President Obama Trades Al Qaeda-Linked Taliban Leaders For Release of American Soldier

President_Barack_Obamaarticle-2644788-1E5CCBF900000578-994_634x541The release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier held captive in Afghanistan, has been a source of celebration but also concern in Washington. While the country has long insisted that it would not negotiate with terrorists, it seems like it has been doing precisely that for years in working out a trade that ultimately led to the release of five Taliban leaders. More importantly, federal law requires notice to Congress some 30 days before a release of a detainee from Guantanamo Bay — another federal provision that the White House appears to have simply ignored in a unilateral act. I am scheduled to discuss the case on CNN on Monday morning.

article-0-1E5D780000000578-963_634x473The circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture remain suspicious. He claimed in a videotape as a captive that he lagged behind a patrol and was captured. A friend who works closely with the military in Afghanistan says that that is highly unlikely given the protocols used on patrols. Fellow soldiers claim that Bergdahl was a deserter. My friend says that he was told that Bergdahl walked away from this base. He is quoted as saying that he was ashamed of being an American and disenchanted with the mission in Afghanistan. He was listed as missing in June 2009, three days after reportedly sending his parents an e-mail stating “I am ashamed to be an American” and “The horror that is America is disgusting.” Those sources say that he voluntarily left the mountain base. Worse yet, American soldiers were killed reportedly looking for Bergdahl, though there is still uncertainty about that claim.

That could put the President in a rough position. He declared that

“Sergeant Bergdahl has missed birthdays, and holidays and simple moments with family and friends which all of us take for granted. But while Bowe was gone, he was never forgotten”— not by his family or his hometown in Idaho, or the military. “And he wasn’t forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.”

If Bergdahl is a deserter, there will be pressure to charge him, but the trade may become even less popular if he is sitting in a brig. [Update: when I appeared on CNN this morning, the network aired the following statement from one of his former platoon members, Sgt. Matt Vierkant: “I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on. Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”]

Critics are likely to demand answers about his actions and alleged dissection while detailing the threat of these five leaders as well as their alleged Al-Qaeda connections. On the other hand, the White House is insisting that, with troops leaving the country, they needed to get him out and had no choice but to relent to the demand for a trade. The White House could also argue that the status of these Gitmo detainees remains a problem and the country cannot hold them indefinitely — so that these five would have had to be returned to Afghanistan eventually unless we were to use the widely ridiculed tribunal system.

Then there is the question of negotiating with terrorists and failing to comply with federal law.

Congressional leaders have warned that such trades only increase the incentive to capture U.S. soldiers and citizens around the world. The Taliban do not represent a nation state and many accuse them of regularly engaging in acts that would be deemed terrorism by the United States. The Obama Administration may be in the curious position of now insisting that they are freedom fighters or a legitimate military force rather than terrorists.

The federal law adds the obligation to notify congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners with explanations of the conditions and arrangements for such releases. No such notice was given. While President Obama denounced signing statements by George W. Bush as a Senator and as a candidate for the presidency, he issued such a signing statement when the law was passed to say that the condition was unconstitutional as an infringement upon his powers as commander in chief. He appears in clear violation of federal law. You may recall then candidate Barack Obama promising “I taught the Constitution for 10 years, I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution the of the United States. We’re not gonna use signing statements as a way to do an end-run around Congress, alright?”

I recently testified (here and here and here) and wrote a column on President Obama’s increasing circumvention of Congress in negating or suspending U.S. laws.

It is notable that Obama is again claiming near absolute executive power (and augmenting this claim with the use of the controversial signing statement tactic). He is claiming that Congress cannot limit — even with a notice requirement — his control over detainees at Gitmo. It is another glimpse into what I once called the “uber presidency” that has emerged under the last two presidents.

bergdahl-collageThe five men released are considered highly dangerous. Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa and Abdul Haq Wasiq are classified as a “high risk” to the United States. Two others, Mohammad Fazl and Mullah Norullah Mori, were present during the 2001 prison riot at Mazar-e Sharif when CIA paramilitary officer Johnny Micheal Spann was killed. Fazl is thought to be the Taliban “army chief of staff”) and a longtime al-Qaeda ally. Wasiq reportedly helped train al-Qaeda. Mullah Norullah Noori, a senior military commander also reportedly have ties with al-Qaeda. Khairullah Khairkhwa, a Taliban governor was also allegedly an al-Qaeda trainer. One is believed to be responsible for the deaths of scores of Shiites in acts of religious terror.

The agreement only reportedly includes a one-year travel ban — making it likely that these Taliban commanders will be back on the front lines.

The Administration has been negotiating on this trade for sometimes — years according to some reports. Yet, it clearly decided to violate federal law and not inform Congress. Once again, it is not clear who would have the standing to challenge such a violation due to the rigid standing doctrine created by the federal courts — an issue that I have raised previously in my testimony to Congress.

Putting aside the violation of federal law, do you believe that the United States should negotiate with groups like the Taliban or make trades with such captors? If not, where do we draw the line — with soldiers to exclude citizens? There are clearly arguments to be made by those who believe that we should negotiate with terrorists but the current official policy is that we do not.

1,420 thoughts on “President Obama Trades Al Qaeda-Linked Taliban Leaders For Release of American Soldier”

  1. A side note
    President Bush released the terrorist who planned the Benghazi attacks from Guantanamo prison in 2007.

    1. IL, It is STILL Obama’s fault that Bush released the guy! Obama should have gone after and gotten him back.

  2. Bob,Esq: “show me the law that states the United States shall deem a state of war to exist with Iraq upon failure to fully comply with U.N. sanctions.”

    That you don’t know Saddam’s compliance was the reason for US military action with Iraq from 1991 onward clarifies you’re against OIF because you didn’t understand it in the first place. Bush, Clinton, and Bush relied on P.L. 102-1. The issue stayed active while Saddam’s refusal to comply dominated Clinton’s foreign affairs.

    This is a Congressional reinforcement, from 1997, for the President to use the military – unilaterally, if necessary – to enforce Iraq’s full compliance. Bush inherited this, too. Note the diverse, bipartisan group of Congressmen who submitted the bill.

    105th CONGRESS
    1st Session

    H. RES. 322

    Expressing the sense of the House that the United States should act to resolve the crisis with Iraq in a manner that assures full Iraqi compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding the destruction of Iraq’s capability to produce and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and that peaceful and diplomatic efforts should be pursued, but that if such efforts fail, multilateral military action or unilateral United States military action should be taken.


    November 12, 1997

    Mr. LANTOS (for himself, Mr. GILMAN, Mr. GOSS, Mr. YATES, Mr. HUNTER, Mr. SKELTON, Mr. SISISKY, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. SPRATT, Mr. HORN, Mr. KING, Mr. WEXLER, Mr. ROTHMAN, and Mr. SHERMAN) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

    Resolved, That it is the sense of the United States House of Representatives–

    (1) that the current crisis regarding Iraq should be resolved peacefully through diplomatic means but in <ba manner which assures full Iraqi compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding the destruction of Iraq’s capability to produce and deliver weapons of mass destruction;

    (2) that in the event that military means are necessary to compel Iraqi compliance with United Nations Council resolutions, such military action should be undertaken with the broadest feasible multi-national support, preferably pursuant to a resolution of the United Nations Security Council; and

    (3) but that if it is necessary, the United States should take military action unilaterally to compel Iraqi compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions.

  3. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2-ranked Democrat….”The law on notification “doesn’t square with reality.”

    Really Dick?
    Why was the law passed if it “didn’t square with reality?”
    Why did the president sign the law if it “didn’t square with reality?”

    Is anyone in Congress, from either side of the isle saying;
    1.”We had to have 30 days notice.”
    (This is the law.) Or are they saying;
    2. We know circumstances may change and situations may be fluid so simply notifying us prior to such action is reasonable?”

    I’ve only heard #2. This is another glaring example of a president that refuses to work with Congress.

    Why do people keep defending this behavior?

    Since Obama has established this precedent, I trust you’ll all be defending President Allen West when takes similar action in January 2017. Right?

  4. Bob,Esq,

    From Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq (2002):

    (a) AUTHORIZATION. The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to

    (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
    (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.

    Again, the 2002 statute wasn’t novel. The President had been authorized to use the military to enforce with Iraq since 1991. But Congress repetitively reinforced it with Clinton and Bush.

  5. Bob,Esq: “Please show me the law that states the United States shall deem a state of war to exist with Iraq upon failure to fully comply with U.N. sanctions.”

    Bob, you just stated the basis of the Gulf War. The war threshold was passed at the beginning. The Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions were (obviously) enforced on the same basis of the Gulf War.

