Bergdahl deal

GAO: Obama administration violated law in releasing Gitmo detainees to Qatar in Bergdahl deal

Featured image The Government Accounting Office has concluded that the Obama Defense Department violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act when it transferred five detainees at Guantanamo Bay to Qatar without providing at least 30 days notice to certain congressional committees. Section 8111 prohibits the Defense Department from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Gitmo unless the Secretary of Defense provides such notification. The GAO also »

Tom Cotton on Obama’s smear artists

Featured image A Joint Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing yesterday about the swap of suspected deserter Bowe Bergdahl for the Tabilban Five. The committee has posted videos of the hearing and text of the witnesses’ testimony here. C-SPAN has posted videos of the hearing here (part 1) and here (part 2). FOX News has posted a brief account of the hearing here. As Bergdahl’s platoon mates »

Israel arrests 50 former Hamas prisoners freed in swap

Featured image Supporters of President Obama’s decision to swap five top Taliban commanders for Bowe Bergdahl like to point out that Israel swapped more than a thousand Palestinian terrorists in exchange for Gilad Schalit. It’s a fair argument to make, but hardly a debate stopper. For one thing, Israel’s willingness to make one-sided deals doesn’t establish that such deals are good policy. For another, unlike Bergdahl, Schalit was not a deserter. Finally, »

Hillary does Fox

Featured image Hillary Clinton appeared on Fox News this evening, fielding questions for almost half an hour from Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren. Clinton’s demeanor was good throughout. She was friendly, receptive to the questions, and adroit in her answers without, for the most part, appearing too evasive. Clinton benefitted from the approach of the two questioners. Neither Baier nor Van Susteren was belligerent. And though both were as persistent as »

Hagel’s Bergdahl dialectic

Featured image Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel appeared before the House Armed Services Committee this week to testify on the deal that resulted in the release of the Taliban Five in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Steve Hayes reviews Hagel’s testimony in the Weekly Standard article “More unraveling.” Steve points out that Hagel retreated from previously asserted reasons advanced to support the deal. Hagel presents as a walking case of dialectical argument »

Ms. Hillary says

Featured image In the excruciating video clip below, Ms. Hillary assures us that the Taliban Five present no threat to the United States. Rather, they only threaten Afghanistan and Pakistan. We can infer that events in Afghanistan and Pakistan do not affect the security of the United States, in which case we must wonder what we were ever doing in Afghanistan to begin with. We are apparently to forget that Obama has »

Phenomenology of rats

Featured image At the Weekly Standard, Michael Warren reports on yesterday’s Obama administration briefing of the House on the deal for Bowe Bergdahl. It sounds like the rat-in-chief is now seeks refuge in desertion. Either Obama seeks to desert his own sinking ship, or he has located the bus under which he may throw the Secretary of Defense. Defending the deal, both Secretary Hagel and Secretary Kerry have proved their importance to »

The not-so-dirty half dozen

Featured image The New York Times has been working overtime to discredit members of Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon who, with seeming unanimity, believe he deserted. First, the Times editors complained that the six platoon members who have appeared before the media to call Bergdahl a deserter were being served up by “Republican operatives.” But the Times presented no evidence that the platoon members themselves are political partisans. Moreover, Times reporters Richard A. Oppel »

A pardon for Bowe Bergdahl?

Featured image When Bowe Bergdahl was first released, the administration’s line seemed to be that he had suffered enough as a Taliban prisoner, and thus that the U.S. would not likely punish him as a deserter even if that’s what he turned out to be. But as the deal came in for strong criticism and evidence mounted as to Bergdahl’s betrayal, the line changed. We were assured by the military that Bergdahl’s »

Mr. Bihani, is that hot yoga?

Featured image The New York Post headline reads “Obama to free Gitmo terrorist ‘because he took up yoga.’” As many have observed, after the Taliban 5 it’s all downhill, but I think “because he took up yoga” probably goes too far. Anyway, Paul Sperry reports in the Post article: Desperate to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison by the end of his term, Obama quietly is giving “get out of jail free” cards »

Out of the murk

Featured image In his important CNN story on the Bergdahl deal, Jake Tapper writes: “At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for him, according to soldiers involved in the operations to find him. The Pentagon was not able to provide details on specific operations in which any soldiers killed during that time were involved.” Tapper subsequently reported the names of the six Americans killed in the effort over the following »

One spin beyond

Featured image In his New York Post column today John Podhoretz puts the revelation of the Bergdahl disgrace over the past week in the context of Obama’s carefully manicured image. “What happens,” he asks, “when the world’s greatest spin doctor commits malpractice — on himself?” John reviews the chronicles of Obama spin, going back to the pseudo presidential seal (“Vero possumus”) and mock Greek temple of the 2008 campaign. John credits these »

Obama spinners confirm primacy of dealmaking as driver of Bergdahl deal

Featured image Since the day the Bergdahl deal was announced, I’ve suggested that President Obama was motivated less by a desire to bring back this particular prisoner than by a desire to make a deal — almost any deal — with the Taliban. Obama himself tipped his hand when, in announcing the deal, he said it could “open the door for broader discussions [with the Taliban] about the future of [Afghanistan] by »

Brandon Friedman projects

Featured image Brandon Friedman is the General Deputy Assistant Secretary in HUD’s Office of Public Affairs. Friedman first served in the Obama administration as the Director of Online Communications at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is also a combat veteran and author of the memoir The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War. Friedman emerged from the shadows most recently to disparage the former soldiers »

The Bergdahl desertion

Featured image Fox News is doing an excellent job providing the former soldiers whom Bowe Bergdahl deserted on the front lines in Afghanistan a hearing for their testimony. Yesterday Megyn Kelly convened six members of Bergdahl’s platoon for a joint interview on her Kelly File show. The six members are Matt Vierkant, Cody Full, Gerald Sutton, Evan Buetow, Josh Cornelison, and Justin Gerleve. I think part 2 of the interview is to »

The wanderers — Obama and Bergdahl

Featured image The team leader of Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon the night he went missing says that when he searched for Bergdahl, he heard a radio report that an American was wandering around looking for someone who spoke English to take him to the Taliban. The report came from the area where Bergdahl was believed to be, and the soldier concluded that the American in question was, in fact, Bergdahl. Bergdahl’s quest to »

You Can See Why the Taliban Was Confused

Featured image Deep down in today’s Wall Street Journal front-page story about the negotiations for Bowe Bergdahl’s release is this ironic gem: As talks were getting under way in 2011, the U.S. negotiating team struggled to explain to the Taliban why Mr. Obama was unable to unilaterally release the Taliban detainees. They would say things like, “What are you talking about? He’s the president,” according to a former U.S. official close to »