Does It Matter?

by Dave Schuler on June 2, 2014

The kerfuffle of the day is over the release of U. S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl from his five year captivity in exchange for the release of five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo, negotiated by the Obama Administration. My immediate reaction to the news is that it highlights how glad I am that I don’t have to make decisions about matters like this. Do you choose the most prudent course of action or the most merciful? Which is the higher priority, security or not leaving a soldier behind in the hands of the enemy?

Additionally difficult are separating what’s important from what isn’t important in the decision. Does it matter whether Sgt. Bergdahl were a deserter? Does it matter that the Obama Administration negotiated with terrorists for the release? Does it matter whether the Taliban released were the worst of the worst? Does what the Israelis do or don’t do about their own soldier held captive by their enemies?

I don’t have formed opinions about any of those questions and I’m glad I don’t need to have them.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

CStanley June 2, 2014 at 7:49 am

The difficulty of the decision seems to suggest that it does matter, though.

It certainly mattered to all the guys who lost their lives looking for Bergdahl, and to the missions that were compromised by all of the resources rallied in attempt to recover him during the summer of 2009. That is all in the past though, and I don’t know what should have happened either then or now. Generally I am unsettled by the idea of negotiating prisoner trades, and by the administration’s decision to do this over bipartisan Congressional objections.

... June 2, 2014 at 8:55 am

To answer the questions in the second paragraph, in order:

Yes;
No;
Yes;
Yes, in that the Israelis have lots of experience with these matters – which doesn’t mean we do or don’t do as they do, but it is something to mull over.

... June 2, 2014 at 9:00 am

I haven’t read enough to know all the (alleged) particulars, but did the Administration do this over Congressional objections? My understanding is that the Administration rather pointedly violated the law and kept Congress completely out of the loop.

michael reynolds June 2, 2014 at 9:09 am

Everyone negotiates with terrorists, including the Israelis, who have on several occasions exchanged prisoners with Hezbollah and the old PLO, and Ronald Reagan who baked cakes for terrorists.

If we treat the Taliban as an opposing military force then POW exchanges are perfectly normal. I wouldn’t want to be any of these five released men. I don’t think we promised not to drone their asses.

... June 2, 2014 at 9:16 am

And to expand a bit on the fourth answer I gave in my first comment:

The Israelis have made such swaps in the past, which seems to indicate the Israelis find merit in such swaps. However, the Israelis are a small nation and for reasons both practical and political may not be able to leave people behind.

The USA is vast, however, and despite rhetoric we have left people behind before. As recently as 9/11/2012 this very Administration felt it okay to not bother with those left behind, and later brushed off concerns about the matter with “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

So is this a shift in policy at this point, mere randomness, or what?

And following very closely on the heels of the outing of a station chief by the White House and the abrupt-seeming removal of the man whose office was responsible for the outing, it will lead to conspiracy theories.

Here’s a possible thought on policy shifts: the release of Bergdahl was merely cover for the release of the Taliban leaders. (I’ve heard they were leaders, at least.) The release could be part of an attempted reproachment with the Taliban as the US continues to draw down forces in Afghanistan. Clearly the Administration doesn’t believe the Taliban can be defeated, and doesn’t seem to want to try. (Lots of people ‘here’ believe the same thing.) So this could be an attempt at demonstrating good will to the Taliban.

PD Shaw June 2, 2014 at 9:47 am

Except for the Israeli situation, yes everything matters, but those questions aren’t sufficient to decide things. The Taliban isn’t simply a terrorist group, it controlled the government and was overthrown as a consequence of aid and support for al-Qaeda, and now it is the primary counter-insurgency. I think release of prisoners and exchanges can have a part of fighting a counterinsurgency, and ultimately I would expect a lot of people to be released, either as a consequence of the U.S. abandoning Afghanistan and/or the Afghan government, whom we are there to support.

Guarneri June 2, 2014 at 11:47 am

“… despite rhetoric we have left people behind before. As recently as 9/11/2012 this very Administration felt it okay to not bother with those left behind, and later brushed off concerns about the matter with “What difference, at this point, does it make?” ”

Well, yeah. But how do you expect them to control dangerous YouTube video makers. And they jailed the guy, right? So take that biff on the nose, terrorists.

michael reynolds June 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm

So Ice misstates and Drew seconds the motion. Perfect.

jan June 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm

“I haven’t read enough to know all the (alleged) particulars, but did the Administration do this over Congressional objections?

