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Somewhere, Bin Laden Is Smiling

Bowe Bergdahl was “an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield” who “served the United States with distinction and honor,” asserted Susan Rice, the president’s national security adviser.

Rice was speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos the morning after Barack Obama’s Rose Garden celebration of Bergdahl’s release. When she spoke last Sunday, could Rice have been ignorant of the widespread reports that Bergdahl had deserted?

Before last Sunday, her credibility was already in tatters.

Five days after Ambassador Chris Stevens and three Americans were killed in Benghazi, Rice went on five Sunday shows to describe the terrorist attack as a spontaneous riot ignited by an anti-Muslim video.

Not only has her credibility now suffered a second near-lethal blow, her competence as a presidential adviser is open to question. How could she let the president strut into the Rose Garden to celebrate the release of a soldier whose reported desertion triggered a province-wide search that may have cost the lives of half a dozen American soldiers?

As The Hill reported, a Pentagon investigation in 2010 concluded Bergdahl had walked out on his unit and left a note in his tent saying he was disillusioned with the Army and no longer supported the war. Was Rice ignorant of this? Did she think it not relevant, when she approved the president’s hosting of Bergdahl’s parents in the Rose Garden? Is Rice not responsible for the humiliation President Obama has endured all week and the fiasco that diverted national and international attention from his trip to Warsaw, Brussels and Normandy?

Forty-eight hours after Obama celebrated Bergdahl’s release, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs was promising an investigation of the soldier on the charge of desertion and related allegations he may have defected and collaborated. If Gen. Martin Dempsey was aware an investigation into charges so serious that they carry the death penalty was ahead for Bergdahl, did he not flag the White House before the president went before the nation to celebrate Bergdahl’s return?

Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, defends the decision by saying the U.S. military does not leave its soldiers behind: “When you’re in the Navy, and you go overboard, it doesn’t matter if you were pushed, fell or jumped. … We’re going to turn the ship around and pick you up.”

That is America’s tradition, and a proud and honorable one. And no one opposed the effort to bring Bergdahl home.

But if a man jumps overboard, to desert, and half a dozen sailors perish in stormy seas trying to rescue him, the Navy does not welcome the AWOL seaman back aboard with bands playing, all hands on deck and the captain hosting a celebration. The man is put in the brig to face charges on return to port. That is the military ethos Gen. Dempsey rightly praises.

But if Barack Obama, Susan Rice and the White House thought that swapping five senior Taliban commanders for Bergdahl would be cheered, it only testifies to how far removed they are from the band-of-brothers culture of the American military.

Consider the damage this debacle has been done. Our Afghan allies believe that, to retrieve one of our own, we dealt behind their backs with the enemy, at their expense. Are they not right? In return for one U.S. soldier, we traded five hardened Taliban commanders and killers. Their release has proven both a moral and military victory for our enemies, and a moral defeat for our friends. When we are gone from Afghanistan, the Kabul government we leave behind will have to deal with the consequences of what we did.

Second, the trade of the Taliban Five for Bergdahl has ignited a firestorm in the United States, polarized the American people further, proven a political fiasco for the president, and caused a diplomatic nightmare during his trip to Europe to shore up our NATO allies.

Today, circulating around Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, is a Taliban video of the prisoner exchange, where the Islamist fighters are handing over a pale and nervous American to our troops, and warning him never to return again or face death. Then the video shows the American helicopter flying away.

To those of us of a certain age, that helicopter calls to mind another helicopter, 40 years ago, lifting off the roof of the American embassy in Saigon, leaving behind the first war America lost and the Vietnamese people whose freedom we had gone to war to preserve and protect.

More than a decade ago, George W. Bush, full of hubris and egged on by his neocon counselors, decided to go beyond eradicating al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to remaking that country, and then Iraq, in our image. So, to make the Middle East safe for democracy, we plunged in.

And as we see the future unfolding in Afghanistan and Iraq, and reflect on the costs of our intervention — 7,000 dead, 40,000 wounded warriors, $2 trillion lost — was it all worth it?

Somewhere in hell, Osama bin Laden is smiling.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? [1] Copyright 2014 Creators.com [2].

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#1 Comment By Richard Parker On June 6, 2014 @ 9:04 am

Welcome Home Bowe!

#2 Comment By John On June 6, 2014 @ 9:24 am

It does not matter whether Bergdahl deserted. If the Army feels that it should prosecute Bergdahl for desertion, it may. It does not change the President’s obligation to retrieve American prisoners of war whenever feasible.

