Wednesday, June 11, 2014

You Might Want To Consider Thinking Before You Act…

I know NOTHING!
It has been interesting, to say the least, watching and listening to all the commentary surrounding the recent prisoner exchange that President Obama sprung on everyone a couple of weeks ago. As soon as his father spoke and made the claim that his son had forgotten how to speak English I knew there was something a little off about this situation. After all, did Senator McCain forget how to speak English? Did Galid Shalit forget how to speak Hebrew? Anyway, that is another topic altogether, so let me steer this post back on track.

Given the nature of the questionable action and subsequent announcement it seems as though this was done solely to ease the pressure that had been mounting from the VA scandal. However, this just proves that it is best to think before you act as support is nowhere to be found even from some of his own party diehards like Senator Diane Frankenfeintein who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee (I know, hard to believe isn’t it). The following excerpt from Town Hall sums up this little cluster:

Two top lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the Obama administration broke the law by not informing Congress before the prisoner exchange that resulted in Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss said the administration violated the law by failing to address serious concerns they had about the deal to swap Bergdahl for five Taliban detainees. Chambliss said he had not had a conversation with the White House about a possible exchange for at least 18 months.

"It comes to us with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following law," Feinstein told reporters following a closed door meeting. "And in an issue with this kind of concern to a committee that bears the oversight responsibility, I think you can see that we're very dismayed about it."
 

Of course that only really speaks to the process not what actually took place. That is an entirely different story. Those who served with the supposed POW had particularly strong feelings regarding his release (watch the interviews here) and others from the military have commented on the circumstances around his “capture” and the impact that it had both on operations and moral. The Washington Post had an interesting article which included interviews with those involved in the search and rescue operations after his disappearance:

One Afghan special operations commander in eastern Afghanistan remembers being dispatched.

“Along with the American Special Forces, we set up checkpoints everywhere. For 14 days we were outside of our base trying to find him,” he told The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is a member of a secretive military unit.

But U.S. troops said they were aware of the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance — that he left the base of his own volition — and with that awareness, many grew angry.

“The unit completely changed its operational posture because of something that was selfish, not because a soldier was captured in combat,” said one U.S. soldier formerly based in eastern Afghanistan who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the search. “There were military assets required . . . but the problem came of his own accord.”

In the end, the elation didn’t really spread beyond the soldier’s small town in Idaho as many of us, civilians and veteran’s alike, questioned the circumstances surrounding both his ‘capture’ and his release. Even my great uncle, a 27 year Air Force veteran who has been retired since 1974, made his voice heard via Facebook posting the following:

FROM MY EXPERENCE OF 27 YEARS IN THE AIR FORCE, WHEN PERSON WAS BROUGH BACK UNDER MILITARY CONTROL AFTER BEING AWOL OR DESERTION HE OR SHE WAS PLACED UNDER ARM GUARD. I DON'T KNOW WERE GENERAL DEMPSEY OF THE JOINT CHIEFS GET THE NOTION THAT ARMY MUST TAKECARE OF HIM AND HIS FAMILY. HIM "YES" HIS FAMILY "NO". THE ARMY IS HIS "FAMILY" UNTIL HE DISCHARGE EITHER HONORABLE OR DISHONORABLE.”

And while we could all see that this political move was a huge error by the President, somehow he still seemed surprised that we rely on the facts at hand to determine what is right and what is wrong. Oblivious to the mind of the people and the opinions of those who are and have served in the military, the President’s act before you think cluster leaves us with one final question, as originally asked by Ralph Peters in the National Review, “As for President Obama, how about just one word of thanks to the families of those fallen soldiers you sent out to find Bowe Bergdahl?”