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Author Topic: Obama admin. negotiates with terrorists
Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
I'm not a Taliban sympathizer. Just trying to keep a rational perspective. I agree with your point except that I don't think they represent an "enemy of the whole human race". That's a lot of real estate to infiltrate, conquer and convert. Their knives aren't long enough.

Their knives aren't long enough but their rhetoric and images are everywhere. Boko Haram is a Taliban copycat. I give five years until another copycat group springs up in the Philippines. Taliban are the enemy of humans wherever there's a Moslem population.

I didn't call you a Taliban sympathizer. I just don't think you understand the threat they pose.

[ June 07, 2014, 10:27 AM: Message edited by: Jack Squat ]

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AI Wessex
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Local extremism is always a present phenomenon. When has there been a time without religious or ethnic groups forming violent extremist subcultures?
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Local extremism is always a present phenomenon. When has there been a time without religious or ethnic groups forming violent extremist subcultures?

Excellent demonstration of you not understanding the threat they pose. You describe it merely as religious or ethnic extremism, when what they are is more like a new class of movements as significant as the appearance of Fascism and Marxism. If I had to give it a term, I'd call it postcolonial colonialism.
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AI Wessex
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Whatever. IMO, you grossly overstate the global threat and potential consequences. There will always be terrorism, always be extremism.
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Whatever. IMO, you grossly overstate the global threat and potential consequences. There will always be terrorism, always be extremism.

[DOH] The Taliban are not terrorists. "Boko Haram" does employ terrorism, but that's not what makes them distinctly dangerous. "Whatever" indeed. Sloppy.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
The Taliban are not terrorists
Really?
quote:
White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden noted that the Taliban was added to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) by executive order in July 2002, even if it is not listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the State Department.
Start here for lots more references to the Taliban as terrorists and explain why you disagree that they are.
quote:
According to Human Rights Watch, the Taliban's bombings and other attacks which have led to civilian casualties "sharply escalated in 2006" when "at least 669 Afghan civilians were killed in at least 350 armed attacks, most of which appear to have been intentionally launched at non-combatants."
Killing non-combatants is a hallmark of terrorism. The Taliban have specialized in that kind of attack.
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Jack Squat
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I guess they are terrorists now. They weren't terrorists in 2001, but they were more dangerous then. Terrorism isn't what makes them dangerous.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
Killing non-combatants is a hallmark of terrorism.
Are you sure you want to stand behind that definition? So if a group takes an action that they know will result in killing thousands of non-combatants, that makes the group terrorists? I would not agree to that definition.
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AI Wessex
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It's not a definition, but a characterization. If you want a definition, please provide one.
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Greg Davidson
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The problem with the "killing non-combatants" criterion for terrorism is that almost any country that engages in modern conflict winds up killing non-combatants.

I haven't thought deeply about a definition for terrorism - my first guess would be that it is a subset of evil actions characterized by use of non-conventional military use of violence with the primary purpose of exerting political influence

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AI Wessex
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That's not a bad definition. The US would be terrorists if the only criteria involved civilian deaths. Perhaps we are. In the documentary "The Fog of War" about US military operations in Vietnam and the decades preceding our engagement McNamara said (I think it was him) that the US could have had its leaders brought up on charges of war crimes (the equivalent of terrorism in that day) if we had decisively lost. Instead, we won WWII and reached a stalemate in North Korea and negotiated a withdrawal from Vietnam, so no one was so accused.

A more useful definition of terrorist is someone who fights for the enemy who kills innocent civilians in order to create fear and increase their passive compliance or neutrality. You wouldn't call anyone who did those things for your side a terrorist, but the other side would.

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Pete at Home
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quote:

A more useful definition of terrorist is someone who fights for the enemy who kills innocent civilians in order to create fear and increase their passive compliance or neutrality.

Much better. You're starting to think about it.

Terrorism, by definition, TARGETS non-combatants and otherwise violates humanitarian norms, FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS PURPOSES, i.e. to "send a message."

US actions at Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terroristic. Nothing we've done in the middle east smacks of terrorism.

[ June 08, 2014, 08:57 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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Hitler killing the Jews in the death camps was not terrorism, because there was no public relations objective. Krystalnacht on the other hand was terrorist.

Terrorism is not synonymous with "bad." There are some incredibly evil acts that are not terrorism.

Terrorism usually targets noncombatants but other intentional violations of humanitarian norms may also be used for PR objectives, e.g. torturing and beheading a captured soldier and putting it on the internet is obviously terrorism.

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Pete at Home
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"You wouldn't call anyone who did those things for your side a terrorist, but the other side would."

There's a huge amount of duplicity and propaganda attached to the word terrorism. IIRC China calls the Dalai Lama a terrorist.

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AI Wessex
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It's not just PR, though that seems always to be a major factor. It's too late to go back and ask ObL if among the goals for the 9/11 attack he had in mind were to cripple our economy and lead us by the nose to war. It was to us a terrorist act because it targeted civilian infrastructure, the scale (terrorist acts don't target a single individual) and because it seemed to catch us completely by surprise. So much destruction seems a "high value" objective for an act of "terrorism".
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Pete at Home
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" It's too late to go back and ask ObL if among the goals for the 9/11 attack he had in mind were to cripple our economy and lead us by the nose to war"

Not too late because he already explained himself. His point was to unite the ummah, leading to a grand caliphate. To do that, he needed an enemy to unite against. So it was to lead America to a war that could be characterized as a crusade.

After the fact, he was videoed bragging and celebrating the fact that 40% of Americans had suffered psychological trauma from 9/11. But it's not clear that was part of his original plan.

Basically it's the famous old prison trick of beating up on the strongest guy in the room to establish yourself as an alpha.

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Pete at Home
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" it targeted civilian infrastructure, the scale (terrorist acts don't target a single individual) and because it seemed to catch us completely by surprise"

Civilian infrastructure and surprise attacks are part of a conventional military strategy; not in themselves terroristic.

Osama BL himself admitted his attacks were terrorism. He used the term "good terrorism."

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AI Wessex
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quote:
US actions at Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terroristic. Nothing we've done in the middle east smacks of terrorism.
Nothing like it has ever occurred AFAIK on that scale by a military against enemy territory in a war. Among the many things that make this digression irresolvable is that our wars in recent years are not against an enemy state. Afghanistan fell easily and we installed a new government yet we're still fighting. In Iraq we initially were fighting the "government" as embodied in Saddam Hussein, but he was quickly killed, a new Constitution and new government installed under our guidance and leadership and yet we continued fighting for another 6 years. When ObL knocked down the WTC towers he didn't represent a known state enemy. We bombed the hell out of Vietnamise villages and killed many tens of thousands of civilians because we couldn't tell a civilian from a fighter. Even in the cases you cited, one could argue that there was military value, especially considering that the a-bombs in Japan forced their surrender. I don't quite understand the military objective in Dresden, so does that mean if there isn't one that is crisply defined it therefore was terrorism?

These are hard questions for which there are likely no hard answers. I think we've spiraled into a digression and need to tunnel back to the surface...

Edit side comment. Kurt Vonnegut is always mentioned with Dresden, especially his fine novel "Slaughterhouse Five". That captures the popular imagination because it so graphically captures the horror of what happened and makes Billy Pilgrim's "unstuck in time" voyages which are absurdly plausible seem like a sane response to an insane situation.

But one day the so-called critics will pause and consider that "Mother Night" captures every theme of importance from that era in a timeless way, and we'll start thinking about how our current 2014 "enlightened" reality presents us with abstract choices and affiliations that we somehow accept as real. FWIW, my facebook identity is also fashioned after a 9th Century English king, yet my real-world friends who have discovered me have no problem accepting who I say I am. Are we ****ing crazy or what???

[ June 08, 2014, 06:43 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Seneca
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Looks like top democrat Feinstein isn't buying Obama's BS.

quote:
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee raised questions Sunday about the Obama administration argument that Congress wasn’t informed about the prisoner swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl because he might have been killed if the deal was made public.

The California Democrat told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that she and the committee’s top Republican, Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, had been briefed previously about the operation and kept that information confidential.

“We understand the security of that, we have never violated that," said Feinstein, who has raised doubts about the so-called “credible threat” on Bergdahl’s life several times since Congress was briefed about his June 5 release in exchange for five Taliban detainees at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“I have heard of none,” she continued.

Feinstein also raised questions about the administration’s original argument that Bergdahl’s health was in imminent danger, considering the Defense Department told Fox News and other news organizations this weekend that he is being treated for some nutritional deficits that would be considered normal after being in captivity for five years.

“I think his rapid recovery now may indicate he wasn’t close to death,” she said.

