Miscalculating, Miscalculating

“The White House has been surprised by how much attention has remained on the questions about Bergdahl, from the circumstances of his disappearance to the wild beard his father grew while he was being held that’s even led to Bergdahl’s hometown canceling a celebration. All this, Obama aides say, is in their minds a proxy for the hatred toward the president.”

Well, then how do they explain me?  I don’t hate the president, I like the president, I voted for the president.  But I am furious about the Bergdahl deal.  They keep saying we don’t leave our soldiers behind.  But Bergdahl left us behind first.  So screw him.  I wouldn’t have paid a nickel to get him back, let alone give up five top Taliban leaders.  Bergdahl wasn’t drafted, he signed up.  Bergdahl had alternatives to deserting.  We let people out of the military who have emotional/psychological problems.  I haven’t seen any evidence that Bergdahl sought an honorable way home.
Besides being disturbed by this disgusting deal, I am further dismayed by the cluelessness of this White House, that they didn’t see the blowback coming from people who aren’t Sean Hannity.   Obama has failed not just as commander in chief, but as a basic politician — you have to have your finger on the pulse of your people.  What is going on in this White House?  Are they drunk and talking to the portraits?

12 comments on “Miscalculating, Miscalculating

  1. danielfee says:

    You have got to be kidding me with this comment, right? I did not foresee that the right-wing media and Republicans would sink so low that they would actually trash a returning POW, and his father, just to score political points against the President. If you don’t think this is about Obama, these “conservatives” were demanding that they president do “everything possible” to get our POW home. They have known the back story on Bergdahl for years, but yet they were still demanding that everything be done to bring him back. Many of their initial reactions on Saturday, in Tweets and on-line posts, were all positive, and our prays are with Bergdahl and his family, etc. Then the word went out that we (Republicans) are going after Obama on this deal. Tweets and post were delete down the Orwellian memory hole. Then outraged and the top of their lungs, how could he make this prisoner swap, one that has been in the works and in the media for years. They have (and appearently you have too) convicted Bergdahl without a hearing and sentenced him to life as a POW. I will tell you the same thing I told my brother-in-law, we do not leave any soldier behind for any reason. If the allegation that he deserted is found to be true through a military tribunal under the UCMJ then he should be punished in accordance with the penalties under the UCMJ. We follow the rule of law, civilian or military, in this country. We do not convict people in the media, especially in the whipped-up outrage created by Faux News, and we do not outsource our justice to the Taliban. I am shocked at your “so screw him” comment.

    • I don’t think there’s any doubt that Bergdahl walked off his base. He wasn’t a POW, he was a hostage because he deserted and was no longer fighting for his country. I’m not responsible for Republicans who have changed their minds about trading for him, I’m speaking for myself. I want to close Gitmo, but I want guys like those five, with their truly hideous and brutal pasts, to be imprisoned here, not set free. For me, it’s not so much about Bergdahl being “worthy” or not, it’s about not releasing those Taliban commanders in exchange for anybody.

    • As you know, I think all the Benghazi and IRS stuff is BS, but I’m really angry about this and the cavalier way those Taliban commanders were released. Bergdahl will fade from attention (I don’t think he’ll be tried), but if an attack is linked to one or more of those guys, it will really hurt the Dems in 2016. The release is probably going to affect some Senate races this year, and I’d been feeling less gloomy than most about those races.

  2. danielfee says:

