Saturday, May 31, 2014

Backlash as Bowe #Bergdahl Swapped for Top Five Taliban Commanders at Guantánamo

Following-up from earlier, "Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Freed in Prisoner Swap With the Taliban."

And thinking of the controversy over Israel's prisoner exchanges of recent years, I was expecting a backlash with the Bowe deal. And here it comes.

At the Washington Post, "Bergdahl release arrangement could threaten the safety of Americans, Republicans say" (via Memeorandum).

Also at Pat Dollard, "EXPOSED: Obama Released the Five Most Dangerous Taliban Commanders In Captivity for Deadly, Self-Serving PR Stunt."

And at Patterico's, "L.A. Times Celebrates Trade of Five Taliban GTMO Detainees for U.S. Soldier — Without Telling You Who Those Detainees Are," and the Daily Beast, "Here are the Taliban Terrorists Obama Released to Free POW Bowe Bergdahl."

Still more at Long War Journal, "Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl exchanged for top 5 Taliban commanders at Gitmo."

Bowe's disappearance was questionable at the time. Not only was he suspected of walking off base, abandoning his position, he dissed the American command in emails to his parents. CBS News has that, from 2012, "Bowe Bergdahl, U.S. soldier held by Taliban, was 'ashamed to be American,' emails show." Mentioned there is Rolling Stone's article from that year, by the late Michael Hastings, "America's Last Prisoner of War, which included the key email passages:
Over the next month, as he saw more of the war firsthand, Bowe's e-mails to his family lost their sense of absurdity and took on a darker edge. In one heartbreaking incident at the end of May, an Afghan official and four of his children were killed in a Taliban attack. The bodies were moved to Bowe's outpost, along with a wounded Afghan police officer....

Then, on June 25th, Bowe's battalion suffered its first casualty of the deployment. A popular officer, 1st Lt. Brian Bradshaw, was killed in a blast from a roadside bomb near the village of Yaya Kheyl, not far from the outpost. Though Bradshaw was in a different company, the 24-year-old's death rocked the unit, shattering the sense of invulnerability that accompanies those who have just arrived in country. Bowe's father believes that Bradshaw and Bowe had grown close at the National Training Center, and his death darkened his son's mood. It was all too much for Bowe. On June 27th, he sent what would be his final e-mai­[l] to his parents. It was a lengthy message documenting his complete disillusionment with the war effort. He opened it by addressing it simply to "mom, dad."

"The future is too good to waste on lies," Bowe wrote. "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. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting." The e-mail went on to list a series of complaints: Three good sergeants, Bowe said, had been forced to move to another company, and "one of the biggest shit bags is being put in charge of the team." His battalion commander was a "conceited old fool." The military system itself was broken: "In the US army you are cut down for being honest... but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank...

The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools." The soldiers he actually admired were planning on leaving: "The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies. The few good SGTs are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same."
Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters minced no words in 2009, calling Bowe a bald-face liar, and suggested that "the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills" if they went ahead and killed Bowe: