The PJ Tatler

So Much for the Argument that We Had to Get Bergdahl Because of His Health

NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski appeared on Morning Joe today and noted that Bowe Bergdahl appears to be in good health in that video of his release that the Taliban has pushed out. In the video, Bergdahl is seen wearing Afghan clothing and walking on his own. He looks thin, but has no trouble getting around at all.

Miklaszewski mocks Obama admininistration official Susan Rice for “once again” going on Sunday shows and saying things that turn out to be pathetically easy to disprove. While he’s in mock mode on Rice, even Mika Brzezinski groans.

The Taliban is claiming triumph as a result of all this, and for once, their word is more reliable than that of our own administration. They got five commanders. We got…another reason to deeply distrust the man who will be president for another couple of years. He is either the most mendacious occupant of the Oval Office in its history, or he is so checked out and so out of touch that he really can’t be trusted with power anymore. Even the liberal New York Daily News is assailing Obama today, on the basic duties that he put his hand on a Bible and swore to do.

nydn-obamacover

It’s impossible to believe that senior administration officials including the president did not know all about Bergdahl’s record and the high probability that he deserted. The Pentagon concluded as much in a 2010 investigation of his 2009 disappearance. That wasn’t in any of the briefings that Obama skips out on? It’s impossible to believe that the administration, at the top levels, was not aware that the searches for Bergdahl had cost as many as 14 American troops their lives. It’s impossible to believe that no one in the administration thought to consider that breaking at least a couple of laws in all this might turn out to be controversial. It’s impossible to believe that they did not think sending five hardcore terrorists back into the wild would be questioned. They even lied about Bergdahl’s health, knowing that the Taliban had recorded the swap and were likely to release the video. Why all the lies, one after the other?

In other words, this all looks like intentional provocation. A controversy intentionally contrived. But to what end? The administration was already reeling under the VA scandal, but it’s likely that the Bergdahl release was being negotiated behind the scenes even before that scandal really blew up. They could have sped it up to knock the VA off the front pages, but that scandal isn’t going away. The Bergdahl scandal may just add to it. The administration was already reeling over Benghazi, with the appointment of the select committee. It’s possible that Team Obama sped up the Bergdahl swap to distract from that, but that would be toweringly stupid. The select committee is happening whether the O-bots want it to happen or not. I’m not discounting the possibility that the manner and details of the Bergdahl swap were contrived to be intentionally provocative. I just don’t see what Obama gains from doing that, unless he’s seeking some sort of massive confrontation with Congress heading into the mid-terms. That’s always possible with this president, who has admitted that he dislikes the Constitution’s constraints on his power, but if that’s his aim here, he either badly miscalculated how angrily some congressional Democrats would react — or their anger at him doesn’t matter and won’t slow him down.