    P.L. 102-1, passed on January 12, 1991, stated, “The President is authorized, subject to subsection (b), to use United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678.”

    UNSC Resolution 678, adopted on November 29, 1990, stated, “[a]cting under Chapter VII of the Charter . . . [a]uthorizes Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before 15 January 1991 fully implements, as set forth in paragraph 1 above, the above-mentioned resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area.

    While Clinton relied on PL 102-1 for his military actions with Iraq, Congress continued to pass laws during the Clinton admin that reinforced the established base of the President’s authority to use the military to bring Iraq into compliance. Bush, of course, inherited all of that from Clinton, just as Clinton inherited the foundational PL 102-1 from Bush (father).

  6. Bergdahl was a POW of the Taliban. Now he is a POW of the Democrat Party.

    When will the Democrat Party release Sgt. Bergdahl?

    Why is the Democrat Party holding Sgt. Bergdahl as a POW?


  7. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2-ranked Democrat, presented the timeline as an explanation for why President Barack Obama didn’t inform Congress 30 days before the May 31 prisoner trade….”They knew a day ahead of time the transfer was going to take place,” Durbin told reporters in the Capitol, where military officials briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee behind closed doors. “They knew an hour ahead of time where it was going to take place.”

    Defending the administration’s conduct, Durbin blasted his colleagues in Congress for focusing on the lack of notification, even if one of the loudest critics has been a party colleague: Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    “Are we saying that once we decided to do the prisoner transfer, we had to notify Congress and wait 30 days?” Durbin asked. “The president couldn’t do that. It was impossible. It could have endangered the man’s life by waiting 30 days.”

    The law on notification “doesn’t square with reality,” he added.

  8. i,citizen: “people like Bob,Esq persistently misunderstand it as the casus belli. The procedural trigger was always whether Iraq proved compliance
    Just like that, the nation goes to war.”

    Casus belli? Procedural trigger?

    Please show me the law that states the United States shall deem a state of war to exist with Iraq upon failure to fully comply with U.N. sanctions.

    Not the United States in your imagination but these United States here in reality.

    The October 2002 NIE v. Redacted White Paper; the Niger allegation and the 9/11>>Iraq lies were the fraudulent representations needed to convince the country to go to war.

    “Fraud is kaleidoscopic, infinite. [And that] being infinite and taking on protean form at will, were courts to cramp themselves be defining fraud with hard-and-fast definition, their jurisdiction would be cunningly circumvented at once by new schemes beyond the definition… Accordingly definitions of fraud are of set purpose left general and flexible and thereto courts match their astuteness against the versatile inventions of fraud-doers.” (Stonemets v. Head, 1913)

    You’re just the Right side of the fanatically loyal equation.

    Here’s your oath:

    I, (Name of Bush faithful), do utterly testify and declare in my conscience that the King’s Highness is the only supreme governor of this realm AND UNIVERSE AND ALL OTHER PARALLEL UNIVERSES, and of all other his Highness’s dominions and countries, as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes, as temporal, and that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm AND UNIVERSE AND ALL OTHER PARALLEL UNIVERSES; and therefore I do utterly renounce and forsake all foreign jurisdictions, powers, superiorities and authorities, and do promise that from henceforth I shall bear faith and true allegiance to the King’s Highness, his heirs and lawful successors, and to my power shall assist and defend all jurisdictions, pre-eminences, privileges and authorities granted or belonging to the King’s Highness, his heirs or successors, or united or annexed to the imperial crown of this realm. So help me God, and by the contents of this Book.

  9. Thanks, Eric.

    The tl,dr is Bush was right on the law and policy re Saddam, but Bush tripped on the politics.

    In the politics, the pre-war intelligence was misrepresented as evidence. However, people like Bob,Esq persistently misunderstand it as the casus belli. The procedural trigger was always whether Iraq proved compliance. Under Clinton, Saddam was established as a clear and present danger and the policy of Iraqi compliance via regime change was preformed so that intelligence (or evidence) was not a required element. That said, while the pre-war intelligence wasn’t evidence, it wasn’t bad when judged by the proper bar for intelligence – as indicators. The Duelfer Report confirmed Saddam was guilty and the containment failed. To avoid the political error, Bush simply should have reiterated Clinton’s preformed case for regime change with the addition of the heightened threat consideration post-9/11 and, perhaps, the intelligence properly presented as indicators rather than evidence.