    This one has really made me more angry than any of the other BS “scandals that the right-wing has whipped up. The fact that they will go after a POW (and yes he was held as a POW for 5 years) and his father, just to demonize them in order to attack the president for a prisoner swap that some of them favored and suggested themselves, is as low, despicable and disgusting as it gets. It is obvious from the discussions I have had on both Facebook and WordPress that the right-wing propaganda has penetrated very deeply. First, the amount of people who have already convicted Bergdahl on desertion charges without a hearing and were ready to sentence him to life as a POW has shocked me. In military terminology, desertion is the abandonment of a “duty” or post without permission and is done with the intention of not returning. Does anybody know Bergdahl’s “intent”. Without a doubt he was AWOL, but that does not rise to the level of desertion until his “intent” can be ascertained through a military hearing. New reporting is indicating that he had walk away from his post on at least 2 other occasions, but then later returned. Obviously this guy had issues, but this crap that has been put out by the right-wing, calling him a traitor, jihadist. Muslim sympathizers is so far over the top it is unbelievable, crass and disgusting. So much for supporting the troops and praying for his safe return. But step one in the propaganda war is to devalue the American POW.and elevate the value of the Taliban fighters. Once this is accomplished then they can attack the president for trading something of high value for something of low value. The Taliban could not ask for better propaganda for their side. Second, the propaganda has succeeded in conflating all of our enemies into terrorist. The years of conflation by Fox News and others has rendered the terms meaningless to most people, who now think they are all the same. The Taliban did not attack us on 9-11, they were not the terrorist. That would be Al Qaeda. The Taliban was the official government in Afghanistan when we attacked them after 9-11. I believe we were justified in going to war in Afghanistan because they were providing a safe harbor to the terrorist. However, that did not make them terrorist. Bad guys yes, our enemies yes, but when they are fighting to defend their country that does not make them terrorist. We had the right to remove these guyss from the battlefield and hold them for the duration of the war, which makes them POW’s, no matter what Bush and Cheney called them. Under international law and the rules of war, at the end of a war POW’s are to be released. It doesn’t matter how “bad” Fox News tells you they are, there is no legal justification for holding these 5 Taliban members beyond the end of the war. Have the actions of the Bush administration, setting up a legal no-mans land at Guantanamo, created more terrorist? Probably and there is no guarantee that these guys haven’t been radicalized because of their treatment. But if we are a nation of laws and not of men who can make random decisions on a whim, then we have no grounds to hold someone picked up on a battlefield, beyond the end of a war. The war is ending this year. Was the swap made 6 months too early? Maybe, but you must do it when the opportunity is present. Now that the military has their soldier back, they can follow their military code and laws and he is sublect to the appropriate punishment. Obama has followed international law with respect to POW’s and the right-wing is pissed because they attempted to force him into violating these laws in order to keep Guantanamo open indefinitely. You should expect now that since the Republicans have gone so far as to trash a returning American POW and his father, they are going all-in after Obama. I fully expect they will use this 30 day notification provision they slipped into the Defense Authorization Act to pursue impeachment charges. But as they did with Clinton they will be over reaching. The American people are not going to support impeaching a president for bring an American POW home. So I would not be so quick to judge the “negative” impact on Democrats running for congress or in the 2016 election. Just remember a few months ago 2014 was going to be all about Obamacare.

    • I think the 30-day provision is BS. The Prez had authority to do this as CiC.
      These guys collaborated with Al Qaeda, they are terrorists. We are holding them as part of the War on Terror, which is open ended. I had no plans to return them when we leave Afghanistan, which is not in 6 months, but now, unfortunately, seems to be 2 years and 6 months. I wanted them moved here and tried and then they’d serve any further sentence here. Who was going to make us return them when we leave Afghanistan if we didn’t want to? The UN?
      The military didn’t do either Bergdahl or those serving with him any favors by not acting when he left base in CA and then once before in Afghanistan. He should have been dealt with before he left and didn’t come back, whether he intended to come back or not that last time. The fact that he’d definitely sent his stuff home and apparently left a letter saying he wasn’t coming back shows that he was trying to take off, not go for a walk.
      My focus is more on the Taliban Five than Bergdahl. I would be upset if we’d traded a hero for them because they are such high-value prisoners. If it had been a hero, I just wouldn’t have written, “Screw him.” Their return threatens all of us, as well as anyone in Afghanistan who wants to listen to music or send his daughter to school. It was a BFD to capture these guys — we should have held on to them.
      Yes, the GOP may over-reach here, yes, some in the GOP have been hypocritical, but that doesn’t change my mind that Obama did a dumb thing.

  3. danielfee says:

    Under what authority would you hold them? The made-up Bush-Cheney bulls**t? If they were terrorist then we should have brought charges against them and sent them to prison for life. But they weren’t. We had 12 years to develop a case and couldn’t do it. They were military leaders in the Taliban, not Al Qaeda. If you want to see the difference between reporting and propaganda, look at these 2 headlines and articles.
    To Fox they are the Taliban dream team, to a real news agency they have less than hard core pasts. It seems that all but one were political and military people in the Taliban government. Right-wing media has been over hyping this crap for years. But no matter what they say, grabbing military and political figures at the beginning of a war makes them classic POW’s. Please tell me what act of terror these 5 were involved in. You are right, no one was going to make us release them. We also knew that we had no legal grounds to charge them and we are losing our legal authority to continue to hold them after the war ends. If we as a country want to continue to operate in the same lawless manor as Bush-Cheney I guess we could because no other country is powerful enough to stop us. But I think we are better than that, and Obama is better than that. Frankly I am tired of this constant “be afraid” rhetoric that comes from right-wing media. It is long past time that we stop being a bunch of wimps (I was going to use stronger language but I cleaned it up) and falling for this constant fear mongering coming from Fox and their friends. We must stand for the rule-of-law even if it means that there is some potential future danger. If not, we might just as well throw in the towel, rip up the Constitution and select our own authoritarian leader. The right-wing has a love affair going with Putin, maybe they would like to promote him to our President.

