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Obama Administration Pushes Back Against Criticism Of Deal That Led To Bergdahl Release

Sgt Bowe Bergdahl

The Administration is defending itself against criticism from Republicans regarding the circumstances that led to the release of American P.O.W. Bowe Bergdahl on Saturday:

WASHINGTON — Top Obama administration officials pushed back on Sunday against Republican criticism that a deal freeing the last American held prisoner in Afghanistan could allow dangerous Taliban leaders to return to the fight, might encourage terrorist groups to seize American hostages and possibly violated a law requiring notification of Congress.

Susan E. Rice, the president’s national security adviser, spoke a day after years of fitful negotiations had finally yielded the release in Afghanistan of the prisoner, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The deal, brokered with Qatari help, also freed five high-level Taliban members from the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The release of the Taliban officials was sharply assailed by Republicans, including Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the intelligence committee, as a dangerous transgression of longstanding policy against negotiating with terror groups.

“If you negotiate here, you’ve sent a message to every Al Qaeda group in the world — by the way, some who are holding U.S. hostages today — that there is some value now in that hostage in a way that they didn’t have before,” Mr. Rogers said on the CNN program “State of the Union.” He added, “That is dangerous.”

But Ms. Rice said: “Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield. We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle, and we did that in this instance.” She was speaking on the ABC program “This Week.”

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who himself was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for six years, welcomed the return to American custody of Sergeant Bergdahl, who had spent five years in Taliban hands in conditions that remain unclear.

But Mr. McCain said he had serious concerns about the release of the five Taliban detainees, calling them “the hardest of the hard core.” He added, “It is disturbing that these individuals would have the ability to re-enter the fight, and they are big, high-level people, possibly responsible for the deaths of thousands” of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan.

Ms. Rice, appearing separately on CNN, noted that President Obama had received “very specific assurances” regarding the handling of the freed detainees when he spoke by phone on Tuesday with the emir of Qatar. That country is taking in the five.

(…)Bow

Republican lawmakers also questioned the failure of the administration to give Congress the required notice of releases from Guantánamo.

Ms. Rice said the administration had felt compelled to move swiftly because Sergeant Bergdahl’s health seemed at risk and the opportunity to retrieve him possibly fleeting.

“We had reason to be concerned that this was an urgent and acute situation,” she said on ABC, adding that “had we waited and lost him, I don’t think anybody would have forgiven the United States government.”

As I noted in my post on the initial GOP reaction to this release on Saturday evening, it strikes me that Republicans are making a big political mistake if they start attacking the President over this. I will concede that here are legitimate questions regarding the circumstances and terms of the deal that led to Sgt. Bergdahl’s release, and the question of just how much we can trust the Qataris to live up to their assurances regarding the five released prisoners. Additionally, I’m still somewhat unclear on the exact terms of the law requiring the President to give Congress advance notice of any prisoner transfer out of Guantanamo Bay and what exceptions might exist to those requirements. And, finally, there are some outstanding questions regarding the circumstances that led to Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture, including allegations that he may have deserted his post and there are also some questions regarding comments that his father has made in public.

Some of these are legitimate questions, but based on their initial reaction to the deal, it seems clear to me that Republicans seem intent on reflexively treating this story the way they treat everything that this President does, as an opportunity to bash the President. Ordinary Americans looking at this story are going to see an American soldier who was held prisoner for five years finally coming home and being reunited with the family and friends that had been missing him. It is good news and it is inevitably something that is going to inure to the President’s benefit, which may be what most sticks in the craw of some people on the right. The politically smart thing to do, it strikes me, is to express gratitude for the safe return of one of our soldiers and allow him to heal and reunite with his family. Turning this into yet another opportunity to bash the President and score political points just comes across as petty, and if Republicans think voters aren’t going to notice that kind of pettiness they are kidding themselves.

An American solider is home, his family is happy. Perhaps Republicans should keep their reflexive desire to score political points against the President suppressed for at least a few days.  Not only might it be the politically smart thing to do, it also happens to be the decent and humane thing to do.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I will concede that here are legitimate questions regarding the circumstances and terms of the deal that led to Sgt. Bergdahl’s release, and the question of just how much we can…..etc etc etc

    Obama to Republicans: Impeach me. I dare you.

    Not only might it be the politically smart thing to do, it also happens to be the decent and humane thing to do.

    Republicans? BWAAHAHAAHAAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. Ten thousand unemployed comedians and here you are giving it away for free.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6

  2. Mikey says:

    We should know by know that a President will take action in matters like this regardless of what Congress says. It makes no difference whether the President is Dem or GOP, when the legislative power conflicts with the executive power, any President will choose the executive power.

    The Republicans can whine all day, but I guarantee any Republican President would have done exactly as Obama did.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 3

  3. JohnMcC says:

    The Republican response makes sense only if we are engaged with a criminal gang analogous to the pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries.

    If we are engaged in an actual war the negotiations that resulted in this trade are part of the Presidential authority to raise and manage the U S Army.

    It’s been 12 going-on 13 years since the terrorist attacks of 11 Sept, and the Repubs haven’t decided whether we’re in a war or are the international police hunting down a gang. Pitiful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  4. rudderpedals says:

    Wow Doug, that Soopermexican persona at IJR you linked to is a real piece of work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  5. @rudderpedals:

    To say the least

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. A.Men says:

    Petty , childish obomba kicks the American people in the gut every day.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 36

  7. KM says:

    Ordinary Americans looking at this story are going

    to believe whatever they read first that resonates with their own bias. Where did they get their info from first? Comment threads are full of people making accusations of desertion, conversion to Islam, his father is some wannabe Islamic Moses for Gitmo, culpability for the deaths of the searchers, the terrorists released are somehow more badass then OBL and Satan combined, political ploys, etc. People claiming to be from his unit are in full Swiftboating mode without any real evidence to back it all up.

    The fact is we the public don’t know yet the whole truth. If the allegations are true, then there should be something to back it up and it should be brought to light immediately. if they are false, then they are vilifying an innocent man that’s gone through hell and should be held accountable.

    Either way – I await proof.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  8. C. Clavin says:

    McCain…the supporter of torture…wants to just leave this guy in the hands of the Taliban.
    Makes sense to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  9. edmondo says:

    I am no great fan of this president but I could be if once, just once, he went on TV and told the GOP to “go fcuk themselves in Macy’s window.”

    If the Republicans think that the American people give a rat’s butt about Congressional prerogatives when a service member’s life is endangered, they have sorely misjudged the American people

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    @JohnMcC:

    It’s been 12 going-on 13 years since the terrorist attacks of 11 Sept, and the Repubs haven’t decided whether we’re in a war or are the international police hunting down a gang. Pitiful.

    Simple: it’s a war when it’s convenient for the GOP (“It’s a war! These guys aren’t just criminals where you can send in the FBI and arrest them, they’re soldiers for a cause and we have to invade! We get to do what we want!”) and it’s not a war when it’s not convenient for them (“What do you mean, POWs and the Geneva Convention?! These guys aren’t soldiers, they’re terrorists, criminals! The rules of war don’t apply! We get to do what we want!”).

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 3

  11. Rafer Janders says:

    But Mr. McCain said he had serious concerns about the release of the five Taliban detainees, calling them “the hardest of the hard core.” He added, “It is disturbing that these individuals would have the ability to re-enter the fight, and they are big, high-level people, possibly responsible for the deaths of thousands” of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan.

    We’ve held those guys for twelve years. “Possibly” just ain’t good enough. If we had proof to convict them, we should have put them on trial and convicted them.

    But thanks to the GOP, we didn’t.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 5

  12. dennis says:

    Perhaps Republicans should keep their reflexive desire to score political points against the President suppressed for at least a few days.

    AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! You’re so funny, Doug!

    Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. They’ve been at it for so long, they don’t know anything else. It’s 1st nature to them anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  13. Ben says:

    Hey, of course the Republicans are upset!! Everyone knows you trade ARMS for prisoners.

    NOTE: I stole that from a tweet yesterday. It was too good not to re-post.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @A.Men: Exhibit #1

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  15. dennis says:

    @A.Men:

    Irony. You do it well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  16. Hal_10000 says:

    I think Tapper had a profile of the five Taliban (not AQ) operatives we released. To describe them as the hardest of the hard core seems a bit of a stretch.

    If this guy turns out to have deserted his post — which many are alleging — then our course of action is clear. We get him back because we don’t abandon our own. And then we try him for desertion. These are not incompatible ideas.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    @JohnMcC:

    It’s been 12 going-on 13 years since the terrorist attacks of 11 Sept, and the Repubs haven’t decided whether we’re in a war or are the international police hunting down a gang. Pitiful.

