The president has reached a new low in his role as our commander-in-chief. Maybe no one told him that even if he has the authority to make prisoner of war exchanges, the position of the United States government has been for several decades that we do not negotiate with terrorists. The terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay are not POWs. They are terrorists without the process afforded by the legalities associated with the holding and treatment of POWs. By negotiating with terrorists you encourage them to seize more hostages because you have raised the value of hostages. Exchanging one U.S. serviceman or woman for five top value Taliban commanders puts every American in Afghanistan at greater risk.
The president’s motive for this exchange are not straightforward. The political spin is so fast the truth is blurred. Timing is nearly everything. He needed to change the debate from the failure of the U.S. government to take care of its veterans. He had nowhere to run. So spin out a tale of ending the war and rescue an American soldier captured on the field of battle defending America’s interests. Spin within spin. He also wants to close Guantanamo Bay by releasing all the prisoners into the custody of nations like Qatar. Even he surely can’t believe Qatar will keep an eye on prisoners released to its jurisdiction and prevent them from killing or planning to kill more Americans.
An additional motive is that president cares more about world opinion than he does of America’s opinion. No joke! Even our lukewarm friends in Europe would vote to close Guantanamo Bay in a heartbeat.
The reality is that the rescued army soldier is no hero. At best, he is a deserter. At worst, a collaborator. He wasn’t captured on the battlefield. He just walked away from his unit, leaving his weapon and body armor behind. How to set all this right? Call on Susan Rice. She doesn’t mind being called on to fall on her sword again. She is good at it. Surely she can’t believe what she said on all the Sunday TV shows. Unlike Benghazi, the truth here is not hidden. Just ask the soldiers who served with him or read the record.
But surely, you may say, the president knew he would be criticized by the Republicans. Yes, but he doesn’t care in the least about their criticism. He didn’t expect the followers of Harry Reid to chime in. The voters he doesn’t care about. He’s done running for office. It’s a good thing because I believe he could be elected again and so does he.
President Obama counts on the ignorance and disinterest of most of America’s voters to the nuts and bolts of the political process. A few good speeches, a manufactured story about improvement in the economy, ending wars, raising the minimum wage, the war on women, health care, and a super get out the vote ground effort with a 95 percent black vote, and a growing Hispanic vote could put the progressives in the Oval Office again. Hilary Clinton is counting on the same factors.