  10. Annie: “Eric, our troops aren’t the sacrificial lambs that will keep Al Queda from harming us here. . . . America is war weary.”

    We may be “weary” of war, but that doesn’t mean the war is weary of us. This isn’t a kid’s game. The contest is over either when we end the enemy as a threat to us or the enemy ends us as a threat to him.

    Our soldiers haven’t been sacrificial lambs. They’ve been fighting the enemy as our champions while building the peace for future generations. They’ve been more effective than you credit them.

    As the 9/11 attacks demonstrated, al Qaeda was a powerful and dangerous organization 12 years ago, but is now a shell of what it once was. Central al Qaeda and its affiliate organizations around the globe still aspire to execute attacks inside America, but their capabilities to do so are dramatically diminished. The threat is present, but no longer acute.
    . . .
    The counterterrorism strategy against al Qaeda that has been executed since 9/11 has been extremely effective. We eliminated the safe haven that al Qaeda enjoyed in Afghanistan and captured or killed hundreds of senior leaders and thousands of rank and file militants. It is also important that governments in countries like Saudi Arabia and Yemen, who were on the sidelines prior to 9/11, joined the fight because they felt threatened by al Qaeda as well. . . . we have crippled the organization that attacked us on 9/11 to the benefit of the United States and the world.

    In other words, Obama inherited a counter-terror campaign that was firmly progressing towards ending the enemy as a threat. Obama simply needed to stay the course. Had he done so, instead of worrying about the terrorists resurging in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and the future of Afghanistan, we might be looking forward to the foreseeable end of the enemy as a threat.

    Instead, Obama is squandering the dearly won progress earned by our soldiers. Now add to the enemy’s resurgence in the gaps opened by diminished American leadership under Obama this shocking release of the 5 most dangerous, senior Taliban commanders into the world community. No trial, of any kind. Not even transferred to Afghanistan’s custody. A virtually unconditional release. That goes beyond just squandering his presidential inheritance. Obama actually seems to be trying to reverse the trend in favor of the enemy.

  11. NEW YORK CITY has not said a word about Obama releasing the Muslims who blew up the Twin Towers on 9/11. How can they be considered tradable pawns by Obama when they are criminals who blew up New York City?

    This is really some kind of fundamental transformation. The President arbitrarily lets the criminals out of prison??? Maybe there’s some “intelligence” operation going on. Like when the intell community attempted to make us think that hapless Oswald killed Kennedy. Maybe Bergdahl is a patsy. Maybe they’re fixin’ to take out Bergdahl with a Jack Rudy character before Bergdahl spills the beans.

    This is weird.

  12. NEW YORK CITY has not said a word about Obama releasing the Muslims who blew up the Twin Towers on 9/11. How can they be considered tradable pawns by Obama when they are criminals who blew up New York City? This is really some kind of fundamental transformation. The President arbitrarily lets the criminals out of prison??? Maybe there’s some “intelligence” operation going on. Like when the intell community attempted to make us think that hapless Oswald killed Kennedy. Maybe they’re fixin’ to take out Berhdahl with a Jack Rudy character before Berhdahl spills the beans.

    This is weird.

  13. Bergdahl was a criminal who abandoned his post voluntarily and deserted. Obama released the people responsible for 9/11 and enemy combatants. These were co-conspirators of Osama Bin Laden.

    Obama released criminals. That is a crime. Obama committed a crime.

    The Taliban co-conspirators that Obama released should have been held or prosecuted.

    Obama must be prosecuted.

    America is at a Constitutional “Tipping Point.”

  14. Bob,Esq.,

    This explains why you believe Bush was wrong even though he was right.
    (Bottomline up front: “By 2002, opponents of OIF had in effect adopted the standard of compliance preferred by Saddam Hussein, by which Iraq would have satisfied its burdens and obligations to the UN by 1994, in other words, before Saddam’s son-in-law revealed Iraq’s hidden WMD stocks.”)

    Immediately following the Gulf War, the international community agreed that the burden was on Iraq to cure the presumption of guilt on Iraq’s WMD stocks, programs, and intentions. By the late 1990s, however, the US’s Iraq mission was opposed by UNSC members Russia, China, and France, perhaps influenced by desire for Iraqi favor and the Oil-for-Food scandal . . .They advocated for negotiating a settlement with Saddam Hussein that would allow Iraq to reintegrate into the international community in spite of Iraq’s continued noncompliance. On the other side, the US continued to conduct the post-Gulf War mission of disarming and rehabilitating Iraq to a high standard.

