Written by Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.)
By Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.), Right Side News
President Barack Obama’s beleaguered regime has attempted to get the media spotlight off of its incompetent and corrupt mismanagement of the Veterans Administration health care delivery system by trading five high-level Taliban jihadist captains for the pitiful loser, Bowe Bergdahl. The senior Taliban officials Obama decided to return to the battlefield to carry out their avowed jihadist mission to kill Americans included three murderous commanders, an intelligence expert, and the Taliban’s liaison officer with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. In return the United States got a reprobate who deserted his short-handed infantry platoon in a remote Afghanistan outpost because he was disillusioned with the conditions caused by Obama’s ill-conceived counterinsurgency war strategy.
Bergdahl’s bitterness about the war strategy is summed up in an e-mail to his parents sent shortly before he deserted his unit: "And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american.”
In order to deflect the media and public focus from his regime’s most recent VA governing blunder, Obama yet again violated U.S. federal law by failing to inform the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before transferring Guantanamo prison detainees. The Obama regime claimed that it had to again follow its lawless modus operandi because of the immediate press of the Bergdahl negotiations, which had been in progress for three years, in order to expedite Obama’s publicity spectacle. Of course, the timing of this Obama propaganda pageant had nothing to do with the fact that it occurred a day after VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation, as public and congressional indignation over Obama’s ineptitude was reaching a boiling point!
The Guantanamo detainee transfer notification law was enacted by a congress that did not/does not trust the Obama regime due to its declared goal of closing the Guantanamo detention facility by any means possible, thereby endangering U.S. national security.
In order to protect the American people from Obama’s stated ambition of empting out the Guantanamo prison by returning the captured terrorists to their jihadist pursuits, congress mandated that, before releasing the terrorist prisoners from the military prison, Obama give a month’s notice, in order to explain to congress and the public the reason for the release, as well as to detail the conditions and precautions that would protect U.S. interests from these released Islamic enemies.
Congress’ objective in passing this law was to ensure that there would be adequate time to debate and correct shortcomings in any transfer plans.
By ignoring his constitutional obligation to uphold federal law, Obama has short-circuited the congressional safeguards protecting the American people and interests from his unpredictably feckless handling of the country’s defense against the Islamic jihadists. He has also moved his plans ahead to close the Guantanamo detention facility by dispensing with five of the most troublesome detainees without prison closure opponents being able to raise any public objections.
As usual the Obama regime has deceived and obfuscated about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance from his unit. For instance, Obama regime accomplices like Susan Rice was once again lying to support the regime’s contention that Bergdahl "served the United States with honor and distinction" and that "Sergeant Bergdahl wasn't simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield." However, Rice’s deception did not end there. She further contended, "We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle, and we did that in this instance."
The obvious miscalculated purpose of returning the treacherous jihadists to the Taliban in exchange for Bergdahl, in addition to providing a distraction to the VA scandal, was Obama’s intent to bask in the public adulation that usually accompanies the return of American prisoners of war. But in keeping with this regime’s arrogant incompetence, they believed they could ignore Bergdahl’s apparent desertion of his comrades in arms and instead portray Bergdahl as the typical sympathetic POW figure.
However, unexpectedly for Obama, Bergdahl’s his comrades in arms are suddenly appearing from everywhere to denounce Bergdahl as a deserter who has needlessly caused the deaths of fellow soldiers attempting to find and rescue him. According to former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl's platoon when he disappeared from the unit: "Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him."
The definition of desertion in the Uniform Code of Military Justice is very straightforward:
885. ART. 85. DESERTION
(a)Any member of the armed forces who--
(1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently;
(2)quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service;
That Bowe Bergdahl quit his unit without authority in a combat zone where his platoon was confronted by enemy jihadist forces is beyond question. The key issue that separates desertion from simply being absent without leave is the intent to remain away from the unit permanently. The obvious Bergdahl defense against the charge of desertion is that he was captive of the Taliban, which prohibited him from returning to his unit. However, according to Colonel David Hunt, he has spoken to four different soldiers who say they have direct knowledge that Bergdahl is a deserter. On June 2nd on the O’Reilly TV program Hunt said: “This guy (Bowe Bergdahl) is a deserter. He called his unit (with his cell phone) the day after and told them he had deserted. He is no hero. Fourteen soldiers were killed searching for him.”
If it is confirmed that Bergdahl called his unit and announced his desertion, case closed. Of course, such a confirmation of Bergdahl’s deserter status would greatly enhance Obama’s reputation as bumbler, especially after his invitation to Bowe’s father, Bob Bergdahl, to address the world in the White House Rose Garden, opening his statement with “bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim,” a common Arabic phrase meaning “in the name of Allah, most gracious, most compassionate” (translation from The New York Times). For Obama to pose with Bergdahl’s parents, one of whom praised the jihadist god while standing next to Obama, was unseemly. Furthermore, Obama must know Bergdahl called his unit to confess he was a deserter. So, Obama’s Rose Garden appearance with the deserter’s parents would seem to be the epitome of foolishness, or arrogance. Naturally there is always the outside possibility that Obama invited the Bergdahl parents because he finds no fault with Bowe Bergdahl’s conduct.
Obama is the undisputed author of numerous shameful chapters of 21st century American history, but trading five hardened jihadist senior leaders dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. for a miscreant military deserter has to rank as one of the most ignominious.
It is beyond the zenith of hypocrisy that Obama regime spokespeople like Susan Rice would attempt to justify this reprehensible prisoner exchange by saying, "We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women . . . in battle . . . .” Why was this not the “Obama creed” on September 11, 2012?
Col. Thomas Snodgrass, USAF (retired) served over a year in Peshawar, Pakistan, working with Pakistani military intelligence. During his year in Vietnam he daily scheduled 130 U.S. Army and Air Force intelligence collection aircraft. In his final overseas tour he was the U.S. Air Attaché behind the Iron Curtain in Warsaw, Poland. In total, Col. Snodgrass was variously an Intelligence Officer or an International Politico-Military Affairs Officer serving duty tours in seven foreign countries, as well as teaching military history and strategy at the Air War College, US Air Force Academy, and USAF Special Operations School during a thirty-year military career. Additionally, he was awarded an Air Force scholarship to get a history master’s degree in revolutionary insurgent warfare at the University of Texas, as well as being granted a year's educational sabbatical to teach and to write about international relations on a graduate school level as an Air Force Research Associate at the Center for Advanced International Studies, University of Miami, Florida. Following the Air Force, Col. Snodgrass was an adjunct professor of military history for ten years at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona.