WASHINGTON, March 25, 2015 — Call it the collision of lofty utopianism with immovable reality. Or you can call it the Obama presidency.
Last May, the president announced the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after “nearly five years in captivity” by Afghanistan’s knuckle-dragging throwbacks, the Taliban. In a Rose Garden photo-op, Obama noted that Bergdahl was not “forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military.”
Almost a year later, the Pentagon confirmed that it remembers Bowe Bergdahl very well and has formally charged him with “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty” and “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.’”
For his part, Sgt. Rob Kumpf most certainly remembers Idaho’s Prodigal Son. “Bowe Bergdahl is a coward,” he told Time magazine. “I strongly hope that the government does what it needs to do to punish Mr. Bergdahl for his crimes.”
Time began its Bergdahl story with a remarkable introductory paragraph. “The Army had little choice other than to charge Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl with desertion. Otherwise, it faced an insurrection in the ranks, corrosion of discipline – or both.”
And we must not forget that five Taliban leaders, who were cooling their heels at the terrorist prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were exchanged for Bergdahl. When the president was asked if he feared the five jihadists might return to the battlefield to continue their war against America and the West, he quipped, “There’s a certain recidivism rate that takes place.”
“Since I’ve been president,” Obama told a recent gathering in Cleveland, “we’ve worked … to cut the population of Gitmo in half. Now it’s time to finish the job.”
Obama’s glibness is remarkable when one stops to consider that the Taliban were gracious hosts to Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network. It was within Taliban-controlled territory, after all, that al Qaeda plotted and trained for the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
“When one person dies, it’s a tragedy,” said Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, “but when a million people die, it’s a statistic.” The mass-murdering perpetrators were, one supposes, mere recidivists.
Tying yellow ribbons “around the old oak tree” became a national craze that symbolized the pain of separation and the hope of future reunions, of families with loved ones fighting in the First Gulf War. The Bergdahl exchange was designed, in the words of Obama’s National Security adviser Susan Rice, to rescue an American soldier who “served the United States with honor and distinction.”
Instead, Bergdahl’s pending court martial proves the disgusting enterprise was calculated to advance the administration’s reverse yellow-ribbon program that seeks to leave no jihadist fighter behind.