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View Diary: 'Leave no one behind' joins 'don't torture' as things conservatives now hate (142 comments)

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  •  Be nice, please (1+ / 0-)
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    lgmcp

    Let's allow for some discussion of nuance.

    It may well turn out that, after a proper investigation, that Bergdahl deserted.  Or maybe he went AWOL or maybe it's unclear. It may turn out that he broke down psychologically in some way, or maybe he acted rationally, who knows.

    Everyone is glad that he was not killed, and there's common agreement that we try to get our own back.

    But lgmcp's concerns about whether this turns into a political liability or not are worth discussing - respectfully.  Lgmcp's concerns about whether it was worth exchanging five high level Taliban, including alleged war criminals, is definitely worth discussing. That gives me some pause too, even though I think it needs to be seen in the context of the eventual peace negotiations.

    But let's be open to conversation - and not shut it down by assuming bad faith.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 02:58:07 PM PDT

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    •  a political liability? (2+ / 0-)
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      bluedust, sukeyna

      he was a POW. These accounts about how he came to be a prisoner deliberately elide that fact. They would like everyone to forget it and instead accept the implication that Bergdahl wasn't a prisoner.

      That's the Republican angle and this entire argument is accepting that premise.

      Lgmcp's concerns about whether it was worth exchanging five high level Taliban, including alleged war criminals, is definitely worth discussing.
      You know what we do with war criminals? We try them for war crimes.

      These guys were dumped in Gitmo and then pumped for information. Bush wanted them to give up OBL. And now OBL's dead (no thanks to them) and they've been there for over a decade with no hint of a war crimes tribunal.

      It's my feeling that trading these five guys for an American POW is the only positive development to come out of Gitmo since the place opened as a detention center.

      •  I'm not saying that they should remain in Gitmo (3+ / 0-)
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        Mebby, bluedust, lgmcp

        I'm also glad Bergdahl made it home, and that we didn't abandon him.  Nobody is pretending that he wasn't a POW.

        But I am far more interested in a discussion about who should be exchanged, for whom, and how this relates to a longer-term strategy on Afghanistan.  With respect to war criminals, we don't "try them for war crimes" unfortunately.  We should, but we can't because half the evidence we would use was extracted through torture and would be tossed out of federal court, and because we have undermined universal jurisdiction since the 1970's.

        I don't buy that everyone in Gitmo was there to be pumped for information on OBL. We have Taliban leaders there for other reasons.  I am all in favor of closing Guantanamo - but that makes my point:  I think Obama is interested in finding creative ways of getting that place closed and the prisoners transferred, and that is probably as important a motive to him as dealing with this one soldier.  We had five Taliban who we could not try because of our own mistakes, who we cannot release to any sort of war crimes tribunal, but who we could not easily release without some sort of reason for doing so.  Bergdahl might have been a convenient reason.

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:36:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Republicans are certainly pretending that (2+ / 0-)
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          bluedust, sukeyna

          Obama's sin, in your mind, is that he gave up too much. Five Taliban who have been out of the fight for over a decade and who we would have needed to figure out how to release anyways are too much to pay for one American POW.

          The only way that you can make that argument is if you've internalized the idea that Bergdahl wasn't actually a POW.

          (It would seem you've also internalized the idea that Taliban leaders captured on the battlefield during a declared war aren't POWs either, because Cheney said so)

          we can't because half the evidence we would use was extracted through torture
          and is therefore not evidence. Where am I that I have to explain that the problem with torture isn't that it's inadmissible in court?
          •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

            that ivorybill is saying Bergdahl wasn't a POW or even that Obama "gave away too much' as much as he IS saying there should be discussion about who gets let go.  And perhaps there should be.  But that isn't something we can count on being done rationally anymore, not with a Repugnant base that reflexively hates every thing Obama does simply because he exists.

            I think the point about working to close Gitmo does make sense - Obama's been slammed by our side of the poltical fence for NOT closing Gitmo, and with the wars winding down, it does sound like legally the prisoners there will have to be let go.  Although I imagine that some 'creative' way to keep them could be engineered, but at what cost, either in terms of dollars or in terms of 'morals'?  Can we really keep these guys in there until they die?  And should we have left Bergdahl to die there because he deserted (allegedly)?

            The other point I would make is one I've said here before - what makes us think that the 5 released were any less dangerous in the Gitmo?  You think the Taliban doesn't know how to propagandize their own battles?  You think they don't use the mere fact of the Gitmo as a recruiting tool?

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