:: Posted by Edward Cline at 4:31 PM
One can reach a point in the business of political (and even cultural) commentary where one gags at the latest episode of chicanery and blatant fraud. Living in a constant state of crisis, outrage and doom, as we have been doing under President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, is not psychologically healthy. Gagging and revulsion are defense mechanisms, warning signs that one is becoming jaded, numb, and dangerously desensitized.” News of the latest White House adventure in nihilism, in this instance the premeditated “swap” of an alleged deserter and traitor for five Gitmo hard-case killer Islamists, begins as a cresting wave that looks squeaky clean – thanks to government PR and Susan Rice – until it washes over you and you learn it’s packed with rocks, sand, jelly fish, and what’s found in septic tanks.
That’s what I felt when the Bowe Bergdahl news broke. Mentally paraphrasing Henry II about Thomas Becket, “Who will rid me of this troublesome Progressive priest?,” I steeled myself to deal with it. While I contend that Obama’s policies are politically fascist, in terms of his domestic policies, however, beneath all the Alinsky-esque manipulation and subterfuge, he is fundamentally a nihilist. His actions are consciously, deliberately, and purposefully nihilist. He is bent on destroying this country.
Most commentators and pundits do not grasp this, not even the brightest and most perceptive ones, not even the ones imbued with such outrage and palpable disgust with Obama that they are calling for his censure or impeachment. The devil is not in the details of Obama’s actions. The devil is Obama himself. The details don’t concern him. He is their author and the details are a distraction.
Perhaps it’s because the commentators and pundits are observing what they believe is some mandatory decorum when it comes to judging Obama or anyone else in such high office, and so pull that final knockout punch out of respect for an office Obama clearly does not respect himself. But Obama’s malice and malignity are there for the seeing. My well-paid colleagues won’t take that last step with a moral condemnation and deem him a worse traitor than Bowe Bergdahl.
That they very likely fear the wrath of a president and a government with unlimited powers to harass, smear, persecute, and destroy is proof enough that they know that Obama is evil.
I’ve been calling him evil from the very beginning, back in 2008. You can say that only so many times.
Here is one way of not grasping Obama’s evil. Charles Krauthammer in his Washington Post column of June 5th, “Free him, then try him,” gets the essential details of the Bergdahl “swap” and neatly presents them:
America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.
Nonsense. Of course we do. Everyone does, while pretending not to. The Israelis, by necessity the toughest of all anti-terror fighters, in 2011 gave up 1,027 prisoners, some with blood on their hands, for one captured staff sergeant.
Krauthammer might also have mentioned our negotiating with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and wanting very badly to negotiate with Iran, if only the ayatollahs would stop laughing at us. Not to mention the Taliban and Al Queda.
The administration did not give Congress 30-day notice as required by law.
Of all the jurisdictional disputes between president and Congress, the president stands on the firmest ground as commander in chief. And commanders have the power to negotiate prisoner exchanges. Moreover, from where did this sudden assertion of congressional prerogative spring? After five years of supine acquiescence to President Obama’s multiple usurpations, Congress suddenly becomes exercised over a war power — where its claim is weakest.
Congress does nothing in the face of 23 executive alterations of the president’s own Affordable Care Act. It does nothing when Obama essentially enacts by executive order the Dream Act, which Congress had refused to enact. It does nothing when the Justice Department unilaterally rewrites drug laws. And now it rises indignantly on its hind legs because it didn’t get 30 days’ notice of a prisoner swap?
This is true. Congress has not done much to rein in Obama’s repeated abuses of the office’s executive powers, except to complain about being bypassed, nor has the Supreme Court. And it was that very same 30-day notice law Obama himself signed. He has been flouting law since he assumed office. It’s nothing new. Also worthy of mention is Obama’s habit of bypassing Congress by simply ordering the various bureaucracies and enforcement agencies to implement his agendas, for example, by ordering the EPA to enforce his new coal emissions regulations, or the IRS to target Tea Party and other conservative groups for surveillance and delaying regulatory paperwork to register as non-profits.
The Taliban release endangers national security.
Indeed it does. The five released detainees are unrepentant, militant and dangerous. They’re likely to go back into the field and resume their war against local and foreign infidels, especially us. The administration pretense that we and the Qataris will monitor them is a joke. They can start planning against us tonight. And if they decide to leave Qatar tomorrow, who’s going to stop them?
