Asking Forgiveness, Not Permission

The White House sadly has gotten to DiFi.

Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had been very critical of the Bergdahl-Taliban Five trade, especially the failure to notify Congress.

Today she backed off:

“I think we need to put an end to all of this now. I think enough is enough. I think the Senate has had a hearing and the House has had a hearing. Everybody has heard what they need to hear.”

When the trade was under consideration in the past and Congress was in the loop, Feinstein strongly opposed letting those five Gitmo prisoners go free, as did others of both parties.  I think it’s become clear that the lack of notification wasn’t a fear that Bergdahl would die from health issues or be killed by his captors, but a fear that Congressional leaders, having opposed this trade in the past, would oppose it now.  The Administration decided it was better to ask for forgiveness, not permission.
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Releasing Terrorists While Spying on Us

Okay, so the Prez says it’s perfectly fine to release these five top Taliban terrorists.  But at the same time, the Prez says we’re in so much danger from the terrorists that he has to gather everybody’s phone calls and emails.

So all of us average, loyal Americans who are being watched constantly are a threat, but the real bad guys aren’t?

This inexcusable, incoherent policy gives us the worst of both worlds — putting our lives more at risk while taking away our rights.

How can anyone justify both the Taliban deal and the NSA surveillance?

 

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?

Moving to a “Support Role” in Afghanistan

President Obama announced today, after meeting with Afghan President (or as I think of him, Kabul Mayor) Hamid Karzai, that our troops will move to a support role in the spring.

He didn’t announce troop levels either between now and the end of 2014, when the war is supposed to end, or beyond 2014, when we may leave a lower level of troops under a new bilateral agreement.

Obviously our troops, currently at 66,000, are in less danger if they play a support role, but I’d still like to get them the hell out of there ASAP.  Even if our government were running a surplus, I still wouldn’t want to waste any more American lives and healthy brains and limbs on this hopeless effort.

Forget the counter insurgency.  That requires a strong, stable central government, which Afghanistan still doesn’t have despite our decade of sacrifice.  Focus on counter terrorism.  That requires drones and special forces, which we have in abundance.

After 9/11, we kicked out Al Qaeda in a few months, without a lot of ground troops.  We can do it again if we have to — and again and again.But the Taliban isn’t interested in coming after us, they just want to run Afghanistan, so they have no reason to let Al Qaeda have the safe haven they did before.  Lessons learned all around.

We have to let Afghanistan go back to the war lords and the poppy growers.  The Pashtuns will support the Taliban and the non-Pashtuns will fight them.  And we will go after Al Qaeda wherever they are.