One of the reasons this has turned into a “kerfuffle,” is that the administration once again went it alone, keeping the Congress out of any decision-making capacity. I think this is wrong, whether or not it’s legal or illegal. More and more, though, this president seems to be ruling by fiat, rather than by mutual consent or advice by Congress. The fact the branches of powers are at odds with each other, IMO, does not give the executive branch an excusable authority to do so.

However, there are other uncomfortable tangents to this exchange, involving not only the sacrificial deaths of those looking for this man, but also the details and reasoning surrounding Bergdahl leaving his post in the first place. Furthermore, what kind of precedent does this create for future service men who are captured, regarding the trading ratios involved between the an “enemy” and us.

I also found it a bittersweet contradiction when the president firmly stated, “We leave no man behind,” as the heroic, patriotic basis for such a lopsided exchange. This certainly wasn’t the loyalty or commitment exercised, back in 9/11/12!

michael reynolds June 2, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Here’s the full quote:

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Nothing whatever to do with leaving behind.

michael reynolds June 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm

And now the third of the Clueless Trio joins in. Good grief. And you people have the nerve to diss the commentariat at OTB? Seriously? Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest. Decide amongst yourselves who gets which.

jan June 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm

It seems I’m repeating what others have already implied about the comparison/contrast to 9/11/12. And, on cue, Reynolds mocks. Perfect!

jan June 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Michael,

When something surfaces that is so clearly contradictory, most unbiased people tend to remark about it. Others, with their heads in the sand and their feet in cement, just stand back and smirk.

jan June 2, 2014 at 12:15 pm

The quote you posted, Michael, was from HRC’s fatuous testimony. The comment I was talking about, was from the president in reflecting on this current prisoner exchange.

steve June 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm

1) The idea that we left people behind in Libya seems to stem from a cartoonish (or willfully ignorant, take your pick) impression of our military. We really dont have armed troops sitting on planes who are able to go anywhere in an hour or two. Even in Afghanistan and Iraq, actual war zones, it sometimes takes CAS hours to arrive. Aid was sent to Libya, but the first troops landed about 0900. By then the folks from Benghazi where on their way or already at the airport. (It took the CIA forces about 25 minutes to get there. They were the security for the place.)

2) Nearly everyone on the right has decided the kid was a deserter. How do they know that? How can they be so sure the kid was not psychotic? Suicidal? Had severe PTSD? Unless they were there and talked with the kid, knew he was lucid and made a conscious, well thought out decision to desert to the Taliban, they need to back off. Most are a bunch of f#cking, chickenhawk, chickens*t cowards. (Yes, this really pisses me off. Everyone has a breaking point. Life is not a Rambo movie. )

3) I agree with Dave. This was a tough decision. I dont know how you make it. I guess for me the tipping point in the decision is that those released have been in custody for 12 years. They no longer have intelligence value. Keeping them longer serves mostly just to punish them. To gain a life by foregoing punishment of 5 guys? Seems like a plausible deal.

Steve

steve June 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Query- Here is a good test for your values. 5 terrorists are running away. Your best buddy is bleeding out on the ground. Do you chase them down and kill them, or do you try to save the life of your buddy on the ground first?

Steve

PD Shaw June 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm

@steve, hadn’t heard they had been in custody for 12 years. I think there are three basic reasons to detain enemy combatants: (1) prevent them for returning to the battlefield; (2) punish war crimes; and (3) intelligence-gathering.

The first is the one that might bother me the most here, but I don’t know what the risks are — these guys have been out of action for awhile and may not be able to join up with the insurgency immediately. I am sure they are being watched for awhile, and the U.S. is leaving. I’d probably want the Afghan governments view.

Twelve years means intelligence value is near zero; and we have declined to press any war crimes charges for some time.

CStanley June 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm

The release of some or all of the Gitmo detainees seems inevitable but I hope it’s done as carefully as possible (realizing we may not have any good options though.)

