New Revelations About the Bergdahl Deal So Awful, It's Hard to Understand…
Readers, you'll understand I had to leave the bad news for last. Some days, you read the news, and find yourself asking, "is this real?"
Massive Problem Number One: Apparently a lot of our intelligence guys didn't want these five captured Taliban released under any circumstances.
A report that will leave a sick feeling in your stomach, from Eli Lake:
James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, according to three U.S. intelligence officials, flat out rejected the release of the five detainees, saying there was too high a risk these Taliban commanders would return to the battlefield and orchestrate attacks against Americans.Clapper was not alone. Leon Panetta, who was then the Secretary of Defense, declined to certify that the United States could mitigate the risk to national interests of releasing the Taliban commanders.A lot has changed since 2012. To start, President Obama won reelection. Panetta is gone, and in his place is Chuck Hagel, a Republican former senator who has been much more in sync with Obama's views on the War on Terror than his predecessors.But current U.S. intelligence and defense officials who spoke to the Daily Beast on Monday say the process for exchanging Taliban for Bergdahl this time was rushed and closely held, in some instances leaving little room for any push back against a policy clearly favored by the White House.
For what it's worth, Clapper's spokesman said he is on board with the deal now.
Massive Problem Number Two: The whole deal wasn't legal.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin declared on Monday that President Barack Obama "broke the law" when his administration failed to give Congress notice of at least 30 days before releasing five ranking Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay. Toobin said that a presidential signing statement did not absolve Obama from culpability for failing to abide by the law mandating congressional notification."I think he clearly broke the law," Toobin said. "The law says 30-days' notice. He didn't give 30-days' notice." Toobin added that Obama's opinion expressed in a signing statement "is not law.""The law is on the books, and he didn't follow it," Toobin added.
Massive Problem Number Three: Fresh off violating our national obligation to take care of our veterans when they return, our government is violating its national obligation to the families of fallen soldiers. Or at least stirring fresh pain anew:
Robert Andrews believes his own son might still be alive if U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had not gone missing from his Afghan guard post on June 30, 2009.As Bergdahl emerges from five years of Taliban captivity, former comrades are accusing him of walking away from his unit and prompting a massive manhunt they say cost the lives of at least six fellow soldiers, including Andrews' 34-year-old son, Darryn, a second lieutenant."Basically, my son died unnecessarily, hunting for a guy that we shouldn't even have been hunting for," Andrews told Reuters.
What on earth can anyone say to these families?
Sondra Andrews' son, 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews, is one of six soldiers killed reportedly while searching for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.The sergeant's return to captivity has stirred "very raw emotions.""It gets really hurtful when I think, this guy was worth my son's life? My son who was patriotic? Who was a true soldier? Who defended his country with his life?" Andrews told Army Times via phone on Monday. "That guy was worth that? I don't think so."
Massive Problem Number Four: Meet the guy we rescued, before he disappeared from his post:
"The future is too good to waste on lies," Bowe wrote. "And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting."The e-mail went on to list a series of complaints: Three good sergeants, Bowe said, had been forced to move to another company, and "one of the biggest s*** bags is being put in charge of the team." His battalion commander was a "conceited old fool." The military system itself was broken: "In the US army you are cut down for being honest . . . but if you are a conceited brown nosing s*** bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank . . . The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools." The soldiers he actually admired were planning on leaving: "The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies. The few good SGTs are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same."
Massive Problem Number Five: Here's a disturbing report of the captivity:
A captured American soldier is training Taliban fighters bomb-making and ambush skills, according to one of his captors and Afghan intelligence officials.Private Bowe Bergdahl disappeared in June 2009 while based in eastern Afghanistan and is thought to be the only U.S. serviceman in captivity.
The 24-year-old has converted to Islam and now has the Muslim name Abdullah, one of his captors told the Sunday Times.A Taliban deputy district commander in Paktika, who called himself Haji Nadeem, told the newspaper that Bergdahl taught him how to dismantle a mobile phone and turn it into a remote control for a roadside bomb.
Nadeem claimed he also received basic ambush training from the U.S. soldier."Most of the skills he taught us we already knew," he said. "Some of my comrades think he's pretending to be a Muslim to save himself so they wouldn't behead him."
Massive Problem Number Six: This graphic spread far and wide Monday, claiming to depict six U.S. soldiers killed in the course of the years-long search for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was released over the weekend by his Taliban captors:
Asked about the claims, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said it's "impossible" to confirm right now whether anybody's death was directly linked to the hunt for Bergdahl.But the Pentagon will look further into the circumstances of the deaths being associated with the search, he said.
"He is at best a deserter, and at worst a traitor," says former U.S. Army Sgt. Josh Korder. Korder served with Berghdahl in Blackfoot company, 2nd platoon in Afghanistan, and was recently discharged from the military.