It does not matter whether these five men reenter the war between the Taliban and the Karzai government. For some time, we have had an end date for our occupation. If the people of Afghanistan are not ready after thirteen years to fight for their independence from the Taliban, they never will be.

Both wars were failures of policy before they became failures in execution. Nothing Obama did or did not do during his time in office will change that. (And incidentally, the long-term costs of these wars will be more like $4T-$6T.)

#3 Comment By bill burke On June 6, 2014 @ 10:03 am

Well said.

Yes, I think the whole controversy results mainly from the over-hyped announcement in the Rose Garden which might well be the fault of this woman.

And as much as I like Obama, he seems to have a curse on him for getting advice from terribly inept people, going back at least as far as his wackadoodle minister but including many others.

#4 Comment By Scott in PA On June 6, 2014 @ 10:21 am

Is Rice not responsible for the humiliation President Obama has endured all week…

I don’t think Obama feels humiliated at all. He’s winning his war against America. Protected by his treasonous media elite and adoring low-info voters, he’s got nothing to worry about.

#5 Comment By Mr. Patrick On June 6, 2014 @ 10:33 am

If Edward Snowden is the hero the libertarian right and Communist China make him out to be after destroying the entire US Sigint advantage, then Bowe Bergdahl is Audie Murphy.

#6 Comment By TomB On June 6, 2014 @ 10:50 am

John wrote:

“It does not matter whether Bergdahl deserted. … It does not change the President’s obligation to retrieve American prisoners of war whenever feasible.”

A remarkable calculus. Retrieving American prisoners of war often if not usually—and certainly here—involves sacrificing some cost/national interest.

And yet … that cost/national interest is to be sacrificed without the slightest regard to whether the prisoner was a deserter, a traitor or etc.?

Why? Because … making distinctions is hard? Something only people who use their brains do?

Right now as I understand it there’s an entirely blameless (except for his sense of direction) U.S. serviceman who was stationed near the Mexican border and who, trying to carry out some instruction, wound up innocently crossing over into Mexican territory.

Whereupon our friends the Mexicans, not being Dreamers, slapped him into one of their jails, where he sits today. Without Ms. Rice’s tender concerns. Without a father praising the Mexicans.

This Bergdahl business is deeply disturbing. I had thought that Obama represented a good thing in rejecting the countercultural in his liberalism. What seems to be the case more and more is that this was just a pose on his part. Rescue deserters/traitors, let the ordinary average serviceman rot.

Obama is now deserving of every piece of invective he’s gonna get from this. And I suspect he’s substantially tanked the Presidential fortunes of any other liberal blacks for a good while to come. Because while, like Obama, they may talk a good, color-blind, traditional culture game, nobody’s gonna believe ’em anymore now for a long time.

#7 Comment By Ken T On June 6, 2014 @ 10:58 am

Prominent Republicans were criticizing Obama for failing to bring Bergdahl home right up until the day Obama announced that he was bringing Bergdahl home. At which moment they reversed course 180 degrees and started criticizing him for bringing Bergdahl home. The politicization of this matter by the Republican Party is disgusting. John has it exactly right above. No one has ever before questioned the responsibility of any previous President to bring any previous POW home, no matter what the details. The outrage over Bergdahl is absolutely 100% FAKE.

Mr. Buchanan, you are capable of MUCH better than this. You demean yourself, sir.

#8 Comment By Charlieford On June 6, 2014 @ 11:06 am

“. . . leaving behind the first war America lost and the Vietnamese people whose freedom we had gone to war to preserve and protect.”

An offhand remark, but one that’s worth some reflection given its constant repetition.

The Vietnam War didn’t terminate with the US surrendering to the North Vietnamese. It terminated by way of a phased withdrawal spread across half-a-decade (1969-1973).

The US continued to support with aid and weapons the Republic of South Vietnam for more than two years thereafter. The RSV had the fourth best-equipped military in the world at the time. As a result, we bought the South Vietnamese that the “decent interval” the Nixon administration had understood from the beginning was the only end-game in the cards (and which had actually been known since long before escalation was a twinkle in LBJ’s eye.

The end of the Vietnam War was hardly, then, a “loss.” If one unwisely takes seriously the PR used to sell that war to the American people–the defense of an authentic independent sovereign RSV from external aggression–then its end was disappointing,certainly. If one understands, however, that an “independent” RSV was already recognized as a pipe dream in the early 1960s, and that the war planners knew that the RSV would exist only as long as the USA propped it up–ie, in a state of pronounced dependence–then the end was just what we expected.

