The Speech President Obama Should Give—And Soon

My fellow Americans,

I want to be honest with you and tell you that I did not do as the law required and notify Congress 30 days in advance before I authorized the release and transfer of five detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar, as part of an effort to secure the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from nearly five years of captivity. But there is a reason for my failure to so notify Congress, and I want to explain why I did what I did, as well as explain to you what is happening to the conservative movement, and by extension the Republican Party, in this country, particularly as it relates to this whole episode.

The 2013 version of the National Defense Authorization Act is the law that specifies that I notify Congress well in advance of releasing anyone from the prison at Guantanamo Bay. But when I signed that bill into law, I noted that, “Section 1035…in certain circumstances, would violate constitutional separation of powers principles.” And this is one of those certain circumstances. I am the Commander in Chief and I have a solemn obligation to protect the interests of not only the country, but the troops we put in harm’s way. Securing the release of Bowe Bergdahl, which helps preserve a sacred tradition of not leaving any soldier behind, also helps the morale of the troops by letting them know, unequivocally, that their country will never forget them and do all that is possible to get them back home, if they are captured by the enemy. And this is irrespective of what they may or may not have done to be captured.

So, no, I did not give Congress the 30-day notice the law specifies, when I authorized the release of the detainees in Guantanamo, partly because Congress does not have the constitutional right to create a statute that restricts not just my own personal power as Commander in Chief, but any president’s power—Democrat or Republican—to do what I did in this case: secure the release of the last prisoner of war from our protracted efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan by transferring Taliban detainees from Guantanamo. Whatever the young Bowe Bergdahl may or may not have done, it was necessary to act quickly to bring him home. It will be up to the Army to determine, after looking at all the facts, if any official action will be taken against him. But he will face American justice, rather than, as some commentators have suggested, have his fate determined by the Taliban.

I also want to note that in all likelihood, given that we are ending our combat efforts in Afghanistan and as a matter of international law, those five prisoners we released and transferred to Qatar would have to be released at some point in the near future anyway. Does anyone think that after we have essentially ended our part of the war in Afghanistan that we could indefinitely hold Taliban POWs that we captured on the battlefield? Does anyone think they could be tried in a federal court somewhere?

I also want to address another issue you might have heard discussed by the various pundits. Given all the criticism I’ve received regarding my alleged hypocrisy on the issue of signing statements and George W. Bush, I’d like to remind everyone what I said when I was running for this office back in 2008: “I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.” In this situation, I am not doing an end-run around Congress. Congress, when it passed a provision in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, was trying to do an end-run around the Constitution and the powers it exclusively grants to the executive branch. The Constitution is very clear that there is only one Commander in Chief.  And certainly no one could argue that a prisoner exchange, as we are winding down the longest war in our history, is not part of the powers inherent in a president’s role as Commander in Chief. Clearly it is part of those powers.

That’s not to say that I think the President of the United States is above the law. That’s not to say that I think I have unlimited powers to do whatever I want, even as Commander in Chief. But I do think that in this case, in the case of making sure we don’t leave behind one of our soldiers being held as a prisoner of war, I had the power to act without notifying or consulting with Congress.

Now I want to move on to what I consider to be a disturbing development, as far as the conduct of a lot of conservatives and Republicans these past several days relative to my decision to bring an American POW home. I don’t use the word “disturbing” lightly. What I have seen, what many of you have seen, should disturb every American who cares about the integrity and destiny of this country. This is serious business.

In 2009, not long after Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl was captured and a Taliban-produced video of him surfaced, a so-called strategic analyst for Fox News, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel—I don’t want to dignify him by saying his name—suggested on a Fox program that Bergdahl was a “liar” and that he was “collaborating with the enemy,” no matter whether he was “under duress or not.”  This Fox analyst went on to suggest that if the imprisoned soldier had deserted his unit, then “the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.” I think it is fairly clear the suggestion was that the Taliban simply kill this American soldier. Let me repeat that: the suggestion by an analyst on Fox News, a former soldier himself, was that the Taliban would do the country a favor by executing an American soldier. This reprehensible on-air conduct so outraged a group of congressmen that they sent a letter to the chief executive of Fox News demanding “an apology to PFC Bergdahl’s family and to the thousands of soldiers who put their lives on the line for our country.”