The circumstances of this soldier are very odd and it really doesn’t seem like a straightforward case of cracking under pressure as steve suggests (lots of different accounts that suggest premeditation) though there also are suggestions that he was distraught after the death of a fellow platoon member so that may have been a factor. The hard part, I think, is balancing the duty or desire to bring him home with the feeling that he did not act heroically and in fact probably caused the death of other soldiers. The whole incident has already come at great cost, and giving up 5 high value prisoners seems galling in the face of that.

Again though, we may not have any good options and this is just the reality of where we find ourselves. It also occurs to me that Bergdahl probably has intelligence value to us, and the urgency in getting him home (if it wasn’t just a cynical political move) might have been due to knowledge that he was about to be killed or moved somewhere that would be off of our radar.

Guarneri June 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Michael has become an implacable Obama stooge just as the rest of the world is waking up to the fact that, well, Obama is a stooge.

Let me save you the keystrokes, Michael. Yes, yes. I’m a racist. But remember, so too must be Mr. Tingleleg……

... June 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Reynolds, the fact of the matter is that the Administration decided to stand down and let an Ambassador get ass-raped to death by the terrorists that the Administration had made dangerous in the first place, by destroying the government of Libya. But you have not had one problem either with the President lying about what happened that day, or hios having his SecState utter that it didn’t matter, or tha they broke Libya in the first place and then failed to provide adequate security to their own alleged friend. You have instead claimed that everything the Administration has done has been justified and successful on that matter because racism.

But this Administration is willing to do whatever it takes to … what? What, exactly, have they accomplished here? We apparently got back a man whose comrades believe to be a deserter at the price of five top Taliban officials. And the President and his people have been crowing about what a great day this is for America. Bullshit. Even if this guy is really Captain America, this is not a win. At best it is a necessary price to pay to get back one of our own. But that doesn’t make it a win.

... June 2, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Michael has become an implacable Obama stooge just as the rest of the world is waking up to the fact that, well, Obama is a stooge.

He’s no different than all the leftists in this country who sang Stalin’s praises in the 193os.

... June 2, 2014 at 6:59 pm

And now the third of the Clueless Trio joins in. Good grief. And you people have the nerve to diss the commentariat at OTB? Seriously? Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest. Decide amongst yourselves who gets which.

You know, given that in 2006 you were proclaiming that Bush was a fascist about to overthrow the government, install himself as President for life and kill all the Jews and blacks, I’ll take that with a grain of salt.

... June 2, 2014 at 7:19 pm

So here’s the kind of thing that makes Reynolds think this is a successful economy:

The USDA said it is their responsibility to attempt to alter the food choices of Americans since 25 percent receive food aid from government programs.

But you know, it’s people who don’t worship the President for this great and bountiful economy, amongst all the other things he does perfectly, who are stupid.

Guarneri June 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm

I suspect most all will conclude, in the end, that consistent with tradition, we should attempt to get all our soldiers back, deserter or not. The issue is what kind of deal you broker. This was a sucker’s deal. I’d get fired by my investors if I negotiated deals like this.

As usual, we have an administration looking more like the Keystone Cops than anything else.

Didn’t you love this character’s dad thanking Allah right next to the CIC? Nice.

Within hours, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid shot down Hagel’s optimism for reconciliation. “It won’t help the peace process in any way, because we don’t believe in the peace process,” Mujahid said.

Instead of portraying the exchange as the beginning of reconciliation, Taliban emir Mullah Mohammed Omar called the release of the five commanders a “great victory” and a “huge and vivid triumph.” The Taliban also published photos of the five released commanders as they arrived in Qatar.

“This huge accomplishment brings the glad tidings of liberation of the whole country and reassures us that our aspirations are on the verge of fulfillment,” Omar said, according to a statement released yesterday at the Taliban website, Voice of Jihad.

And as for Baghdad Jay:

Look what Jeryl Bier found in the White House archives: “[J]ust under a year ago, in June 2013, White House press secretary Jay Carney was unequivocal in his response to a reporter’s questions about this very deal, saying, ‘[W]e would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law.’” Ooops.