NATO? The EU? Electronic ankle bracelets? An unarmed, picture-taking drone with a megaphone that would remind them not to venture from Qatar? None of the above. Krauthammer scores Obama’s ventriloquist dummy, Susan Rice, current national security advisor and former U.S. ambassador to the UN, for broaching the first “talking points“:
What is it with Susan Rice and the Sunday morning talk shows? This time she said Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had served in Afghanistan “with honor and distinction” — the biggest whopper since she insisted the Benghazi attack was caused by a video.
Krauthammer cuts through all the speculation and second-guessing about Bergdahl’s status and writes:
If he’s a defector — joined the enemy to fight against his country — then he deserves no freeing. Indeed, he deserves killing, the way we kill other enemies in the field, the way we killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American who had openly joined al-Qaeda. A U.S. passport does not entitle a traitor to any special protection. (Caveat: If a POW is turned, Stockholm-syndrome-like, after falling captive, these condemnatory considerations don’t apply.)
Assume, however — and we will find out soon enough — that Bergdahl was not a defector. Simply wanted out — a deserter who walked or wandered away from his duty and his comrades for reasons as yet unknown.
Two imperatives should guide the answer. Bergdahl remains a member of the U.S. military and therefore is (a) subject to military justice and (b) subject to the soldiers’ creed that we don’t leave anyone behind. What to do? Free him, then try him. Make the swap and then, if the evidence is as strong as it now seems, court-martial him for desertion.
Paul Waldman’s June 6th Washington Post article, “It’s true: Bergdahl wasn’t a ‘hero.’ So what?“reflects the cynical malaise that governs the news media in an attempt to analyze the probity of the swap and the legitimacy of the concept of heroism.
Some years ago, the country came to a collective realization that the people who fight in a war don’t bear personal responsibility for whether the war was a good idea in the first place. This was an immensely salutary development, one that led to the important acknowledgement of the risks that service members take on. The image of the military improved dramatically, and Americans began looking at those in uniform with new admiration. Service members couldn’t walk through an airport without a dozen people walking up to them to thank them for their service. That’s all good.
But along with it came a devaluation of the idea of heroism. We began to regularly refer to any and all members of the military as “heroes,” without any regard to what they had or hadn’t done in their service. If we use the same term to refer to someone who risked his life to save his fellow soldiers in a valley in Afghanistan as we do for someone who effectively conducted data entry for personnel files at a base in North Carolina, “hero” has lost nearly all its meaning.
Conservatives are up in arms over the fact that Susan Rice said Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction” before he was captured by the Taliban. But how many times have we heard that phrase? It’s become a meaningless throwaway line. These days, if a soldier managed not to frag his commanding officer and drive his Humvee off a cliff, we say he “served with honor and distinction.”
If the concept of heroism, or claiming that someone “served with honor and distinction,” has become a meaningless concept or a throwaway line,” who made it so? It wasn’t Susan Rice alone. For example, Hillary Clinton’s touted “accomplishments” while Secretary of State have become a source of humor and mockery, those accomplishments having the character of a helium balloon that deflates or explodes and falls to the earth every time it rises to the sun of the truth that she accomplished absolutely nothing. Yet, while the Left and most of the news media know that she achieved little else but antagonism among our allies and enemies, few dare to state that publicly.
This is self-censorship, if not tweaking news stories fit to print that overlay a news medium’s own political agenda.
Sharyl Attkisson, the reporter who resigned from CBS because of the network’s penchant for self-censorship and for submitting to government pressure not to run stories critical of Obama and his administration, wrote in a June 3rd article, “Exclusive: Journalism’s Very Dangerous Trend,” in the Daily Signal:
Sharyl Attkisson, an award-winning investigative reporter who resigned from CBS News earlier this year, says the news media are heading down a dangerous path with attempts to “censor or block stories” that don’t align with their preferred agenda.“There’s a tendency in the news media, on the part of some managers, to censor or block stories that don’t fall in line with the message they want sent to the viewers,” Attkisson said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal.
“I think that’s really a very dangerous perspective to have.”In the first of three segments, Attkisson shared her views on journalism and life after CBS News. Her newest investigative report—about oxygen trials conducted on premature babies—was published by The Daily Signal today. She will serve as a senior independent contributor to the news organization, which made its debut Tuesday.
