Patterico's Pontifications


A Lost Opportunity?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Military Times is reporting that according to a top congressional aide, the deal to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for the five Taliban detainees nixed a wider effort by the Department of Defense to include other U.S. citizens held by the Taliban and its allies.

The Department of Defense had a “broader goal” of including Caitlan Coleman of York , Pa., her baby who was born in captivity and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, in a deal to free Bergdahl, said Joe Kasper, chief of staff to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who sits on the House Armed Services Committee.

Among Americans held captive is Warren Weinstein, a contractor from Rockville, Md., who was abducted in 2011 in Pakistan and is detained by al-Qaida militants aligned with the Taliban.

“The DoD was looking at this in the whole scope of things, to deal with these people as well,” Kasper said. “Instead of five for one, why not five for five?”

“I don’t know how far they’d gotten in pursuing this broader goal,” Kasper said.

n a June 2 letter to President Obama, Hunter said the Defense Department plan, which Hunter said did not have time to materialize before negotiations headed by the State Department gained Bergdahl’s release, did not include a prisoner exchange.

“Now a situation has been created whereby prisoner exchanges – specifically disproportionate exchanges – are viewed by the Taliban and other aligned forces as achievable,” Hunter said.

As a reminder, Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman claimed that the deal for Bergdahl’s release “was the best, probably last chance to get him home.”

Bergdahl’s release has resulted in renewed pleas from the families of other U.S. detainees in Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and Cuba questioning why their loved ones’ freedom has not yet been secured as well.


Patrick Brennan of NRO on Elizabeth Warren

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:40 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Great post about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s appearance with the new progressive economic philosopher, Thomas Piketty. Read the whole thing, as Patterico would say, but make a special point of enjoying Brennan’s final analysis:

. . . Elizabeth Warren isn’t an economic expert or a progressive policy crusader. She’s a talented populist who sells clever but unserious proposals with a sense of academic sophistication that makes Bostonians feel like they’re clapping for someone whose views are an intellectual cut above Ed Schultz’s. In the end, they’re not. But they definitely are clapping.


Obama: Bergdahl Controversy Is a “Scandal Whipped Up In Washington”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am

Meanwhile, he has his own aides out there calling the members of Bergdahl’s platoon potential “psychopaths” for daring to buck the Official Line:

An Obama administration official on Wednesday suggested that members of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon who have criticized him for allegedly deserting his unit might be “psychopaths,” the Right Scoop reports.

Brandon Friedman, the deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, floated the possibility that Bergdahl’s squadmates are “smear[ing] him publicly” because he “grew disillusioned with what he saw, didn’t trust his leadership, and walked off.”

“What if his platoon was long on psychopaths and short on leadership?” Friedman asked in the first of five tweets on the issue on Wednesday evening.

Here’s the tweet:

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 7.37.57 AM

Now, here’s Obama calling the scandal something “whipped up in Washington”:

Heh heh. Yeah, uh, I’m never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington, right? That’s — that’s par for the course. Um. But I’ll repeat what I said two days ago. We have a basic principle. We do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind. We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated, and we were deeply concerned about and we saw an opportunity and we seized it, and I make no apologies for that. We had discussed with Congress the possibility that something like this might occur, but because of the nature of the folks that we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations we felt it was important to go ahead and do what we did and we’re now explaining to Congress the details of how we move forward, but this basic principle that we don’t leave anybody behind and this basic recognition that often means prisoner exchanges with enemies is not unique to my administration. It dates back to the beginning of our republic. And with respect to how we announced it, I think it was important for people to understand that this is not some abstraction, this is not a political football. You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land. Who they hadn’t seen in five years. And weren’t sure whether they’d ever see again. And as Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces I am responsible for those kids, and i get letters from parents who say if you are, in fact, sending my child into war make sure that that child is being taken care of and I write too many letters to folks who unfortunately don’t see their children again after fighting a war. I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody’s child and that we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back.

Besides the ridiculous claim that this is a phony scandal, note the other portion I have bolded. The real reason for the hurry wasn’t concerns over Bergdahl’s health, although Obama does mention that. They decided to do it without notifying Congress 30 days in advance “because of the nature of the folks that we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations.”

In other words, they really wanted the deal to go through, and telling Congress about it might imperil the deal.

Because of this Administration’s Great Respect for Soldiers. Which leads them to suggest that soldiers who did act honorably are . . . psychopaths. Think about that for a moment.

Eleven honorable men so far — versus zero men who served with Bergdahl and are willing to come forward and support Obama’s lies.

That’s the real scandal being whipped up in Washington: that we have a President whose Adminstration attacks servicemen to save Obama from a self-inflicted wound.

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