It’s official: Gitmo terrorists Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Mohammed Nabi Omari — who were all deemed in 2008 to be at “high risk” for returning to the battlefield if released — are now free, and the U.S. obtained Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for the release. There are many lessons here, but perhaps the most glaring is: President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are scary-stupid on national defense.
Let us address President Obama and his administration first. The White House listened to wary military officials who said the Taliban Five were incredibly dangerous men who were likely stay in the terrorist game for the rest of their lives, and it responded: Release the terrorists and “suck it up and salute.”
Time magazine reported Tuesday:
Officials in the Pentagon and intelligence communities had successfully fought off release of the five men in the past, officials tell TIME. “This was out of the norm,” says one official familiar with the debate over the dangers of releasing the five Taliban officials. “There was never the conversation.” Obama’s move was an ultimate victory for those at the White House and the State Department who had previously argued the military should “suck it up and salute,” says the official familiar with the debate.
How do you close Gitmo if you can’t close Gitmo? Empty it! How do you stop the bleeding from a VA scandal when the “blame Bush” strategy isn’t an option? Trade a bunch of terrorists for an American POW who seemingly deserted his post in the middle of the night.
Which brings us to Sen. Harry Reid, who is “glad” that the Obama administration just gave five terrorists a “Get out of Gitmo Free” card.
“I’m glad to get rid of these five people,” Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the release of the Taliban Five. June 3, 2014.
Someone needs to inform Sen. Reid that the terrorists in question are not dead or reformed — they’re free. That means that while he pats himself on the back for having five new empty beds at Gitmo there are five guys who would love to kill Americans who are occupying beds as free men in the Middle East.
What planet are we living on where Chris Matthews realizes that if the Taliban was so obsessed with securing release of these five individuals then perhaps they might not be the type of men the U.S. wants roaming freely about the Middle East.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday:
Chris Matthews: Do you think the war against the United States from the Taliban point of view is going to be over when we check out of there? Do you honestly believe they’re going to stop attacking us and our interests?
Col. Morris Davis: I don’t think we measure our behavior by what the Taliban thinks. Legally the war is coming to an end, and that’s what we’ve cited to the courts for a decade now.
Chris Matthews: You’re making these legal points which I question, because I don’t think they cease to be hostiles. But my question is this, if those guys get back in there and start killing American GIs who are stationed at our embassy or anywhere else, whose head is that on? Yours or the president’s? But it’s somebody’s, because the person who lets them go is responsible for them now! Right now.
Perhaps most bizarre of all is that President Obama claims to have rightfully acted when he did not notify members of Congress — not even those on intelligence committees — of his prisoner release by invoking the very same authority that Democrats called President George W. Bush a “war criminal” for using. The difference between George W. Bush and President Obama is that Bush was putting members of the Taliban behind bars — not letting them loose.
The Washington Post reported Monday:
Current law, signed by Obama in December, stipulates that the defense secretary must notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before transferring anyone from Guantanamo Bay and provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to again threaten the United States or its interests.
Obama did not send such a notice to Capitol Hill until Monday — two days after the detainees were sent to Qatar, where they will live for at least the next year, in circumstances that neither the administration nor the emirate has explained publicly.
The Obama administration’s excuse for not notifying Congress: it was an “oversight.”
The National Journal reported Wednesday:
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein took at shot at the Obama administration on Tuesday for failing to give lawmakers 30 days’ notice about a deal to release five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only POW from America’s war in Afghanistan.
“It’s very disappointing that there was not a level of trust sufficient to justify alerting us,” Feinstein told reporters in the Capitol.
A defense bill that President Obama signed into law in December 2013 requires that Congress be notified 30 days ahead of releasing prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.
Feinstein said that National Deputy Security Adviser Tony Blinken called her Monday night “apologizing” for failing to notify lawmakers sooner.
“He apologized for it and said it was an oversight,” Feinstein said. When asked whether he used the word “oversight,” Feinstein clarified: “In so many words, I can’t say. That was my impression.”
So either Mr. Obama is a liar or completely inept, according to Sen. Feinstein. How do you release five “high risk” terrorists from Gitmo without notifying the appropriate members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees? You don’t — unless you were in the middle of a Veterans Affairs scandal and you wanted to change the headlines.
The only problem for the White House is that the new headlines are not what it expected to see.
Hotair reported Tuesday:
Chuck Todd: What does this mean for the future of Gitmo? What does this mean for the future of the rest of those detainees that are sitting there? … Does this mean this is this part of winding down the war and is this how Gitmo is essentially going to get shut down? … What’s caught the White House off guard here — they were expecting criticisms of Gitmo, criticisms of the detainees that were choose — they did not expect this criticism of the attempt to go get Bergdahl and the way that it was done. And that appears to be what caught them off guard and that’s why I think they look like they’re on their back feet on this one.
Again: How do you close a detention center you don’t want open? Answer according to the Obama administration: Let the inmates free.
Instead of focusing on Sgt. Bergdahl — before the Army has even had a chance to try him in a military court — Americans would be wise to turn their attention to Mr. Obama and the dangerous stupidity he displays as America’s Commander-in-Chief.
Note to Harry Reid: You’re “glad” to get rid of these Gitmo terrorists? When their handwork boomerangs back on American civilians, servicemen and allies, then the blood of innocents will be on your hands.