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Dutchess_III's avatar

If the POW stranded overseas for 5 years was your son, would you view Obama's decision not to give congress 30 days notice differently?

Asked by Dutchess_III (27702 points ) June 6th, 2014

President Obama said: “Listen, I did what needed to be done. What congress wouldn’t do, and what our nation always does — get our troops home. Do you think I’m so naïve to blindly just hand over five detainees without proper preparation? Seriously?! C’mon now. What should I have done, sold them 1500 missiles? What to only have them get more hostages? We all know how that works out. Republicans were all for Sergeant Bergdahl’s release until it actually happened. They were already preparing talking points and headlines that I abandoned a US soldier. He’s coming home. If there’s an investigation to be made as to why he went missing, then it will be done, but we don’t leave people behind. We just don’t.”

Darth Algar said, about the bill “In a nutshell there was a bill passed that requires the President to give Congress 30 days’ notice before acting on prisoner exchanges like this. Obama, however, has always contested the bill saying that it’s an unconstitutional infringement on the powers of the executive office. I’m inclined to agree with Obama on this one. The window of opportunity on exchanges of this nature can be pretty narrow, and if the President sat around and waited for 30 so that a few combative Congress men can feel that have proper notice (note: he doesn’t have to have Congressional approval to initiate such exchanges, he just has to tell them he’s going to do it a month before he does it) then he’d likely miss the window altogether. It’s a pointless bill that was passed just so some Congressmen can use it for political grandstanding and tell their voters back home that they’re fighting against unchecked presidential power, or when he ignores it they can tell those same voters “see? He’s a tyrant trying to bypass Congress”.

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63 Answers

dappled_leaves's avatar

I don’t understand this beef about the notice. Wasn’t this deal in the works for, like, years? Didn’t everyone know this was going to happen eventually?

Judi's avatar

I’m having a similar argument on Facebook. The question we should be talking about really is “To what lengths are we as a nation willing to go to retrieve an American POW. ”
It shouldn’t matter if the circumstances of his capture were questionable or if it was a result of their own stupid or reckless choices.
There was a time that one American soldier had more value than any enemy. It appears that we as a nation are deciding to revisit that question now.

Jaxk's avatar

If he felt it was unconstitutional, why did he sign it? Are we to believe the intent was to apply to other presidents but not him? We must remember that this was not signed into law by Bush or Clinton, or even Reagan, Obama signed it. Now he wants to claim someone else is responsible?

As for you premise that no price is too high, you can’t be serious. This has been going on for a few years now so apparently the price has been too high for a while. If Obama has had second thoughts for the past couple of years, why would he feel no one else could?

Obama thought he was going to be a hero and he lied and cheated to do it. Now that he’s being questioned, he’s throwing a tantrum. So what else is new.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Jaxk, from this article. “This isn’t the first time the United States has negotiated with terrorist groups. In 1979, Jimmy Carter negotiated with Iranian extremists in an attempt to free American hostages there. Ronald Reagan’s administration was responsible for the weapons for prisoner sway that became known as the Iran Contra scandal. Bill Clinton negotiated with the Taliban in at attempt to get them to turn over Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. The talks to release Bergdahl follow in this tradition.

Jaxk's avatar

@Dutchess_III

As I recall, Reagan was criticized and investigated for Iran Contra, not applauded. Carter was incompetent and Clinton was unsuccessful.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yep. This is the first time any president has successfully negotiated with a terrorist group. Other president’s have tried, only Obama succeeded. The time was right, and he jumped on it.

Obama has succeeded in several areas where other presidents have failed.

jaytkay's avatar

John McCain publicly commented on the deal in February.

Hmmmm, is four months less than 30 days? Tough question, I know.

ragingloli's avatar

If it was my son, I would not give a shit, because I would have disowned that PetaQ the moment he joined the jackbooted thug club.

Jaxk's avatar

@Dutchess_III

I must admit to a bit of confusion here. I said nothing about negotiating with terrorists so I’m not sure why you’re after me for it. Also Obama has claimed he did not negotiate with terrorists since his negotiations were with Qatar. You seem to want to prove he is a liar and a damned good one. I don’t really want to argue that point since I think we agree.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You said “As I recall, Reagan was criticized and investigated for Iran Contra, not applauded. Carter was incompetent and Clinton was unsuccessful.” They were attempting to negotiate with terrorists.

