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Author Topic: Obama admin. negotiates with terrorists
Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Thanks for raising your visor and only giving me a mild sunburn, but articles 85 and 86 of the UCMJ don't talk about war zone stipulations.

Article 85 a 2:
quote:
quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or
Hazardous duty/important service could be construed as wartime duty, which takes place in a war zone/theatre.

I grant, Al, that the article does not specifically mention "warzone" or "theatre". But it does mention the intent to avoid hazardous duty. It also seems that the difference between 85 and 86, AWOL, is that the intent must be permanent separation from the unit, rather then the distinction being tied to a warzone, or hazardous duty. In this way you are correct, sir.

But if "SGT" Bergdahl wandered off, with the intent of never coming back, then he would still be guilty of desertion. At least it seems so to me.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
But if "SGT" Bergdahl wandered off, with the intent of never coming back, then he would still be guilty of desertion. At least it seems so to me.
If.
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Thanks for raising your visor and only giving me a mild sunburn, but articles 85 and 86 of the UCMJ don't talk about war zone stipulations.

Article 85 a 2:
quote:
quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or
Hazardous duty/important service could be construed as wartime duty, which takes place in a war zone/theatre.

I grant, Al, that the article does not specifically mention "warzone" or "theatre". But it does mention the intent to avoid hazardous duty. It also seems that the difference between 85 and 86, AWOL, is that the intent must be permanent separation from the unit, rather then the distinction being tied to a warzone, or hazardous duty. In this way you are correct, sir.

But if "SGT" Bergdahl wandered off, with the intent of never coming back, then he would still be guilty of desertion. At least it seems so to me.

So is it your position, Counselor, that "SGT" Bergdahl snuck away from his patrol with intent to live happily ever after in Afghanistan? Or to make his way safely through bordering Iran or Eastern Pakistan, where the natives skin Westerners alive less frequently?
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
But if "SGT" Bergdahl wandered off, with the intent of never coming back, then he would still be guilty of desertion. At least it seems so to me.
If.
That seems to be where the evidence is pointing, Al. The last things I read stated that he left a bunch of notes with his unit, and his parents, alluding to his desire to no longer serve. Someone somewhere claimed that members of his unit stated that he "walked out" of the FOB after duty. The Grey Hooker, Miami Herald, Yahoo, all point to the Army investigation that was completed in 2010. Unless it's all false information being planted by Republican operatives.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack Squat:
So is it your position, Counselor, that "SGT" Bergdahl snuck away from his patrol with intent to live happily ever after in Afghanistan? Or to make his way safely through bordering Iran or Eastern Pakistan, where the natives skin Westerners alive less frequently?

Lets make it clear. PFC Bergdahl did not sneak away from his patrol. He sneaked out of his tent, after midnight, and then slipped off the FOB. He didn't get lost while trying to tinkle.

As to what PFC Bergdahl was thinking? I have no idea. PFCs habitually do stupid ****. It's like in their job description. If I had a dime everytime I had to ask a PFC, "What the **** were you thinking, troop?", I would have a cac load of dimes.

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AI Wessex
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From my perspective there are a lot of intelligent people trying to figure out what might have happened initially, what followed thereafter, what just happened and what it all means. I appreciate whenever I see anybody stick "if" or "might" in their sometimes tortured explanations or surmises. But then there are the asshats who know all while knowing actually relatively little. They are the ones whose voices rise above the rest and dominate the discussion. Most of the voices here fall into that first category, thankfully, but unfortunately not all.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
But then there are the asshats who know all while knowing actually relatively little. They are the ones whose voices rise above the rest and dominate the discussion. Most of the voices here fall into that first category, thankfully, but unfortunately not all.

I can assure you that my ass does not fit on my head. I've tried but I can't seem to get it to stay on.

I can certainly grant that I was not there, and I don't KNOW what happened, but my version of events as they unfolded seems to be backed by credible news sources like the NYTs and MH, etc, rather then something I pulled straight out of the 5th dimension that I keep hidden in my 4th point of contact.

