WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Did Congressional Republicans pull a switcheroo on winning Bergdahl release?

A HUFFINGTON POST article provides a different context for the circumstances leading to that Afghan prisoner swap.

Incredibly, that some of the very same G.O.P. lawmakers now condemning the swap of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for the five Taliban detainees pressed the Obama Administration earlier to win his release, and some even suggested a prisoner exchange.

So what happened? Three scenarios come to mind:

(1). The devil's in the details. Maybe - in THEORY - nearly everyone advocated bringing Bergdahl home as the United States downsizes its military presence in Afghanistan. But to actually see those high-level Taliban operatives win their freedom (and with no forewarning from the Administration)...

(2). Congressional Republicans were setting up President Obama for a fall. (Of course, if Bergdahl really were that sick, and had DIED in Taliban captivity, wouldn't some of those same members of Congress be heaping scorn on this President?)

(3). Both members of Congress AND the Obama Administration didn't fully realize or appreciate how Bergdahl's personal history - and the scorn from some former members of the U.S. military who had served with him - would completely capsize what the Administration had intended as a positive story. Despite the reservations or outright opposition to a deal releasing those five Taliban detainees, think how different it would've been had Bergdahl been a genuine war hero, Purple Heart material.

I tend to lean more to (3).



Posted at 8:56am on June 5, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Thu, Jun 5, 2014 9:27am
I would say it's a combination of choice (1) and (3)...as McCain said in the HuffPo article, he was in favor a some sort of swap depending on the details...but Congress was not given the 30-day notice to get to those details. It also amazes me sometimes just how ill-informed many politicians are when it comes to facts/news... they often are too concerned about how each issue affects their own political futures.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 5, 2014 9:41am
EarlGrey: You made the same observation I made reading the Huff piece. Yep, McCain said he'd consider an exchange, but would want to know the details. Yep, Obama broke the law, no 30-day notice. Now the big question why isn't Obama being prosecuted for violating the law?

This is part of what's wrong with our government: They break laws, act unethically, etc., & nothing ever happens to these folks. So is it any wonder they say one thing & do something else?? There is no accountability for any of these clowns, Democrat or Republican.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 5, 2014 9:43am
Oh, I agree with EarlGrey, options 1&3.

Thu, Jun 5, 2014 11:40am
I am going to suggest a 4th option. Too many of the “facts” we have heard so far do not make sense. Why did we waste the lives of good soldiers to find one who had deserted? Why did we pay such a high price for an insignificant soldier? Something else had to be going on.

What if Bowe was embedded as an operative? He made it look good. He left a note saying he hated his country and was leaving his troop. He did what he needed to do to lead the Taliban into trusting him. He spent five years learning more about them. For some reason, he needed to return to the United States quickly. Health or fears of disclosure are possible reasons. The price of his ransom was steeper than expected. But he was freed and now is revealing all he learned to the proper authorities.

Republicans are doing what would be expected to please their base. As this is an election year, Democrats are joining in order to look good. But all know Obama did what he had to do in a difficult situation.

Allan Loudell
Thu, Jun 5, 2014 11:56am
Jim H,

I had mulled over that possibility as well.

But while I'm open to additional arguments and developments, I'm inclined to think this was an idealistic guy who joined the military for very idealistic reasons, but then the horrors of war inevitably drove him to leave his base behind.

But, as you suggest, 2 + 2 doesn't necessarily equal 4, given all the inconsistencies and illogic of the developing narrative...

Thu, Jun 5, 2014 12:21pm
I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Loudell on this one...the "super secret agent" theory sounds a bit far-fetched.

The reason his fellow soldiers searched and risked their lives to find even a deserter was because (as "good" soldiers) they followed orders. Another reason they needed to find him is because he knew the tactics/troop movements of his group...

I think the administration wanted to have its "Mission Accomplished" moment, as the Afghanistan withdrawal is soon approaching, and the administration wanted to say it ended the war and brought home ALL the troops.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 5, 2014 4:42pm
JimH isn't a liberal , but a conservative. So his idea isn't from a partisan attitude & actually does make sense. Obviously our government - either Obama's administration or a Romney administration - would now shoot its mouth off, so Obama 's got to take the heat as the G.O.P. dishes it out, but both know the real deal.