    It’s Schrödinger’s War: it’s simultaneously a war and not-a-war depending on the political needs of the GOP at that exact moment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  18. al-Ameda says:

    @A.Men:

    Petty , childish obomba kicks the American people in the gut every day.

    Did your mom help you out with that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  19. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug:

    As I noted in my post on the initial GOP reaction to this release on Saturday evening, it strikes me that Republicans are making a big political mistake if they start attacking the President over this.

    Democrats really couldn’t hope for much more than Republicans are providing here.

    Republicans are saying, “typical Obama, he doesn’t respect us, and he ignored the law.” The public is hearing, “Sure an American was released, but we hate this president and that’s the most important thing.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  20. rudderpedals says:

    The GOP managed what Schrodinger’s kitty couldn’t: Resurrecting collapsed probability waveforms for another try.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @rudderpedals: Heheheeheehehehe… thanx!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: It’s Schrödinger’s War: it’s simultaneously a war and not-a-war depending on the political needs of the GOP at that exact moment.

    You stole that motif from ObamaCare — it’s a tax AND it’s not a tax!

    And we need to stop getting so upset about these sort of things. To the Obama administration, laws are merely suggestions, Especially laws that Obama himself signs. They’re only law-laws to to other people.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 28

  23. C. Clavin says:

    Apparently there is more to this story…this article calls him a deserter.
    Interesting reading.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/02/we-lost-soldiers-in-the-hunt-for-bergdahl-a-guy-who-walked-off-in-the-dead-of-night.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @KM:
    Whatever the case…getting him out of the Taliban’s clutches was the right thing to do.
    We can sort the dirty laundry now that he is safe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  25. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And we need to stop getting so upset about these sort of things. To the Obama administration, laws are merely suggestions, Especially laws that Obama himself signs. They’re only law-laws to to other people.

    I know, it’s like the Tragedy of the Commons….oh, wait, it’s nothing at all like that! Guess I completely misunderstand what it means….!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    To the Obama administration, laws are merely suggestions, Especially laws that Obama himself signs. They’re only law-laws to to other people.

    I am sure you were similarly upset with the Bush Admins ignoring environmental laws and all the signing statements that they added, weren’t you?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And for the record, when it comes to signing statements, Obama is a piker:

    Those challenges can be found within Bush’s 112 first-term statements and his 50 second-term statements.

    The Obama administration has only issued 22 statements during his first term.

    Most…..Corrupt….and Lawless….President…. Ever.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  28. beth says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Don’t even bother. According to him, what past presidents have done doesn’t matter one bit. Even if every President from Washington on down has done it once the black Kenyan Muslim usurper does it, it’s wrong. Of course Jenos can’t explain why it’s wrong; he just knows it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  29. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh, the signing statements BS. Those were Bush’s way of saying that, at some point in the future, he might challenge the law on certain grounds.

    Obama takes it a bit further. Instead, he just ignores the laws and rewrites them on the fly.

    Once again, Obama takes what may or may not have been a bad idea and turns it up to 11.

    Does the law say that Congress must be notified 30 days before any detainees are moved from Guantanamo? Yes.

    Did Obama himself sign that law? Yes.

    Did Obama choose to ignore that law? Yes.

    Are the typical Obama lickspittles here doing all they can to keep that from being discussed?

    Absolutely!

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 20

  30. beth says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Obama did issue a signing statement with this law stating that the notification requirements could be waived under certain conditions. So he’s acting on a signing statement that he himself issued – JUST LIKE BUSH DID. And you are seriously deluded if you think you can imply that Bush never acted on his signing statements and no one here would challenge you on that with the facts.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  31. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    So you are thinking it would have been a far better idea to leave this guy behind as a prisoner of the Taliban…where, according to intelligence, his health was deteriorating quickly and his life was in imminent danger. Instead you are thinking it would have been better to risk losing the opportunity to save his life by delaying for 30 days in order to notify Congress, and also increase the attendant risk of leaks.
    With thought processes like that it’s good to know that you will never, ever, be the Commander-in-Chief.
    I wish I had the time to go search the archives and find all the comments you made railing against Bush and Cheney for violating the law by torturing people…or outing covert CIA operatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @beth: Oh, Beth. Did Bush ever act on any of his signing statements?

    Like I said, Obama takes ideas (often bad ones) from Republicans and Turns Them Up To Eleven.

    On a slight tangent, isn’t it odd how many ideas liberals push (allegedly) have their origins from the right? Can’t you come up with any on your own?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: False choice, Cliffy. The law that was passed by the same Congress we have today and was signed by Obama required the notification. And these talks were going on a lot longer than 30 days. All Obama had to do was call in Reid and Boehner at some point and tell them that a deal was brewing.

    As for the rest… have you ever made an honest argument around here?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    On a slight tangent, isn’t it odd how many ideas liberals push (allegedly) have their origins from the right? Can’t you come up with any on your own?

    The ignorance that comment displays is mind-boggling.
    Those losers that wrote the Constitution couldn’t even come up with their own ideas…they had to steal from the Roman Republic and the Magna Carta.
    What an idiot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  35. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Are the typical Obama lickspittles here doing all they can to keep that from being discussed?

    Damn their cowardly tactic of preventing it being discussed by discussing it with multiple comments on a public forum!

    Just pathetically desperate to be taken seriously, this guy, isn’t he?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  36. pylon says:

    http://www.alternet.org/story/54543/revealed%3A_bush's_presidential_signing_statements_have_been_used_to_nullify_laws

    A Government Accountability Office report confirms that Bush’s use of presidential signing statements have the effect of nullifying the law in question in about 30 percent of cases.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  37. beth says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Off the top of my head I can think of using torture, keeping the cost of the Iraq war off the books and certain privacy rights protections of the Patriot Act being overruled as all being done and justified by signing statements. I’m sure there are others you can find if you really wanted to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So, why does Obama bother signing laws at all? Why does he pretend that they mean anything other than whatever he wants them to mean at the moment?

    Oh, yeah. They’ll be binding on Republicans.

    The one comforting thought is that, thanks to the Obama precedent, another president can just “suspend” things like whole swaths of bad Obama laws.

    Which, of course, will prompt screams for impeachment from the people now rationalizing it.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  39. beth says:

    The one comforting thought is that, thanks to the ObamaBush precedent, another president can just “suspend” things like whole swaths of bad ObamaBush laws.

    Which, of course, will prompt screams for impeachment from the people now rationalizing it.

    Fixed it for ya. You are welcome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Oh, and White House Designated Fabricator Susan Rice has declared that Bergdahl was “captured on the battlefield.” That is the New Operative Truth. All Prior Descriptions of Bergdah’s capture are now Inoperative and Did Not Happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

  41. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, and White House Designated Fabricator Susan Rice has declared that Bergdahl was “captured on the battlefield.”

    Um, yeah. Bergdahl was a uniformed combatant in an active combat zone, captured by armed enemy fighters. Afghanistan is a battlefield for US forces. Wherever a soldier is confronted by an armed enemy in a combat zone, that’s a battlefield, be it a house, a field, a forest — or even a commons. Which is the Tragedy of the Commons,really, if that is I understand that concept accurately (and I think I do!)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  42. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    @beth: Oh, Beth. Did Bush ever act on any of his signing statements?

    ‘Signing Statements’ Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Laws

    President Bush has asserted that he is not necessarily bound by the bills he signs into law, and yesterday a congressional study found multiple examples in which the administration has not complied with the requirements of the new statutes.

    Bush has been criticized for his use of “signing statements,” in which he invokes presidential authority to challenge provisions of legislation passed by Congress. The president has challenged a federal ban on torture, a request for data on the administration of the USA Patriot Act and numerous other assertions of congressional power. As recently as December, Bush asserted the authority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in a signing statement attached to a postal reform bill.

    For the first time, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office — Congress’s investigative arm — tried to ascertain whether the administration has made good on such declarations of presidential power. In appropriations acts for fiscal 2006, GAO investigators found 160 separate provisions that Bush had objected to in signing statements. They then chose 19 to follow.

    Of those 19 provisions, six — nearly a third — were not carried out according to law. Ten were executed by the executive branch. On three others, conditions did not require an executive branch response.

    Do those, and others listed in the story, count?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  43. Nightrider says:

    It is unfortunate that in this country it is no longer possible to evaluate a public policy or to judge the act of an elected official without everyone just reflexively jumping to take the side of their party. It it particularly corrosive on the Republicans because they are so full of crap so much of the time that when they actually say something that might be right it is difficult to know when, if ever, to take them (or their motives) seriously. I voted for Obama twice and will very likely vote for Clinton next time, but this sure looks questionable to me. To negotiate with the Taliban, and trade five seemingly pretty dangerous people, for one guy who sounds like he may have deserted, and whose alleged desertion cost the lives of many other soldiers, and to do this trade in apparent violation of US law, on a deliberate and premeditated basis presumably with the President’s personal approval … I’m not going to judge it yet because I don’t have all of the facts but it is disconcerting. Certainly more than the trumped up fake Benghazi matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  44. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    All Obama had to do was call in Reid and Boehner at some point and tell them that a deal was brewing.

    CROWLEY: Why didn’t you notify Congress?
    RICE: For that very reason, Candy. First of all, this opportunity…
    (CROSSTALK)
    CROWLEY: Which, under the law, it says you should.
    RICE: This opportunity is one that has been briefed to Congress when we had past potential to have this kind of arrangement. So, it wasn’t unknown to Congress. The Department of Defense consulted with the Department of Justice. And given the acute urgency of the health condition of Sergeant Bergdahl, and given the president’s constitutional responsibilities, it was determined that it was necessary and appropriate not to adhere to the 30-day notification requirement, because it would have potentially meant that the opportunity to get Sergeant Bergdahl would have been lost and, therefore…

    Emphasis mine.
    I’m assuming that confronted with actual…you know…facts…that you will change your opinion.
    BWAH-hahahahahahahahahahaha….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  45. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    On a slight tangent, isn’t it odd how many ideas liberals push (allegedly) have their origins from the right? Can’t you come up with any on your own?

    It is interesting how the (by now completely) Pavlovian Republican response to Obama using a Conservative/Right idea is to denounce him. There’s obviously some deep self-loathing going on in the Republican Party – Freud would understand this, Bill Kristol, John Podhoretz, Rich Lowry, George Will and Chuck Krauthammer … not so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  46. C. Clavin says:

    http://justsecurity.org/11101/bergdahl-exchange/

    From a legal perspective, one question is whether the Secretary of Defense complied with the 30-day notice/certification requirement of Section 1035 of the 2014 NDAA (and if not, on what grounds). Secretary Hagel’s statement suggests that he did comply with the substantive requirements of Section 1035, but that he notified Congress today, not 30 days ago. It’s difficult to imagine that Congress would have intended to insist upon such a 30-day delay if the legislators had actually contemplated a time-sensitive prisoner-exchange negotiation of this sort; but the statute does not on its face address such a rare (and likely unanticipated) case. Note that the President wrote this in his signing statement: “Section 1035 does not . . . eliminate all of the unwarranted limitations on foreign transfers and, in certain circumstances, would violate constitutional separation of powers principles. The executive branch must have the flexibility, among other things, to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. Tony W says:

    @Nightrider:

    without everyone just reflexively jumping to take the side of their party

    Republicans cry wolf so often that even if they have a legitimate point in the future, nobody will believe them because they have lost all credibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  48. Nightrider says:

    @Tony W: That’s what I was saying. But remember, in the actual boy who cried wolf story, a wolf actually did come at the end. Democrats are faced with a challenge in still trying to be grown-ups and self-reflect on their own party’s possible mistakes, while legitimately fearing that anytime they do so they just add fuel to the GOP BS machine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  49. C. Clavin says:

    @al-Ameda:
    He’s an idiot.
    Take Obamacare…yes it’s a moderate right-of-center idea….which Obama pursued because it was assumed Republicans would go along with it. No one would have predicted Republicans wouldn’t vote for their own idea. And now the attempt to work across the aisle is to be denounced.
    You cannot make up how stupid this is…….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  50. anjin-san says:

    Ah, I see that Jenos “The Tragedy of the Commons ” Idanian is once again all hopped up on Mountain Dew and seeking fresh opportunities for public humiliation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  51. steve says:

    Just in case people forgot, the admin announced to the whole world back in February that they were negotiating this deal.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-seeks-prisoner-swap-with-taliban-to-free-army-sgt-bowe-bergdahl/2014/02/17/f142ed50-9590-11e3-afce-3e7c922ef31e_story.html

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  52. Neil Hudelson says:

    I really have to know–what thread prompted all the “Tragedy of the Commons” remarks?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  53. Matt Bernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Jenos brought it up in order to bolster his position, not realizing he got the meaning of example completely backwards… Starting about here:
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/its-a-matter-of-trust/#comment-1931398

    Here’s where Jenos begins to explicitly get the meaning of the theory wrong:
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/its-a-matter-of-trust/#comment-1931514

    BTW – for fans of the show Agent’s of Shield, there’s a great Whedon-esque moment in the final episode that is a great echo of this:

    John Garrett: You remember that speech you used to give us, Nick, about how one man can accomplish anything once he realizes he can be something bigger? Well, now I am.

