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Jerry Coffee

Bergdahl-Taliban Deal Endangers U.S. Troops

At the beginning of his first term, President Obama announced, “In the first year of my presidency, I will close down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” Like many of his early promises, he has found this one far more difficult to fulfill than he naively thought possible.

That, after a term and a half in the White House, Gitmo is still alive and kicking sticks in his craw. It also bugs him because none of the “horror” stories his administration cooked up about the facility founded by his predecessor turned out to be factual. I was able to confirm this personally after visiting Gitmo in 2005 for a MidWeek column, and having almost free rein of the facility. I found the entire operation to be run professionally, and every aspect of the detainees’ lives of even higher quality than from whence they had come.

But we recently have seen Mr. Obama stoop to new lows in achieving his Gitmo goal by deviously hiding his strategy from the U.S. Congress and the American people, going against the recommendations of both the intelligence community and the U.S. military to use our only POW of the Afghan war, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, as a political pawn to trade for the release of the five high-risk Taliban detainees at the Cuban prison. These are hard-core longtime detainees, hand-selected by the Taliban themselves, and each the equivalent of a four-star general in the Taliban chain of command.

The lopsided exchange, one U.S. soldier for five very senior terrorists, was initiated by the president through the government of Qatar so he could say we didn’t break our longstanding policy of negotiating with terrorists — a policy we have, by the way, to keep other terrorists from kidnapping more hostages as a sure way to trade for more detained terrorists or other U.S. concessions.

The president must think the American people are the ones with their heads in the sand when, in fact, it is him. Contrary to his assertions that none of these five will return to the battlefield or to the active policy arm of the Taliban, experience has shown us nothing could be further from the truth. As “Gitmo survivors,” these five will enjoy even more credibility and incentive to get back into the saddle ASAP.

Obama seems to think their return to the fray is a moot point because our impending unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan will “end the war” anyway. “This is the way wars are ended in the 21st century,” he says.

On what planet is he living? Our withdrawal will be bloody as our dwindling troops are more isolated and the Taliban takes advantage of their increasing numerical superiority, as they reimpose their reign of Sharia terror on the Afghans (especially women), and cozy up to al-Qaida again, providing sanctuary for their global terror organization. Yes, this is where it becomes apparent that all our sacrifice of American lives and treasure has been for naught.

Now that the precedent has been established, by extending his policy of releasing Gitmo detainees on trumped-up pretenses (and who could possibly be any higher risk than the first five?), he will close the most perfect facility for the continued incarceration of our captured terrorists, which now will be guaranteed to continue.

In the meantime, after the shameful politicization of the interview of Bergdahl’s tearful parents in the Rose Garden and the ensuing lies by Obama’s administration about Bergdahl’s captivity (instead of waiting for Bergdahl’s own version of his capture and ensuing behavior), our president has revealed that he will stop at nothing to achieve his primary presidential mission of American mediocratization — no matter how many lives it ultimately costs.

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