web analytics
June 29, 2015 / 12 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Bergdahl Affair

Whether President Obama broke the law by failing to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act’s requirement of 30 days’ notice to Congress when he swapped those five Taliban terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a more complicated question than many might imagine.

To be sure, there was no advance notice to Congress. But Mr. Obama could argue that the law is unconstitutional in that it unduly infringes on the president’s constitutional powers as commander-in-chief.

What intrigues us, however, are the rather curious justifications offered up by the administration in a series of after-the-fact attempts at explaining away the non-compliance.

The White House initially spoke of an urgent need to close a deal with the Taliban that was more than a year in the making because of fears Sgt. Bergdahl was in failing health and would have been killed if news of an impending exchange had been leaked.

Thus, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said:

Given the credible reports regarding the risks of great harm to Sgt. Bergdahl and the rapidly unfolding events surrounding his recovery, it was lawful for the administration to proceed with the transfer notwithstanding the notice requirement.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the reason for not informing Congress was that “it was our judgment based on the information that we had that his life, his health were in peril…. Can you imagine if we would have waited or taken the chance of leaks over a 30-day period?”

And while White House officials, seeking to tamp down the growing controversy, held a classified briefing with senators about the president’s decision to bypass Congress, several of the attendees said afterward that they had not seen convincing evidence that Sgt. Bergdahl’s health had recently deteriorated or that his life was in immediate danger.

Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and is normally a dependable administration ally, was quoted as saying that she had not been provided with any evidence that there was a “credible threat” to Sgt. Bergdahl’s life.

The administration’s argument, of course, fails to pass the test of logic. Why would the Taliban, fervently wishing to win the release of five of their senior members, jeopardize the only leverage it had to accomplish that goal?

Further fueling congressional anger is the revelation that several dozen administration officials knew of the deal even though no member of Congress was told.

“It strikes me as unfortunate that they could have 80 to 90 people in the administration aware of what was happening and not be able to trust a single Republican or Democrat in the House or the Senate,” said Representative Greg Walden (R-OR).

Along these lines, it is interesting that as congressional anger mounts by the day, Secretary Hagel has apparently become the designated fall guy. When President Obama appeared in the Rose Garden with Sgt. Bergdahl’s parents, he was happy to take the credit for their son’s release. A short while later, Mr. Hagel told the BBC that he, along with other senior officials including the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the director of national intelligence, and the attorney general had all agreed on the swap.

But Representative Buck McKeon (R-CA) said administration officials told him and several of his colleagues that it was Secretary Hagel who made the final call.

“It was the president of the United States [who] came out [in the Rose Garden] with the Bergdahls and took all the credit and now that there’s been a little pushback he’s moving away from it and it’s Secretary Hagel?” asked Rep. McKeon.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “The Bergdahl Affair”

  1. Jade Stone says:

    Obama is a terrorist too that’s why he did it.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Terror Attack near Shvut Rachel
Bad Terror Attack Near Shvut Rachel
Latest Indepth Stories
Menachem Zivotofsky sued the U.S. government because the U.S. refused to include "Israel" alongside "Jerusalem" as the place of his birth on his passport. So far the courts have sided with the government.

The problem with US treatment of Israel did not start with Obama but with birth of Jewish State

Activists on the Marianne boat that the IDF made sure to arrive in Ashdod instead of Gaza.

The pathetic failure of the Marianne to reach Gaza is the best thing that has happened to Israel since Hamas mis-fired a rocket on its own civilians.

Pres. Rivlin and PM Netanyahu with the justices of the Supreme Court

Wonder why Israel has the world’s most insane rules of engagement imposed on its military? Read on..

obamatargetiran

Think political Islam’s a problem now just wait until an Islamist nuclear umbrella covers the region

Fiorina’s wrong about Islam which embraces our death&destruction confusing pc theories for hard fact

Bangladesh PM Hasina is fighting terror not only for her nation but for the entire civilized world.

No necessity to redefine marriage, just address equal rights for couples in non-nuclear families

PM Netanyahu has pledged the nation won’t rest until the hero Eli Cohen is returned home to Israel

“Palestinian armed groups” & “local authorities” are named in the report; Hamas’ absence stands out

Dating apps have really changed the way many young Jews approach dating.

The families of those slain even publicly forgave the murderer. Charleston was serene and at peace.

Changing plans needn’t be a frustrating experience. Sometimes the new path proves far more rewarding

Seventy-one members of the Assembly, including Glen Cove Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, who heads the New York chapter of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, joined in the effort to secure a majority to protect the rights of Jewish voters.

Students in New York City schools are protected by publicly funded security guards, so it would seem a no-brainer that students attending non-public schools be similarly protected.

More Articles from Editorial Board

The court’s finding that the president has exclusive jurisdiction in recognizing foreign countries might have been be apt if the issue at hand were a congressional attempt to grant recognition to “Palestine” as a state.

It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.

Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?

There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.

“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”

Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.

The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-bergdahl-affair/2014/06/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: