Operation ClusterFUBAR

Operation ClusterFUBAR June 4, 2014

VIDEO: Bergdahl’s release…
Qatar allowing released Taliban men to move freely in country…

Reintegration: Military hides Bergdahl from public view…
FLASHBACK: ‘Converted to Islam And Taught Captors Bomb Making Skills’…
NYT: Left note explaining desertion before going AWOL…
REPORT: Wanted to Renounce Citizenship…
Team Leader: ‘A lot more to story than soldier walking away’…
Death sentence ‘in the realm of possibilities’…
Pentagon knew whereabouts but didn’t risk rescue…
14 SOLDIERS WERE LOST Searching for Bergdahl…
Never Officially Listed as POW…
White House apologizes for ‘oversight’ in notification failure…
FATHER: ‘I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners’…
MAG: White House Overrode Internal Objections To Terrorist Release…
‘Suck it up and salute’…

RANKING DEM: ‘Dangerous Precedent That Puts All Americans At Risk Throughout The World’…
Rubio: Obama ‘Believes He’s Become Monarch Or Emperor’…
LAW PROF: The President That Richard Nixon Always Wanted To Be…
Senate Dems desert…

I’ve been holding off remarking about this since The Boy Wbo Cried Wolf Syndrome that is now the congenital condition of the Thing that Used to be Conservatism has taught me to be very cautious before accepting This Week’s Emmanuel Hussein Goldstein Hysteria at face value.  Since it is a given that if Obama so much as hiccups, Right Wing Media will freak out and FB will blossom with WORST. PRESIDENT. EVAR!!!! memes, it’s hard to sort wheat from chaff and know if the thing the fulminators are fulminating about at present is worth bother with.

FWIW, (and I’m only guessing here since I lack the omniscient mind-reading power of the dyed in the wool Obama hater), it looks like Obama decided (unilaterally, as is His Majesty’s habit, since he is so much smarter than everybody else in the room) to take advantage of some intel, grab this guy, and do a Reagan style “arms (or in this case, GITMO detainees) for hostages” exchange.  (Oddly, the Boys Crying Wolf never mention Reagan’s Iran-Contra deals as a precedent.)  That was stupid enough, since the message is “Take more hostages”.  But in addition, whether by dumb bad luck or some kind of misplaced zeal for showing Muslims we’re nice, they managed to liberate a guy who appears to have deserted to go build an newer, purer life devoted to the Way of the Prophet. I say “appears” because the news on this makes up for hard facts with a lot of high decibels  from right wing media that have a strong interest in wishing it to be true.  After all, this story follows hot on the heels of the Obama’s excecrable treatment of our vets in the VA scandal.  So it’s high stakes.  Obama needed this rescue to look like he Cares About Troops and the Thing That Used to Be Conservatism needs this story to be a scandal so we can forget that they just used our troops as human shields by hold their benefits hostage to their warmongering.

Blood-in-the-eye Obama Haters have already tried him for treason and are sure that this is all some kind of gigantic Muslim conspiracy.  Much nonsense is being spewed and it’s hard to parse.  But I think at the end of the day, what this comes back to is Obama’s hubris and tendency to unilateralism exploding in his face in a particularly embarrassing way.  He might wind up with some kind of censure (though I doubt it) but, if I know my Movement Conservatives, I think it far more likely that the shrill obsessive hysterics they emit about this foolish move are going to fairly quickly manage to snatch defeat from the jaw of a brief public relations victory.

Meanwhile, as ever, the real story is not among these Beltway Cannibals jockeying for power as they try to eat each other.  It’s the troops who died looking for this guy.  As I say, unlike the combox experts who are already calling for his execution, I think I’ll wait until the military decides to try him for desertion and then wait even longer to see if they find him guilty.  I know that’s old-fashioned in this new age of lawless bloodthirsty “conservatism”, but I think that a unilateral President is bad enough.  A unilateral public (also known as a mob) is even worse.  I say, investigate, try, and, if necessary, punish him in court, not in the press.

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  • erin

    Actually, Krauthammer and a few others have already brought up the Reagan comparison. You’d likely be surprised at his conclusions of Obama in this situation.