There was no apology. In fact, in recent days that same analyst has been on Fox saying even more reprehensible things, including attacking the mother and father of Bowe Bergdahl. It is clear from his past and present remarks that this Fox analyst has a profound hatred for me, and that kind of rhetoric sells very well on Fox News. But his past and present remarks about an American soldier, one who has been in captivity for almost five years, should be unacceptable for a paid contributor to a legitimate news organization. That his remarks are not unacceptable, that he still holds a job at Fox, should tell Americans all they need to know about that network and how far the conservative movement in our country has fallen.

But that isn’t all. If this kind of behavior were limited to a retired Army officer who despises me personally, or to a for-profit cable channel that traffics in all kinds of outlandish extremism about me and my administration, that would be one thing. I’m fair game. But it goes deeper than that. Almost the entire conservative movement in our country today has morphed into Fox writ large.  That movement, as well as many of the politicians it supports, has allowed its hatred for me to become so pervasive and controlling, that it poisons every position its members take, including their position on an American soldier held captive by our enemies.

Once upon a time there was a demand from the right that Bowe Bergdahl be brought home, that no soldier should be left behind. And when I did just that, suddenly Bowe Bergdahl is a traitor. Suddenly I should be impeached. If you think I exaggerate, you don’t know what is happening among a lot of people out there, many of them your neighbors with Twitter accounts. But it is more than everyday conservatives who are poisoned by disdain for me. Republican politicians are, too, or at least they are heavily influenced by the hatred of others in the conservative movement who find everything I do, no matter what it is, reprehensible.

I will tell you the truth. I never thought I would see the day when any American, not to mention a fairly significant group of conservative Americans—without knowing all the facts—would rather have one of our captive soldiers, a prisoner of war, executed by our enemies, or else left to rot under their control, than be brought home to face whatever consequences he deserves under our military justice system. I am appalled at such thinking, to be sure. But more than that I am worried about the collective mental and moral health of those Americans who call themselves conservatives today.  And I am worried about what the deterioration of the conservative movement means for our larger society.

I want to ask all Americans to think about what the strange reaction to the release of Bowe Bergdahl means for our national well-being. I am asking all of you to think about what the attacks on his mother and father say about many of our right-leaning fellow Americans and where they want to take the country. Something dark and ugly is emerging from a movement that has as its basis a very disturbing and pathological ideology.

Finally, regarding where we go from here, I will say that if Republicans in the House of Representatives don’t like what I have done relative to an American POW, if they don’t like the fact that I am preserving the doctrine of separation of powers rooted in our Constitution, they can impeach me. If they would have preferred that one of our soldiers die in the hands of the Taliban, let them say so openly. If they would have preferred that the America-hating Taliban execute justice for a young American soldier, let them come forth and speak boldly. If they want to critically damage the long and essential tradition of making sure our captive soldiers know they will never be forgotten by their country, then let them explain that to the American people, including to our troops and their families.  If that is the ground they want to stand on, let them stand. As the twice-elected Commander in Chief of the greatest military in the history of the world, I will also stand my ground, my constitutonal ground.

And welcome any impeachment proceeding.

________________________________

[AP Photo]

20 Comments

  1. Troy

     /  June 5, 2014

    BRAVO!!!!

    Like

  2. King Beauregard

     /  June 5, 2014

    Terrific speech!

    But I’m not sure I buy that bit about that part of the 2014 NDAA being inherently null and void because it violates the Constitution. That’s for a court to decide. Obama signed the 2014 NDAA into law, and the whole of it is law, signing statement or no.

    I can’t help but compare this to that more famous NDAA, the 2012 version with the “indefinite detainment” clause. Obama signed it into law, offered a signing statement rejecting that one clause … and yet it too was made law of the land. What’s more, Obama’s Justice Department defended it in court, presumably under the justification that the Department of Justice doesn’t have the right to defend some laws and not others based on its own personal preferences.