    • I don’t want to keep Gitmo open. Once the Supreme Court held that Gitmo was the same as U. S. soil in terms of prisoners’ rights, we should have closed it and moved everybody here for trial and imprisonment. Having them at Gitmo didn’t and doesn’t accomplish anything. I don’t know what the specific charges would be because I don’t have access to their files and history, but I believe they are terrorists based on what I’ve read of their job descriptions when they were captured and some of their pasts. I think you define terrorist too narrowly, it’s not just Al Qaeda. I see Al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and the Pakistani Taliban as terrorists. Under the terms of the war on terror as we declared it after 9/11, I think we should be at war with the government of Pakistan, but that’s a whole other story.
      I too am tired of the “be afraid” rhetoric, which is why I oppose all the blanket NSA surveillance of Americans without probable cause.
      But people who don’t work for Fox, people like Leon Panetta and Dems in Congress, opposed releasing these guys. They were the five worst left at Gitmo.
      If they’d been tried and not convicted and sent home, I would have accepted that. But I don’t think our troops leaving Afghanistan means that the war is over and we have to release anybody — it’s a war on terror, not Afghanistan.

    • I would add that these five were deemed “high risk” by the Gitmo Joint Task Force. The Task Force called other prisoners lower risk and also recommended some for release.
      Then O appointed his own Gitmo Review Task Force when he sought to shut Gitmo within a year. This group recommended that even some of the prisoners deemed “high risk” by the other task force be transferred. But O’s own Task Force recommended that the five who have now been released be held indefinitely. So that’s not Bush-Cheney folks, that’s Obama folks.

  4. danielfee says:

    I disagree that I define terrorism to narrowly. I think the dictionary definition “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal” is accurate. Who were there 5 Taliban guys terrorizing? The American troops? You or me? We did invade their country (I had no objection to doing that) and they were fighting back against us. That makes them part of the opposing military force and when you capture them on the battlefield they are classic POW’s. The problem is that the use of the word “terrorist” has been thrown around so loosely since 9-11 that the term has been rendered meaningless. That is one of the goals of propaganda, to render definitions meaningless so that you can use it to prove an emotion and not have a specific meaning. It just invokes fear. As far as the Democrats, what a shock that some of them are easily browbeat by Republicans and right-wing media. Remember when Obama signed the order to close Gitmo and all the Democrats were supportive, until the Republicans started attacking them and they tucked their tails and ran for cover? I agree that we should have moved them all to federal prisons and put them on trial, but who blocked that? The Republicans of course, because they are still trying to protect the Bush-Cheney F-ups (OK policies). If they allowed Gitmo to be closed it would be a major acknowledgment that the Bush-Cheney approach was a total failure.
    If you want an appropriate application of the term terrorist, just look at couple, the Millers in Las Vegas. That was a random killing based on a political motive with the intent to start a revolution. They were at the Cliven Bundy ranch with a bunch of other people who are also spouting the same revolutionary rhetoric. Harry Reid was correct when he called these people “domestic terrorist.”

    • They define themselves as terrorists. Back in 2011-2012, when we were trying to do a broader negotiation with the Afghan Taliban, we asked them to renounce international terrorism, and they refused. I guess from our perspective, domestic terrorism against their own people would have been ok.
      I think our differing reactions to the trade stems from our different views of these guys. You saw them as enemy combatants who would be freed by the end of this year anyway, so what did it matter if they got out a few months early? I saw them as terrorists who would be held indefinitely, so I was shocked to see them set free. This question has never been resolved legally or politically by our own government.
      I agree with you that we have a terrible domestic terrorism problem here at home. I was very angry when the Justice Dept. immediately backed off their report about it when the GOP complained. The problem has just gotten worse since.

  5. danielfee says:

    I think you hit the key to the disagreement. I do think that the people who were picked up on the battlefield are enemy combatants, not terrorist. The terrorist are those that planned and attacked us (civilian) here at home with the intent to instill fear in the general public. Did you ever fear that those fighting us on the ground in Afghanistan were a threat to us here at home? This is why I said I think the right-wing propaganda has infiltrated public opinion so deeply because they have conflated everyone who is our enemy with terrorist. The goal of propaganda is to render terms meaningless, so that a word can just invoke pure emotion.

    • I think the Taliban five who were released are more plugged in to international terrorism than the average guy fighting us on the ground. I also think that the Obama administration sees the Taliban as a threat to us here at home because they were trying to get them to agree to renounce international terrorism, leaving them free to do all the domestic terrorism they want. I don’t think all of the people originally brought to Gitmo should have been there, I think some were scooped up over-zealously. But I think there’s broad agreement that these five are pretty bad guys.

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