(Washington, DC) – After five years of captivity at the hands of the Taliban, U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is a POW no more; he is a free man. Bergdahl is presumably happy. President Obama is pleased. Bergdahl’s parents and relatives are ecstatic. Bergdahl’s hometown in Idaho is planning a celebration.
Members of Congress? Not so much.
In an effort to provide even more proof – not that any was needed – that some members of Congress will go against anything and everything proposed or implemented by the Obama administration, Congressional leaders decried Bergdahl’s release, going to far as accusing Obama of breaking the law.
At issue: trading Bergdahl’s freedom for five long-term Afghan Taliban detainees – Abdul Haq Wasiq, Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mohammad Nabi Omari, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, and Mullah Norullah Noori – housed at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
A law passed by Congress last year requires it be notified by the Secretary of Defense at least 30 days in advance of any prisoner releases or transfers from Guantánamo Bay. As Congress was not notified until Bergdahl was free, the law was not followed. Even Afghan President Hamid Karzai was kept in the dark regarding the operation.
The deal calls for the freed Taliban to stay in Qatar for at least the next year. Some members of Congress question how that arrangement will exactly be enforced.
“We can’t monitor our own borders,” said a conservative talk-radio host, speaking on condition of anonymity. “How are we going to make sure Qatar’s are monitored for these evildoers?”
“Once again, the White House has allowed another country to determine the safety of the American people,” said a Republican spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “When will we learn that only America can protect Americans?”
Democrats immediately fired back, saying an American allowed thousands of Americans to die on September 11, 2001.
“President George W. Bush had the memo ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US’ in his hands on August 6, 2001. He ignored the information, and one month later thousands of Americans died. Now critics want to say that, technically, no laws were broken by ignoring the memo. How’s about calling it a high crime? No one wanted to – or wants to – address that issue.”
Others are concerned for the safety of other Americans – both military and civilian – because terrorists now know they can trade Americans for fellow terrorists.
“Terrorists now know that capturing Americans is win-win for them,” said a Congressional spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Pretty soon they’ll empty out Guantánamo. Do you realize what that would mean?”
Some would say it would fulfill Obama’s pledge to close the facility.
“Right!” continued the Congressional spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And we can’t let that happen, can we?”
“This also marks the first time in our country’s history that we’ve done a trade involving Islamic Fundamentalists,” said a Congressional spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “That’s a frightening development. Who knows what it might lead to?”
The misinformed Congressional spokesman’s statement is patently false, as the United States has done deals with Islamic Fundamentalists in the past.
In 1986, news broke of a secret plan for the White House to funnel arms to Iran – against the law because of an arms embargo – in exchange for the release of Americans being held hostage in the Middle East. Money from the arms sales was, in turn, funneled to the Nicaraguan Contras – against the law due to the Boland Amendment, which forbade the United States government from funding the Contras.
The scandal was known as “Irangate” or “Iran-Contra” or the “Iran-Contra Affair” to everyone but President Ronald Reagan, who claimed to know nothing about the arms-for-hostages deal.
“President Reagan was blindsided by his advisors,” said a spokesman at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He knew nothing of the shenanigans, yet he took responsibility because he was in charge. With that said, he couldn’t have authorized any such thing. His psychic strongly advised him to have nothing to do with the Contras!”
Some point out another bad precedent set by the United States 11 years ago: the unnecessary invasion of sovereign nations.
“In 2003, with the invasion of Iraq, the United States set the precedent for any nation to invade another nation on false pretenses,” said a political scientist, speaking on condition of anonymity. “How dangerous was that? I think all you have to do is look at Russia and Ukraine today to answer that question.”
“The Russians know this is a defeat for the United States of America, and they’re busy rejoicing in our hour of despair,” said a spokesman for former-Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK), speaking on condition of anonymity. “I mean, she can see them rejoicing from her house!”