    As I see it, Obama broke the law, but there are times when breaking the law is justifiable. This is one of those times. Obama did not break it for personal or political gain; Obama broke the law because, given Bergdahl’s declining condition, he probably didn’t have 30 days. If you want, you can make the case that the law was written too narrowly to allow for this sort of circumstance where 30 days weren’t available, and that Obama did what he could to meet the intention of the law. I imagine that would fly with an unbiased judge.

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    • King B,

      By the way, it was your comment the other day, about impeachment, that got me thinking about this issue in depth, so I appreciate that.

      As I recall, the Justice Department did not defend DOMA ultimately. There is a prerogative that goes with winning control of the executive branch, which includes sometimes, though it ought not be the rule, not defending a law the AG finds unjust or unconstitutional.

      I guess I would respond to your point about the NDAA, that the whole of it is the law, by saying this: Yes, despite any signing statement, every word of the NDAA is law. But President Obama determined that part of it violated his constitutional powers and he wasn’t bound to recognize the letter of it. I don’t know how else the law could be tested in court without that kind of action. Some president, at some time, would have to violate that part of the law in order for there to be a real constitutional controversy that the courts could examine. The War Powers Resolution, which many believe is unconstitutional, has never really been tested in court. I have advocated that Congress, when any president uses force outside what that law allows, push the issue and let the Supreme Court finally decide the nature and scope of the president’s commander-in-chief powers.

      I wouldn’t mind that happening with this issue, would you?

      Duane

      Like

      • King Beauregard

         /  June 7, 2014

        I think I could be all right with that, yes. Also, your comments got me doing a bit of research, and you’re absolutely right: the Department of Justice has long taken into account what the executive branch believes is constitutional. Here’s from a link:

        The role of the executive branch is to enforce and uphold the laws enacted by Congress. In the vast majority of cases, the laws passed by Congress appear to be constitutional, and thus the executive branch’s Department of Justice is responsible for defending these federal laws from court challenges.

        However, it is important to note that the president also takes an independent oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Arguably, the president’s obligation to uphold the Constitution takes priority over his duty to defend laws. As Duke University Constitutional Law Professor Dawn Johnsen points out, “Congress and the president … are obliged to uphold, and thus by necessity to interpret, the Constitution.” In questioning the constitutionality of DOMA and subsequently refusing to defend the law, President Obama is simply carrying out his duties as the leader of a co-equal branch of government.

        While some critics claim that President Obama’s refusal to defend DOMA is an unwarranted expanse of executive power, the Obama administration is not the first to refuse to defend a law for constitutional reasons. In fact, there is in fact significant historical precedent for the executive branch to take such action.

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  3. King Beauregard makes a good assessment. It would be an appropriate speech and if the House of Representatives considers this matter sufficiently important, then the matter can be settled, as Duane’s post says, by impeachment under Article One of the Constitution. The gauntlet would be thrown, and I hope it is.

    It occurs to me that an impeachment proceeding on the Bergdahl affair might be nationally cathartic, given the right-wing political hatred that is well-described in this post. It would be an interesting case. On the president’s side is the Commander in Chief’s responsibility to manage the armed forces and deal with military exigencies. On the Faux News side, the House must determine if this instance warrants firing the president. If they do, they will have to be aware of the precedent for future presidents, including those from their own party, plus the political peril of appearing to overreach.

    An impeachment would highlight two motives. One is the resentment and personal disdain for this individual by the radical right, and the other is public fear of terrorism. The latter is the more important of the two, at least long-range, and it would be welcome if the country could get some perspective on this. Terrorism is no short-term problem. Whether the five Taliban commanders are free or not is unlikely to affect the future trajectory of the problem. I would argue that the continued detention of these birds at Gitmo would be at least as bad as their release because it motivates the recruitment of more terrorists. If terrorism is to be contained it will not be by detention of individuals but by cooperative policing by nations and international unity codified in laws.

    As an aside, however, I must question the president’s contention that the Terrorist Five would have to be released soon anyway because of the ending of the Afghan conflict. Why would that be? They weren’t technically even POW’s because the Afghan conflict isn’t technically a “war”. Maybe an impeachment could help resolve the Gitmo problem because I can’t see any other solution. The well of public fear is too deep and the demagogues too willing to pour gasoline on the fire.

