Herbert London: The President’s Prisoner Exchange

Jun 11, 2014

For a considerable period I have argued that President Obama’s foreign policy was feckless, a function of inexperience and amateurish advisement. The overarching goal of removing the U.S. from harm’s way seemed absurd since even if you want to avoid war, it sometimes has a way of finding you. But there is logic in a foreign policy position that avoids overreaching.

However, I now believe I was wrong. Based on the diplomatic trade of one American, an apparent deserter and critic of national policy, for five terrorists who have killed Americans and have vowed to kill more, I now hold the view that this president is malevolent, that his hatred for the United States takes the form of “high crimes and misdemeanor.”

Without providing Congress with the “required” 30 days notice before releasing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the president acted, claiming “unique and exigent circumstances.” The real story lies in a president who thinks of himself above the law. For him Congress is irrelevant.

The presidents’ pursuit of Sergeant Bergdahl led directly to the loss of six Americans in Afghanistan, even though the president asserts “we do not leave Americans on the battlefield.” Do we retrieve deserters? This incident that now puts American lives at risk across the globe is worse than lawlessness; it is a violation of trust that imperils innocent life. If ever there was time to consider the exquisitely made arguments in Andrew McCarthy’s book, Faithless Execution: Building The Case for Obama’s Impeachment, it is now. This president does not abide by the rule of law. He is the law and a dangerous law at that.

This “deal” is seemingly timed to push the V.A. (Veterans’ Administration) scandal off the front page. Better to have a new scandal, rather than a developing old one. But it is increasingly difficult for this administration to either admit to having made a mistake or avoid making new ones.

Republicans are ready to make their case to the American people, but so far they have treated the event as a commodity that needs funding to address. This is more than a fund raising opportunity; it is a challenge to the Constitution and the basis for national legitimacy. The republic is at stake in more ways than John and Mary Q. Public realize.

Of course, any challenge by Republicans will immediately raise the specters of racism, a factor that usually stifles debate. In this case, the charge will have to be overlooked if we are to avoid a version of tyranny. America needs a popular outcry that says “we have had enough Mr. President.”

As C.S. Lewis once noted in a different context, “there is light from behind the sun.” This light is the glare of truth. Even those Americans brainwashed by media palliatives must be asking why the president would release terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans and, in at least two cases have already done so. The question evokes deep-seated emotional response.

Americans deserve answers; they also deserve a president who acts in behalf of the national welfare. At the moment, there are many who would question his motives and devotion to Constitutional principle.

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research,  a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries atwww.londoncenter.org

 

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