Today the Army announced that Bowe Bergdahl will be court-martialed on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Given the public comments of his platoon mates on the deal that resulted in his release, the file that supports the charges brought against him must be staggering.
Who can forget the celebration that President Obama orchestrated with Bergdahl’s parents at the White House to mark his return, or national security adviser Susan Rice’s praise of Bergdahl (“he served with honor and distinction”) in the face of the doubts raised about the celebration by his fellow soldiers in his platoon? The scenario disgraced and disfigured the high offices they hold.
Obama secured Bergdahl’s release in exchange for five of the worst Taliban officials detained at Guantanamo. At least some of them will resume their sinister activities shortly if they have not done so already. Coming as they do in the context of the final stages of the deal in process with Iran, the charges cast a wider illumination.
Congress was cut out of the deal; Obama declined to provide Congress the legally required notification to which it was entitled in connection with the release of the detainees.
As a “deal,” the exchange was pathetic. We gave up five former Taliban commanders and officials for a deserter whose desertion aided the enemy. The trade served as a pretext for otherwise indefensible actions in furtherance of Obama’s misguided mission to close Gitmo.
The war was supposedly over, except it’s not, and we were obligated to do anything necessary to bring Bergdahl home, even if he deserted, except we weren’t. Is there any precedent vindicating the supposed principle cited for the Bergdahl deal? Neither Obama nor Rice cited one. It remains a bad deal wrapped in deceitful rhetoric and a complete humiliation of the United States
Recalling Obama’s and Rice’s praise of the deal, we see that they are willing to say anything in defense of a bad cause. We already knew that, but there is much more to come.