Ambiguous, in other words, but hardly a “loss.”

And, to be clear, an ambiguous ending is hardly unique to the Vietnam War.

The War of 1812, WWI, the Korean War, and the First Gulf War all stand as examples of decidedly ambiguous outcomes, where goals were not entirely achieved, and the situations that caused them in the first place continued to require attention and treasure from the US.

Moreover, even wars sometimes thought of as “wins,” like the Mexican War and the Philippine Insurrection, didn’t end in neat military victories, but through negotiation, compromise, the reduction of our goals, and in one case, a nice hefty bribe.

Iraq and Afghanistan will now be added to that already long list that goes back well before Vietnam.

The two wars that we focus on so much as paradigms of how American wars should go–the Civil War and WWII–were, in fact, outliers, where unprecedented amounts of blood and treasure were devoted to achieving victory at all costs, and where the entire nation focused its energies on the task.

The idea that we would do that in wars of choice such as Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan is ludicrous. It would never happen because it couldn’t. Nation’s simply don’t reorganize themselves to that degree unless there are existential issues at stake.

Ensuring that incompetent, autrocratic kleptocrats such as Thieu or Maliki or Karzai remain in power in their respective nations simply was not and never could be a casus belli of the order we saw in the 1860s or 1940s.

Unless, in other words, you’re going to put forth a WWII-level effort,don’t expect a WWII-style victory.

#9 Comment By Essayist-Lawyer On June 6, 2014 @ 11:14 am

So what are you saying. That we shouldn’t have gone into Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. but that once we did, we have to stay until doomsday, endlessly throwing good money after bad lest we look weak for leaving? Not a good calculus, that.

#10 Comment By mike nimzo On June 6, 2014 @ 11:22 am

You were for bringing Bergdahl home before you were against it.

Typical right-wing hypocrisy. I thought TAC was above this.

#11 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 6, 2014 @ 11:36 am

I am not going to mince words on this. I think my position as to this executive and his policies as expressed on this site are clear.

But the attempt to make hay out the release of this service member is beyond silly. Whether he walked off, strolled off or skipped to the loo my darling, the understanding in theater is that one held against their will is captured. Even if that capture was of their own misguided notions.

Second, it has never, ever mattered we have never found it acceptable to not retrieve a service member. This silliness that is going on about ‘terrorists’ and what not is ridiculous. With respect to weighing out the matter of negotiation, I find it odd that anyone contends that os US serviceman is not worth forty afghanistan fighters labeled ‘terrorists’ or not. How insufferable and wholly bankrupt do you have to be to dismiss the life of a US citizen for foreign fighters And that people actually engage in this type of rhetoric is in my mind treasonous. These are the types of political games we are subjecting our military personnell, who may very well be angry about the matter, but it would be a position wholly unthinkable.

Third, I hate this kind of bait. If the US Army wanted to make a case they had five years to do so. Five years to make prefer. They could even have said we want him back for that very purpose. That would be far more honorable than this weird mantra coming out from my fellow conservatives and it is wierd.

Fourth, that any republican would even entertain this in the light of our own incredible blunders against national interest is mind blowing.

Fifth, whatever respect I have for the military it is not trumped by chatter. And service members who engage in it ought to be very leary about just how and what their motives are. It was my party that put you in harms way for practically unrealistic goals in the first place. I think the outrage if it exists out to be focused in two areas:

1. the Sgt
2. the command, that anyone was not partnered given the conditions
3. the failure to take basic precautions if the views expressed by the Sgt were as open as being claimed
4. that whatever comes of the trial including testimony that laws were broken in the theater against civilians should have been redressed and not permitted to become political hay as might be the case in the case of a trial

Maybe he is as is being written, but that is what due process is for. And no one should be seeking to trump that constitutional right already severly curtailed by service.

TomB. I am unclear what in the world does color has to do with this. The Sgt was white, negotiated by a half white guy. I think blacks already know the end of this game. They are fully aware of white hypocrisy about equality. And if your comment is proven accurate it will just confirm it. Because in light of what white presidents have done on behalf of whites, whites have been the biggest beneficiaries. I don’t care what color you are but your comment reveals something about you. And it is not color blindness.

I am concerned about the Marine in Mexico and the games the mexicans play, but I do think it is interesting that republicans are so eager to give amnesty to those who undermine our value. But Mexico’s asymetric warfare is one caused by money and drugs, and he is being held by (arguably) an ally.

#12 Comment By Ben, Okla. City On June 6, 2014 @ 11:37 am

Bringing Bergdahl back was the right thing to do. The 5 Taliban would have to have been released anyway because international law requires that we release PWs (and that’s essentially what they were). He should now be subject to the UCMJ and account for his actions.

The Rose Garden ceremony and the celebratory posture of the Administration was inappropriate given the circumstances surrounding the return of this particular service member.

#13 Comment By Johann On June 6, 2014 @ 11:48 am

Its hard to come up with any conclusion other than the fact that the Whitehouse was clueless about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance and capture. Any and all politicians know how to read the political tea leaves and would recognize the political stupidity of making statements that Bergdahl served with honor and distinction when those statements appear to be at odds with military investigations done years ago of his disappearance.

And if the Whitehouse was clueless, one can only conclude that they are insulated from reality, which is scary. They may not be getting alternative viewpoints or feedback, which leads to decision-making based on ideology, not reality.

#14 Comment By Archon On June 6, 2014 @ 12:01 pm

This is a very, very dangerous issue for the Republicans to politicize. If I were a Republican strategist I’d tell members to keep our powder dry on this one and focus on the VA story, which is a real fiasco.

#15 Comment By Ken T On June 6, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

[3]

David Brooks, of all people, gets it exactly right.

#16 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 6, 2014 @ 12:15 pm

I agree Bin Laden is smiling. But it has little to do with the Sgt. who thought he had a better way other some whatever it is that was going on out there. Because in all likelihood had american soldier been captured with any notions of reaching some accord, he would have been just as dead as a soldier whose sole mission was to kill every last muslim on the planet.

No. He is smiling because during the 1990’s when he was conducting his bombing missions, he was very very frustrated that the US did not come out enforce after him. And now finally we have come out enforce making ourselves vulnerable. He is smiling because americans are so scared they have turned on themselves. They are so scared that they consider other americans the enemy, especially for target are those americans who say, perhaps we have gone too far.

Sure he is smiling having accomplished his mission of setting the US on its heels by what was a very lucky strike of a crime.

Even apparently the men of the armed forces are so unhinged that simple protocols about avoiding the press — have now become the tools by which politics is played out.

When I was a Marine, it was understood, that two marines may hate each others guts, but let someone else criticize either Marine — and those devil dogs are best friends. Members of the Armed Services would do well to remember the same.

Keep family issues in house. It is never an issue to bring a fellow home and wher the two can fight it out.

#17 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 6, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

“o what are you saying. That we shouldn’t have gone into Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. but that once we did, we have to stay until doomsday, endlessly throwing good money after bad lest we look weak for leaving? Not a good calculus, that.”

Not at all, once we did, we needed to fight like our very lives dependent on it. War is not child’s play.

It is nasty nasty business. And if we go, even we shouldn’t we had better pull all the stops and win whatever winning means per that conflict. The military loves depend most on clarity of purpose and intent. We don’t fight to have a middle ground period.
______________________________________________________
“ts hard to come up with any conclusion other than the fact that the Whitehouse was clueless about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance and capture.”

I hate to be a position that defends the executive. But I am going to put the buck on the desk of the military. They had an obligation to make it clear the circumstances of the matter at hand. Now if, they ignored them after being informed that is one thing, but to allow the question to go forward without expressing concerns is on them.

#18 Comment By Majumder On June 6, 2014 @ 12:37 pm

More than a decade ago, George W. Bush, full of hubris and egged on by his neocon counselors, decided to go beyond eradicating al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to remaking that country, and then Iraq, in our image. — P. Joseph Buchanan

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said: Man can indeed do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wants.

American presidents such as Lyndon Johnson and George Bush II are the perfect specimens of what Schopenhauer was talking about.

For no economic, social or cultural benefit for America, American presidents — whether it is John McCain or Mitt Romney — always seem pre-destined to plunge into other nations’ problems.

#19 Comment By vato_loco_frisco On June 6, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

Although I’m glad that Bergdahl is headed home, and have no problem with the Taliban exchange, Obama’s Rose Garden photo op with the POW’s parents was a lesson in political ineptitude and indicative of this administration’s total lack of common sense. Who the heck organized that event? But then again, what politician is able to resist the cameras, even if only to bask in the spotlight for a moment before the proverbial crap hits the fan?

