The Face of Defeat

"Bergdahl deal could be first step to emptying Gitmo," writes Josh Rogin in the Daily Beast. "Now that President Obama has proven Congress can’t stop him from releasing terrorists, the administration could be primed to empty out the prison at Guantanamo Bay."

Roger Kimball notes:

"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.” “The law requires.” Ha, ha, ha. This is King Obama we’re talking about, not you or me.

But there's a deeper reason why the law may not matter. The prisoners in Guantanamo must inevitably be released because Obama has lost to the Taliban. That fact drives the prisoner release, and informs the so-called negotiations with the victors.

The way defeat works is the winner gets to impose the terms. It's as simple as that. They even get to write the script at the surrender ceremony. The Daily Caller noted that after Obama's announcement that Bowe Bergdahl had been freed, "the soldier’s father, Bob Bergdahl, recited the most frequent phrase in the Koran -- 'Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim' -- which means “In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Compassionate”:

After Bergdahl finished his statement and his praise for Allah, Obama hugged him.

The Taliban echoed Bergdahl, saying the trade happened “due to the benevolence of Allah Almighty and the sacrifices of the heroic and courageous Mujahidin of the Islamic Emirate.”

Did the Taliban require the utterance of the Koranic phrase as a condition for release? If so, what choice did Bergdahl have? Obama wants to "negotiate" with the Taliban, wants it with an intensity born of desperation. Therefore he must do what they want. The duress under which Obama operated was described by the administration itself.

White House officials acknowledged that the sudden trade violated a federal law requiring a 30-day notice to Congress before prisoners are transferred.

“The administration determined that given these unique and exigent circumstances, such a transfer should go forward notwithstanding the notice requirement,” officials told media outlets.

It's been a year since Obama essentially decided to stop fighting the War on Terror:

 ... in a speech at the National Defense University within Washington, D.C.'s Fort McNair. Al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan is on a "path to defeat" ... "We must define our effort not as a boundless 'Global War on Terror,' but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America," Obama said ... "Deranged or alienated individuals -- often U.S. citizens or legal residents ... " So that's the current threat.

In the words of Roberto Duran, "no mas." The Justice Department would handle the loose ends. The inmates of Guantanamo would be released as soon as practicable, Obama said. "To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries." And so it will be. The Taliban five swapped for Bergdahl are going to Qatar, to be feted like conquering heroes. 

These are no ordinary prisoners. They are the "kitchen cabinet" of Mullah Omar, their first team.