We learned on Wednesday that the United States Army is going to charge Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. If convicted, Mr. Bergdahl could face life in prison.
This charge hardly came as a surprise to those who served with Bergdahl; they had immediately suspected him of desertion when he left his post in Afghanistan in 2009. Both President Obama and Susan Rice surely must have known all this before (a) Mr. Obama celebrated the deal in the Rose Garden last May with Bergdahl’s parents and (b) National Security Adviser Susan Race declared Bergdahl had served his country with “honor and distinctoin.” Only if you believe desertion and misbehavior before the enemy is honorable and a mark of moral distinction.
But what made this particular case even more problematic is that Bergdahl was freed in exchange for five high-value Taliban figures who had been held captive in Guantanamo Bay. As several outlets and individuals have pointed out, getting back a soldier who was almost certainly a deserter was simply a pretext. The main goal of President Obama is to empty Guantanamo Bay. It is something the president declared he wanted to do during his first day in office and it’s something he is committed to doing before his last day in office. Swapping Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders–several of whom are trying to return to the battlefield so they can kill more Americans–was the convenient (if explosively contentious) excuse. The Wall Street Journal reminds us that Mr. Obama told NBC that emptying Gitmo “is going to involve, on occasion, releasing folks who we may not trust but we can’t convict.”
So we have a president with at least two obsessions: One of them is attacking the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and weakening the Jewish State of Israel; the second is to empty Guantanamo Bay and release terrorists committed to killing as many Americans as possible.
We’ve never seen anything quite like this president.