When things start going downhill fast, you have a number of options. A sane person might pull back and regroup. An insane person might just continue on, as though nothing happened.
As we have come to expect, The Obama White House takes the second path.
Do you think they are losing their grip on reality? In the middle of multiple scandals, they have gone off the rails again.
And Congress isn’t going to do anything about it, other than huff and puff and make noises. By now, we shouldn’t be surprised. They gave away all their power to The White House.
On Tuesday, President Obama sent one of his “top aides” to apologize to Congress for not first informing them before releasing five top Taliban commanders from Guantanamo. That was required by law, but that has never stopped this White House before.
It seems that once in the White House, you can break any law, as long as, when news gets out, you apologize – even if you’re not really sorry, and plan to do it again.
It is all over the news that they swapped those Taliban commanders for … one captured Army sergeant, who it appears deserted from the Army five years ago. Barack Obama defended his actions, insisting that his administration had discussed the release with Congress “for some time.”
You might expect that Republicans would be at the front of the queue, waiting to harangue Obama for this breach, but Democrats were quick to start the ball rolling.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said she received a call from White House Deputy National Security Adviser, Tony Blinken. Blinken’s excuse is that it “was an oversight.”
An oversight? Congress isn’t small. You can’t just forget it is there. It is the largest, most voluminous part of the government! How could it possibly be an oversight. Is the White House being advised by newbies? By teenagers? By dummies? – people who have zero experience? Are there no lawyers advising them about protocols?
Perhaps they really are flying by the seat of their pants, making it up as they go along!
Obama and his team had already signaled their disrespect for Congress, announcing U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) called it a “big mistake.” King said, “That just gives the enemy the opportunity to plan their strategy.” John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte said the decision was irresponsible and a “triumph of politics over strategy.”
Congressman King was already on the warpath because the White House uncovered a CIA operative. King called that “an unpardonable error.”
Feinstein said she had spoken to other senators and they were almost unanimously against the trade of the five Taliban commanders for Bergdahl.
Feinstein said she didn’t know whether or not Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter and traitor: “I certainly want to know more about whether this man is a deserter or not, I think that’s important to at least know, soldiers died looking for him, that’s important to give them credit.”
Many men in Bergdahl’s platoon said he walked away from the rest of the platoon. They said he left behind a note about his frustration with the Army and his country. It has been reported that up to 14 men were killed looking for him after he disappeared.
Bergdahl was “captured” in 2009. The controversial prisoner swap disclosed by the Obama administration released five high-level Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, in exchange for Bergdahl. Those Taliban are now in Qatar. According to other reports, those five men are considered the worst of the worst.
Commentators say that not only will Qatar eventually release them, but they are likely to continue killing Americans and civilians.
A man who served with Berghadl the night he disappeared said, “I don’t want him regarded as the example that soldiers should look up to, because he is the exact opposite of that. There were about 30 of us there and we just pulled guard out of our trucks and a couple bunkers. On the morning of June 30th, when someone went to wake up Bergdahl for his guard shift, he wasn’t there.”
They were very uneasy about him engaging with the Taliban. He said, “As we’re all sitting there on this very small base, miles away from any major forward operating base, we’re … saying, ‘You know what? He knows where our bunkers are, he knows where our positions are, he knows where our trucks are parked, he knows how our guard shifts change, he knows what our sectors of fire are.”
If you believe things can’t get much worse, that would be wrong, it already has. Mired in multiple scandals, The Obama administration did just make it worse.
The Administration must answer to Congress and the American people, but based on past performance, Congress will do nothing meaningful, and a majority of the American people are asleep.
The big question is: Why was this deserter worthy of a trade for five dangerous killers who are designated international terrorists?
Obviously, the men and women serving in Afghanistan did not have a vote on this release. They are the ones who are most likely to meet those five released Taliban again, sometime soon.
With more than five years of on-the-job training now, the White House ought to have found adults to oversee important affairs, but they may not be looking.
Meanwhile, the no-action congress continues to do about all it is capable of – whining.