    Like

    • King Beauregard

       /  June 5, 2014

      One of the stipulations on Obama’s authority to release GItmo prisoners is that there be reasonable assurances they won’t threaten the US. If the US isn’t even there in Afghanistan to threaten any longer, that opens up all manner of reasonable assurances.

      Incidentally, that also explains why Greenwald et al are full of it when they say “well if Obama could let these five go then he has to let the other 150 go or he’s a hypocrite”. Beyond the small matter of finding other nations willing to take them (and who also give us reason they will be well-treated), if Obama releases them per the 2014 NDAA, he’s obligated to provide assurances on all 150 of them.

      Like

      • One of the stipulations on Obama’s authority to release GItmo prisoners is that there be reasonable assurances they won’t threaten the US. If the US isn’t even there in Afghanistan to threaten any longer, that opens up all manner of reasonable assurances.

        Unfortunately, KB, terrorism disrespects national boundaries and that’s especially true of weak countries like Afghanistan. The corrupt and feckless government there is unlikely to deter the Taliban from hosting al Qaeda and their training camps again. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the continuation of our occupation there. Nation-building is futile.

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        • King Beauregard

           /  June 5, 2014

          True enough, there’s only so much we can do to secure ourselves from half the world away. As the old saying goes, Broad empires never galvanize homelands against zealous insurrectionists. Or, as people on the Right have taken to abbreviating it: BENGHAZI!

          But if US forces aren’t in Afghanistan, we can make at least some sort of case that the US isn’t there to be subjected to attack. That doesn’t mean an ironclad guarantee, just reasonable assurances.

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    • Jim,

      If the “Afghanistan war” (which is what everyone calls it) isn’t a war, then I can’t think of what it would be. Both Bush and Obama have referred to it as a war and Americans understand it as a war. The Taliban certainly understands it is a war, just as the North Vietnamese understood we were at war with them. And we called soldiers captured in that war POWs. I don’t understand how this is any different.

      But I agree with you completely that this issue should be resolved by Republicans putting up or shutting up. They can impeach the president, who clearly failed to follow the letter of the law, and we can have a constitutional test of the scope of his commander-in-chief powers. But I will bet you a dollar that they will do no such a thing. They believe Obama would win such a contest. They have alway been champions of a broad interpretation of the president’s powers, and it would be hard for them to seriously argue now that the president’s powers does not include making swaps of prisoners captured in war time.

      I wish, though, that we could have this fight and settle this issue once and for all. It is silly that a mature nation like ours is still debating what our president can and can’t do as the civilian leader of the military.

      Duane

      Like

      • If the “Afghanistan war” (which is what everyone calls it) isn’t a war, then I can’t think of what it would be. Both Bush and Obama have referred to it as a war and Americans understand it as a war. The Taliban certainly understands it is a war, just as the North Vietnamese understood we were at war with them. And we called soldiers captured in that war POWs. I don’t understand how this is any different.

        Allow me to explain. The principal definition of war, at least in my mind, is an armed conflict between nations. Dictionaries nowadays do also include in the definition “hostilities between different peoples or groups”, but the nation-sense of it has, I submit, pertained in all of America’s wars until this one. (That would apply to the second Iraq war too, except we stupidly destroyed the opposing government without providing a viable replacement.)

        Even the Vietnam conflict was one between nations, and this meant that, at its end there was a reasonable expectation that the diplomatic agreements that ended it would be enforced and adhered to by the two governments. That was done with Vietnam and that was when John McCain and the other POW’s were returned, cooperatively, by the Vietnamese.

        But, unless I’m missing something here, in the case of the Afghanistan “war”, we aren’t fighting a nation, we are fighting a loose international amalgamation of religious fanatics and terrorists, including many in Pakistan and other Islamic countries. So, when the last combat soldier leaves Afghanistan and we declare the “war” over, with whom do we sign a pact, and who will enforce the other side?