Do you have a link where Obama made the claim, that he wasn’t negotiating with terrorists? That’s just absurd, as he is swapping 5 terrorists for our one soldier.

I don’t think Obama is a liar at all. I voted for him both times.

tinyfaery's avatar

This is another bullshit distraction. The Constitution is an aged document that doesn’t consider the world we truly live in.

I’m more concerned about Syrian refugees and LGBTQ people being named, stalked and killed in parts of Africa.

Get a grip. America is a bullshit country. The government distracts you so businesses can continue to use what is practically slave labor to make cheap shit for Wal-Mart and the gun lobby can continue to keep guns in the hands of idiot red necks who think mass murder is entertainment.

Jaxk's avatar

@Dutchess_III

Here

Or Here

Not directly from Obama but close enough.

P.S. No one is surprised that you voted for Obama. Both times.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@tinyfaery This isn’t about the constitution, I don’t think.

@Jaxk Those were arguments made by others, not Obama.
Oh and did you catch the part that the Afghan war is coming to an end? Score another one for Obama. (PS, I’d vote for him yet a 3rd time, but I’d have a nervous breakdown thinking about putting his wife and kids through all that shit for another 4 years.)

filmfann's avatar

I don’t like how this played out. When Obama signed the bill which included this requirement, he used the old Bush signing statement trick. Obama was being set up and played, which is standard operating procedure for this congress.
What really bothers me is McCain, who publicly approved of the deal 4 months ago, has shown how hypocritical he is by badmouthing it now. He should know better the most how bad a situation like this is for a POW.

Jaxk's avatar

@Dutchess_III

Yes, I heard. Apparently he just needs to get the Taliban political structure back in place before we leave. Score another one for Obama?

Judi's avatar

He is stuck inCuttar for at least a year.

Judi's avatar

It was part of the agreement. They are to be detained in Cuttar (May be spelling it wrong) for at least a year.

Judi's avatar

Yes. Sorry I didn’t look it up before. It’s Qatar.

gondwanalon's avatar

Obama doesn’t need Congress or the law. After all he has got a pen, and he’s got a phone.

Yes I think that Congress should do their job and make sure that the President operates in the interest of the USA and its allies. And it it takes 30 days then so be it.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Jaxk No. Obama didn’t think he was going to be a hero. He is not stupid. The Republicans are going to attack him either way. Like what you just did. He brought a soldier home. Done.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

No. The big question is why? Why does he so often have a need to operate outside of the law and in violation of the Constitution. He has the mindset of a dictator.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@MollyMcGuire

Every president pushes the boundaries of the law and Constitution as much as they can. Every single goddamned one.

JLeslie's avatar

@MollyMcGuire He acts without Congress so often because so many Republicans made promises to screw him at every turn. They will vote against him just to do it. If Bush had brought a soldier home most Republicans would be thrilled. I don’t know if Obama was able to make the deal under the constitution or not, I don’t know the law well enough, but certainly all Presidents do things that push the envelope. Hell, Bush should have broken the law (he even admits this) regarding hurricane Katrina and gone down into Louisana. Obama isn’t a dictator, that is ridiculous to me. Everyone wants to make him to be Castro or Chavez and he just isn’t. If the Republicans want to avoid a Castro, they need to start being more cooperative and allow the middle class to flourish. Dictators and communists get voted in when masses of people can’t catch a fair break and are having trouble feeding their families.

Do you think Congress would have voted against the trade? I have no opinion on the trade, I don’t know enough about the soldier or the people we traded for him.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@gondwanalon And if it were your son, and waiting that 30 days meant the president lost that window of opportunity and your son wouldn’t be released after all, would you still demand he wait 30 days?

@JLeslie From what I understand, there was no question of voting. Congress didn’t have a say in it. They were just supposed to be notified so they could find some reason to throw a fit. But hell. They’ve known about it for months. Didn’t stop them from throwing a fit anyway. Like the president said, if he hadn’t secured the kid’s release they were ready with headlines screaming “The president abandoned one of our own!!”

Jaxk's avatar

The idea that there is nothing controversial about this decision is mind boggling. The Taliban asked for these five guys back in 2011. If there was no issue, if it was a ‘no brainer’, why didn’t we do it back then? Why did Bergdahl have to wait another three years? It took a week between when Obama cut the deal and when we actually exchanged. Why didn’t Obama give congress at least that much notification? Yeah, I’m sure there would still have been complaints but at least people like Diane Feinstein would have been on his side. Instead even she, a California Democrat, has said he broke the law.

