Utter madness

Thanks to William Teach, I found this article, from The Washington Post:


Secret U.S. program releases high-level insurgents in exchange for pledges of peace

By , Published: May 6, 2012

KABUL — The United States has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups, a bold effort to quell violence but one that U.S. officials acknowledge poses substantial risks.

As the United States has unsuccessfully pursued a peace deal with the Taliban, the “strategic release” program has quietly served as a live diplomatic channel, allowing American officials to use prisoners as bargaining chips in restive provinces where military power has reached its limits.

But the releases are an inherent gamble: The freed detainees are often notorious fighters who would not be released under the traditional legal system for military prisoners in Afghanistan. They must promise to give up violence — and U.S. officials warn them that if they are caught attacking American troops, they will be detained once again.

There are no absolute guarantees, however, and officials would not say whether those who have been released under the program have later returned to attack U.S. and Afghan forces once again.

“Everyone agrees they are guilty of what they have done and should remain in detention. Everyone agrees that these are bad guys. But the benefits outweigh the risks,” said one U.S. official who, like others, discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the program.

The story Mr Teach referenced was magnified by another:


U.S. hostage appeals to Obama in video released by al-Qaeda


WASHINGTON (AP) – In a video released Sunday by al-Qaeda, American hostage Warren Weinstein said he will be killed unless President Obama agrees to the militant group’s demands.

“My life is in your hands, Mr. President,” Weinstein said in the video. “If you accept the demands, I live; if you don’t accept the demands, then I die.”

Weinstein was abducted last August in Lahore, Pakistan, after gunmen tricked his guards and broke into his home. The 70-year-old from Rockville, Md., is the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a Virginia-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors.

In a video message posted on militant websites in December, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri said Weinstein would be released if the United States stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world.

Your Editor was strongly reminded of President Reagan’s misguided notion that he could somehow find some “moderate” Iranians with whom to negotiate for the release of American and other Western hostages being held in Lebanon, and that he could trade military weapons for those hostages. Some hostages actually were released, but, in a development which should have surprised no one, more Americans were then abducted to serve as replacement hostages. After all, seizing and holding American hostages now had a concrete value.

And yet another story in today’s news:

Recidivism rises among released Guantanamo detainees

By Mark Hosenball

(Reuters) – The proportion of militants released from detention at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay who subsequently were believed to have returned to the battlefield rose slightly over the last year, according to official figures released on Monday.

In a summary report, the office of the Director of National Intelligence said that 27.9 percent of the 599 former detainees released from Guantanamo were either confirmed or suspected of later engaging in militant activity.

The figures represent a 2.9 percent rise over a 25 percent aggregate recidivism rate reported by the intelligence czar’s office in December 2010.

The increase in the apparent recidivism rate, while not large, comes at a delicate time for President Barack Obama, and could further complicate his attempts to negotiate a peace deal with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

As a “confidence building” measure, the Taliban have insisted on the release of five specific Taliban leaders currently held at Guantanamo. The Obama administration has been working on a plan under which the detainees could be transferred to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar but still held in detention.

Your Editor will eschew diplomacy here, and speak very plainly and bluntly: this is madness! We know that at least some of the released Guantanamo prisoners have returned to the battlefield, to fight against the United States. And while the first story noted that “officials would not say whether those who have been released under the program have later returned to attack U.S. and Afghan forces once again,” a recidivism rate of over 25% from the released Guantanamo prisoners strongly suggests that at least some of the prisoners released in Afghanistan have returned to the battlefield. President Obama is commander-in-chief of the United States armed forces, and is ultimately responsible for their safety and security; how many soldiers and Marines have died because of an idiotic policy to release the enemy, captured on the battlefield, back into the war zone?

I’m trying to picture President Roosevelt telling General Dwight Eisenhower to release some of the German troops captured during World War II as some sort of good will gesture, and somehow, I just can’t.