        This distinction is the reason I’ve argued that we need to view terrorism not as a war but a police problem, and it’s also why I question calling either Bergdahl or the prisoners at Gitmo “POW’s”. International law on POW’s is framed to assume a nation on each side of the matter, and that’s not what we’ve got.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  June 6, 2014

    Talk of impeachment in this case is insane in my view, or at least political insanity. Forget it and criticizing anyone calling for such all you like is fine with me.

    Yes, the President broke a law. But WHY did he choose to do so, now, is the bigger question is it not. I for one have yet to hear a good reason from knowingly breaking a law. And I say that apolitically. Obviously the reason he picked to NOT notify Congress is that this whole debate would have transpired while the soldier was still in the custody of the Taliban. Fine, let Congress debate all they like but the President could have simply gone ahead with his actions during the debate, could he not. And he must have known such a debate would take place after the release of the soldier.

    This brings up what I call the “lame excuse” into play. John McCain and hundreds of others remained in brutal captivity until the end of an undeclared war in Vietnam. THEN we brought them home. Some of those men also died in brutal captivity. But I never heard of much public outcry against Nixon and others for failing to move heaven and earth to free those captives. And had this soldier died in captivity I doubt many would be screaming now over the administrations failure to gain his release. Using the full power of American government to release one captive in ill health is at least “unusual” is it not. And to compound that effort, politically, to violate the law in doing so is strange indeed is it not?

    One other point to consider. Remember after the Korean War that military developed a Code of Conduct for POWs. I was heavily indoctrinated in that code as a young man in the military. Basically it specified the manner in which POWs, Americans, should conduct themselves in captivity. Hundreds if not thousands did exactly that during the Vietnam War, John McCain being the classic example known to most today, but don’t forget the others.

    I for one would suggest we move forward now that the soldier is “home”. But in moving forward, how does America remain firm in “not negotiating with terrorists” simply to avoid future captures of Americans to gain an advantage by the enemy? Is that not a big question?

    As well should not the soldier now be held accountable for his actions before his capture and during his captivity? If he goes “scot free” with no consequences for at least his allegeded actions, then is that not incentive for other soldiers to just “wallk away” from their duties? But to publicly try that soldier now will create as much hate and discontent as we see in just his release from “captivity”. Where I wonder can blind justice prevail in such circumstances?

    Words such as traitor, deserter, AWOL member of the military are now in play. The same words are in play as well for Snowden today with political sides lining up, one against the other. We could see trials or indictments that make Bergdhal, Snowen and Ellsworth (Pentagon Papers) all back in the headlines. Yet there remains that funny concept of the Rule of Law as well, laws to prevent dishonorable surrenders, espionage, purposeful disclosure of classified materials based on individual “beliefs”, etc.

    The President chose to act as he did. He did so fully aware of the “law” as well. This was not some midnight terrorist attack demanding quick judgment (Benghazi) as well. But in neither case did the President’s actions rise to the “level of impeachment”, a phrase heard loud and clear about 15 or so years ago for “lying under oath”. It is what we do next that counts in the Bergdhal case, in my view.

    As well I would certainly consider it a fair question for any Presidential candidate in 2016 to be asked, straight out, if they would violate the law in the case of Bergdhal if such came up on their own watch later on. Let such judgment reside in the political, not legal, realm, in my view.

    As well this whole pattern of violation of the law, Fast and Furious, IRS, VA, etc., etc. should be a hot political topic in coming campaigns as well, but NOT an impeachment hearing, again!!!

    Anson

    Like

    • King Beauregard

       /  June 6, 2014

      “I for one have yet to hear a good reason from knowingly breaking a law. And I say that apolitically. Obviously the reason he picked to NOT notify Congress is that this whole debate would have transpired while the soldier was still in the custody of the Taliban. Fine, let Congress debate all they like but the President could have simply gone ahead with his actions during the debate, could he not.”

      Good God, you don’t even know when you’re contradicting yourself. The point of 30 day notice is to not act until those 30 days have elapsed, so you just endorsed Obama breaking the law on the heels of saying you can’t think of a single good reason to knowingly break a law.

      Like

    • I will address some of your points at a later time (I’m on the road now), but like King B, I am at a loss to understand what your position is. Did Obama have a good reason to break the law or didn’t he?

