On Saturday, May 31st, 2014, US Army Sergeant Bow Bergdahl was released from Taliban captivity after four years and 10 months of being held by them.
Normally, that event would be a source of rejoicing in the USA…a US Army soldier being released from captivity by the Taliban after almost 5 years of incarceration…
But, not so fast….
In this highly polarized nation in which the extremist Tea party republicans control half of congress, the GOP is totally up-in-arms, as it were, that the US traded 5 high level Talibani captives who were detained without a trial at the military prison at NAS (Naval Air Station) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for over 12 years, for Bergdahl.
ALL of these prisoners were captured by US forces in 2002 during the US military action in Afghanistan responding to the 9-11 attacks on the USA. Most of them were high-level government officials in the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan at the time.
However, it has never been proved or even alleged by US officials that these five had any direct connection with the 9-11 attacks.
The USA has a policy, which it implemented in earnest only after leaving 5,500 American servicemen and women missing in Vietnam during that 1961-1975 conflict, to NEVER LEAVE AMERICAN SERVICEMEN (now Service people) BEHIND. This policy has never had any caveats or exceptions or conditions.
It’s a promise made to those who serve in the US military, and in fact also covers civilians in the employ of the US government. Since the Vietnam debacle, it has been followed well.
The USA also has a policy that it will NEVER NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. This policy has ALWAYS had exceptions when negotiations have been considered to be in the nation’s best interest. Example are rampant throughout US history, and even Saint Ronnie the Ray-Gun, the deity of the right-wing republicans, negotiated with Iran, a terrorist state, in the 1980’s. Even George W. Bush negotiated with terrorists associated with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. You can read all about it for yourself right HERE!
As a side note, Israel is the one nation that has NEVER had a airline hijacked by terrorists. It’s surrounded by hostile nations that openly sponsor terrorism against it and support the violent destruction of Israel and its people. Yet, Israel has negotiated multiple prisoner exchanges with these self-same terrorists organizations, including 1000 to 1 exchanges to get a single serviceman back.
So when the republicans started screaming about the trade of 5 aging Talibani who have been held completely out of touch and without being charged of any crime for over 12 years, for the only American serviceman still held as a prisoner of war, alleging that trade was a violation (of many, mind you) of the NEVER NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS policy, this orchestrated outrage simply didn’t have enough “ummph” to pass the straight-face test.
Instead, it seems to be the new right-wing “Benghazi” political rallying point.
Republicans also screamed that the Obama administration violated several laws passed by congress and signed to law by Obama himself over the past two years which that direct the administration to provide congress with a 30-day advanced notice prior to releasing /transferring any of the Guantanamo detainees
There does seem to be evidence that the Obama administration violated these laws; they did not reveal the exact nature or timeline of this prisoner exchange to any congressional people until it was actually occurring.
But again…not so fast….
First, certain congressional committee chairpersons were, in fact, informed…for YEARS…that this plan was under consideration, as far back as when Hillary Clinton was still US Secretary of State. That means that the information, as a potential plan, had been “out there” for at least two years.
Second, there is serious doubt that these laws are even constitutional, since they limit the constitutional powers of the executive branch. Of course, only the US Supreme Court can make a final determination on this, and as of this moment there are no plans to take the issue before the court.
Third, the now-outraged republicans didn’t so much as bat an eyelash when their beloved G.W. Bush and “Tricky Dick” Cheney decided to violate about a dozen existing federal laws and international treaties and conventions against torture during the Iraqi war.
NOW they scream about 5 archaic terrorists being exchanged for an American soldier??
And finally, while there have been reports that Bow Bergdahl might have violated orders by walking off alone (and thus getting captured), this has not yet been substantiated by military authorities. Even if it does prove to be true, the NEVER LEAVE AMERICAN SERVICEMEN BEHIND policy does not include exceptions for disobedient soldiers. If it turns out that that Bergdahl is guilty of a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), he will be dealt with appropriately by the appropriate authorities.
The hypocritical GOP is NOT, by ANY stretch, an appropriate authority. 🙂