    • chezami

      I’m relieved to hear it. I’m mostly watching the foaming horde in cyberspace shrieking about impeachment and other fantasies.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        When do they not shriek for impeachment, though?
        My personal guess is that Obama thought bringing this man home would score some points with military people and military supporters, especially in the face of the VA scandal. It is good that Bergdahl is home. Further consequences remain to be seen.

      • Well, Krauthammer’s a cut above the foaming horde in cyberspace.

        As are you, Mark, with this post…far, far above the chatter and chaff. Excellently and sensibly done, every word of it.

      • Dave G.

        To be honest the reporting I’m reading and watching from various outlets is more measured and restrained than this post suggests. And it isn’t only conservative outlets asking the questions. Nor is it just the GOP doing the criticizing. And yes, the connections to Reagan have already been compared and contrasted.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      The Reagan comparison is a bad one. There is no law against what Reagan did, whether stupid or not. There is a concrete law that requires the president do inform Congress before releasing prisoners from Gitmo.

      That said, I’ve read that that law is probably unconstitutional due to the separation of powers. It’s also a law that Obama himself signed and is now breaking. However, his duties as Commander-in-Chief are pretty broad, and he needs to be able to move quickly when it comes to prisoner negotiations.

      To me, it sounds like this was a stupid exchange, but probably not illegal (at least not in a way that will stand).

      • JM1001

        There is no law against what Reagan did…

        There isn’t?

        • Andy, Bad Person

          I stand corrected! The two are more similar than I thought.

      • PalaceGuard

        There may not have been a law against it, but since one of the miserable unintended consequences was hoisting Oliver North forevermore into the national spotlight, there should have been.

  • Kurt 20008

    Obama should be impeached over this. His action was as stupid as the Guy saying that 99 sheep should be left unattended to go find one lost sheep. What same person would ever do something like that?

  • petey

    would the alternative to this be to leave him in captivity even if you could get his release?

    • PalaceGuard

      The question increasingly appears to be “Was he actually in captivity?”

      • S. Murphy

        It sounds like he was kind of naive-flaky… I doubt the Taliban would have bought his ‘I don’t want to kill nobody; I just want to help’ schtick. I have no doubt that he was actually in captivity.

  • Pete the Greek

    This is why I try to avoid ‘breaking stories’ for a while.

  • Michael

    “As I say, unlike the combox experts who are already calling for his execution, I think I’ll wait until the military decides to try him for desertion and then wait even longer to see if they find him guilty.”

    Except that Obama was celebrating his release with his parents at the White House. That does not sound like someone who is going to seriously be tried for desertion or anything else.

    • JM1001

      That does not sound like someone who is going to seriously be tried for desertion or anything else.

      If not, then I guess that makes him no different from the exchanged Gitmo detainees, who were also never tried for anything.

    • S. Murphy

      I don’t think that follows, necessarily. There’s been a lot if fairly serious talk about his being a deserter. I think the Army will investigate, & decide what they want to do. The administration may be mulling political ramifications, but it’s not a done deal. His former platoon mates are calling him a a deserter, on NPR, no less; so I doubt the chain of command feels morally or politically free to ignore the circumstances of his allegedly willful departure just because they’re glad to have brought him back.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        Does Obama have the authority to decide if there is an investigation or prosecution in this case?

        (Seriously asking; I don’t know the answer).

        • S. Murphy

          Sure, I suppose – in his collateral duty as commander in chief? He shouldn’t need to. Initiating an investigation into a case of unauthorized absence/ possible desertion normally starts at the battalion level (not that this ended up being normal). Court-martial convening authority is usually the first general officer in the chain of command. In this case, since the battalion he belonged to when he took his meritorious walk in the hills has long since redeployed, I don’t know who he will be assigned to. I heard today that there was an investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance in 2009; it is reported not to have said anything about desertion – maybe because it was focused on ‘what the hell happened, where the hell is he, and who needs to be relieved for letting him wander off?’ rather than ‘has B committed a crime?’ – but I am only guessing. Perhaps CENTCOM, or ARCENT, has already assigned someone to investigate and recommend whether to charge Bergdahl with UA, desertion, or any other UCMJ violation.

  • Sharon

    The emir of Qatar gave 100 million dollars for hurricane relief after Hurricane Katrina.

  • virago

    I’m not a fan of our President, did not vote for and never even entertained the notion. But jeez, this poor man must have the worst advisors on his team, the worst in history, even. They are either stupid or criminal. He should do more firing.