Talking To The Taliban: A Crisis Of Leadership

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

All things being equal, the safe return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from his more than five years of captivity in the hands of the Taliban would be cause for pure joy. After all, an American serviceman is returning to the heart of liberty from the depths of islamofascist hell. Unfortunately, as is seemingly always the case with President Barack Obama’s pigeon-toed stumble through his tenure, all things are not equal. In fact, with every new detail that comes to light regarding Bergdahl’s release, the situation seems all the more unbalanced — and not in America’s favor.

Granted, Obama has never demonstrated any hesitation when it comes to acting unilaterally, regardless of legal and/or Constitutional constraints. But his decision to release five of the worst people on the planet without notifying Congress is as much a violation of the law as robbing a bank. And negotiating with islamofascists who believe lying is divinely acceptable defies every tenet of basic leadership skills at the geopolitical level.

Look, I’m willing to accept the idea that Bergdahl was worth five Taliban. Hell, all things being equal, one of our guys is worth a thousand of theirs. But it looks increasingly likely that Bergdahl wasn’t so much one of our guys as he was one of his own. According to multiple reports, Bergdahl deserted his unit in Afghanistan, leaving behind words like “I’m ashamed to even be American.” Look, I’d rather have Bergdahl home and facing a court martial than leave him to rot in the clutches of captors who make Charles Manson look like Mother Teresa.

And these are the guys we’re going to trust not to go back to killing every non-islamofascist they can get inside the blast radius of a suicide vest? These are the guys to whom Obama traded five top performers in return for a guy who should at least have known the risks of walking outside the wire at a forward operating base in Afghanistan? And these are the guys whose whereabouts we’re going to entrust to the Qataris? Not that I bear the boys of Doha any particular animus (they were willing to buy Al Gore’s weird knockoff of MSNBC), but how long will they be able to keep their peepers on five scurvy rats? It’s not like the CIA can do it, since Obama keeps outing their top field agents.

With Obama already sporting the worst foreign-relations record since President Jimmy Carter face-planted in the Iranian desert, the idea that he would celebrate getting played by lunatics like the Taliban seems a bit counterintuitive. Let’s be honest: President Peace Prize hasn’t exactly been tearing it up of late. If it gets much worse, they’re going to be throwing press conferences in the Rose Garden every time Obama saves par on that tricky dogleg at Windermere. If I were Obama, I’d be looking for more flash than “we just traded five serial killers for a guy who’s on the fence about America.”

More than a few people have suggested that Obama swapped the “Taliban 5” for Bergdahl in an effort to distract public attention from the latest scandal to ensnare his Administration. Ironically, it’s a scandal involving his treatment — or the lack thereof — of the same people the Taliban 5 have sworn their minions’ lives to kill and with whom Bergdahl was ashamed to share citizenship.

Whatever his reasons, Obama has once again snatched embarrassment from the jaws of pride. What might have been a small victory in a very large war has become yet another question mark on Obama’s already-spotty record. Obama’s decision to illegally trade five Taliban Neanderthals with artillery for one alleged deserter is an epic failure of leadership. It’s a direct threat to the men and women who wear our uniform without being “ashamed.” Worst of all — and mark my words — Obama will face little more than rhetorical condemnations like this one.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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