Patterico's Pontifications


The Other Side Of The Equation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:39 pm

[guest post by Dana]

During a classifed briefing on Bowe Bergdahl, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin was asked whether he had confidence that the five Taliban members won’t kill any Americans. Durbin responded,

“How can you say that? How can I say that anybody interviewing me is not going to kill an American? I will just tell you that when it comes down to it, they have been members of the Taliban, they were our enemies, and that’s why they were detained. We have taken some steps to try to monitor their conduct through Qatar for at least one year, and that’s where we are. Thats why I don’t think this was an easy call. There’s the other side of this equation.”

Hm, so they have been members of the Taliban? They were our enemies? Are they no longer part of the Taliban? Did they turn in their membership cards and that’s why they are also no longer our enemies?

And, about those efforts to monitor their conduct through Qatar? Well, now that we know they will be able to move around freely within the country, I’m having doubts about the use of the word monitor.

The Gulf official said the Taliban men, who have been granted Qatari residency permits, will not be treated like prisoners while in Doha and no U.S. officials will be involved in monitoring their movement while in the country.

Further, according to this report, the release of the five Taliban members has given the Taliban a desperately needed shot of hope in its demoralized arm. Taliban commander Mullah Salem Khan was elated about the release of former deputy defense minister in charge of all Taliban troops in northern Afghanistan, Mullah Mohammad Fazil.

“His return is like pouring 10,000 Taliban fighters into the battle on the side of jihad. Now the Taliban have the right lion to lead them in the final moment before victory in Afghanistan. While Mullah Fazil was in the Guantanamo cages we kept his name living, and under the banner of ‘Mazloom Mahaz’”—one of Fazil’s noms de guerre—“more than 20 fronts were and are active in jihad in three provinces.”

“Mullah Fazil was a military tycoon and very close to Mullah Omar,” says Khan. “His freedom will definitely inspire the whole Taliban moment.

Regardless of where they are, the liberation of Mullah Fazil and Mullah Norullah will give new spine to the Taliban so they can make war more aggressively.

You might scoff, what’s the big deal? They’re in Qatar being monitored… no worries. Surely, after 12 long years as prisoners, these guys are catching up on some R & R in the air conditioned lounges of Qatar.

As for the supposed guarantee that the five Guantanamo inmates will not rejoin the Taliban, that’s taken as a joke. “As soon as they arrived in Qatar they rejoined the Taliban,” says Khan. “We don’t care about U.S. conditions and obstacles.”

“There are dozens of ways to lead the Taliban, even from overseas,” says a former official in Taliban intelligence. “In fact, after 9/11, some 95 percent of the leadership are not actually on the ground in Afghanistan.” The official said, “Skype, phones, the Internet, although made by the West, can easily bridge the communication gap,” allowing the reorganization of Taliban military momentum: “Officially their bodies would be in Qatar, but thoughts and wisdom of jihad would be with us.”

In this, I agree with Durbin: There definitely are two sides to the equation.


Another One

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:25 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Via The Corner, Jake Tapper interviewed yet another member of Bowe Bergdahl’s unit, former Army staff sergeant Justin Gereleve, who stated that he believes Bergdahl deserted his post.

I believe that he totally deserted, not only his fellow soldiers, but his leadership that wanted the best for him and wanted the best for our country. I took my job, being in the military, to the fullest — knowing one of my soldiers walked off was more heartbreaking than anything.”

He also validated fellow platoon mate Evan Buetaw’s claims that American troops intercepted calls that discovered Bergdahl was pursuing the Taliban, and that after Bergdahl’s disappearance, the Taliban’s attacks were more direct and “pinpoint” than they had been. “I can’t say for sure that the leakage was from Bergdahl, but my suspicion is that it did happen,” Gereleve said.

I can’t really say that I blame Bergdahl to the fullest extent, but if he wouldn’t have deserted us, these soldiers [who died searching for him] very well could have been at a different place at a different time, rather than the place at the time of their death,” he said.

–According to a list compiled by NRO, Gereleve is the eleventh member who served with Bergdahl to publicly assert that he deserted the squad.


Barack Obama Vows to Keep American People Safe

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

Prepare to be reassured. Barack Obama has vowed to keep you safe:

President Barack Obama today vowed to protect the American people while staying true to American values.

Speaking at the National Archives, Obama said his most important responsibility is to keep the American people safe.

“This responsibility is only magnified in an era when an extremist ideology threatens our people and technology gives a handful of terrorists the potential to do us great harm,” Obama said.

You already see where this is going, don’t you?

President Obama admitted Tuesday that the five terrorists he traded for US Army POW Bowe Bergdahl could “absolutely” take up arms against America again — as reports said the Taliban commanders were roaming free in ­Qatar and could return to Afghanistan as early as next year.

“Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely,” Obama said during a news conference in Poland.

It’s kind of like all his other “vows,” isn’t it?

P.S. Michelle Malkin has more details about Bergdahl’s apparent desertion, and the fallout from it, here. The most interesting detail: her source puts the number of soldiers who died looking for Bergdahl at eight. Not two, and not six, but eight.

UPDATE: The White House is now accusing Bergdahl’s fellow platoon members of lying about him.

Chuck Todd told Matt Lauer on Wednesday that the White House was “caught flat-footed” on the backlash against the prisoner swap for Sergeant Bergdahl.

“I’ve had a few aides describe it to me as ‘we didn’t know that they were going to Swift Boat Bergdahl’,” Todd said.

They are apparently unaware that the term “Swift Boat” is actually shorthand for “tell the truth about.”

Judicial Races: Patterico: 3 . . . L.A. Times: 0

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:23 am

100% of the precincts have reported their results in the local races for judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. In the three judicial races where I made recommendations yesterday, let’s see how my candidates fared against the candidates endorsed by the Los Angeles Times. (Those of you who read the headlines to the posts are already way ahead of me on this, but let’s just go through the process, shall we?)

Los Angeles Times candidate: Pamala Matsumoto
Patterico candidate: Amy Carter
Winner: Amy Carter

Los Angeles Times candidate: Songhai “Sunny” Armstead
Patterico candidate: Teresa Magno
Winner: Teresa Magno

Los Angeles Times candidate: Debra Losnick
Patterico candidate: Shannon Knight
Winner: Shannon Knight

Teresa Magno’s bid to defeat the race-obsessed Songhai “Sunny” Armstead was a squeaker: 52% to 47%, a difference of 22,000 votes. Thanks to all Patterico readers from Los Angeles County for making the right call in that race.

Here’s a fun fact: of the 12 candidates endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, nine failed to come in at the top of the ticket. In the three races where their preferred candidate came out on top, one faces a runoff. The other two were prosecutors. So the real message is, prosecutors won in almost all races, L.A. Times endorsement or no.

I am not completely happy with all of the results, and I was not against all of the L.A. Times‘s candidates — just the vast majority of them.

Putting specifics aside, I am especially pleased about this general trend: the L.A. Times can’t control who the public votes for. Given that they almost always get it wrong, this is a good thing.

Congratulations to Amy, Teresa, and Shannon! And congratulations to my old office mate Serena Murillo, who ran unopposed.

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