Chambliss said he also has heard no intelligence that supports the argument.

“Because he is in decent health, considering where he's been, they've changed their story,” he told CBS. “They said, 'Well, no, we suspected his life might be in danger, if word got out of this pending, possible trade then his life may be in danger. Again, I can just tell you there is no intelligence to support that.”

Feinstein also suggested that Congress take a look at the detainee release to make sure the United States “got something meaningful in exchange.”

She said there was “no question” about the value of freeing just one U.S. serviceman but that Congress never got the opportunity to comment on what the country should give up in exchange.


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AI Wessex
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So what nefarious objective do you surmise? Should we have left him there?
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Seneca
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I'm not sure what Feinstein's nefarious motive is for wanting the law followed and stating that it was not. What do you think it is?
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AI Wessex
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What law did she say was not followed?

I'm asking what *your* beef is with bringing one of our soldiers back home. I'm surprised that any veteran of the military is questioning that. If you're concerned that he deserted, there's scant evidence that he did, but shouldn't that be an issue after he's back home? Shouldn't you wait to judge him until you know?

Also, the story about the supposed six soldiers that were killed trying to rescue him was started by another soldier in his unit and under his authority who was later discharged as OTH. He apparently had a personal problem with Bergdahl and tried to smear him. That story is still making the rounds even after it's been shown to be completely bogus.

Also, maybe you can explain to me why Bergdahl's father is being attacked for having a beard. I notice lots of ex-soldiers in the Oathkeepers have pretty fine face hair themselves, but nobody is saying that they look "Muslim" because they do.

My big question is why do Republicans hate Obama so much that they would be willing to leave a capture soldier on the battlefield rather than give Obama credit for bringing him home.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
But that's very different from announcing with pride that we're bringing home a single enlisted man that we traded five enemy leaders for.
That's true if you're casting the Taliban as an unqualified enemy rather than, as the situation in Afghanistan seems to be demanding more, an opposing faction that you want to convince to work through the political system rather than through violence.
Actually it's true either way. 5 leaders for a single enlisted man is a bad trade. It would have been far better to release the 5 as a good will gesture if you're trying to achieve the effect you asking for. We may still have looked naive, but we wouldn't have set such a bad precedent. The only positive element of disproportionate trading is that it inflates our self worth, and presumably makes the other side realize how little worth we place on them. I'm not sure that pyschological benefit is worth the possibility of encouraging kidnapping.
quote:
The Taliban, while distasteful, is only actually our enemy to the degree that they give shelter to terrorists that are trying to hurt us and use violence against our interests.
I absolutely disagree. The Taliban has been humanities enemy ever since they first came to power and oppressed the female half of their population. A society based on freedom, equal rights and respect for its members can not in good conscious consider a society that trades in slaves, or treats women as property as a non-enemy. You don't have to be in active conflict, but the views are so repugnant they should not be seen any other way.
quote:
If they can be convinced not to do either of those, then they're not exactly enemies anymore so much as a political faction that we disagree with, but it ultimately an internal issue to another country that we'd likely do better to let them work out on their own terms instead.
It's bizarre to me that the same person who thinks a law in Utah requiring that genetic fathers be given notice before the mother adopts their child away would be an unbearable abuse of power and oppression, can label a group that believes in and systematically oppresses women as just a political faction that we disagree with, that we should let work out its problems on its own terms. Did you view the old South African government so charitably?

The oppresive parts of other societies (and our own) do not merit any deference.

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Seneca
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quote:
What law did she say was not followed?
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/bowe-bergdahl-prisoner-swap-totally-did-not-follow-the-law-senate-intel-chair-says/

quote:
“I strongly believe that we should have been consulted, that the law should have been followed, and I very much regret that that was not the case,” Feinstein said. “It comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law, and in an issue of this kind of concern to a committee that bears the oversight responsibility, I think you can see that we’re very dismayed about it.”
quote:
I'm asking what *your* beef is with bringing one of our soldiers back home
If all it was was buying a plane ticket for a soldier we wouldn't be having this discussion.

quote:
I'm surprised that any veteran of the military is questioning that.
As a vet, I'm concerned about the well-being of our boys and girls in uniform. This hurts that by making them into kidnapping targets.

quote:
If you're concerned that he deserted, there's scant evidence that he did
There is an enormous amount of evidence that he did, including first-hand witnesses.