      Duane

      Like

  5. ansonburlingame

     /  June 7, 2014

    It is pure and simple. Obama could have notified Congress that he was going to release captives from Gitmo, why he was doing so, and that because of ……. he was not going to observe the 30 day requirement. Then just do it with such notification being given but breaking the 30 wait period. He could also have done it strictly to the two Congressional intelligence committees and avoid public release of sensitive matters, until the soldier came home.

    Of course there would have been a debate, a big one. But we are now having the debate anyway.

    Also remember this soldier remained alive for 5 years. Would 30 more days have made a difference? Can anyone not consider all sorts of information exchange while we were “not negotiating with terrorists” to determine the state of the soldier’s health, even air dropped medication, etc., during the negotiations, etc.

    As for my “position” on the matter. I believe the administration again screwed this up. It boils down to using the full force of American government to free one soldier out of thousands that have suffered during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. What is it some 6000 dead, God knows how many wounded, some that will suffer grave emotional harm for the rest of their lives and a few that were captured and tortured/killed during captivity and now ONE soldier captured under very questionable circumstances, did God knows what in violation of the POW Code of Conduct during captivity, etc. and look what we did for him.

    Want some more? The old story, rumor perhaps, is that John McCain was offered release by his Vietnamese captors if he would “only do …..” He said not only “No” to doing it but added that he would not go home until his fellow POWs did so as well.

    I know it is hard to imagine anyone making such a decision while in captivity. But that is exactly the decisions mandated by the Code of Conduct for POWs. And every soldier, sailor, marine and airman that volunteer to serve in our military know that Code, period.

    When one volunteers to serve, one agrees to act honorably, not “walk away” from assigned duties, even life threatening duties, act in accordance with codes, regulations, UCMJ, etc. 24/7 for as long as they serve, etc. No “King’s X”, I didn’t know what I was getting into, etc., just obey the “rules”. And if/when you do so, then America will in fact move heaven and earth to protect you, return you safely to home and hearth, etc.

    This soldier failed in his duties, glaringly it seems to me. How would you like to be the father or mother, or brother or sister, of some other soldier dying in heroric efforts to rescue this guy?

    And yep, Juan, here comes Benghazi again. Whole different situation, brave men under attack and a failure of the American government to “move heaven and earth” to rescue them. Yet in this case ……….

    Why I ask, again? Unfortunately it sure seems to be a political move, not one in the best interests of all Americans that volunteer to serve and die if needed, for their country. Again, four Americans gave their “all” in terms of duty, honor and country in Benghazi and America did not even TRY to rescue them. As well we have done a piss poor job of rendering justice to the terrorists that killed them. Bergdhal failed, it seems to me, to uphold that code, tradition, whatever you call it of duty, honor and country. At best he was a “slacker”, probably a coward, and for sure violated (if allegations are true) all sorts of specific “rules” that governed his behavior while serving. As well the administration HAD to know his background before doing what it did to save him. Why?

    Anson

    PS: I would add that asking the Taliban to “kill him” is equally despicable and whoever said such nonsense should spend some time in the hands of the Taliban. The traditional American position in such matters is to demand that any such captive be treated IAW the Geneva Convention and “we will negotiate release after the conflict ends”. Should that now be changed?

    Like

    • King Beauregard

       /  June 7, 2014

      “Also remember this soldier remained alive for 5 years. Would 30 more days have made a difference?”

      You don’t even bother to do the basic research, do you? His health was declining, and based on videotapes of Bergdahl, there was at least legitimate question as to whether he was good for another 30 days.

      Your support for the troops, and especially our POWs, is awe-inspiring.

      Like

  6. Hurt'n in Kansas

     /  June 7, 2014

    fox news /= legitimate news organization

    Like

  7. ansonburlingame

     /  June 8, 2014

    The King raises a point beyond the scope of this blog. I challenges my support for “the troops and POWs”. On one hand he condemns by views of Benghazi where four “troops” (actually alot more than four) were under attack, defending themselves and the American government did not “move heaven and earth” to rescue them. I call that supporting the “troops” and condemning policitians for their failure to do so.

