Whatever then-PFC Bowe Bergdahl did to wind up in the custody of hostile guerillas in the badlands of eastern Afghanistan five years ago is a study for another day. Let’s just say everything we’ve learned so far is at best creepy, and at worst prosecutable.
Tuesday morning, the saga took a worrisome turn, which, given how things have unfolded so far, is almost redundant.
Addressing reporters in Poland, President Obama — having situated himself firmly in the tradition of commanders-in-chief Washington, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, honorable men all — declared, “Regardless of circumstances ... we still get an American soldier back. Period, full stop — we don’t condition that.”
On one hand, Obama’s history on delivering the goods that precede “period” is not good. It’s a tell that he’s bluffing or fibbing. Adding “full stop” changes nothing. On the other hand, the idea that his administration does not “condition” terms of freeing imprisoned American troops is, based on fresh evidence, as alarming as it is a staggering confession of weakness and naivete, or, worse, subterfuge.
Did he truly mean that? No conditions? We’ll do whatever’s necessary?
The release of five Taliban thug commanders and strategists, two wanted by the United Nations on war crimes charges, suggests this time “period, full stop” means exactly that. It also means, “Take our guys, please.” And when you do, be sure to jeopardize their health (or at least leak rumors to that effect), because that helps expedite the process of throwing open the gates to the worst of the worst from Guantanamo, or wherever.
In fact, the entire scenario surrounding Bergdahl’s retrieval suggests Obama has self-published his playbook. Stymied by Congress in his previous attempts to shut down America’s terrorist prison camp at GITMO, the President surely regards the release of the Felonious Five — whom he’d been shopping for at least a year — (under the shameless guise of following George Washington’s example) not as some grudging but necessary trade, but as a win-win.
Period. Full stop.