This might be one of the few times they've managed to work together on something.

I'd sure like it if that is what happened.

Obama had campaigned on getting out of Iraq / Afghanistan quickly, but after getting elected, he apparently got the real briefing that none of the media, including Fox, had access to & he changed his approach to a longer game plan of getting the U.S. out of both wars. Again, there's much we don't know & it's too easy to find fault for everything the other side does. This might just be one of those times.

Thu, Jun 5, 2014 6:02pm
I think Jim H's statement may be intended as a backhanded humor. At least that's what it would be if I said it.

Allan Loudell
Thu, Jun 5, 2014 7:18pm
Two interesting developments:

According to an account in POLITICO, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer - not exactly a great supporter of President Obama - nonetheless is inclined to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt with regard to the Bowe Bergdahl deal.

POLITICO quotes Krauthammer from FOX News' "Special Report":
"Had the choice been mine, I would have made the same choice. It's a difficult decision, and I would not attack those who have done otherwise..."

Also, Krauthammer says those in the West "put a value on the individual human life the way the ones at the other end of the table don't." Krauthammer notes how the Israelis had to release one thousand terrorists in exchange for one sergeant who had been taken prisoner. Krauthammer concedes, though, that the circumstances of Bergdahl leaving that U.S. military post have made people more critical of the President's decision to release the five Taliban detainees.

Meanwhile, it emerges the Obama Administration told lawmakers the Taliban had threatened to kill Bergdahl, if word of the prisoner exchange deal had prematurely leaked. Hence, all the secrecy.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 5, 2014 8:50pm
So in one sense JimH was correct in that there was more to the story than meets the eye. We so often don't as much as we'd like to think we do.

Krauthammer backing Obama's move says something too.

Oh shucks, Rush/Beck/Hannity/Jensen will have to find something new to bash Obama & the DEMS for doing, or not doing, as the case may be. Of course, none of this will stop their jaws from flapping as they rant on.

Thu, Jun 5, 2014 10:14pm
And ole Mr. Pizza will continue cheering Rush/Beck/Hannity/Jensen.

Thu, Jun 5, 2014 10:15pm
Sorry, forgot to add Dick Morris to that list.

Thu, Jun 5, 2014 10:44pm
I know it goes without saying, but I'm more convinced than ever that everything I've believed, and said, on this blog about Obama is true. In addition to snake-oil salesman and communist dictator, I must now add the title of war criminal to my list of descriptives.

Fri, Jun 6, 2014 12:12am
And Pizza, I believe you put LSD in your Pizza crust because of most of the statements you make here... Bottom line, what you ... or me... or Republicans.... or Democrats... or anyone not in the inner loop thinks about this, has a much bearing on reality as whether they think LSD is in your Pizza crust....

Truth is... it could be... Likelihood though... it isn't...

I just read that we've been working on this case since 2009...? The problem... is the critics... who have no idea what they are talking about.... Just like with Benghazi... Where is that now? or the IRS... Where is that now? or the VA... where is that now? or the Malaysian Flight... where is that now???

(The Malaysian Flight was a funny.) As grandparents were wont to say... "if you know nothing, keep your mouth shut and your thoughts to yourself"... Looks like everyone immediately becomes an expert and has the only right opinion when the Kleig lights come on.... and that is all this is... an opportunity to see oneself on tv.

It is pretty ridiculous... really.

Fri, Jun 6, 2014 5:22am
I can tell you where it all is now. It's called COVER-UP.

Fri, Jun 6, 2014 12:47pm
No Pizza... It is a political ambush... Like when you see someone you hate get into a bar fight, you jump on the pile and throw your punches without even knowing the facts of the situation...

I am relieved to see that the major players in the media are now calling out the fact that there are no facts here... They have taken their cue from me and Charles Krauthammer... that we are all arguing over speculation, and speculation alone. And it is speculation primarily generated from one side of the aisle.....

What are the facts? Don't know, can't say. At least those respectable are beginning to state the obvious, much to Pizza's chagrin, just when he got his hopes up that the "Best President in his lifetime" finally got a speck of dust on his shoe...

Sat, Jun 7, 2014 12:15am
Charles Krauthammer is a turncoat just like Arlen Specter, Lindsay Graham, and John McCain.

And the "best president in your lifetime" is a commie thug.

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