quote:
Shouldn't you wait to judge him until you know?
Courts martial work a little differently. You may want to research them and compare the differences to civilian criminal trials.

quote:
Also, the story about the supposed six soldiers that were killed trying to rescue him was started by another soldier in his unit and under his authority who was later discharged as OTH. He apparently had a personal problem with Bergdahl and tried to smear him. That story is still making the rounds even after it's been shown to be completely bogus.
And how is it "completely bogus?"

quote:
Also, maybe you can explain to me why Bergdahl's father is being attacked for having a beard.
I haven't heard or seen anything like that.

quote:
My big question is why do Republicans hate Obama so much that they would be willing to leave a capture soldier on the battlefield rather than give Obama credit for bringing him home.
My big question is why does Obama hate our soldiers so much that he'll be OK with reports warning him that his VA is systemically murdering vets and sit on it for years before even acknowledging it.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
There is a risk in releasing prisoners, either by exchange or just letting them go.

Yes. So rules designed to mitigate that risk are important are they not?
quote:
It's a very tough call for a President. And if your last name is Obama it's evidently much worse. Because while the risk that released enemies may come back to harm Americans cannot be denied, somehow it is far worse when Obama does it, at least to the majority of Republican voices now taking a position on the issue.
This is not a one way political issue for me, though I believe if it was Bush's decision that did this a lot of people might flip sides. Would you?
quote:
The reason I have started inviting people to make predictions about the future
I know you believe you have a good reason for this, but I think you should rethink it. Predictions are a limiting of infinite possibilities to a single result. This kind of challenge is at best a trap, and more often just an excuse to hold others to impossible standards while not to making an effective argument of your own.

Virtually everyone who predicts apocolypse is overstating their case. And anytime someone predicts less than apocolypse you jump in and claim victory cause the predictions aren't dramatic. There doesn't have to be a collapse of the country to make the policies you favor the worse choice. If your economic policies give us 4% growth when we would have gotten 6% they were bad policies, yet no one's "prediction" is going to be able to show this. And you're going to crow when you get the 4% as if it was proof that your policies were right, and claim that the otherside was wrong when they predicted your policies would only get 2% (cause they thought theirs would get 4%).
quote:
is that the endless Republican opposition of this Administration has a near-zero batting average in their scandals and disasters of the week,.
This administration deserves the bashing. Don't know how you count it as zero percent, other than via a partisan colored set of glasses. They've caught this administration in lies and abuses of power repeatedly. I'll even go on record and say that any other President would have had articles of impeachment presented at this point with the same track record.
quote:
If I am wrong, all you have to do is make your accusation, set a date on it, and we can see who is right. But if you don't even have the confidence to do that (after all, there's nothing at stake except some credibility), you should tone down your accusations to reflect the level of uncertainties.
So, predict the future, specifically, or back off. How about you make an argument to why this was a good idea and helps our foreign policy or safety or back off. Cause honestly, I don't accept it as a valid argument to claim there may not be bad consequences.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
If all it was was buying a plane ticket for a soldier we wouldn't be having this discussion.
How do you get a soldier out of captivity by buying him a plane ticket? Is that all you think we should do to bring back our captured service members?
quote:
As a vet, I'm concerned about the well-being of our boys and girls in uniform. This hurts that by making them into kidnapping targets.
Do you imagine that that is a statement of fact rather than a prejudiced speculation? Note that the US has *always* negotiated with terrorists, which always means that we give something they want for what we want.
quote:
And how is it "completely bogus?"
Do your own research. But if you still think it's true, should we not send out soldiers knowing their lives are at risk to rescue one of our own who went AWOL?
quote:
I haven't heard or seen anything like that.
Check out Bill O'Reilly who made the comment. BTW, he started growing the beard after his son was captured as a sign of solidarity with his plight. He's also been criticized for learning Pashto, which he began studying after his son's capture, so he could better understand the people who captured him. You have a problem with any of that?
quote:
My big question is why does Obama hate our soldiers so much that he'll be OK with reports warning him that his VA is systemically murdering vets and sit on it for years before even acknowledging it.
Wow, the urge to hate means that everything he does is hateful. What the hell does that have to do with Bergdahl?!?!? Someone commented last week that if Obama cured cancer Republicans would respond by condemning him for putting oncologists out of business.
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Seneca
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quote:
How do you get a soldier out of captivity by buying him a plane ticket? Is that all you think we should do to bring back our captured service members?
You asked a very simple question attempting to make this into a mere question of what my problem was with 'bringing Bergdahl home.' Since it was obviously more complex than that I refused to be baited by it.

quote:
Do you imagine that that is a statement of fact rather than a prejudiced speculation?
I know it is a fact. We have experts who believe this is true, and we have interviews with terrorist leaders who are stating that it is true for them and they plan on more kidnappings because of it.

quote:
Note that the US has *always* negotiated with terrorists, which always means that we give something they want for what we want.
That is false. The US never "always" does anything. As a general rule we try NOT to negotiate with terrorists because we know it incentivises their behavior. Just because it's been mistakenly done a few times in the past doesn't justify this occurrence. I refuse to let this devolve into a discussion of "X did it, so if Obama does it then it's ok!"

quote:
Do your own research. But if you still think it's true, should we not send out soldiers knowing their lives are at risk to rescue one of our own who went AWOL?
It depends, if that soldier is a security risk probably. However, Bergdahl's low rank and low access to important info means we shouldn't probably risk lives trying to save a traitor whom collaborated and trained with the enemy.

quote:
Check out Bill O'Reilly who made the comment.
Which government office does O'Reilly hold? Oh, he's a media pundit who bellows for attention, like thousands of others on all sides of the political spectrum. When have you ever seen me quote Bill O'Reilly here? If you can find even one occurrence of it, then I'll respond.

quote:
What the hell does that have to do with Bergdahl?!?!?
Very simple. Obama supposedly traded terrorists for Bergdahl because he "cares about the troops." However, if that were true he wouldn't have ignored the VA reports he received 4+ years ago. Apparently the troops Obama seems to care for are the ones in news headlines.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Bergdahl's low rank and low access to important info means we shouldn't probably risk lives...
I don't see much of an argument here for the idea that lives have been risked in this trade. Had we invaded with troops to rescue him, I would agree that would have been stupid. But we traded five expensive liabilities for him and didn't appreciably increase enemy power, influence, or knowledge.

quote:
However, if that were true he wouldn't have ignored the VA reports he received 4+ years ago...
I understand that this is the new conservative line, meant to keep one faux scandal alive by tying it to another one, but it's worth noting that Obama hardly ignored the problems at the VA. You may find it interesting to look up which party repeatedly stymied attempts to restore VA funding to its normal levels.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
It depends, if that soldier is a security risk probably. However, Bergdahl's low rank and low access to important info means we shouldn't probably risk lives trying to save a traitor whom collaborated and trained with the enemy.
So, Sgts are too low-ranked to risk other lives to rescue? And how did anyone know he defected? If you have facts (not more speculation), bring them forward. But isn't that a matter to be decided once he's brought home?
quote:
Which government office does O'Reilly hold? Oh, he's a media pundit who bellows for attention, like thousands of others on all sides of the political spectrum. When have you ever seen me quote Bill O'Reilly here? If you can find even one occurrence of it, then I'll respond.
He's a media pundit whose opinions you often seem in lock-step with. He's got the most watched TV show for Republicans and conservatives. You don't have to cite him to frequently sound like him.
quote:
Very simple. Obama supposedly traded terrorists for Bergdahl because he "cares about the troops." However, if that were true he wouldn't have ignored the VA reports he received 4+ years ago. Apparently the troops Obama seems to care for are the ones in news headlines.
No, not "simple", instead biased thinking that makes the world seem simple. You paint everything with the same brush. Did Bush care about the troops? If so, how come he didn't fix the same problems that were inherited by this Administration? How come the usually Republican-controlled Congress has repeatedly cut funding to the VA? Don't they care about the troops? You ignore that history when it suits you.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
He's a media pundit whose opinions you often seem in lock-step with.
To be fair, Seriati's more of a Krauthammer fanboy than a O'Reilly one.
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Seneca
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quote:
So, Sgts are too low-ranked to risk other lives to rescue?
To be fair he was a PFC, not a SGT. Promotions don't time travel.
It depends on whether it's a rescue or whether it's an arrest and capture. The difference is whether the person wants to be found and taken by US forces or not, and their cooperation can make all the difference for the success of the mission.

quote:
And how did anyone know he defected? If you have facts (not more speculation), bring them forward.
Aside from the numerous witness reports, he has done this before.
http://www.armytimes.com/article/20140603/NEWS05/306030078/Source-Bergdahl-may-walked-off-base-more-than-once

quote:
No, not "simple", instead biased thinking that makes the world seem simple. You paint everything with the same brush. Did Bush care about the troops? If so, how come he didn't fix the same problems that were inherited by this Administration? How come the usually Republican-controlled Congress has repeatedly cut funding to the VA? Don't they care about the troops? You ignore that history when it suits you.
When was the last time VA funding was actually CUT? This isn't about a lack of money flowing in from Congress, this is about gross mismanagement of that cash by the Executive. And if your only defense here is to go back in time and name other presidents who are no longer in office, that is very weak.

