The Obama / Bowe Bergdahl / Taliban prisoner swap mess


But really, once again, we as a nation ignore the important underlying issues.

First, let’s get one basic and important fact straight. The Afghan Taliban have never been officially labeled as a terrorist organization- they are “enemy combatants” in a war with the US.

We, as a ntaion, have never really dealt with the very core issues of Guantanomo Bay. Despite numerous lawsuits and several Supreme Court decisions that struck at the very core of the Bush administrations actions (whether they were prisoners of war, right to counsel, right to trial, habeas corpus, whether the geneva convention applies etc) for years we pretty much collectively shrugged our soldiers.

And we really haven’t wanted to deal with the harm these actions have caused. The fear and hatred of America it helped spawn or strengthen in many parts of the world. The damage it did to many of us to see our country so full of fear and hate it would abandon principles it had held since its inception.

We have never really fully addressed issues such as “extreme rendition”, torture, the very core of the legal, ethical and moral issues of spiriting people away to an island stronghold not even in the United States and holding people without accountability, without trial, without plans…

And of course, many on the right are saying Obama broke “the law” by making the deal to release prisoners without giving congress 6 months notice. Which arguably is “true”.

But it also raises issues we fail to address. Inserting unrelated legislation into “must pass” legislation (in this case the Defense Spending Authorization Bill). Presidential Signing Statements (Obama used one when signing the DSAB to say this provision was essentially unconstiutional). Worth noting- congress provided for no penalties for breaking this law, so in theory they could sue Obama for allegedly breaking it, but not really much else).

And of course we don’t discuss the reasons the (mostly) Republicans and Tea Party types inserted this into the bill in the first place. A backdoor attempt to force Obama to renege on his campaign promise to close Guantanmo. To keep him from being able to transfer prisoners for trial or to federal super-max prisons in the US. Or to release those that deserve to be released.

And we hear very little about the very real issue that the “war” is drawing to a close. That if these people are enemy combatants and prisoners of war they *must* be released at the close of hostilities.

And of course Bergdahl himself. A hero or a traitor- take your pick. As most people already have without even a glimmer of the facts. It is easier then discussing things like PTSD, idealism vs reality of wars, the reality of what we ask our soldiers to do- and what it does to them, our government, our military, and our culpability in launching a war with no real plan.

And god forbid we actually look to our history. The Reagan administrations (many of the same players as the Bush Jr administration) supporting the Afghan mujahideen in their war with the evil commie russians. Only to completely abandon them and their country once their limited use was over. How differnet the world might be today if we had actually supported them and not simply used them as an expendable “thing” against the russians.

I am pretty much disgusted by all sides in this current “debate”. The sides, the lines…are all too predictable. As is the fact that the deeper, real issues underlying all of this will never be dealt with.


About drugsandotherthings

I am a criminal. Because I have used cannabis and psychedelics extensively. I have tried many other drugs, but never cared for the uppers, downers, or dissociatives. I love craft beer, and absinthe, but don't care much for alcohols effects- which quite frankly, are boring and dangerous. Science is my religion. I am in my 40's, and have travelled extensively. And often forced myself outside of my confort zone. I am employed, a respected member of my communtiy, an animal lover, an environmentalist, a political junkie, and the realities I have experienced continue to push me further to the left of the political spectrum.
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2 Responses to The Obama / Bowe Bergdahl / Taliban prisoner swap mess

  1. Barneysday says:

    As you imply, all sides are about as dirty as they can be. Obama did a signing letter. Well boo-hoo to the repubs. GW Bush signed over 150. And if Obama says the 5 prisoners released presented no threat to the country, then why was he holding them in Guantanamo?

  2. btg5885 says:

    Good post. Of course, Reagan had that little Iran-Contra affair where he came close to being impeached had it not been for Oliver North falling on the sword. Reagan’s own son lamented this episode in the HBO documentary looking back at his father’s career.

    And, you are right, while we focus on the these issues, we lose sight of the bigger ones. Obama is far from perfect (drones, NSA spying, lack of transparency), but at least he is trying to do some things and should be commended for his push on carbon reduction as an example.

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