Bad Judgment From The White House
by Deacon Blues
I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but given recent developments, I’ve lost confidence in Barack Obama’s political and security judgment.
For the life of me, I cannot understand how the president thought that trading five of the Taliban’s worst-of-the-worst for a less-than-stellar soldier was a good trade. I cannot see any rationale for allowing the repatriation of sworn enemies of this country while the war is still going on with no agreements in sight, and especially not for someone who didn’t exactly distinguish himself in the service of his country while others around him were making the ultimate sacrifice. What we're left with is the presumption that this was done as some sort of confidence-building measure with the Taliban as part of a future deal. Really?
As for Obama’s move to tackle emissions from coal-fired plants through EPA rulemaking, yes, there is broad political support for taking strong measures to tackle climate change. And yes, there may be concern within the White House that a new GOP Senate next year could try and stop any such action. But that doesn’t mean it was good politics to make this a front-and-center issue for vulnerable Democratic incumbents in red or purple states. And yet Obama has now forced those vulnerable Senate Democrats to defend or oppose something that didn’t need to be introduced into those races right now. Doing this will not assist any Senate Democratic incumbent win their seat this fall.
Update: Several of you disagree with my observations, which is fine.
Yes, the GOP previously pushed for getting him home. That doesn't mean they supported trading five senior Taliban to get him.
Yes, the GOP has been hypocritical for politicizing this and being unfair to the president. So what? They've been this way for years, and Obama and his supporters are terribly naive whiners to complain about this as if this is something new. This swap should never have been even discussed inside the White House without assuming the worst from the GOP. And if this is so defensible, then why didn't the administration notice Congress of an impending swap? Because it could have endagered the deal? That doesn't explain why the relevant committee chairmen weren't told, and the intentional bypassing of Congress has only enabled them to fight any further swaps and closure of Guantanamo. The White House has only made things worse here.
Sorry, but the "we never leave soldiers in harm's way" defense doesn't wash here, because simply put, this guy wasn't worth what it took to get him, and the administration's desire to trumpet this and then backtrack make it seem that this was done for PR value and spin by a White House staff that runs foreign policy and shouldn't.