#20 Comment By John On June 6, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

@TomB:

Obama is now deserving of every piece of invective he’s gonna get from this. And I suspect he’s substantially tanked the Presidential fortunes of any other liberal blacks for a good while to come. Because while, like Obama, they may talk a good, color-blind, traditional culture game, nobody’s gonna believe ‘em anymore now for a long time.

If you needed him to “talk a good, color-blind, traditional culture game,” then you were unlikely to judge him fairly regardless of what he did.

Regarding Sgt. Bergdahl’s alleged desertion, Sgt. Bergdahl has not had an opportunity to be heard in his own defense by any U.S. military authority or tribunal. Yet you would have us leave a soldier in the hands of the enemy because you believe that he may be a deserter.

If we apply that logic to the case of the Marine reservist being held in Mexico, we should leave him in prison. He has admittedly lied to Mexican authorities about the number of border crossings he had previously made, or about whether he should have seen signs as he crossed over into Tijuana about guns being illegal in Mexico. For all we know, he was selling them for drugs; it’s not like we need a trial to determine if he broke any laws when we have a media, right? He’s a criminal and (in Mexico) an illegal alien, so the State Department should sit on its hands instead of doing everything it can for a U.S. resident in trouble abroad.

We gave up five middle-aged men a decade out of the fight for a captured soldier. Somehow the Afghans managed to keep fighting even without them all this time. In a year to eighteen months, we will have no military presence left in Afghanistan aside from embassy guards. I know it’s hard with a “liberal black” President in charge, but do try to have some perspective.

#21 Comment By Adam On June 6, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

The optics on the trade and the use of terms to describe the soldier by Rice should be open to ridicule. Just as all of the conservative use of this soldier remaining in captivity for years as a crudgeon against the administration purportedly for showing weakness and a lack of support for the soldiers they send to fight, and then turning against the very dealthat secured his release because the guy was a deserter and not worth releasing five terrorists should be ridiculed. It is simple hypocrisy. Quit utilizing our men and women in service as your favorite political football, and that is directed at all elected officials that purport to be all about the veterans.

#22 Comment By William Dalton On June 6, 2014 @ 2:36 pm

Kudos to Pat Buchanan for another insightful and spot-on analysis of another “fine mess” our President has gotten himself into. I would only add that the “five hardened Taliban commandos and killers” he released were, in point of fact, officials of the Taliban government George W. Bush overthrew in 2001 and are likely to be back in government there when this war is over. We who supported the Vietnam War in our youth had to learn the lesson that it does no good to fight to install and preserve a government which reflects “Western values” in a foreign land when that government is opposed by a majority of its people. If we aren’t, like the genocidal colonialists of old, willing to replace the people, we will watch them replace the government we have given them. Anyone with a passing knowledge of history of events in Afghanistan this past decade understand clearly why the departing President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign up for another term of enlistment as an occupied country of the Armed Forces of the United States while his successors are only too anxious to do so. He knows that his days in Afghanistan are numbered if he doesn’t mend fences with the Taliban, and his successors know their days are numbered once the U.S. leaves. Meanwhile the Afghans will get the government they bloody well wanted and died to get, as crumbled Empires of Great Britain and the Soviet Union learned before us and we were foolish not to realize before we stepped in.

Some of us on America’s “Old Right” learned the hard lesson of Vietnam by the time the temptation to attack and invade Afghanistan befell us in 2001. Where were the leaders of the “New Left”, John Kerry and Joe Biden, who opposed the original Vietnam War, as well as their proteges, like Barack Obama and Susan Rice, when George W. Bush led us down that primrose path a second time? Either cheering him on or remaining mum on the sidelines.

All these leaders, Democratic and Republican, who led us into the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond, and are now pointing fingers at one another to deflect the assignment of blame, were once young idealists now co-opted by their enrollment in a system in which going to war was never about winning or losing, but only about playing the game. Well, we’ve been “playing the game” now for fifty years, watching those on Wall Street and the puppets in Washington grow wealthy while the poor of the Earth, from Vietnam to Afghanistan to the United States, suffer and die.

Was it worth it? To them? Hell, yes! The question is why do the American people keep letting them do it to us? And why do we keep voting for politicians of both parties who beg for more?