As for Ms. Rice……..well, its unfair to pick on those with, uh, deficits.

steve June 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Drew- Cant say I really care what the Taliban say. Not sure why you would. What kind of deal would you cut? Assume the guy is sick and you have a time limit on your negotiations. Please remember we did not know where the guy was being kept. What do you have to offer that the Taliban would want? Also please remember that we have already been trying to kill as many as we can, mostly unsuccessfully.

” he did not act heroically”

No, people often do not when they are depressed or psychotic. In case you did not know, we are seeing record levels of suicides in the military. If you had asked me, I would have thought that a lone US soldier walking around in Afghanistan would get killed. This always struck me as most likely a suicide attempt more than anything else. Once again, life is not a movie. In real life, kids kill themselves and go nuts when good friends die and they are away from home w/o support from family.

Steve

michael reynolds June 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Steve:

Drew supports anyone who says something bad about Obama. Doesn’t matter, so long as you crap on Obama.

Most people don’t know that we had thousands of deserters even during WW2. Some deserted and stayed away, some deserted and came back and were generally accepted by their fellow soldiers.

In the aftermath of the first world war we learned a lot about combat stress – by various names – and before WW2 rolled around psychiatrists had come to understand that everyone has a breaking point. Some hold up better than others, but eventually everyone in combat breaks.

The response of people who understand at least a little of what happens and who have a capacity for basic human compassion is to feel sorry for men like this. This excludes most Republicans of course.

michael reynolds June 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Drew:

You have said a lot of stupid shit in your life but pretending that you’d have managed this negotiation better is so ludicrously self-inflated it actually made me laugh out loud. Not the fake internet LOL, but actual audible laughter. You actually believe negotiating over sandwiches and tee times is equivalent to this. Amazing.

michael reynolds June 2, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Ice:

You at least have the IQ. Drew’s just a big dumb windbag. We’ve both guessed he’s no captain of finance, he’s the guy who glad-hands for the real brains at his firm. Jan’s just a Foxbot cut-and-paste artist, she may even be on a payroll. I mean, she’s too programmed to be real, right?

You on the other hand, I’ll venture a guess that you clock in around 135 or so IQ. Am I close? Within 5 points I’ll bet. So you at least are potentially in the game. The problem is your head’s a mess because your whole world fell apart and you couldn’t immediately glue it back together.

So you created a persona, and you play it well, but like any inauthentic character it doesn’t hold up over time. Now in order to stay in character you’re going all conspiracy guy on us. You have to keep that edge, so you have to swing further out. You’re caught in the LOST trap, trying to top yourself. I don’t think you’re dumb, just dumb in that you’ve forgotten the first law of holes.

I’d much rather have a beer with you. You are interesting. You’re not being authentic, but there still layers there.

jan June 2, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Michael, once again, has all the answers… or, so he thinks.

jan June 2, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Fellow soldiers call Bowe Bergdahl a deserter, not a hero.

There’s a number of comments from members of Bergdahl’s unit, in this CNN piece, who served with them. He certainly didn’t leave any endearing sentiments with them. Instead, most of these men are angry, resentful, and confused in how Bergdahl is having such a “character” make-over, compliments of the government. The fact that the worst of the worst in Gitmo were also used as trade for this man, makes it an insult upon injury kind of scenario.

No, people often do not when they are depressed or psychotic.

Aren’t you kind of assuming a lot without knowing much, Steve? All that has been said is that Bergdahl slipped away from his base. More important, is the info coming from people who were around him — other men in his platoon. They are saying he was disenchanted, not depressed, with his service, and wanted more of an adventure on his own terms, not on the military’s.

Some service men are incorrigible and should never be in such a structured, demanding environment, in the first place. My dad was one of those people who, once he was drafted, spent most of his time in the brig for not following orders.

James Joyner June 3, 2014 at 4:37 am

I wrote a longish piece under solicitation for The National Interest yesterday afternoon. The short version is that, yes, swapping prisoners with the Taliban is a perfectly reasonable policy and the right thing to do in keeping faith with our soldiers; yes, the administration should have obeyed the law and notified Congress given the long lead time; and, yes, if Bergdahl is indeed a deserter he should be court martialed and, at very least, busted to private E-1, dishonorably discharged, and therefore stripped of his veteran’s status and benefits. At least six men died searching for him.