[ June 09, 2014, 12:42 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
When was the last time VA funding was actually CUT?
I know conservatives have difficulty understanding this, but it's worth noting that a funded agency -- even if its funding is not reduced -- can rapidly become underfunded if, as is the case with the VA, the number of clients increases at the same time that the cost per client also increases.

For what it's worth, I think the current VA system is unfixable without pumping billions into it for modernization, repair, and redesign; it was simply left to rot for too long. Since we don't have the political will for that, and probably never will, I would be willing to see it replaced with direct funding through Medicaid.

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Seneca
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Oh yes, the Sequester logic is back again. A lower rate of spending growth is a "cut" in the eyes of spendthrift progressives. [LOL]
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TomDavidson
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It's hardly "sequester logic." It's logic.
The issue isn't "has the VA had the raw amount of its funding reduced," because that's irrelevant. The issue is -- as it so often is in these scenarios -- "has the VA's funding been able to keep up with what is being asked of it?"

Republicans seem to understand this when we talk about defense budgets, but play stupid in all other cases.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
However, if that were true he wouldn't have ignored the VA reports he received 4+ years ago...
I understand that this is the new conservative line, meant to keep one faux scandal alive by tying it to another one, but it's worth noting that Obama hardly ignored the problems at the VA. You may find it interesting to look up which party repeatedly stymied attempts to restore VA funding to its normal levels.
Did you mispeak? There's nothing phony about the VA scandal. I agree its not just an Obama administration scandal. I wouldn't normally be inclined to even believe that such a long running issue was very much the current administration's scandal, but I don't know how to parse their involvement when I know they lie for political convenience.
quote:
To be fair, Seriati's more of a Krauthammer fanboy than a O'Reilly one.
I assume you're talking about Seneca since he was the one Al was responding too. I actually had to look up Krauthammer to see who he was,though I did recognize him, I couldn't tell you what positions he normally takes.
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Seneca
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quote:
I assume you're talking about Seneca since he was the one Al was responding too. I actually had to look up Krauthammer to see who he was,though I did recognize him, I couldn't tell you what positions he normally takes.
It always amazes me how quick liberals are to throw around accusations that people who believe certain things are brainwashed by "X conservative pundit" then start filling in names like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, etc. In reality I don't listen to any of them that anyone has ever mentioned to me.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
Actually it's true either way. 5 leaders for a single enlisted man is a bad trade.


Well, then, it's good that "5 leaders" is a completely inaccurate description. Two leaders, one kinda middle man, and two grunts would be more accurate, as I recall.

quote:
It would have been far better to release the 5 as a good will gesture if you're trying to achieve the effect you asking for.
How? That wouldn't have required them to come to the negotiating table at all, wouldn't have opened up a dialog, built a relationship between negotiators, or established any baseline of trust or ongoing relationship with them. "Good will" isn't the point. communicating via civil dialog and not guns and bombings is the point.

quote:
I'm not sure that pyschological benefit is worth the possibility of encouraging kidnapping.

Again, kidnapping is a step up when IEDs are the default alternative. "Encouraging kidnapping" is only bad when the default is "leaving us alone". Your entire line of reasoning here fails in light of the fact that they're currently highly invested in inflicting maximum casualties on us. Kidnapping represents an active diversion of resources away from maximizing body counts.

quote:
I absolutely disagree. The Taliban has been humanities enemy ever since they first came to power and oppressed the female half of their population.
Humanities? Sure. The US, however, is not humanity's duly appointed enforcer. And, even more, attempting to impose freedom on people by force is the surest recipe for backfire, as we see in how we basically left anarchy and corrupt despots in our wake, creating a huge opening for the Taliban to move back in and look like paragons of law and order, despite how reprehensible we think people should view their version of such.