#23 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 6, 2014 @ 2:45 pm

That we have “Afghan allies” is sorely in doubt. The puppet Karzai only hews to some purported interests of our foreign policy elites upon monthly receipt of a trash bag of specially printed U.S. currency of a million dollars or so, for an unaccountable personal slush fund. One has to admire that he is honest about it, however, unlike our mavens who unaccountably provide it. Our “exceptionalism” led us to be deceived that they could subdue that graveyard of all empires. Bergdahl cast into that morass is simply the little kid too dumb to realize he wasn’t supposed to see or say that the empire has no clothes. That’s more heroic than the brownosing, including that of the adulterous sycophantic Petraus, as confirmed by Admiral Fallon.

#24 Comment By Jack Shifflett On June 6, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

As she has in the past, Susan Rice said what she was told to say–she was being, that is, a good soldier. As for Bowe Bergdahl, what kind of soldier he was remains to be seen, and in the absence of contrary proof, Ms. Rice was correct to describe him as she did. Finally–“Somewhere in hell, Osama bin Laden is smiling” indicates that Mr. Buchanan has a confused notion of what Bowe Bergdahl’s release means and an even more confused notion of Hell.

#25 Comment By JR On June 6, 2014 @ 4:08 pm

Ben, you said “international law requires that we release PWs” – which is interesting. But you seem to forget that 2 of the senior taliban officials that were released were also accused by the international tribunal with war crimes. We had absolutely no right to unilaterally give them up before the went before the International Criminal Courts.

#26 Comment By Arthur Sido On June 6, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

Osama bin Laden is no doubt in hell but he most certainly is not smiling.

#27 Comment By EngineerScotty On June 6, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

Apparently, Pat has written too many sensible things recently, thus to keep his Conservative Bona Fides in good standing, he was required to write partisan nonsense like this.

If Bergdahl was a deserter, then court-martial him. Simple enough.

#28 Comment By Gold Star for Robot Boy On June 6, 2014 @ 6:05 pm

Bin Laden isn’t smiling; he’s fish food.

#29 Comment By Winston On June 6, 2014 @ 6:06 pm

Why 5 Taliban for 1 American soldier? Maybe it should have been 1 Taliban. This may also be about Afghanistan withdrawal and US understanding Taliban will be a dominant player there.

#30 Comment By Winston On June 6, 2014 @ 6:08 pm

Anyway I think Gitmo is a farce since Libya and Syria have become Jihadi playgrounds. If you want to criticize Obama, there’s more than Benghazi that was wrong with his Libya and Syria engagement. If you need Jihadis to provide back up to weak rebels then you should stay out!

#31 Comment By TomB On June 6, 2014 @ 10:03 pm

Apropos my post EliteCommInc. wrote:

“TomB. I am unclear what in the world does color has to do with this.”

Well then maybe you should re-read what I wrote instead of just resorting to the beyond-tired “instant suggestion of racism” game so popular today.

And John wrote:

“If you needed [Obama] to ‘talk a good, color-blind, traditional culture game,’ then you were unlikely to judge him fairly regardless of what he did.”

So that it’s “unfair” now to have judged Obama by … his own bloody words?

[And:]

“Yet you would have us leave a soldier in the hands of the enemy because you believe that he may be a deserter.”

As you know John I said no such thing. All I wrote was to question *your* position that all soldiers in the hands of the enemy must be treated equal. I.e., your statement that “It does not matter if Bergdahl is a deserter.”

And I’ll resist the urge to respond to your instant resort to polemics by not accusing you then of wanting to leave a good *blameless* soldier (like that guy in Mexico) in hostile hands, in favor of freeing deserters (who you *admit* are deserters*) from what many would say *are* their just deserts.

#32 Comment By MikeS On June 6, 2014 @ 10:20 pm

I am glad that my fellow American is back home, though I agree that the Rose Garden photo-op was not helpful. Overall, a tempest in a teapot, and catnip for rightwing lovers of outrage p*rn.

#33 Comment By PA Moderate On June 6, 2014 @ 10:25 pm

How could she let the president strut into the Rose Garden to celebrate the release of a soldier whose reported desertion triggered a province-wide search that may have cost the lives of half a dozen American soldiers?

I’ll save my outrage until after he is convicted. You know, due process and all that. Of course, seeing that conservatives were clamoring for his release until it actually happened kind of tells me that maybe Bergdahl’s alleged desertion was a very well kept secret. There were even Republican politicians that initially praised his return. Maybe Rice et al assumed that they finally had something that both right and left could agree was a good thing.

Also, the current talking point is that eight soldiers died searching for him. Of course reality is that there was an eight day search that resulted in zero casualties. I’m guessing that the “Bergdahl Death Toll” will grow to eventually include every casualty in Afghanistan after his capture.

#34 Comment By jk On June 7, 2014 @ 4:55 am

Obama’s cabinet has a tendency for hyping announcements that only backfire. “$ 1billion more for more well deserved European free riding security!” $5 billion more for training shady countries in “counter-terrorism/citizenry”

#35 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 7, 2014 @ 6:26 am

If the international community wanted they could have contended for them. We have had them locked up for years. These complaints are utterly mindless. I care not if you are Fox News or MSNBC. This entire complaint is just strange. We do not leave citizens in the hands the enemy. It matters not a whit or flip what they had in mind.

We are doing somersaults to bring back Snowden and he is in the hands of the Russians. And he willingly fled and willingly remained and could depart at anytime. Yet my party wants his head. Why, because he is a US citizen and our laundry is laundered by us.

Everyone in Guantonamo is considered a terrorist. The UN was not really in on the fight against the Taliban, but the security council was all too happy that the US went in. Why because of the propaganda machine against their religious belief and practice. Because of the hoopla about democracy and the maltreatment of women. The complaint about the level of terror is hollow. We are not going to be in country when they get back, if we are there of course whoever opposes our presence is going to fight. The Afghanistahn was never supposed to be about the Taliban. It was to capture the small few involved in 9/11. That neither required invasion nor democracy. We could continue to negotiate and or serve warrant and seek him out.

Whether the country wanted to be a democracy, a monarchy, or the holy city is their business. And the Afghanistan civil war was their business.

Sure we had a right. We had more of a right to do so than to invade Iraq. Vietnam had more justification than Afghanistan. The Taliban was not in on the 9/11 attacks. They may have been unconvinced the Osama Bin Laden was the terrorist we claimed. But that is a different issue than aided in those crimes. By invading Afghanistan we caused the Taliban, a disparate group of religious groups all claiming regions of the country for themselves, often duking it out over various issues to band together to defend Afghanistan making the capture of Osama Bin Laden more difficulty.

Th contention that the US doesn’t have the right to act unilaterally flies in the face of US history and reason, even when there are other nation states interests at play. Of course we want to maintain US autonomy. To hear the weak knee’d arguments about any US serviceman is almost frightening. And all of the belly aching about unilateral action in light of what was almost global objection to our invasion of Iraq by the UN is tawdry, strange and belies the very hypocrisy which has damaged our foreign policy and force projection, which relies a great deal on perception.

The nature of the gentleman’s service is our concern. The Dixie two step you are attempting to dance here, just does not wash.

I am becoming increasingly curious about what went on in that command that they would not want to have a service member return for the purposes of trial. I want to know what is it that so has military personnell angry that they would dump one of the oldest principles standing regarding its members. So peculiar that even Mr. Patrick Buchanan would betray that ethic.

We wash our own laundry. After isn’t that the argument made about Mr. Snowden. That so much politics has invaded the military such that they would break oath with that maybe in an indication that our brokeness is beyond repair. That even the our military has completely lost its way.

And that is frightening.

#36 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 7, 2014 @ 8:54 am

Excuse me. Dear Mr. Buchanan, I wholly misread or misunderstood your final contend. My mistake and I asked it be excused.

We are for the most part on the same page here. My comments were not to deliberately misconstrue your position.

#37 Comment By Ben, Okla. City On June 7, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

JR: I didn’t forget. I didn’t know that to begin with. You make a good point.

#38 Comment By Bill Jones On June 7, 2014 @ 10:25 pm

Bin Laden: Dead and Loving It
[4]

“Alexander the Great, eat your heart out. Et tu, Julius Caesar. The same goes for you, Charlemagne. Dead or alive, Osama bin Laden is the greatest military and political strategist in human history, bar none.

Neither Alexander nor Caesar nor Charlemagne managed, as bin Laden has, to lure the best-trained, best-equipped military of the world’s all-time mightiest nation in a series of inescapable goat-rope entanglements without so much as an army or a navy or an air force of his own. “

#39 Comment By Charlieford On June 8, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

JR says: “We had absolutely no right to unilaterally give them up before the went before the International Criminal Courts.”

The US is not a participant in the ICC.

#40 Comment By James Canning On June 8, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

An important point about Osama bin Laden is that he hated Saddam Hussein and wanted him killed. GW Bush foolishly squandered trillions of dollars accomplishing what Osama bin Laden wished to achieve on that score.