    But “troops” is a broad term. There are the truly heroric ones, the vast majority that simply do their job, their duty, no matter how hard it might be, and then there are the malcontents, the slackers, the cowards, the sexual assualters, and the list of dishonorable “troops” goes on and on, like in any society by and large. No I do not “support” that latter category of “troops”. Those particular troops deserve no more extraordinary support that criminals or other social malcontents.

    Do I “support” all people, and I mean all people, on welfare. Not at all as some of them don not deserve such support by their actions, dishonorable and sometimes illegal actions..

    I could say more, but why bother, back to one who if he was in trouble, the King, I would not “support” either. But I would not as well call for his “execution” by the Taliban or whomever as well.

    Anson

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    • Mixing Bowe Bergdahl, Benghazi and the “dishonorable and sometimes illegal actions” of welfare recipients together is a curious stew. Maybe it is just me, but throwing in a bad review of the latest Godzilla movie might make the muddle even more inexplicable.

      Like

  8. ansonburlingame

     /  June 10, 2014

    I would expect nothing less from one that always supports President Obama, no matter what, so far.

    The issue raised by King was support “for the troops and POWs” and he indicated his view that I fail to do so, support our troops and POWs. Nothing could be farther from the truth in terms of my beliefs. I overwhelmingly support men and women in uniform when they do their jobs, extraordinarly difficult jobs in many cases. When men and women give their best efforts in terms of Duty, Honor and Country they deserve the best support America can offer, all the time.

    I detest the way this administration handles such matters, supporting the troops if you will. At the policy level, the funding level, etc. just look at the VA mess today. Obama highlighted that long term misadministration of VA health care during his campaign in 2008. Now look at the condition of the VA administration some 6 years later.

    Recall the picture of the President and senior administration officials glued to a computer screen watching, real time, the raid to kill or capture OBL. The implication was a of a courageous commander, the one ultimately responsible for authorizing the actions and now engrossed in seeing it carried out.

    Then go to the lack of any publicity pictures showing senior administration officials watching public TV broadcasts of a real time attack on our men and women in Benghazi and the President goes to bed while death and destruction reign down on those souls. He wakes up in the morning, sees a mess on his hands and says, the video may have caused the attack. It is still not clear to me who was in charge, what orders were given from DC, etc. during that 8 or so hours of death and destruction taking place in full public view. All I know for sure is America did NOTHING to try to save those men.

    Godzilla movies are fiction. The matters I speak of above are REAL.

    Consider this simple point, a view from the level of the “troops” if you will. Just how many “troops” would have willingly gotten on a heliocopter, flown into the fire fight at Benhazai and gone into a raging battle to save their fellow troops in that consulate and other facilities nearby. The volunteer line would stretch from here to ……., man clamoring to do their duty to save their comrades.

    Then consider asking the “troops” to do the same, go into a raging battle to save one soldier that had “walked away from his unit”, probably giving his unit the finger in his mind’s eye. How many brave men and women would volunteer for such a rescue or instead said let him wait until the end of the war and let the diplomats free him at that point in time?

    Want another example of what “troops” do, on their own in many cases when the crap hits the fan? Consider Somalia and “Blackhawk Down”. Did anyone criticize the President when 18 brave men died trying to give their all to rescue their fellow comrades? Not that I heard and probably the President and his senior advisors were not involved in the decisions made on the ground to engage as the troops so engaged during that crisis. The “troops” did it on their own with no advice from DC.

    Had DC remained silent during Benghazi, just how many fighter aircraft would have been straffing the mob at Benghazi, helos filled with “troops” from offshore or nearby Tripoli been buzzing overhead, armed drones reigning down hellfire missiles on the mob, etc. and the possibilities go on and on.

    “Troops” are funny creatures. But like most creatures they have an inate sense of who they respect and who they don’t respect. Note I said respect, not “like”. Then go ask a large group of “troops” as to Presidents they respect the most, just over our mutual life times if you like. Ronald Reagan would top that list, no questions asked in my view and Obama would be at the bottom of the list, no questions asked as well, at least coming from this old “trooper”.

    I wonder if those “troops” know something you Obama supporters don’t know?

    Anson

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