The notion that we can somehow negotiate a peace agreement with the Taliban is just as stupid as the notion we could find “moderate” Iranians with whom to negotiate. The idea that we can extract promises from prisoners about to be released that they will make nice and not shoot at Americans again, and that those promises will be kept is one that would be rejected as folly by a freshman — a high school freshman — but is, apparently, some sort of sophisticated wisdom by high ranking officials in the Obama Administration, including the President himself. The final line quoted in the first story is instructive:

“Everyone agrees they are guilty of what they have done and should remain in detention. Everyone agrees that these are bad guys. But the benefits outweigh the risks,” said one U.S. official who, like others, discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the program.

No, he wasn’t discussing the issue “on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the program,” he was discussing the issue on the condition of anonymity because he didn’t want to be publicly identified as a fool. Please tell me just what benefits here outweigh the risks to the soldiers and Marines who are being put at greater risk of being killed by returning enemy fighters to the battlefield.

If I sound angry here, it is because I am. Your Editor has two daughters in the United States Army Reserve, and while they are not deployed to Afghanistan, either or both could be ordered there tomorrow if the needs of the Army require it. Women are not assigned to combat units, though they can be “attached” to such units if required, and female soldiers and Marines have come under fire in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some have died. My daughters knew that there were risks involved in enlisting in the Army, as did John Hitchcock’s daughter, when she served, including fifteen months of duty in Iraq. It is one thing for soldiers and Marines to risk their lives in defense of our country and its missions, when they are under strong, sound leadership that cares for their safety, and puts their safety as paramount as it can be in pursuit of the mission.

It is something else entirely when their commander-in-chief is an idiot.
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Cross-posted on truth Before Dishonor.

14 Comments

  1. For all of his photo ops and his clumsily executed salutes to military personnel when he sees the cameras are rolling, Barack Obama’s true feelings, his contempt and disdain for the military, are revealed by actions like the covert release of arrested terrorists from their imprisonment in Afghanistan. Making matters worse the Rules of Engagement that have been foisted on our military men and women put their lives in jeopardy.

    Compounding the onus of guilt on Obama’s shoulders are the outright lies he has told the world about demise of the Taliban, when a bipartiasn report from the Senate has warned that the Taliban is strengthening, not weakening.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-afghanistan-talibanbre8460xx-20120507,0,1810791.story

    It is beyond partisan politics that Barack Obama’s foreign policy is so inept that the safety of our military–indeed, the safety of our citizens–are at a serious risk.

  2. Pingback: US Releasing Taliban Fighters for Promise of Good Behavior | The Lonely Conservative

  3. You don’t even have to support the war to know that the idea that you would release enemy fighters back onto the battlefield to shoot at our troops is just insane.

  4. “For all of his photo ops and his clumsily executed salutes to military personnel when he sees the cameras are rolling, Barack Obama’s true feelings, his contempt and disdain for the military, are revealed by actions like the covert release of arrested terrorists from their imprisonment in Afghanistan.”

    Hardly, Gretchen. The President has focused on the military a heck of a lot more than Bush did, although it is still not enough, especially in the eyes of the families of the wounded and killed.

    War is hell, which is why I am so opposed to it unless it is a last resort. Iraq was not, but we could debate about Afghanistan and Pakistan where al Qaeda and the Taliban were.

    I would fault Obama who, like Bush, kept redeploying the same troops over and over again. Why should only 1% of the nation have to bear the burden of war? If we must go to war, every American should be involved in the battle and the sacrifice! What is this about going to war and giving us tax cuts at the same time? How much sacrifice have we Americans had wrt this war?

    But our military has sacrificed big time! There is one suicide attempt every 80 minutes by our war veterans, and more succeed that we have casualties at the present time. Moreover, our troops are coming home leaving them having to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, high unemployment, a loss of camaraderie while they were serving, divorce, and drug/alcohol addiction, while the neocons and others who sent/send them into battle, and keep them in battle, sacrifice next to nothing.

    Bush didn’t do enough for these people, nor has Obama, nor have civilian Americans, otherwise we would not be witnessing such tragedy.

    And let us not overlook the collateral damage of which we are responsible, now in Afghanistan.

    Setting the captured Taliban free, some of whom go back on the battlefield to fight, is just one more crass stupidity.

    “It is something else entirely when their commander-in-chief is an idiot.”

