I’m still not all that passionate about the idea President Obama broke the law. I mean, maybe he did. So what… It’s not a big deal in this age of executive branch power.
The proper critique as I see it is: this 5 for 1 deal has been acceptable to the Taliban for a while. So it was basically a foreign affairs card for the Obama Administration to play in the course of constructive engagement with the Taliban, but it was always to be subject to the hurdle of vetting and pushback from various stakeholders. …Congress, the intelligence people, the military….
But the VA thing came up, so the White House cut the institutional stakeholders out of the loop and went ahead on a moment’s notice. This effort was made to create out of thin air a PR coup that would neutralize the VA story. They set out on a victory lap that played on various vet / military jingoisms. They painted the younger Bergdahl as a returning hero and trotted out the specious elder Bergdahl as a sympathetic character.
This…. has not gone well…..
They panicked and got it wrong. Not that they had a chance to get it right, but they did have an opportunity to chill and do nothing.