The truth is this whole mess is of his own doing, his own arrogance. Those that blindly love him will continue to support anything he does. In return, Obama will continue to do anything he wants. Oliver Hardy said it best, “this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into”.

Judi's avatar

The timing matters. They will be at least a year in Qatar and by then we will have very few of our troops left in Afghanistan. We are supposed to be out by the end of 2015

JLeslie's avatar

My mom said she doesn’t trust this soldier. She believes he might be sympathetic to Al Qaeda. Do any of the people answering here agree with that suspicion? I heard his dad didn’t shave in protest, but my mom thinks the soldier and his dad aren’t trustworthy.

Judi's avatar

@JLeslie , I think we need more facts in order to make that judgment. He may have walked away with an amount of sympathy but I believe once he was captured he probably realized that they were no better and probably worse than the horror he had realizing that we were not the angelic rescuers of an oppressed people that he went in thinking we were.
I don’t think it really matters though. If he were my son I would do whatever it took to get him freed, including learning the language of his captors and altering my appearance to appear more sympathetic to them. I’d wear a freakin’ Hijab if I thought it would help get my son back.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi That makes sense also. I certainly can understand a parent going to extremes to try to save their child.

Jaxk's avatar

Bergdahl converted to Islam and calls himself a mujahid (a warrior for Islam). It may be a result of Stockholme syndrome but that would still make him untrustworthy. We know he left looking for the Taliban whether to join or just talk doesn’t matter. I would think there is plenty of evidence that he is untrustworthy. There may be good reason but that doesn’t make him more trust worthy.

mazingerz88's avatar

So many second-guessing about Obama’s actions. Easy to tell when he did something right. The Republicans balk. So obvious maaaan….he is as cunning as Republicans now. He doesn’t give a shit. Now try calling Democrats weak Repubs-! LOL

gondwanalon's avatar

@Dutchess_III You can say what if this or that all day long. In reality anyone captured by the Taliban is pretty much instantly a dead man walking.

@mazingerz88 Yes Obama did something right for the Taliban terrorists and for those who hate American capitalism. Obama is very strong at not giving a shit. HA!

mazingerz88's avatar

Doing something right for the Taliban terrorists by increasing their numbers by 5 @gondwanalon-? Staggering number-! That’s one division right there. American firepower and intelligence is just in deep shit right now because of 5 more Taliban jerks. Is that it-? heh heh

5 Talibans to send one American home. Woooooorth it-! US Commander in Chief….awesome-! : )

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I assume the soldier will be debriefed. I guess it is possible we hope to get information out of him. But, the other side is not stupid, let’s be real, so I am not so sure what there is to learn.

gondwanalon's avatar

@mazingerz88 Oh so they are just 5 harmless Taliban jerks? Oh thanks for straightening me out on that. Some sources are calling them 5 Taliban leaders.

My mind drifts back to 9–11-2001. A few Islam extremists jerks in dirty night shirks brought American firepower and intelligence it its knees. How awesome is that? Allahu Ak(barf)bar to you.

ragingloli's avatar

@gondwanalon
Everyone knows 9/11 was an inside job.

mazingerz88's avatar

Ah long time ago @gondwanalon A lot has changed re American vigilance. The same threat has always been there.

So are these 5 Talibans the Moriarty to Uncle Sam’s Sherlock Holmes-? C’mon. An American who still has his head attached is home. Why can’t you be happy-? Or do you want him back there-?

mazingerz88's avatar

You’re being paranoid about this @gondwanalon. You’re making lots of American leaders stupid in your head. Too much. Too much.

gondwanalon's avatar

@ragingloli Oh everyone knows that it was all Bush’s fault.

@mazingerz88 Oh what difference does it make. Sorry about my paranoia. I mean no harm.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

The responses to my post do not list one, NOT ONE, justification for Obama’s conduct.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@MollyMcGuire

Whoever said anything about justification?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@MollyMcGuire He did not operate outside of the law. He did not need congressional approval to get the guy back. The time was right, there was a narrow window of opportunity, he took it. That’s called “leadership.”

