June 1, 2014

Bob Bergdahl, and Tonight’s Apparel Question (See More Substantive Althouse Update)

In the video of President Obama announcing his illegal hostage swap — five hardened terrorists for one American who seems likely to have been a deserter, and by several accounts went AWOL — something is more than a little odd:


That the hostage swap is illegal is not open to dispute:

Lawmakers were not notified of the Guantanamo detainees’ transfer until after it occurred.

The law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests.

Before the current law was enacted at the end of last year, the conditions were even more stringent. However, the administration and some Democrats had pressed for them to be loosened, in part to give them more flexibility to negotiate for Bergdahl’s release.

A senior administration official, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity to explain the timing of the congressional notification, acknowledged that the law was not followed. When he signed the law last year, Obama issued a signing statement contending that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers as commander in chief and that he therefore could override it.

So what the administration did is illegal, i.e., against a specific law, though it could conceivably be constitutional if Obama’s signing statement contention is correct.

Obama pledged as a candidate never to use signing statements in instances such as this:

I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law.

If there’s an example of a signing statement situation where a sitting president has had to back up his contentions with action, I can’t think of it.

Back to the apparel question.

Bob Bergdahl, father of the ransomed Bowe Bergdahl (yes, a “ransom” is a price paid for someone’s release; in this case, the price was five hardened terorrists who will more than likely dedicate their lives to committing and having others commit future terrorist acts), is wearing a tie.

Even odder than the fact that Bergdahl is wearing a tie and President Obama is not the fact that Bergdahl, who it would appear from his Google image history has not been the most frequent of tie-wearers, is wearing a light blue tie like the one Obama has frequently been seen wearing.

I say Team Obama gave this guy a tie to wear — maybe even that white shirt? — and that the tie may have come from Obama or one of his aides.

Regardless of the tie’s source, Team Obama cleaned up Bob Bergdahl, who “strangely enough” appears to have pro-Gitmo detainee and perhaps anti-American sympathies — in the same way trial lawyers clean clean up their defendants for courtroom appearances.

This administration’s obsession with misleading optics really is a sight to behold.


UPDATE, 11:50 P.M.: Ann Althouse

On Obama’s side, the argument is that the statute is unconstitutional, a congressional encroachment on presidential power. There’s no way to undo the exchange, and acting in secrecy, without informing Congress, is an exercise of the very power that the President says the statute violates. Taking this action embodies an argument that this power does and should rest with the President. Is there anything that can be done now to press the opposing argument? We can criticize the President, as we always already do. The only other alternative I see is to impeach the President.

Go ahead. He’s daring you. Perhaps part of his motivation for the prisoner trade was a predicted political boost as the President’s opponents are distracted into seeming to complain about the return of a hero and tripping all over themselves as they posture about impeachment.

… Proofreading, Meade (Althouse’s husband) reads the post title and says: “What does that remind you of? Iran-Contra.”

This is far worse than Iran-Contra, which led to fevered calls for Ronald Reagan’s impeachment on the left. Iran-Contra was “arms for seven real hostages.” This is “five terrorists for one hostage” — who may have volunteered to be captured.



  1. I love Obama’s excuse that the law violated “separation of powers.” Since when did Obama, the biggest violator of separation of powers, suddenly give a damn about it? BO’s flaming hypocrisy strikes again. And even if the law was not constitutional, shouldn’t he have consulted and/or informed Congress out of common courtesy?

    Comment by zf — June 2, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

  2. Its so funny Glen Beck says, soldier Andrew Tahmooressi is telling the truth while at the same time telling us that soldier Bowe Bergdahl is a liar. You should see his interview with Andrew Tahmooressi, trying to get him to slam the Whitehouse, sorry gecky, no go. Gecky has always been full of lies, remember his FEMA death camps rants, what a joke and all his chicken littles that try to sell that the sky is falling but we know better, keep lying Gecky, that all you do now!

    Comment by Oliver — June 3, 2014 @ 1:20 am

  3. And exactly what is Glenn Beck’s relevance to this post?

    This would appear to be far more relevant:
    Bergdahl Reportedly Investigated as ‘Active Collaborator with the Enemy’

    Comment by Tom — June 3, 2014 @ 1:35 am

  4. #2, You’re full the one full of lies, Beck never “ranted” that there were FEMA Death Camps, in fact he went out to disprove it because he was sick of hearing about it and he did. As for Bergdahl, calling him a solider is an insult to soldiers everywhere. Besides, your notion that it’s somehow inconsistent or hypocritical to call one person a liar and one person truthful just because they share the same profession is idiotic. Yes, even among soldiers, there are some who are liars. Seriously, are you a two year old?

    And chicken littles? No, “we” don’t “know” better. The “we’s” who deny how much danger we are in of collapse are either idiots or blind Obama worshipers. But wait, I repeat myself. Get your head out of your a$$, Olivia. (See, I can smugly feminize male names too!)

    And wait, liberals do think the sky is falling, isn’t “climate change” supposed to kill us all in five years or something?

    Comment by zf — June 3, 2014 @ 2:05 am

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