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AI Wessex
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Klaatu has no ass, so clearly I did not mean you [Wink]
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Klaatu has no ass, so clearly I did not mean you [Wink]

LOL. I just want you to know that I truly love you, Al. Only you and my wife can make my brain want to jump out of my skull and scream, but then make me laugh only 2 minutes later.
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by Jack Squat:
So is it your position, Counselor, that "SGT" Bergdahl snuck away from his patrol with intent to live happily ever after in Afghanistan? Or to make his way safely through bordering Iran or Eastern Pakistan, where the natives skin Westerners alive less frequently?

Lets make it clear. PFC Bergdahl did not sneak away from his patrol. He sneaked out of his tent, after midnight, and then slipped off the FOB. He didn't get lost while trying to tinkle.
Maybe he went native and had a date with a friendly goat.
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Seneca
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We've heard from his fellow soldiers. I can't imagine what new evidence could be offered. He'd have to show evidence of an incursion onto the base to kidnap him while everyone else somehow didn't see that.

As far as the legal aspect, don't we hear from the Obama supporters that if Snowden was a true patriot he'd take responsibility for "violating" the law even if he thought he had a good reason? So even if Obama had a good reason for doing this he should accept the consequences of those actions and resign or accept impeachment, right? And before anyone suggests the consultation law is unconstitutional in this case, remember, Obama signed the Patriot act, practices rendition and torture on US citizens, continues the Constitution free zone and is still spying on the American people en masse. And he's doing all that despite running as a candidate who condemned those actions as unconstitutional and promised to end them.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
So even if Obama had a good reason for doing this he should accept the consequences of those actions and resign or accept impeachment right.
The idea that the consequence of negotiating a prisoner release in wartime without Congressional approval is resignation or impeachment is baldly ridiculous.

That said, the idea that he's using Bush's legal precedents here disappoints me to no end, although it's not unexpected after his first couple years in office. I said at the time -- when Bush used 'em -- that they were going to be used for years to buttress presidential powers during an age of artificially endless war, and I'm sorry that Obama hasn't proved me wrong.

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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
We've heard from his fellow soldiers. I can't imagine what new evidence could be offered. He'd have to show evidence of an incursion onto the base to kidnap him while everyone else somehow didn't see that.

Innocent until proven guilty doesn't apply in the military?

I think the circumstances suggest that he slipped out to do something illicit, but not to desert.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
As far as the legal aspect, don't we hear from the Obama supporters that if Snowden was a true patriot he'd take responsibility for "violating" the law even if he thought he had a good reason?

In all fairness, President Obama has not pulled a Snowden/Yanukovych and fled to the bosom of the Lord of the 100 Acre Wood, rider of sharks, Master of Ninjitsu, true heir to the Iron Throne, etc etc. His Lordship, You-Know-Pu.

Also, there are a lot of Obama supporters that are also Snowden supporters. It would make an interesting ven diagram.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack Squat:
quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
We've heard from his fellow soldiers. I can't imagine what new evidence could be offered. He'd have to show evidence of an incursion onto the base to kidnap him while everyone else somehow didn't see that.

Innocent until proven guilty doesn't apply in the military?

I think the circumstances suggest that he slipped out to do something illicit, but not to desert.

Courts martial are different. In a strict legal sense, yes, there is still innocent until proven guilty, but in a more practical sense the court martial doesn't occur unless almost everyone in the relevant chain of command thinks he is guilty otherwise the trial wouldn't get approved to go forward. It's a lot different from a single prosecutor making a call in a civilian court. We'll see how the military proceeds.

[ June 05, 2014, 11:44 AM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
As far as the legal aspect, don't we hear from the Obama supporters that if Snowden was a true patriot he'd take responsibility for "violating" the law even if he thought he had a good reason?

In all fairness, President Obama has not pulled a Snowden/Yanukovych and fled to the bosom of the Lord of the 100 Acre Wood, rider of sharks, Master of Ninjitsu, true heir to the Iron Throne, etc etc. His Lordship, You-Know-Pu.

Also, there are a lot of Obama supporters that are also Snowden supporters. It would make an interesting ven diagram.

Snowden didn't flee until after he tried 10 times to report the problem via the proper channels, after which he realized if he didn't scram he;d wind up with an NSA/CIA black bag over his head and occupying Jose Padilla's old torture cell in Egypt or wherever.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
So even if Obama had a good reason for doing this he should accept the consequences of those actions and resign or accept impeachment right.
The idea that the consequence of negotiating a prisoner release in wartime without Congressional approval is resignation or impeachment is baldly ridiculous.

Negotiating the prisoner release wasn't violating the law- moving prisoners out of Gitmo without giving Congress enough lead time to prevent that from ever happening was the violation of the law.

Otherwise yes- taking responsibility for skirting it, via a signing statement and war powers means cooperating with the investigation that follows not just arbitrarily resigning.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:

If you have an agreement with your partner that you'll discuss all deals ahead of time, but then find yourself having to agree to the "deal of a lifetime" before you can talk it over, don't you think that you would bear a greater responsibility for the consequences of that deal?

Thanks for the clarification, Seriati.

Honestly, if I agreed to a deal of a lifetime without the consent of my wife, (is that the kind of partner you meant, or did you mean business partner, too many uses of partner now), she would probably be pissed no matter how good the deal was, but she would be MORE pissed if the deal turned out to suck.

I do see how showing that the exchange can be characterized as bad strengthens the argument that the law has a purpose that was violated. But no-one seems to be making the case that the law was bad. I still haven't seen anyone actually make the case that the exchange was actually good. If the intent is to defend against a counter-argument before it is even made, then I think that's a rhetorical mistake.

But what ends up happening is that you end up with a circular argument.

The exchange was bad
because it was against the law
because the exchange was bad

See?

[ June 05, 2014, 12:02 PM: Message edited by: Grant ]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Snowden didn't flee until after he tried 10 times to report the problem via the proper channels, after which he realized if he didn't scram he;d wind up with an NSA/CIA black bag over his head and occupying Jose Padilla's old torture cell in Egypt or wherever.
10 times? You have something besides Snowden's claim to back that up?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
If the intent is to defend against a counter-argument before it is even made...
It's not. The goal is to come up with another excuse to impeach Obama, since the Benghazi "investigation" was eventually exposed as a trumped-up sham.

No one sincerely gives a damn about this exchange, except perhaps the families of the people freed.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I do see how showing that the exchange can be characterized as bad strengthens the argument that the law has a purpose that was violated. But no-one seems to be making the case that the law was bad.
I'll happily assert that point, since the law (Obama must give Congress 30 days notice before transferring anyone out of Gitmo to anywhere, even another domestic facility) only really exists to ensure that Obama can't fulfil his promise to close Gitmo.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
The exchange was bad
because it was against the law
because the exchange was bad

The exchange may be bad as a deal.
The exchange violated a law that was at least in part designed to stop bad deals.

Nothing says the exchange was bad because of the legal violation, only that the badness may have been stopped without it (of course it may not have, but then it would be Congress and the President in trouble politically and not legally).

Nothing circular there.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
Snowden didn't flee until after he tried 10 times to report the problem via the proper channels, after which he realized if he didn't scram he;d wind up with an NSA/CIA black bag over his head and occupying Jose Padilla's old torture cell in Egypt or wherever.
10 times? You have something besides Snowden's claim to back that up?
The alternative is to trust an intelligence bureaucracy that we know now lied straight to Congress's face under oath by their own admission. Which would you choose?

Also, to suggest that no one sincerely cares about this exchange is very insulting. A lot of people care. I care quite a bit because I have great sympathy for our boys and girls out in harms way, because I was there myself. And I know that this will paint a huge target on them to kidnap them now that terrorists know Obama will ransom kidnapped soldiers when they are taken by terrorists. This is nothing like trading POWs. Are the people in Gitmo POWs?

[ June 05, 2014, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
This is nothing like trading POWs.
Why not?
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Seneca
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quote:
Are the people in Gitmo POWs?

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TomDavidson
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Even if they aren't -- and, frankly, I don't concede that they aren't; I think the legal status we invented to justify holding them is a shameful sham, and that we should indeed consider them prisoners of war -- it seems to me that if they were POWs, then it would not only be like a POW exchange but would literally be a POW exchange. This scenario is, by contrast, literally the most something could be like a POW exchange without actually being one.

Your claim -- that it's "nothing like trading POWs" -- doesn't seem supportable, as it's like trading POWs in every way.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:

The exchange violated a law that was at least in part designed to stop bad deals.

The law has nothing to do with deals in any way. The only point of the law is to prevent prisoner transfers out of Gitmo.
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:

The exchange violated a law that was at least in part designed to stop bad deals.

The law has nothing to do with deals in any way. The only point of the law is to prevent prisoner transfers out of Gitmo.
How do you know that? Are there statements from the bill's sponsors saying exactly that and saying that the bill is also intended to do absolutely nothing else?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:

The exchange violated a law that was at least in part designed to stop bad deals.

The law has nothing to do with deals in any way. The only point of the law is to prevent prisoner transfers out of Gitmo.
How do you know that? Are there statements from the bill's sponsors saying exactly that and saying that the bill is also intended to do absolutely nothing else?
That's the text of the law itself. It's not a law preventing prisoner negotiations, it's not a law preventing dealing with the Taliban, it's a law that says that Congress must be notified before anyone gets moved out of Gitmo, even if it's to a different US controlled facility. The only purpose it serves at all is to make it hard, if not outright impossible, to close Gitmo.

Had Obama traded Taliban prisoners that weren't in Gitmo for this soldier, then he would have been perfectly in the clear, legally. The only reason that there's a legal question at all is because it involves reducing the number of prisoners held in Gitmo.

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Seneca
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How is a law requiring mere notification in any way an impediment to Obama doing anything? Is Obama a really shy guy who doesn't like talking to people?
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Wayward Son
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quote:
And I know that this will paint a huge target on them to kidnap them now that terrorists know Obama will ransom kidnapped soldiers when they are taken by terrorists.
And how do you know this, since it didn't happen before?
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LetterRip
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It is probably a question for the supreme court if congress even has the authority to require such notification. I suspect they don't.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
How is a law requiring mere notification in any way an impediment to Obama doing anything? Is Obama a really shy guy who doesn't like talking to people?

Because by the time the period is up wither such a political stink will have been raised about the transfer that it's practically impossible or the GoP will have inserted a rider on a bill explicitly blocking the transfer from happening as they have repeatedly done up til now in order to prevent Gitmo from being closed. The only reason that it's still open at all is because Congress has blocked every effort to close it, with the Democrats willing to take such blocks as a concession to Republicans in order to get incremental approval on other matters that they feel are more important.
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
And I know that this will paint a huge target on them to kidnap them now that terrorists know Obama will ransom kidnapped soldiers when they are taken by terrorists.
And how do you know this, since it didn't happen before?
How do we know this? Because the terrorists are saying so.
quote:
A Taliban commander involved in the negotiations for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said the recent deal by the Obama administration makes kidnapping U.S. soldiers much more attractive.

The commander, speaking to Time on the condition of anonymity, said it logistically made sense at this point to try and kidnap soldiers and other high-value targets.

“It’s better to kidnap one person like Bergdahl than kidnapping hundreds of useless people,” he said. “It has encouraged our people. Now everybody will work hard to capture such an important bird.”

The statement reaffirms the fear of those critical of the trade, including Sen. Ted Cruz.

“What does this tell terrorists?” Cruz told ABC’s This Week. “That if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorist prisoners?”


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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
If the intent is to defend against a counter-argument before it is even made...
It's not. The goal is to come up with another excuse to impeach Obama, since the Benghazi "investigation" was eventually exposed as a trumped-up sham.
I don't care if it's Obama or the next one, but if a Congress doesn't bring up a President soon on the outer bounds of executive power, we will end up with a King. There's no reasonable argument that President Obama is not an aggressive expander of the power of the executive, and I do find that incredibly concerning.

Of course impeachment is not the "goal" here, nor was Benghazi shown as false. If anyone has an ulterior motive its the person trying to divert attention from valid enquiries before they've even been investigated or considered.
quote:
No one sincerely gives a damn about this exchange, except perhaps the families of the people freed.
What a reeking and insulting motive speculation. And one that is so utterly unsupportable that it should be retracted.

We have an established policy on not negotiating with terrorsist specifically because people have been concerned about the consequences of the alternative. People expressing doubt about the wisdom of this deal in reference to that is absolutely a legitimate concern.

Even if you accept the President's "rationale" you'd have to question a deal that trades five enemy leaders for essentially a private.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
And I know that this will paint a huge target on them to kidnap them now that terrorists know Obama will ransom kidnapped soldiers when they are taken by terrorists.
And how do you know this, since it didn't happen before?
More to the point, why would this be problematic given that, as Grant pointed out, the current default state is that they'd just kill them outright, not that they'd leave them alone. Encouraging the Taliban to take prisoners and negotiate with them is a step closer to desired behavior than what they're doing now.
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
How is a law requiring mere notification in any way an impediment to Obama doing anything? Is Obama a really shy guy who doesn't like talking to people?

Because by the time the period is up wither such a political stink will have been raised about the transfer that it's practically impossible or the GoP will have inserted a rider on a bill explicitly blocking the transfer from happening as they have repeatedly done up til now in order to prevent Gitmo from being closed. The only reason that it's still open at all is because Congress has blocked every effort to close it, with the Democrats willing to take such blocks as a concession to Republicans in order to get incremental approval on other matters that they feel are more important.
So the only reasons you can think of are the fact that Congress has a right to pass bills that Obama might not like? Seriously? That's absurdly weak. Aside from the fact that you think our normal legislative process is apparently a burden on the President's ability to execute his duties, even if that were true with Harry Reid controlling the Senate and willing to shut the government down rather than pass House bills, what does it matter?

Also, what does "political stink" mean? Surely if the action is justified Obama will have no trouble convincing the American people right?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
There's no reasonable argument that President Obama is not an aggressive expander of the power of the executive, and I do find that incredibly concerning.
Except, of course that there's no evidence that he's done much but ride on previous expansions. If anything he's been the least aggressive about expanding power since Grover Cleveland, so far he's mostly just failed to cede back much in the way of previously allowed overreaches.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
The exchange violated a law that was at least in part designed to stop bad deals.

The law has nothing to do with deals in any way. The only point of the law is to prevent prisoner transfers out of Gitmo.
That's not a mutually exclusive point. Even if we accepted that this was the rationale, and we accepted that it was a violation of executive authority to impose the requirement, and hence the President was acting within the law, we're still left with a President who made a deal that evokes all kinds of questions. It's perfectly appropriate to hold him politically accountable for this.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Also, what does "political stink" mean? Surely if the action is justified Obama will have no trouble convincing the American people right?
NIMBYism trumps rational action, as we already saw when Obama tried to actually properly start processing these people though the court system using the standard process for prosecuting terrorists. Despite that being the legally proper course for handling such, between the time that the plan to use the proper legal process was announced and the time that it could be put into action every court that could have handled the cases had been so politically terrorized that there was no way to actually implement the plan.
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