    The obvious and known stocks of Iraqi WMD had been eliminated within the 1st years after the Gulf War, but due to the 2 successive wars instigated by Iraq and the continued malfeasant behavior of Saddam Hussein, the ceasefire following the Gulf War was conditioned upon Iraq rehabilitating its behavior to a degree that would satisfy the doubts of a very cautious international community led by the US and UN.

    With Saddam Hussein in charge, we had to be sure.

    Despite the elimination of the obvious and known stocks of Iraqi WMD, the continued Iraqi deception and resistance to the inspections meant Iraq’s behavior failed to sufficiently account for its proscribed weapons and comply with the standard of disarmament imposed by the US and UN. The threat of Iraq was based less on what we knew about Iraq’s weapons and intentions, but rather what we didn’t know about them due to Iraq’s failure to account for them. In addition, repression within Iraq following the Gulf War generated more humanitarian UNSC resolutions that expanded the standard of compliance imposed on Iraq to prove its rehabilitation.

    Then in 1995, WMD stocks Iraq had hidden from inspectors were uncovered due to a defector. While the defector (Saddam’s son-in-law, General Hussein Kamel al-Majid) claimed they were the last stockpiles, the hitherto successful deception by itself increased the burden of proof imposed on Iraq. Whether or not Iraq was actually cleansed of WMD after the 1995 revelation, Iraq’s deception demonstrated the intent to harbor NBC capability and resist the verification and compliance process necessary to validate Iraq’s rehabilitation. With a heightened focus on the behavior of Saddam’s regime, distinct from its demonstrable possession of weapons, the trigger for military enforcement was Iraq’s continued failure to meet the standard of compliance, which qualified as proof that Saddam’s regime was a “clear and present” danger.

    President Clinton linked the “clear and present danger” label to the behavior of Saddam’s regime and only indirectly to Iraq’s weapons.
    . . .
    The primary threat of Iraq was the noncompliant behavior, presumed guilt, and intentions of Saddam’s regime regarding WMD and other matters, apart from Iraq’s actual or demonstrable possession of WMD. Therefore, the standard for Iraq’s compliance was based not on American and UN demonstration of Iraqi WMD, which was impossible to do reliably due to Iraqi resistance to both the inspections and foreign intelligence efforts to assist the inspections, but based instead on the behavior of Saddam’s regime judged by the standard determined by the US and UN.
    . . .
    However, by 2002, there was a profound split in how the US and UN’s Iraq mission was interpreted. Opponents of the continued sanctioning and military-enforced containment of Iraq abandoned the harsh duties, burdens, and standard for rehabilitation imposed on Iraq since the 1990s – the standard by which President Clinton had defined the casus belli of Operation Desert Fox.
    . . .
    [Opponents] argued Iraq should no longer be required to prove compliance by the 1990s standard, but rather the lower burden of demonstrating the absence of WMD stocks. They sought to remove both Iraq’s burden to ‘prove a negative’ (i.e., prove WMD programs and intent were permanently ended) and, more importantly, the presumption of guilt for Iraq that was the foundation of the Gulf War ceasefire and subsequent UNSC resolutions. In other words, anything Saddam could manage to hide would be tolerated. UNMOVIC director Hans Blix even explicitly rejected a presumption of guilt for Iraq while upholding Saddam’s burden of proof and framed the US and Iraq positions as equivalent, even implicitly accepting the Iraqi argument that foreign intelligence efforts to aid the thwarted inspections were a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. By 2002, opponents of OIF had in effect adopted the standard of compliance preferred by Saddam Hussein, by which Iraq would have satisfied its burdens and obligations to the UN by 1994, in other words, before Saddam’s son-in-law revealed Iraq’s hidden WMD stocks.
    . . .
    Opponents claimed the purpose of the inspections was to determine the status of Iraqi WMD. In contrast, President Bush continued to use the same standard of compliance in 2002-03 that President Clinton had used for Iraq in 1998, which was based on judging the proscribed behavior of Saddam’s regime and what we were kept from knowing due to Iraq’s noncompliance. The standard of compliance for Iraq was not based on what the US could demonstrate about Iraqi WMD stocks and programs. For Presidents Clinton and Bush, the inspections tested and sufficiently proved Iraq’s noncompliant behavior. President Clinton bombed Iraq based on UNSCOM reports of Iraqi noncompliance with 3 weeks of inspections; President Bush invaded Iraq based on UNMOVIC reports of Iraqi noncompliance with 4 months of inspections.