#41 Comment By Clint On June 8, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

Rasmussen polling has 40 percent of likely voters approving of Obama’s Bergdahl trade.while 43 percent oppose it.

#42 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 8, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

“We wash our own dirty laundry.” Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say our elites whitewash their own dirty laundry?

#43 Comment By TomB On June 8, 2014 @ 10:34 pm

Good on Bill Jones for returning us to Buchanan’s point, which really wasn’t the Bergdahl fellow but how smart bin Laden was in the long run.

And just to add to Bill’s list of his accomplishments, wait until the destabilization of Pakistan that we effectuated by playing his game comes to any one of its terrible possible if not probable conclusions.

We’re gonna be remembering Mr. bin Laden for a long long time methinks.

#44 Comment By philadelphialawyer On June 8, 2014 @ 11:16 pm

“Our Afghan allies believe that, to retrieve one of our own, we dealt behind their backs with the enemy, at their expense. Are they not right? In return for one U.S. soldier, we traded five hardened Taliban commanders and killers. Their release has proven both a moral and military victory for our enemies, and a moral defeat for our friends. When we are gone from Afghanistan, the Kabul government we leave behind will have to deal with the consequences of what we did.”

Oh boy! “Our Afghan allies,” huh. A bunch of bought and paid for kleptocrats who take money from us by the bushel, and then take money from the drug dealers to look the other way, and pretty much don’t do a damn thing about “the Taliban” or any other guerilla or terrorist or simply bandit group in Afghanistan.

“Our Afghan allies,” heroes that they are, feel betrayed, do they? Well then, maybe they can go out and find another super power to bankroll their corrupt regime and fight their enemies, for going on fifteen years now, for them, if we fail to measure up to their exalted standards.

“Our Afghan allies” are a joke. We put them in power. They are a puppet regime, at best, and couldn’t care less about what any “hardened Taliban commanders and killers” do to the peasants and peons stuck on the front lines while they party like its 1999 in Kabul.

“When we are gone” are gallant “friends” and “allies” will be on the first plane to Switzerland, to be reunited with their (formerly our) money, assuming that they haven’t left already.

Frankly, I don’t really care about this guy all that much. But the argument that releasing a handful of the hapless prisoners languishing in Guantanamo for a decade or more is going to make a damn bit a difference in the overall Afghan war is not a very convincing one.

But, beyond that, beyond whether this guy is worth it or not, or whether this is a good tactical move or not, the idea that I, or any other American citizen, should, for one second, give a tinker’s damn what anyone in the comprador regime in Kabul “believes” about it, or what they think it says about us, is flabbergasting.

#45 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 9, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

“Well then maybe you should re-read what I wrote instead of just resorting to the beyond-tired “instant suggestion of racism” game so popular today.”

I have reread your post and I am unclear what about your comments I misread. The issue of color should be moot here.

Absolutely we should be concerned about any soldier held anywhere, including Mexico.

But under the circumstances, releasing those five for which there has yet to be a case made by anyone international organizations or our own, in a theater we are departing (and there may be some question there), who are going to held practically until we leave is not much of an issue.

We have called nearly everyone who fought in an Afgahnistan terrorists. It was not a viable accusation to sustain and attempting to gather evidence on that score was always going to be a losing game.

The reason it was done was to justify our use of force and the measures used to support it. It was convenient, but it is unsustainable. And sadly most citizens don’t get what the circumstances are ten years after 9/11. Many still think it was some grand muslim plot. It was not. It was a plot by a very small band of muslims who should have been stopped by the protocols already in place.

Since you introduced color, allow me. I know blacks who were tagged by police everyday of their lives practically merely for walking home from school. These gentlemen were on the terror watchlist. They engaged in peculiar flight training. Their visas were expired. A routine push on any of those levels most likely would blown the scheme.

At the end of every conflict there is a prisoner exchange. This is one rare incident, when I can’t pick bones with the executive. We had better face some hard and cold realities. The most important of which is that our response has made more enemies than it was ever going to kill.

And I say this with great pain — we have produced the enemy we feared.

#46 Comment By TomB On June 13, 2014 @ 7:09 am

EliteCommInc. wrote:

“I have reread your post and I am unclear what about your comments I misread. The issue of color *should* be moot here.” (Emphasis supplied.)

Well, one place to start is the dictionary’s different definitions of “should” and “is” or “will be.”