Attkisson made headlines in March when she left CBS News after a 20-year career at the TV network. In subsequent interviews, she cited her inability to get her stories on the air.
On her own blog site, Attkisson comments on the Bergdahl/Taliban “swap,” and, like Charles Krauthammer, cautions calm in rushing to judgment on Bergdahl’s behavior five years ago:
Diana West, in her WND article of June 5th article, “‘No Men Left Behind’?, bursts the balloon of Obama’s assertion about the purported American “tradition” of not leaving behind captured soldiers.
It is probably the poisonous reek of government lies breaking open that has ignited this passion – so many lies and so much subterfuge that a clear story has yet to take shape. But this collective outrage over Afghanistan – a first in the history of our long war there – shouldn’t all be spent on Bergdahl, or even on Obama. But I will save that story for another day.
In the meantime, it’s worth noting that the nation’s wrath is as understandable as it is real. Bergdahl wasn’t captured as the government vaguely led us to believe, even going so far as to prevent some of Bergdahl’s platoon-mates from talking about what happened by having them sign nondisclosure agreements. We now know that as many as 14 American soldiers were killed trying to rescue Bergdahl. …
The president has invoked lofty ideals to explain his decision to release five high-risk Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl. “The United States,” Obama said, “has always had a pretty sacred rule and that is: We don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind, and that dates back to the earliest days. Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop. We don’t condition that.”
It’s a lie, writes West, or a statement made from nearly criminal ignorance of the truth of American actions and policies in the past. She writes that the “United States has routinely left huge numbers of our POW/MIAs behind.”
A widely renowned expert in U.S.-Soviet relations, [Joseph D.] Douglass passed away on May 23 at age 78. It was his searing 2002 book “Betrayed” that focused my attention on the most ghastly betrayal of all: the betrayal by the U.S. government of literally thousands of American POWs and MIAs who were left behind in Communist prisons after every war America fought in the 20th century, from World War I (against the new Bolshevik regime) to Vietnam.
In assessing the available research, including a landmark 1990 report by the Republican minority staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Douglass concluded that as many as 2,000 Americans were left behind after the Vietnam War, 5,000 to 8,000 after the Korean War, 1,000 throughout the Cold War, and, staggeringly, between 15,000 and 20,000 after World War II. (I discuss this gruesome subject in my book “American Betrayal.”)
These giant numbers are not only shocking, they are numbing to the point of sounding fantastic to those among us who have only heard politicians such as Sen. John McCain or Secretary of State John Kerry on the subject, or followed mainstream media coverage thereof. Such coverage is one of consistent denial of the existence of these men, plus ridicule for their advocates. A breakthrough of sorts came in 2005 when Norman Kass, the American chief of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs, told CNN that he would be “comfortable” acknowledging that “hundreds” of American servicemen in the 20th century had actually ended up in the Soviet-era slave-labor camps known as the Gulag Archipelago. I can hardly think of a more sickening admission.
And, as West details in American Betrayal, the Soviets, our itinerant ally against Nazi Germany, denied it had any American POWS or even British POWs “captured” from German prisoner of war camps, and our State Department, FDR and later Harry Truman went along with the Soviet lie in order to placate a totalitarian régime which we had let conquer and ravish half of Europe. It was only after the collapse of the Soviet Union that the truth began to emerge when Soviet archives were opened to Western writers and scholars.
Daniel Greenfield connects the VA “waiting list” scandal with the timing of Bergdahl’s “quick” release from captivity by the Taliban in his June 1st FrontPage article, “Secretary of Defense: After 5 Years, We Acted ‘Quickly’ to Bring Bowe Bergdahl Home“:
Secretary of Defense Hagel appears a bit confused by the word “quickly”. After 5 years and multiple releases of Taliban commanders and Gitmo terrorists, this isn’t quickly. But I wonder what the time overlap between the decision to make the deal and the VA scandal was. Would Bergdahl still be held captive if Obama’s poll numbers weren’t taking a beating over the abuse of vets?
Commenting on the deal brokered by Qatar, Greenfield noted:
The Qatari regime is entangled with Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorists around the world. But at least Hagel knows who his masters are.
Greenfield quotes from a Washington Post article of May 31st that details the career resumes of the five Taliban creatures released by Obama back to combat duty against this country. He posits in another column that the freeing of these killers is but an overture to closing down Gitmo.