    However, where President Clinton’s rhetoric had been carefully consistent with the policy standard for military intervention, based on Iraq’s behavior, President Bush fell into the opponents’ rhetorical trap by making a claim of affirmative knowledge of Iraqi WMD stockpiles and programs (i.e., what we knew and could demonstrate) despite that he approved Operation Iraqi Freedom following the same standard used by President Clinton for Operation Desert Fox (i.e., behavior of Saddam’s regime and its failure to cure what we did not know). Rather than resting his case on affirmative knowledge, President Bush should have utilized President Clinton’s lower bar of lack of knowledge of Iraqi WMD.

    President Bush should be faulted for confusing the public and empowering opponents by making a public argument that deviated from the controlling US policy on Iraq. However, the US led by President Bush followed the same policy course with Iraq that had evolved from the 1991 Gulf War through his father’s and President Clinton’s administrations. President Bush held Iraq to the same standard of compliance and rehabilitation with the same trigger for military intervention that President Clinton had applied in 1998.

    The vitriolic disagreements over Operation Iraqi Freedom were caused by opponents who sought to make peace with Iraq by changing the issue from the behavior of Saddam’s regime to demonstrable WMD, shifting the burden of proof from Iraq to the US, changing the standard of compliance to fit Saddam’s strategy to defeat the UNSC resolutions, and eliminating the foundational presumption of guilt on Iraq.

    Again, the UNMOVIC findings of Iraq’s noncompliance were enough, but if you need more to satisfy your doubts, read the Duelfer Report.

  15. Bob,Esq.,

    There’s no “alleged”. Saddam wasn’t presumed innocent until proven guilty. He was already found guilty. Saddam was required to prove his innocence.

    The test for Saddam was pass/fail, and he never passed it. Bush didn’t make up the test. It was the same test for Saddam since 91. The inspections, sanctions, and no-fly zone were based on the same test. Desert Fox was based on the same test. Iraqi Freedom was based on the same test.

    Remember, Desert Storm was suspended short of regime change by a ceasefire that was contingent on Saddam passing the test. Bush didn’t make up the threat of Saddam. The ceasefire was defined by the threat of Saddam. Saddam’s behavior with Clinton made the threat worse and forced Clinton to classify Saddam as a clear and present danger.

    Bush didn’t say a mushroom cloud was “imminent”. The “illusion” of Saddam’s threat was simply Bush describing the established threat of Saddam and adding the post-9/11 threat environment. Add 2 and 2, and guess what, you’re going to get 4.

    The threat of Saddam wasn’t an “illusion” anyway. Read the Duelfer Report. Saddam was guilty in fact, not just presumptively. I, citizen only quoted some of the report. There’s a lot more than that.

    You want to feel relief over a crisis averted? Read the part about how Saddam was the same ambitious and just as committed to WMD, yet growing increasingly irrational and unchecked, while also consolidating power.

    This bit of the report alone validates Bush’s decision:

    Saddam had direct command of the Iraqi intelligence services and the armed forces, including direct authority over plans and operations of both. . . . The IIS also ran a large covert procurement program, undeclared chemical laboratories, and supported denial and deception operations.

    Bob, one guess which part of Saddam’s regime worked with terrorists, handled Saddam’s in-house black ops, repressed the Iraqi people, and was famously notorious for all of the above. Did you guess the IIS?

    Look, I get you’re hung up on the intel. You’re not alone. It did turn out that our intel wasn’t precisely accurate – just maybe, Saddam’s “denial and deception operations” that also flummoxed our intel and inspections during the Clinton admin had something to do with that. I agree that Bush shouldn’t have characterized intel as “evidence”. Generally speaking, intel is not evidence, and doesn’t serve that function. But the intel was more right than it was wrong, and it was more than right enough for the threat of Saddam and the standard of the ceasefire.

  16. John, our allegedly smart president keeps doing stupid things. And, he employs stupid, but LOYAL people. What did Forrest Gump say about stupid?

Comments are closed.