President Obama delivers a statement on release of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl

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31 Responses to President Obama delivers a statement on release of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl

  1. Oh look! Ronald Reagan traded 15 missiles to Iran for hostages,

    Arms for Hostages

    • Christopher Matthews, Aide to House Speaker O’Neill: The American middle had been confounded by this patriotic President who had won on standing tall, who was found to be paying tribute to the enemy in a kind of pusillanimous way.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, May 31, 2014


    But in all likelihood, if they’d gotten advance notice, the Republicans would have done everything in their power to block the release of Bergdahl — as, reportedly, they did in 2012:

    Republican opposition to diplomatic compromise with the Taliban is blocking the release of a captured U.S soldier held since 2009 and broader negotiations aimed at a resolution of the decade-long war.

    A recent German interview with a leading Afghan diplomatic mediator, Naquibullah Shorish, describes the stalled scenario for peace in some detail. The process, launched with Obama administration support in Qatar in 2010 under German mediation, was to begin with a prisoner exchange as a trial test for further talks. The American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bigdahl, who was captured on June 30, 2009, was to be released in a swap for five Taliban detainees held in Guantanamo. The Taliban believed the exchange had US approval. But US Republican opposition made Congressional approval impossible, and the talks have floundered ever since….

    The interview with Shorish, a mediator with links to all parties, appeared at by the writer Otto Steinbicker on July 8 [2012]…

    In July 2012, Rolling Stone published a story about Bergdahl by Michael Hastings. Hastings noted that negotiations for a prisoner exchange were taking place, but were meeting resistance, particularly from Republicans, who planned to demagogue the issue if the released happened before the November election:

    According to White House sources, Marc Grossman, who replaced Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, was given a direct warning by the president’s opponents in Congress about trading Bowe for five Taliban prisoners during an election year. “They keep telling me it’s going to be Obama’s Willie Horton moment,” Grossman warned the White House. The threat was as ugly as it was clear: The president’s political enemies were prepared to use the release of violent prisoners to paint Obama as a Dukakis-­like appeaser, just as Republicans did to the former Massachusetts governor during the 1988 campaign….

    The tensions came to a boil in January, when administration officials went to Capitol Hill to brief a handful of senators on the possibility of a prisoner exchange….

    [Senator John] McCain reluctantly came around on the prisoner exchange, according to those present at the meeting, but he has continued to speak out against negotiating with the Taliban. Opposition has also come from Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican from Georgia who won election with a vicious smear campaign against former Sen. Max Cleland, a decorated Vietnam veteran who lost three limbs in the war. Chambliss, according to Bowe’s father, has insisted that America shouldn’t make a prisoner trade for a “deserter.”

    (The fact that some believe Bergdahl became a POW because he deserted is something to keep in mind as this story develops.)

    It should be noted that objections to the Bergdahl negotiations didn’t just come from Republicans, according to Hastings:

    Some top-level officials within the administration, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are very wary about making a swap for Bowe. “Panetta and Hillary don’t give a shit about getting him home,” says one senior U.S. official involved in the negotiations. “They want to be able to say they COINed their way out of Afghanistan, or whatever, so it doesn’t look like they are cutting and running.” (Both Clinton and Panetta, by law, would have to sign off on any exchange.)

  3. An American POW is freed after five years in captivity and wing nut Ben Ferguson says it’s a Taliban victory. God help America!

  4. rikyrah says:

    this is wonderful news. His parents look overjoyed.

  5. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is said to be in good condition and able to walk after almost 5 years as a P.O.W.

  6. President Obama: Top priority is making sure Bergdahl gets the care he needs and is reunited with this family as soon as possible.

  7. Here we go, President Obama is speaking.

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