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June 05, 2014

So, Why Not Get Four Deserving Civilian Hostages Out of Taliban Hands, Too?

I mentioned this in the last post, but it's more important than a brief update.

The deal to free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban detainees held by the U.S. military nixed a broader effort by the Department of Defense to include other U.S. citizens held by the Taliban and its allies, according to a top congressional aide.

The Department of Defense had a "broader goal" of including Caitlan Coleman of York , Pa., her baby who was born in captivity and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, in a deal to free Bergdahl, said Joe Kasper, chief of staff to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who sits on the House Armed Services Committee.

Among Americans held captive is Warren Weinstein, a contractor from Rockville, Md., who was abducted in 2011 in Pakistan and is detained by al-Qaeda militants aligned with the Taliban.

"The DoD was looking at this in the whole scope of things, to deal with these people as well," Kasper said. "Instead of five for one, why not five for five?"

Well, because the President wants to give up more Taliban prisoners for those people. This is not about getting Americans back; this is all Stagecraft for the real goal, which is of getting Gitmo prisoners out.

Even Chuck Todd says he's been hearing that on background, and now a State Department official says it on the record.

CHUCK TODD: I have to say, I think this is all about Gitmo. Everything about this has been about Gitmo, and finally we heard an Obama administration official yesterday, Marie Harf, one of the spokespeople at the State Department, for the first time said something on the record that I had been hearing on background and off the record is, "We had to get something for these guys because we were eventually going to have to release them anyway." And she said this on the record, and it goes back to -- and I wanted to sort of second something that I heard Bill say, which is, this is about Gitmo. The entire PR attempt on the weekend was about almost deflecting what they anticipated to be a sharp political fight about the decision to start releasing Gitmo detainees starting with these five -- and in this case they decided to quote, unquote get something for these five -- and I think they anticipated that fight so they thought well, let's do a rally-around-the-flag moment....

But this is why I've been sort of awestruck over the last six days, which is many ways the shiny metal object here has been Bergdahl when really I think the entire motivation is starting the emptying out of Gitmo and starting this decision, which is going to be a very difficult process politically.... So, I think this whole thing has been about starting the emptying of Gitmo and then doing that PR campaign, they thought, well, let's deflect the debate a little bit, and let's see if we can lower the temperature of the Gitmo debate.

Everything with TFG is a con, a hustle, a fraud.

Open Thread. I know it's been a short day but I'm knocking off.


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posted by Ace at 06:30 PM

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