    Nick Fury: A part – a *part* of something bigger…. If you tell me this whole Hydra path thing you took is because you misheard my damn “one man” speech…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Nightrider:

    To negotiate with the Taliban, and trade five seemingly pretty dangerous people, for one guy who sounds like he may have deserted,

    Doesn’t trouble me at all. to quote somebody who said it far better than I could:

    We’re getting out of Afghanistan, and the treaties to which this nation has repeatedly pledged itself require that we release Prisoners of War and repatriate them home. Taliban are distinct from Al Qaeda in this respect because Taliban could be considered the government forces of Afghanistan (whether legitimate, loved, respected, or not) while AQ isn’t anything but a bunch of thugs under international law. So this idea that we gave up valuable prisoners for one guy and that makes it a bad deal is bullshit on its face. We were going to release them. We were REQUIRED to release them under international law that we largely wrote.

    As to whether he deserted or not (I have read one who was there and says he did) that is something to be sorted out upon his return. The guy who was there says the same.

    As far as negotiating with the Taliban, that is what one does when trying to end a war, negotiate with your enemies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  55. C. Clavin says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    Hahahahahaha….
    That’ll teach me not to check in on OTB on a Sunday.
    I miss all the good stuff.
    Hahahahahahahaha…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  56. anjin-san says:

    @ C. Calvn

    It could be the single stupidest thing Jenos has ever said- yes, and I know that that is a bold statement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  57. CB says:

    If I could interupt all of the dick wagging going on here for just a moment, and point to the words of a soldier in Bergdahl’s company..

    I forgave Bergdahl because it was the only way to move on. I wouldn’t wish his fate on anyone. I hope that, in time, my comrades can make peace with him, too. That peace will look different for every person. We may have all come home, but learning to leave the war behind is not a quick or easy thing. Some will struggle with it for the rest of their lives. Some will never have the opportunity.

    And Bergdahl, all I can say is this: Welcome back. I’m glad it’s over. There was a spot reserved for you on the return flight, but we had to leave without you, man. You’re probably going to have to find your own way home.

    But his words will mostly fall on deaf ears, and the political shitshow will carry on unimpeded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  58. Nightrider says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks Ozark; if it were really a certainty that we’d be letting those five guys go soon anyway that would seem to change the analysis. But treaty or not, are we really doing that? If we’re really going to let them all go anyway why shouldn’t the administration easily comply with the apparent 30-day notice law and just give Congress notice that they are all going to go free once final arrangements can be made? I haven’t read the law so perhaps I am not understanding it correctly. Does pulling out our ground troops necessarily equate legally to the end of a war?

    I get that negotiating with adversaries is a practical reality, fair enough on that point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  59. Frank Amato says:

    The Israelis have released much worse and dangerous scumbags. My sense is that we have a tracking device on all these guys released. Years of watching spy movies and 24 have led me to this conclusion..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  60. al-Ameda says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I really have to know–what thread prompted all the “Tragedy of the Commons” remarks?

    I believe he was referring to the possibility that once Marie Antoinette was guillotined the masses couldn’t eat cake anymore? I might be wrong on this, I just haven’t had the time to ‘google’ “tragedy of the commons.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  61. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: yeah, i’d let him settle in and such but now even the msm is questioning his “capture”. they can have a fun week with it i guess, until the next shiny object grabs their attention. i’m all about freeing our own but unless he has serious “intelligence” info we may have been played, and played badly.
    guess we vcan keep tabs on “the big bad five” and dispose of them in the next year or so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. michael reynolds says:

    @Nightrider:

    The secrecy was most likely a Taliban pre-condition. According to the BBC competing Taliban groups were after Bergdahl to use him for their own purposes and his captors were worried for his safety. Maybe they’d seen Fox News and understood our Congress was run by birthday clowns and didn’t want to run the risks of a leak.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0