Would you care to elaborate on other times Obama has “So often” operated “outside of the law”?

JLeslie's avatar

From what I read, Obama is being accused of not giving congress a 30 day notice that the detainees at Gitmo would be transferred. If that is the law Obama is being accused of circumventing then I have to wonder what was the intention of the creation of that law? In what spirit was the law created? Was it intended for this sort of situation?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It wasn’t really a law. More of a suggestion. And he went around it because he didn’t HAVE 30 days to get this done.

Jaxk's avatar

^^ Just a couple of points. If you recall, Obama and holder want to try these guys in NYC. There was a lot of opposition to bringing them to NY. Then they were going to move them to a vacant prison outside of Chicago. Again the opposition. It was pretty clear that this administration would do most anything to get those guys out of Gitmo so they could close it. Congress didn’t want to find that this administration had moved these guys in secret, so they attached this provision to a spending bill that he would at least have to let congress know. Obama signed it into law.

Obama has the authority to make this swap and doesn’t need approval from congress. It is merely a notification but it is law. I have no idea why Obama decided to do this deal in secret but it is a good guess that he thought it would be applauded by both parties and the public. The Rose Garden ceremony and the Susan Rice comments were intended to make the deal look even better. Bergdahl’s Dad didn’t help by looking and sounding like a Taliban himself. The story about Bergdahl’s health did hold up very well either since he appears to be in relatively good shape, physically.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I wonder if the Obama administration knew hate the dad looked like? Was it like asking to try on the glove at the OJ trial? The guy showed up in DC right before the press interview and Obama’s staff didn’t have time to get him shaven? I don’t think the dad should have been trotted out at all honestly. I don’t understand it all honestly. Why not wait until the soldier was home to make all that so public.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

I would hope that security would know everything about someone before they are brought into the Rose Garden with the President. With that in mind, it looks like either stupidity or incompetence to me. Not necessarily by Obama but by his staff.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk They may know everything, but not have a current photo is what I am wondering. A background check on me might not produce a current photo. I have no idea, I am just thinking out loud. It would be a little incmetent I think for the Obama staff not to have met with him before they set the whole thing up. Who knows, maybe the people Obama negotiated with required to put the guy on TV? Any crazy thing is possible.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie

When all this first came up before the Rose Garden ceremony, I had already seen this guy on the news back in his home town, getting ready for that annual party they threw every year and he spoke Arabic then. I don’t remember him thanking Allah however. He waited for the Rose Garden for that one.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Jaxk As someone mentioned above, McCains said something about the swap back in January of February. Obviously it wasn’t a secret. Obama has been saying loud and clear that he wanted to shut Gitmo down.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I barely watch the news these days, so I had no idea any of that was televised. He thanks Allah? Lord. That’s really is a little piece of WTF? I have a big problem with using the word Allah when translating Arabic. I am critical of the American media for not translating the word to God like they would in Spanish, Hebrew, French, etc., etc. Then here this guy thanks Allah in the Rose garden? Oy vey.

Jaxk's avatar

@Dutchess_III

Actually the swap for these five guys came up all the way back in 2011. There was a lot of opposition then and the deal didn’t happen. When it was brought up again McCain said that he would consider any swap but there were no details. Part of the legislation passed includes assurances that these guys won’t get back into the fight. It’s not notification if it’s merely some vague reference to a prisoner swap.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, he brought the guy home and I’m glad.

Now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, along with several other key terrorist leaders, I don’t think the guys they’re letting go can do much. If they start acting up we’ll just go in and kill them.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@Dutchess_III
Is there a special store where you purchased those Rose Colored Glasses?
look at the world and actually see what is happening all around you not just what is happening where you actually reside. “the guys they’re letting go can’t do much” Say WHAT??????

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

When oh when are the grown ups going to finally take over the White House? How much more damage can be done in two years? Thank goodness many many Americans do not think like the “average fluether” member. we would be in even deeper shit than we already are. It is downright scary when a group of liberals get together and talking conversing.

Judi's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat , you think the Republicans in Congress are acting like grown ups? Seriously?

ragingloli's avatar

like when the grown ups (bush and friends) let 9/11 happen, started 2 illegal wars of aggression, tortured prisoners, and caused the current global economic crisis.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

Like I said before. Sometimes people just give ya the perfect examples of what you are trying to get across. two more years….....

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