quote:
A society based on freedom, equal rights and respect for its members can not in good conscious consider a society that trades in slaves, or treats women as property as a non-enemy. You don't have to be in active conflict, but the views are so repugnant they should not be seen any other way.
An enemy is an opponent that you are in active conflict with. I said that we should view them as an opposing faction that we find repugnant, but we have no business maintaining a state of active conflict with them, especially because the are acting completely outside of our direct social and political jurisdiction. So long as they would not represent an active military threat to us or someone that has explicitly requested our assistance (as long as we're not sitting on their doorstep and pushing the issue) then we have little business trying to advance our goals through military force, and instead should work through diplomatic, economic, and social channels.

quote:
It's bizarre to me that the same person who thinks a law in Utah requiring that genetic fathers be given notice before the mother adopts their child away would be an unbearable abuse of power and oppression, can label a group that believes in and systematically oppresses women as just a political faction that we disagree with, that we should let work out its problems on its own terms.
There's a huge gulf between aiding and abetting abusers within our own legal jurisdiction by using our own political authority to limit the freedom of women and using our military force to impose our social values on another society that has not yet managed to fully develop popular support and social will to hold those values as well.

quote:
Did you view the old South African government so charitably?

You mean the way we sent our army in, deposed it and forced integration on South Africa? Or wait... We did what I'm suggesting there- instead of declaring them our enemy and thus justifying military force, we treated them as a distasteful opposing political faction, and used economic and diplomatic measures to create social pressures for South Africa to effect its won organic change away from their position.

quote:
The oppresive parts of other societies (and our own) do not merit any deference.
Other societies, by nature of being separate from us merit being respected as free and independent actors, even if they're not up to our own social and moral standards. If we want to do anything but pay lip service to the concept of freedom, then we have to let them work out such issues on their own terms without trying to uses our ability to apply physical force to impose our current social values on them. All that serves to do is give the Taliban, al Qeada, and other such entities the recruitment material they need to impose their own oppressive views (which they are far less hypocritical in doing, since they don't pretend that they're acting in the name of freedom in the first place) as a rallying point and effective organizational base to act against us in the name of fighting back against our oppressive methods of spreading freedom.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I know conservatives have difficulty understanding this, but it's worth noting that a funded agency -- even if its funding is not reduced -- can rapidly become underfunded if, as is the case with the VA, the number of clients increases at the same time that the cost per client also increases.

What's more, the current form of the VA's issues seem to be directly linked to gaming an earnest attempt to fix the root problem, because they directly came from local offices lying to capture incentive bonuses that were aimed at reducing wait times. That's something that may have worked if the system was funded well enough to operate reasonably well in the first place, but served as an active setup for fraud when starved because it made such fraud necessary to simply reach sufficient funding levels to stay afloat.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
The difference is whether the person wants to be found and taken by US forces or not, and their cooperation can make all the difference for the success of the mission.
How could he help in his rescue? How could our troops know his status if he was being held incommunicado?
quote:
Aside from the numerous witness reports, he has done this before.

That's not fact, just more speculation. Note the first sentence of the second paragraph in your cited article:
quote:
“We have no indication that he intended to leave permanently,” one government official familiar with the investigation told Military Times
Nice how you give a fellow soldier the benefit of the doubt, especially in wartime conditions.

Pyrtolin:
quote:
What's more, the current form of the VA's issues seem to be directly linked to gaming an earnest attempt to fix the root problem, because they directly came from local offices lying to capture incentive bonuses that were aimed at reducing wait times.
It's worth noting that many who support VA review are pushing to eliminate the 14-day doctor visitation period requirement because it's unrealistic. It seems apparent that at least some of the doctoring of patient wait time reports was done to make it look as if they were complying with the law by making it look like patients were being seen within that window. However, the hospitals were chronically underfunded and short-staffed to the extent that such short wait time requirements were unrealistic or even impossible to achieve.

They were wrong to doctor those reports, but the reasons aren't as simple as has been reported. The first step to fixing the system is to fund it at the necessary levels to fix the facilities and increase the staff.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
It's hardly "sequester logic." It's logic.
The issue isn't "has the VA had the raw amount of its funding reduced," because that's irrelevant. The issue is -- as it so often is in these scenarios -- "has the VA's funding been able to keep up with what is being asked of it?"

Republicans seem to understand this when we talk about defense budgets, but play stupid in all other cases.

Actually, a lot more has been asked of the VA. For example, the VA has been charged with starting community outreach and engagement programs for homeless vets.
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