Most Americans first learned about POW Bowe Bergdahl when the Obama Administration worked out a prisoner swap for five Taliban fighters for him. In addition to debates about whether Bergdahl is a traitor or not, we’ve got questions about Obama’s signing statement on the law that he used to justify making the deal without notifying Congress. And did Republicans demand to make that deal for Bergdahl in the past?
Is Obama Being Consistent On Signing Statements? Not really. When he was a presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama condemned President George W. Bush for making signing statements that said how he’d enforce the law, often different from what Congress wrote. Yet Obama has made his own signing statements from time to time too. True, Bush made 112 of them in his first term (on more than 1,200 piece of legislation), compared to Obama’s 22 in his first term according to Professor Kevin Evans at Florida International University. But Obama shouldn’t be making any of them, if he wants to be consistent. He may find himself in hot water if the Supreme Court rules that he broke the law here.
Are Republicans Being Consistent On The Bergdahl Case? Not really. A site called the National Memo dug up all the conservative pundits and bloggers who demanded that Obama work out a deal to get Bergdahl back, including Sarah Palin and the Pajamas Media site.
My own research unearthed a resolution co-sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (the most conservative Republican from North Carolina) and Rep. Mike Simpson (an Idaho Republican) and two Democrats. Here’s what House Resolution 296 (June 28, 2013) reads:
Whereas the people of the United States and Congress have a responsibility to support the troops that have been sent into harm’s way, making all efforts necessary to bring them home safely and expeditiously; Whereas Army Sergeant Bowe Robert Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, the only known United States Prisoner of War, was taken captive on June 30, 2009, and still remains in Afghanistan; and Whereas the creed ‘‘Leave No Man Behind’’ has long been part of the spirit and culture of the United States Armed Forces: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that before the United States ends its commitment in Afghanistan and United States involvement in the conflict draws to a close, the Nation needs to ensure no one is left behind and all members of the United States Armed Forces are accounted for.” Had the Taliban executed Bergdahl, all of the above would call for Obama’s impeachment.
Is Bergdahl A Traitor? Probably not. Fox News, which has reported that Bergdahl was a Taliban sympathizer, is relying heavily on a contractor fired back in 2010, who claims to be using his Taliban insiders for the information. On the other hand, the Wikileaks stolen data shows the military concluded he had been captured using a latrine. Bergdahl may be inept but I question the traitor proof. I certainly don’t support the death threats against him, his family, his town’s mayor, and the head of that town’s Chamber of Commerce. That’s a Taliban thing to do.