Surrender without honor
Obama swap with Taliban endangers the country
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 2:59 AM
President Obama betrayed the highest obligation of his office — safeguarding national security — in trading five hard-core Taliban for the American serviceman who appears to have deserted in Afghanistan.
The five sworn enemies of the United States are now in the Gulf state of Qatar, where they are free to come and go as they like, beyond the watch of American agents. In just one year, they will be free to return to Afghanistan to fight there and stage terror attacks far beyond that country’s borders.
These facts were known to Obama when he made the deal, and yet he went ahead in irresponsible disregard for lives he has endangered. As the facts have emerged — and more surely will — it has become ever clearer that he lost his presidential compass in the Taliban swap.
In retrospect, his Rose Garden announcement that he was bringing home an American POW appears to have been a cynical act of theater.
Basking in the good feelings generated by the release after five years in apparent captivity of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Obama characterized the Taliban release as a safe and considered transfer.
“The Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security,” Obama assured, while aides insisted that the U.S. would be able to monitor the five confirmed jihadists and dedicated killers.
Subsequently, the President elaborated: “I wouldn’t be doing it if I thought it would be contrary to American national security.”
But a Gulf official flatly contradicted the idea the U.S. could monitor the killers, telling Reuters that the Taliban leaders “can move around freely within the country” for the next year, and then “can go back to Afghanistan if they want to.”
Far from keeping the five under guard, a Qatari minister deemed them a “humanitarian case,” and his government flew in family to greet them.
Eventually, the facts forced Obama to gesture at the truth he had sought to evade. “Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us?” he asked. Answering himself, he said, “Absolutely. There’s a certain recidivism rate that takes place.”
Which is a fancy way of saying that freed Gitmo detainees have returned to warring on the U.S. Rest assured these five killers, close allies of Taliban head Mullah Omar, will do so with relish.
Worse, Obama ran roughshod over the law requiring 30 days’ notice to Congress of a Gitmo release — and, reported Time, “dismissed long-standing Pentagon and intelligence community concerns based on top secret intelligence about the dangers of releasing the five men.”
Reaching for a rationale, the White House suggested there was no time to inform Congress because Bergdahl’s health was failing. But U.S. doctors in Germany are treating him only for diet issues, not even malnutrition.
Finally, Obama provided insight into the actual reason for the deal by placing it in the context of his drive to pull out of Afghanistan.
“This is what happens at the end of wars,” Obama said. “That was true for George Washington; that was true for Abraham Lincoln; that was true for FDR; that’s been true of every combat situation — that at some point, you make sure that you try to get your folks back.”
In other words, he wants out so badly that he accepted the Taliban’s terms, regardless of the threat to American security.
He is surrendering without honor.