    Yes, on his war policy, I agree. But you know what, Mr Editor, you are an idiot as well, for being the war hawk that you are, and for involving your family as well in this god-awful fiasco. This “is madness”, and this really makes me angry too!!!

    And I’m angry at you too, Gretchen, for your duplicitous partisan anger just expressed, all narrowed down to President Obama. I suggest you rethink your total position prior to responding again in defense or in kind.

    PS: And Gretchen, the opinion that the Taliban is weaker comes from the Secretary of Defense Panetta; so who to believe, him or the Senate bipartisan report? You tell me.

  5. WW wrote:

    I would fault Obama who, like Bush, kept redeploying the same troops over and over again. Why should only 1% of the nation have to bear the burden of war? If we must go to war, every American should be involved in the battle and the sacrifice!

    and:

    But you know what, Mr Editor, you are an idiot as well, for being the war hawk that you are, and for involving your family as well in this god-awful fiasco. This “is madness”, and this really makes me angry too!!!

    This is just about the strangest logic I’ve ever seen from you — and that’s saying a lot! Here you have supported involuntary, forced participation through conscription (you didn’t specifically use the word conscription in the referenced comment, but you did previously) yet gotten “angry” because some people have voluntarily chosen to serve. What, it’s OK with you if people are coerced, but wrong if done of their own free will?

    Well, maybe that is how you think:

    Other than on the issue of abortion, on which you once defined an unborn child as property, I can’t think of any issue in which you do not support government control and coercion over the individual.

  6. WW wrote:

    the opinion that the Taliban is weaker comes from the Secretary of Defense Panetta; so who to believe, him or the Senate bipartisan report? You tell me.

    If the Taliban are weaker, why is the Administration trying to negotiate with them and bring them into the Afghani government? If the Taliban are weaker, isn’t now the time to finish them off?

    When your enemy are on the run, that is when you consolidate victory; it is not when you make concessions to them.

  7. This man not be what it seems, Obama isn’t releasing terrorists willy nilly back into active combat against our troops, it’s possible he’s recruiting applicants for green energy projects.

    With the recently reported failure of so many homegrown green energy corporations (and Obama campaign contributors) it has become necessary to reach out to individuals, well beyond the reach of Congressional subpoenas, who have previously been excluded from consideration for taxpayer funded Energy Department initiatives.

    Consequently, the Obama Administration has expanded it’s Green Energy Program to include those to whom a substantial kickback is recognized as the price of participation in our generous no-fault grant and loan guarantee program. The definition of Green Energy has also been significantly expanded to include many items and activities not generally understood by uptight bitter and clinging Americans.

    However, Afghan entrepreneurs who have recently been awarded grants and loan guarantees from the US Department of Energy have experienced great difficulty assembling a qualified and properly motivated workforce. The release of these trained workers is all part of the Obmam Administration’s new foreign policy plan to shift Afghan energy technicians from unproductive sectors of the economy into the bright future of a worldwide green energy utopia.

  8. The Editor said of Wagonwheel: “I can’t think of any issue in which you do not support government control and coercion over the individual.”

    Mr. Editor, would you like to see my “supprised” look?

  9. The Editor has very clearly shown Perry to be the Fascist that Perry is. And yet, Perry hasn’t responded. Because Perry cannot at all answer the fact-filled accusation the Editor laid out (and I also laid out in a separate article, that Perry cannot factually refute).

  10. “Other than on the issue of abortion, on which you once defined an unborn child as property, I can’t think of any issue in which you do not support government control and coercion over the individual.”

    Not government control and coercion, Mr Editor, we are talking here about the rule of law, which any civilized society needs as the basis for functioning smoothly and well.

    I understand that you do not support this concept. For example, you refuse to obey the seat belt law.

    Were we ever to somehow adopt your purist libertarian instincts, that would be a recipe for much more chaos than we are already beginning to see, as a direct result of the deregulation and corruption environment in favor of the wealthy segment of our population, which the now extremist Republican mindset has already been successful in producing.

    Let us see how well that works out for you in November.

    Now take a deep breath and vote for a rational and compassionate approach to governance.

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