From Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post, via Donald Douglas:
Here’s what happens when Taliban leaders are released
By Marc A. Thiessen, Published: June 2
If anyone doubts that the five senior Taliban leaders President Obama released this weekend will return to the fight and kill more Americans, they need only look at what happened when the George W. Bush administration released a Taliban leader named Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir (a.k.a. Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul) in 2007.
Unlike the terrorists Obama just set free, Zakir was assessed by our military as only “medium risk” of returning to the fight. At Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Zakir pretended to be a low-ranking conscript and told officials he simply wanted to “go back home and join my family” and promised “I [have] never been America’s enemy and I never intend to be.”
Uhhh, he was only a “medium risk” of returning to shoot at American soldiers? What the heck were we doing releasing someone who was any risk at all of fighting against our soldiers and Marines?
But when he returned to Afghanistan, he quickly became one of America’s fiercest enemies, directly responsible for the deaths of U.S., coalition and Afghan forces. In 2009, Zakir was appointed as the Taliban’s “surge commander” in charge of countering Obama’s new strategy to deny the Taliban safe haven in southern Afghanistan. According to the Times of London, Zakir instituted a campaign of “increasingly sophisticated [roadside] explosives attacks” that killed British and U.S. forces as well as many Afghan civilians. He waged relentless war on the United States and presided over unspeakable atrocities before stepping down from military command in April. To this day, he remains a top member of the Taliban leadership council.
The five Taliban leaders Obama released will now take up where Zakir left off. According to our own military, they are all “high risk” to return to the fight. How dangerous are these men? Here is what the U.S. military says about them, according to their leaked assessments from Guantanamo Bay.
More at the link. But it ought to be obvious: you don’t release dangerous men to come back and shoot at our soldiers and Marines, period. Any of our soldiers killed, even if it is only one, by any of these five Taliban leaders, can be laid right at the feet of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, President Barack Hussein Obama, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The Bush Administration made a huge mistake by releasing “medium risk” Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, and the present President has made an even bigger one now.
Of course, the Administration line is that there are no problems here. From Mediaite:
During a White House press briefing on Monday, Press Sec. Jay Carney was asked if he could assure the American people that the Taliban prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would not pose a threat to Americans. While Carney insisted that the released prisoners did not pose a threat to Americans, he refused to insist that the Taliban fighters would not return to Afghanistan to join their former colleagues.
When asked how the U.S. could guarantee that these five former detainees would not return to “Taliban activities” in two or three years, Carney said that the Defense Dept. concluded that their threat “mitigation” efforts were sufficient to ensure Americans are not at risk because these prisoners have been released.
“These five detainees do not and will not pose a significant threat to the United States,” Carney said.
Uh huh, right. Well, perhaps if something top secret has been done, such as somehow implanting GPS chips in these five thugs which can guide drone or Tomahawk cruise missile strikes onto their heads whenever we decide to do so, then perhaps the outgoing Minister of Information Press Secretary is right, and we’ll (probably) never find out about that.
Your Editor will not criticize the attempts to free SGT Bergdahl, regardless of whether he might have been a deserter; we’ve all seen the stories that he left his post without authorization, which even The New York Times is reporting, and The Washington Times is reporting that commanders knew where SGT Bergdahl was being held, but decided not to risk special forces soldiers lives in order to recover someone they saw as a deserter, but I’ve seen others which claimed he might have grumbled a bit, but was still a loyal soldier. Quite frankly, it seems likely to me that we will never have complete certainty on that part of the story. The Soldier’s Creed includes the promise, “I will never leave a fallen comrade,” and the rescue attempts concerning SGT Bergdahl fall along those lines as far as I am concerned.
But the nobility of attempting to secure the release of SGT Bergdahl cannot include releasing five of the captured terrorists that even the Obama Administration once deemed too dangerous to ever release. Securing the release of a captured American soldier at that price is a price I regard as just too high: SGT Bergdahl’s release will wind up costing many, many more lives, some of which could be American lives. Further, releasing top Taliban personnel will only help the Taliban, harming our entire effort in Afghanistan; this could be the tipping point at which every American soldier and Marine who died there died for naught.
We have reached the point at which we might as well not wait for President Obama’s planned cut-and-run date from Afghanistan, but just plain leave now. The Commander-in-Chief is showing no inclination whatsoever to actually win in Afghanistan, and no strategy for doing whatever undefined thing he wants to do there. We’ve got our last POW out, and might as well leave, now, before anyone else gets captured and before too many more Americans are killed there. If we have no real goal there, why ought we to stay?