Dave Schuler June 3, 2014 at 5:38 am

Pat Lang wrote a good piece on this the other day, James, largely along the lines you’ve outlined.

James Joyner June 3, 2014 at 6:06 am

Dave, I have been remiss in reading my old favorites, including Pat, for quite some time. I’ve looked up the piece and am indeed in good company.

CStanley June 3, 2014 at 7:31 am

I think those opinions expressed by James are very reasonable.

The sticking point on prisoner exchange is whether or not the Taliban is recognized as a legitimate negotiation partner. This gets to the broader point of the concept of “War on Terror”.

And then there are the specifics of the deal. To me, the process which sidestepped Congressional oversight is problematic not just because of executive overreach* but because of the specifics of the case. It’s not as though this deal just came up and the administration acted without notifying Congress…rather, the deal in one form or another has been discussed, and many people on both sides of the aisle, within Congress, the intel community, and even Obama’s cabinet, have expressed serious concerns. Here is what seems to be a good summary: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/02/how-obama-convinced-his-spies-to-support-the-taliban-prisoner-release.html

So it’s not like a situation where you make a big decision without consulting your spouse because you had to make a quick decision. It’s like you had discussed the matter many times and your partner said “hell no” but you did it anyway. You can do that, and hope it works out and your spouse forgives you for overriding his/her concerns….but you certainly can’t claim, “Hey, we did talk about it, and then I just had to make the final decision quickly.”

*on this issue I think it’s fair to point out that hardly anyone raised objections to Obama’s use of force in Libya, and so they now have weak legs to stand on here…especially since that was more clearly a case where he had Constitutional limits on his actions rather than a statutory one as in the present case.

Dave Schuler June 3, 2014 at 7:43 am

I suspect very few people hold a view as harsh as mine: I don’t think we should have had Taliban prisoners to use as negotiating chits.

steve June 3, 2014 at 8:31 am

I think he should face a trial for desertion. If there are extenuating circumstances, he should be found innocent.

“Aren’t you kind of assuming a lot without knowing much, Steve?”

Same goes for you. This was covered extensively when he left. No one knows why he left. We know he was disenchanted. We also know he was upset over a close platoon member recently killed. At the very least, you have to consider severe PTSD if not a severe depressive episode. There is a suicide epidemic going on in the military.

Since i dont know, I dont think anyone knows, I think our bias should be towards getting the guy back. You have already decided he is a traitor and we should have left him.

Steve

jan June 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

“At the very least, you have to consider severe PTSD if not a severe depressive episode. “

No evidence has surfaced that Bergdahl had PTSD, In fact he hadn’t finished his training very long before he went missing, which leads me to believe that he had not been subjected to much action in his deployment. OTOH, there is another military man being held in Mexico, after supposedly getting caught in the swirl of traffic leading to the Mexican border, and then be held for guns he voluntarily revealed to the border agents there. This soldier has medically documented PTSD, after serving something like two tours of duty in the ME. But, the WH, State Dept. is not saying much, nor seemingly working to get him released. The same non-action was taken when yet another soldier was imprisoned a year plus ago, in Mexico for having an antique weapon on board his vehicle. Do you think this is fair? Or are military detainees in Mexico somehow different as to how much attention is warranted in getting them released?

“You have already decided he is a traitor and we should have left him.”

That kind of judgment was not even implied in my comments, and is simply a specious reading of it by you. What I did voice, though, were concerns in how honestly Bergdahl was being portrayed by the government, in what appears to be attempts to hide any negative or questionable aspects of his departure from duty. Some of the facts rolling out, though, are troublesome, including: Bergdahl never was officially listed as a POW; that the Pentagon issued a report in 2010 saying he had deserted his unit, but not consigned a deserter status until he could be questioned directly; that all the men in his unit were ordered to sign confidentially agreements not to discuss Bergdahl’s disappearance, and are only now speaking in unison so the “truth” comes out (this is the same stunt pulled on CIA agents on the ground in Benghazi too, having them repeatedly sign similar agreements not to talk); the angry, disillusioned email Bergdahl sent to his parents just before he vanished, speaks of a man not wanting anything to do with the army, or with this country, anymore. This is more a symptom of one who is disillusioned, and not necessarily affixed to a diagnosis of PTSD.