George Will, in his June 4th Washington Post column, “When a president goes rogue,” comes closest to condemning Obama for what he is, a power-lusting demagogue with an agenda to humiliate and demote this country to the status of just another sniveling, European welfare state knock-off, beholden to an all-powerful, humongous, unelected bureaucracy and climate changers and submitters to Islam. Opening with a remark about Susan Rice’s yadda yadda about Bergdahl’s alleged service with “honor and distinction”:
Perhaps she did not know, in advance of the swap of five terrorists for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the, shall we say, ambiguities about Bergdahl’s departure from his platoon in Afghanistan and the reportedly deadly consequences of his behavior. If so, then she has pioneered a degree of incompetence exotic even for this 10-thumbed administration. If, however, she did know and still allowed Obama to present this as a mellow moment of national satisfaction, she is condign punishment for his choice of such hirelings.
Perhaps this exchange really is, as Obama said in defending it, an excellent thing “regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be.” His confidence in its excellence is striking, considering that he acknowledges that we do not know the facts about what would seem to be important “circumstances”….
Obama did not comply with the law requiring presidents to notify Congress 30 days before such exchanges of prisoners at Guantanamo. Politico can be cited about this not because among the media it is exceptionally, well, understanding of Obama’s exuberant notion of executive latitude but because it is not. Politico headlined a story on his noncompliance with the law “Obama May Finally Be Going Rogue on Gitmo.” It said Obama’s “assertive” act “defied Congress” — Congress, not the rule of law — in order “to get that process [of closing the prison at Guantanamo] moving.” It sent “a clear message” that “Obama is now willing to wield his executive powers to get the job done.” Or, as used to be said in extenuation of strong leaders, “to make the trains run on time.”
Hitler and Mussolini got their trains running on time, too. But, at what price?
And about Bergdahl himself? Michelle Malkin broke the story about him five years ago, as she reports in her latest Townhall column, “Exclusive: The Story You Haven’t Yet Heard About Bowe Bergdahl’s Desertion,” of June 4th:
Five years ago, I publicly raised questions about Bowe Bergdahl’s desertion from Blackfoot Company, 1-501 Infantry (Airborne), 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
A few weeks after his so-called “capture” in late June 2009, three conflicting accounts surfaced: U.S. officials told the Associated Press Bergdahl had “walked off” the base with three Afghans; the Taliban claimed on its website that “a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison” and into their arms; and Bergdahl claimed in his Taliban “hostage video” that he had “lagged behind a patrol” before being captured.
Five years ago, one of the brave soldiers who risked his life to search for Bergdahl answered my questions, and I published his statement on July 20, 2009: “I know the story and the accounts that he was drunk or that he was lagging behind on patrol are not true — this soldier planned this move for a long time. He walked off the post with a day’s supply of water and had written down before that he wanted to live in the mountains. … He is an embarrassment to everyone who has worn the uniform.”
After news broke this weekend of President Obama’s trade of five high-level Taliban commanders at Gitmo for Bergdahl’s “freedom,” I heard from another soldier who served on the search team. “Many of my brothers died because of Bergdahl’s actions, and this has been a very hard day for all Geronimos,” he told me after documenting his proof of service. Other journalists ignored his attempts to get the truth out.
Finally, Fox News on June 6th ran a detailed but cautionary story on Bergdahl’s dubious status as a “captive” American soldier.
U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at one point during his captivity converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a “mujahid,” or warrior for Islam, according to secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account and obtained by Fox News.
The reports indicate that Bergdahl’s relations with his Haqqani captors morphed over time, from periods of hostility, where he was treated very much like a hostage, to periods where, as one source told Fox News, “he became much more of an accepted fellow” than is popularly understood. He even reportedly was allowed to carry a gun at times.
The documents show that Bergdahl at one point escaped his captors for five days and was kept, upon his re-capture, in a metal cage, like an animal. In addition, the reports detail discussions of prisoner swaps and other attempts at a negotiated resolution to the case that appear to have commenced as early as the fall of 2009.
Such stories are certainly of immeasurable value and serve to reveal to Americans the extent of Obama’s feckless but premeditated policies in dealing with Islamic jihadists and supremacists.
Such stories will accrue strength when they identify, without reservation, the precise nature of Obama’s character and actions. Until their authors man up and throw caution to the winds, thinking – “How much more White House enmity can we earn, anyway?” – I will continue to gag.