"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, June 9, 2014

Is Bowe Bergdahl Obama's Jump the Shark Moment?

That the United States would want to obtain the release of any of its soldiers held by enemies in wartime goes without saying.   There is thus nothing wrong with the desire of the Obama Administration to free Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban.  

Given the impending concession of defeat -- let's call a spade a spade -- when Obama pulls the last American troops out of Afghanistan, there is also an argument that exchanging five Taliban commanders for Bergdahl was a good deal, since we would likely release them anyway at the end of hostilities, and get nothing then.   (The exchange can be seen, and perhaps Obama himself as an ESPN-watcher saw it this way, as an NBA deal where a team gets what it can for a player who's going to be a free agent at the end of the season anyway.)

But Bergdahl's platoon uniformly say he was a deserter, and some even say that he was a traitor, giving information to the Taliban that improved their techniques for roadside bombings, etc.   And the evidence is strong that both Bergdahl and his parents were and are staunchly opposed, not just to American presence in Afghanistan, but to America itself.  

There is almost no chance, in other words, that Bergdahl won't eventually be tried for desertion at the very least.   Perhaps he won't be convicted, perhaps Obama would pardon him, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.   But at the very least he'll be tried.   Veterans, already scalded by the VA scandal, will demand no less.

So what on earth was Obama doing in the Rose Garden with this guy (Bergdahl's father) announcing the return of Bergdahl?   And who on the White House staff failed to vett Bergdahl's father's comments, in Arabic and Pashto, that praised Allah when we are still at war with radical Islamists in Afghanistan and around the world?   Bring him home, sure, but let's not act like he's some kind of hero.   That's an insult to troops who served honorably, and an even bigger insult to the families of the men who died trying to find Bergdahl after he skedaddled.

Sheesh, just the optics might have alerted them that this was a bad idea.   Does Obama think that average Americans look at the Arabic-speaking bearded loony he's standing with and see... what?

I would say this could be Obama's jump the shark moment, the time when everyone finally realizes that the Emperor Has No Clothes.   But then there have been so many of those.   And he still lingers at 40-45% approval.   Apparently there are 40-45% of Americans who would approve of destroying their own country.

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