This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.
From Saturday’s New York Times, Page A1 (HT Patterico) —
Senior administration officials cautioned that the discussions over the prisoner swap, which were secretly restarted last fall after collapsing several months earlier, did not necessarily presage the resumption of the broader, on-again-off-again peace talks to end the 13-year war.
“This is the only issue we’ve discussed with the Taliban in recent months,” said one senior Obama administration official involved in the talks. “We do hope that having succeeded in this narrow but important step, it will create the possibility of expanding the dialogue to other issues. But we don’t have any promises to that effect.”
But word of renewed, secret negotiations with the Taliban brought immediate criticism from some lawmakers, including Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
There’s only one problem with that. When asked by Candy Crowlley of CNN, Obama’s best presidential debate buddy, whether “you had to negotiate with terrorists to secure the release of the sergeant,” Rice said: “We actually negotiated with the government of Qatar, to whom we owe a great debt.”
What hogwash. Does anyone believe that “government of Qatar” speaks for the Taiiban?
“Housing recovery” Update —
Pending Home Sales Turn in Weak Performance
Contracts on existing homes moved higher for the second month in a row. But the increase was weak, and activity sank compared to a year earlier.
The slogan the administration is promoting to describe its foreign policy is “Don’t Do Stupid Sh*t.” Really.
Can’t wait for the explanation as to why the following wasn’t stupid:
Bergdahl Deal Could Be First Step to Emptying Gitmo
Now that President Obama has proven Congress can’t stop him from releasing terrorists, the administration could be primed to empty out the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
President Obama released five Taliban leaders from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on Saturday without consulting Congress and without strict assurances that the militants won’t somehow return to the fight.
Emptying Gitmo unilaterally by freeing terrorists to kill again would represent an exponential increase in “stupid sh*t.”
Related, from the Wall Street Journal:
The return of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from the clutches of the Taliban is cause for relief for his family and all Americans. But there’s no denying that the price of his recovery is high. The Obama Administration swapped five of the hardest cases at Guantanamo in a fashion that will encourage terrorists to kidnap more Americans to win the release of more prisoners.
Even fever-swamp lefty Mike Lupica at the New York Daily News gets it, but only partially:
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl needed to come home, but trading him for Taliban leaders sets dangerous precedent
By making a deal like this, how many bad guys will get their ticket out of Guantanamo the next time the Taliban grabs an American? If this was about saving the life of a soldier, then bring everyone home from Afghanistan today.
The reality is that Obama’s move endangers American soldiers and citizens around the world.