Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was taken prisoner by the Taliban several years ago. He was the only American soldier being held by Islamists anywhere in the world and yesterday President Obama announced that he had negotiated a deal to free Sgt. Bergdahl and that he’s on his way home.
The Curmudgeons are a military family, our son served in a US Marine Corps special operations unit from 2001 until 2005 so we have had skin in this game. As a family who loves their son without regard to the cost, we understand the relief and the joy that the Bergdahl home must be experiencing right now.
Here is President Obama’s statement.
“On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal… Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.”
First of all we want to note something that is shared by every military family we know, as well as almost all of the veterans we know, especially those who’ve served from 1990 forward. We’re sure of one thing about President Barack Obama, he doesn’t care one whit about US military personnel, and he certainly has exactly zero respect for or commitment to them or their families.
We’re not even sure that “America” has any commitment to leave no man behind, because the equation is not that easy. With respect to those in combat arms, serving on the firing line, we’re confident that every one of those men are committed to leaving no one behind. We know that first hand. Talk to a shooter, you’ll see it in their eyes and hear in their voice. I’ll never forget our son responding to a question from our pastor about leaving another Marine on a battlefield, “I couldn’t come home if I left a Marine behind.”
With respect to the chain of command, and especially the Commander-in-Chief, there is a different calculus. We know that every Marine has “mission first” burned into his soul by the time he’s earned his Eagle, Globe, and Anchor” and that is reinforced daily. It is that credo that earned Marines the name, “Teufel Hunden.” Their reason for being is to successfully complete the military mission they’ve been assigned, and to do it without regard to the personal cost.
The CinC’s calculus is purely political, and his “mission” has been nothing but political since he began campaigning for office. He does not give one tinkers’ dam about combat troops or their military mission. He made that clear in his speech last week at West Point when he said, in effect, “I’m here to stop wars.” This President doesn’t understand, anymore than the last three Presidents, that the purpose of going to war is to win it. While Bushes 41 & 43 might have had an inkling about “winning,” their rules of engagement didn’t reflect it. Nothing about this President says he’s even thought about it.
Which brings us to the whole point of this post, national security. In order to secure the release of one American soldier, the President, without prior authorization from Congress, as the law requires, released five senior alQaeda members from Guantanamo. Those released were the top five Taliban terrorists we held. The Islamists have been screaming to have them freed for more than a decade, and they accomplished it with the stroke of a pen.
According to a 2008 Pentagon dossier on Guantanamo Bay inmates, all five men released were considered to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated. The exchange shows that the Obama administration was willing to pay a steep price, indeed, for Bergdahl’s freedom. The administration says they will be transferred to Qatar, which played a key role in the negotiations.
Qatar is going to make sure they don’t do anything bad. We’re all warm and fuzzy.
“Five men … considered to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States…” is the price the American people, and likely our allies, will pay for this deal.
Those on the left are trying to pillory folks like us who believe this deal should never have been made. We’re accused of “not caring” about our military personnel. Nothing could be further from the truth.
First of all, we understand the risk of fighting a war, and we know that our military understands and undertakes that risk voluntarily. The US has had a policy of not negotiating with terrorists for decades. The rationale for that policy is simple, negotiations don’t stop terrorist attacks, they incite them. Israel keeps relearning that lesson every time they release terrorists.
President Obama put US military personnel, US State Department personnel, and US citizens at serious risk with this move, simply so he could attempt to blunt the bad press he’s been getting because of his, and his appointees, inattention to the scheduling problems at the VA that he’s known about since 2008. It’s important to point out that in 2008 the problem was one of long delays in scheduling. By 2014, under President Obama’s leadership, the scheduling delays had morphed into criminal (in our opinion) behavior by the high ranking Veterans Administration bureaucrats in an effort to hide increasing scheduling delays and cover up the fact that nothing was being done to address the situation.
More cheap politics from the President putting Americans at greater risk from Islamic terrorists. Double check your travel plans this summer.