How surprising Obama wasn't surprised by outrage over his Taliban deal
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:04 AM ET
President Obama was completely surprised by the IRS scandal. Dumbfounded, in fact, that government workers would help his 2012 reelection campaign. And the NSA scandal. Who could possibly anticipate citizen outrage over government monitoring all their communications?
Obama was clueless about the ObamaCare debacle, even days after its botched roll-out dominated national news. Months after staff warnings of fundamental tech troubles within his namesake legislation.
And Obama only learned of the recent VA corruption scandal, fraud and tardy treatment for vets from the media, which had chronicled his original outrage over unconscionable delays fully six years ago. Delays he vowed then to fix should he become king president.
But, according to Obama, he was not stunned or surprised at all, not even mildly shocked by the nationwide, bipartisan outrage over his illegal swapping of the Taliban's Terrorism Board of Directors for an American who not only volunteered for the U.S. Army, but then volunteered to walk over to the enemy busy killing his comrades.
And to see that man and his eccentric parents hailed in a special Saturday Rose Garden photo-op celebrating his release with an heroic tone. True, this prisoner-bargain controversy buried the VA scandal for the moment. But it's also hijacked coverage of the president's week-long attempted reset of security policy in Europe.
"I'm never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington," the president claimed in a Thursday news conference.
What planet has he been on? Does Obama ever talk with his staff, who didn't tell him about the IRS, ObamaCare and the VA? They've been quoted all week saying (anonymously) they were caught flat-footed by the political wildfire ignited by the deal to release five of the world's worst bad guys in or out of prison. "Blind-sided," was their preferred word.
"Sire," a minister once told the French monarch. "The peasants are revolting."
"I know," said that country's last king, "They never bathe."
Then, conveniently misunderstanding the target of widespread criticism, Obama added: “I make absolutely no apologies for making sure we get back a young man to his parents." What a thoughtful politician! Always thinking of others.
OK. Well, how about making sure that five top-ranking terrorists -- two of them wanted elsewhere for crimes against humanity -- don't get back with their IED-making, girls-school machine-gunning colleagues? No regrets there either, the Democrat professes, because he'll be "keeping eyes on them."
This from the man whose administration can't lay eyes on the Benghazi murderers 633 days after the president vowed swift justice for them and months after raid leaders were interviewed by U.S. media outlets.
According to Obama and his apologists, speed was suddenly of the essence in this bargain because the American might be in poor health and -- who knows? -- the Taliban might kill him.
Which -- let's be honest for a change, sir -- they could have done during any one of the 2,592,000 minutes they held him. But they didn't -- did they? -- because they knew he was worth more alive.
So, big Obama hurry after five years of nothing. Come to think of it, that's about the same time-frame Obama's held the Keystone XL pipeline as prisoner.
The U.S. commander-in-chief acts like he had no leverage on these Taliban guys, who kept returning to the table for years. What might that suggest to even the dimmest of used-car salesmen?
Vladimir Putin, Bashir al-Assad, Nouri al-Maliki, Kim Jong-Un, Hamid Karzai and Iran's mullahs have been playing Obama like this for years.
The alleged need for speed is also Obama's excuse for violating the law he signed last December requiring 30 days' notice to Congress before moving any Guantanamo prisoner. Susan Rice's credibility is even lower than Obama's job approval. But she says the prisoner deal was essentially done May 27 and finalized the next day.
So, that's only three days to get a call through the 16 blocks to Capitol Hill.
“The White House," Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein observed with a collegial shrug, "is pretty unilateral about what they want to do when they want to do it."
Obama claims that years ago his people told Congress he might do a prisoner deal. But then, years ago he also promised the Recovery Summer of 2010.
Obama is so smart he doesn't want to waste time talking with mere Americans, as opposed to at us. So, we're left to mine news conference blather to detect his thinking.
Of course, Obama won't be the one to feel the blast of his mistakes. But in Warsaw, the president made a stunning public admission about the released Taliban for someone in charge of United States national security:
“Is there a possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us?" Obama asked himself out loud. "Absolutely!"
Obama said the possibility of freed terrorists returning to battle has been true of all the prisoners he's released from Guantanamo. And many have.
You've almost got to admire someone with the nerve to cite his own failures as evidence he has the courage to repeat them.