of lionizing and rejoicing over the return of someone who is a deserter at best? Worse--apparently they truly thought his return would be political cover for the release of five really dangerous guys?

Something has truly changed, but I'm not sure if it's the White House, the media, or the public.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ralph Peters:

"President Obama did this to himself (and to Bergdahl). This beautifully educated man, who never tires of letting us know how much smarter he is than the rest of us, never stopped to consider that our troops and their families might have been offended by their commander-in-chief staging a love-fest at the White House to celebrate trading five top terrorists for one deserter and featuring not the families of those soldiers (at least six of them) who died in the efforts to find and free Bergdahl, but, instead, giving a starring role on the international stage to Pa Taliban, parent of a deserter and a creature of dubious sympathies (that beard on pops ain’t a tribute to ZZ Top). How do you say “outrageous insult to our vets” in Pashto?"

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/379481/why-team-obama-was-blindsided-bergdahl-backlash-ralph-peters
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I detect a hint of sarcasm in Peters' remarks, or maybe I'm just imagining it.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I saw Col. Peters on Fox. I thought he was going to blow a gasket (and rightly so)! The insane clown posse in the White House must be pretty confidant that they have purged all the leaders in the military forces who can make a difference in the coming showdown! Plus, having a muslim at the head of the CIA to neutralize opposition from that quarter must reassure them also.

Interesting times, indeed.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sarcasm? I detect no more than a metric ton of the stuff...
;^)
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Watch out good people.
The Rat king has painted himself into a corner.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
So here I am north of the border, talking to my vegetables and listening to the birdsong and I think "by gum that wretchard may be right!" I am referring to one of his comments in the previous thread. Wretchard said:

"He's (Obama) losing it. Unless he can stem the tide all the pent up demons are going to bust out of their cells. We might be watching the beginning of the end."

I think wretchard is right. Each action by Obama is progressively more outrageous than the last one. He's like a crazy man who wants to blow up the world but can't because no-one takes him seriously and no-one (except his fellow lunatics) wants to go near him or co-operate with him.

It's as if he's taking his last desperate chances by stealing temporary power to create whatever mischief he can, before he is bricked up and sealed inside the White House.

The only question now is how many more malicious outrages can he get away with? Five? Ten? I don't care how many people there are on food stamps making calls on their Obama phones, or how many people there are in the Obama shake-down industry. I'm thinking that ten more progressively unjustifiable outrages is the absolute limit.

He seems to be running at about two outrageous actions per month - so five months give or take - and Obama starts to weep uncontrollably into his teleprompters.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
" to greenlight the transfer to Qatar of five alleged members of the Taliban"

So... has the flight taking these precious jewels to Qatar MH370'd yet?
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bergdahl will likely remain in rehabilitation until the 2nd week of November, 2016l.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Am I the only one who has noticed that Bergdahl has the same first name as Obama's dog?
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
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