These details, at least in my mind, seem to at least question, if not contradict, Rice’s public statement saying Bergdahl served “honorably” –the same pattern demonstrated in the immediate false statements released by her regarding Benghazi. IMO, taking what is now being revealed about Bergdahl, it is suffice to say that questioning the merits of this exchange, and the conduct of the administration for little to no collaboration with others, is warranted. After all, the precedent set and attendant consequences attached are significant, as to the innumerable problems potentially posed in future governmental efforts conducted to release prisoners (both military and private citizens) held in unfriendly countries or under abusive foreign circumstances.

Guarneri June 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Is “honor and distinction” still in Suzy Rices talking points? She could always bail out and say the desertion was just a YouTube video……..

PD Shaw June 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm

I’m going a little wobbly on this issue after watching Chris Matthews tonight. At least think we may have paid too much for our one guy. Not as troubled by the questions about the one guy, but about the five guys.

Also, being handled with incredible political ineptness, which I’ll try to keep as a separate issue in my head.

steve June 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm

“What I did voice, though, were concerns in how honestly Bergdahl was being portrayed by the government, in what appears to be attempts to hide any negative or questionable aspects of his departure from duty.”

This was all covered in incredible detail when he disappeared. You cannot hide what was already released. The fact remains that no one knows why he walked and the state of his mind. You are just interested in the politics, as demonstrated by bringing up the Mexican incident.

PD Shaw June 3, 2014 at 7:52 pm

The guy on Hardball defending the Administration from charges of violating the law actually cited the Bybee (Bush-era torture) memo as support for the President’s prerogatives. Incredible.

(The argument is poor, and it appears to be of the character of Bush did it and he is an ass, and we reluctantly embrace the role with gusto. The Bybee memo was premised on ambiguities in the U.S. torture statute, which allows the executive greater latitude of discretionary authority within his traditional Constitutional role.)

steve June 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm

PD- So you would have just left him? Presume he is guilty? 5 guys with zero intel worth. 5 guys who wont be fighting against us since we will be gone.

Steve

jan June 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm

” The fact remains that no one knows why he walked and the state of his mind. You are just interested in the politics, as demonstrated by bringing up the Mexican incident.”

Have you read any of the emails Bergdahl sent before he disappeared? They were discussed in the Intelligence Committee today. In them, he disavowed the United States, showed an interest in ‘finding’ the Taliban etc. His state of mind seemed to be one of immaturity and self-interest. And, lastly, all of the soldiers in his unit are saying scathing things about this man, now that he has been “rescued.”

Even Diane Feinstein is angry at the president for not consulting with the Congress prior to releasing the 5 most important terrorists in the deal he made. Even though Obama issued a statement, while in Poland, that he kept the Congress abreast of this exchange. The facts coming out indicate that 2011 was the last time he discussed any perimeters of such an exchange for Bergdahl. And, at that time there was a bipartisan agreement that this was not a good idea.

Bergdahl probably never should have joined the service. But, that being said, he did, and he became petulant, disillusioned with his deployment experience, and all sources, including the Pentagon, say he voluntarily walked. Furthermore his behavior was deliberately papered over by the military hierarchy and government, by surpressing press coverage regarding details of his disappearance, and silencing members who served with him, until his imprisonment was over.

As for bringing up the Mexican incident, I don’t see why that should be seen as ‘political.’ Whenever an American citizen is caught up in a prison situation, it would seem appropriate that the American government would become an advocate for either justice or their release. Do you have problems with that POV?

PD

I don’t watch Chris Matthews very much. But, one thing for sure, is that everything Bush did, that was seen as “awful” by his detractors, has only been duplicated and ratcheted up by the very administration following him. And the stunning thing is that people supporting the current administration, hook, line and sinker, appear to be now mollified, satisfied with the various characteristics and tactics they initially abhorred under Bush — i.e. lack of transparency, excessive polarization, secretiveness, lies, aggressive, discretionary,and arbitrarily exercised authority.

Guarneri June 3, 2014 at 10:40 pm

You go steve.

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