Trading with Terrorists 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 11:09 PM - Politics


For the last 5 years, Bowe Bergdahl has been the single U.S. prisoner of war held by the Taliban after he was captured in 2009. Various media reports, based on accounts of soldiers who served with Berghdahl and e-mails he sent home to his parents and friends, show a young soldier who became disillusioned with the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. The reports say Bergdahl sent his laptop and clothes home halfway through his 12-month deployment and left behind a note saying he wanted to start over. He left behind his rifle and body armor and took only a compass, knife, water, camera and a diary, according to soldiers in his platoon.

Whether or not he left to join the Taliban, or to simply find a civilian port to travel back home, the fact remains that the circumstances surrounding his disappearance do arouse some suspicion. But we're not going to talk about why and how he was captured. What bothers me is the sudden shift in U.S. foreign policy.

For decades the U.S. mantra has been "We do not negotiate with terrorists". We never give them what they want, even if it costs lives, and they know this. They have no bargaining power and the goal is to force them to fight, or to go home. On a modern battlefield where the enemy is nebulous at best, if you can't force battles to take place, they never will and missions overseas will drag on for years, costing countless lives in prolonged guerilla fighting and billions of dollars. So why the sudden shift in tactics?

Perhaps it may have been an easy way to start clearing out guantanamo. Since it's inception, the secretive and heavily guarded prison complex in Cuba has held captured enemy combatants, terrorists, rebel leaders, and innocent people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whiling away the years, some of them beginning their 13th year in captivity, it's impossible to believe that these people don't hate America by now, whether they did upon their capture or not. These individuals are considered to be so dangerous that no country in the world would take them if we were to release them, which is why they're still there, some of them long after they were scheduled to be released. Not even Iran wants them.

But here was a fresh opportunity. This trade took five Taliban commanders off our hands, sent to Qatar to be held for a full year before they are free to leave AND we got an english-speaking american captive in return who's been in close-quarters with the Taliban for five years now. Imagine the intelligence we can get from that guy... Imagine what he's overheard and seen. Imagine also, the amount of money we had to pay Qatar to take these individuals that are being hailed as the returning heros of one of the most brutal and oppressive muslim regimes in modern history.

The consequences of this can't be forseen yet, but we'll probably begin to see quite a few more kidnappings in the future since they were sucessful here. You simply can't give violent people what they want, ever, or they get even bolder, more violent, and their demands become greater. All of eastern Europe learned this when they tried to pay off both the Huns and the Mongol horde. They learned it again when they tried to placate Hitler and didn't respond to his conquest of Austria. We learned that with the Somali pirates when they were paid millions to return ships they had captured. They became a real problem once they saw that you could actually be sucessful as a pirate and many more ships were taken for ransom. And now, we've just proven to the Taliban that you can be sucessful as a terrorist and get what you want. This is a very bad precedent...

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Comments

Seven 

Thursday, June 5, 2014, 12:13 AM
First

wewewewr 

Thursday, June 12, 2014, 09:07 PM / hrwrh.com
Interesting read.

sick&tiredofit 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 03:15 AM
Sorry but I can't agree with some things in your article. For example, saying no one in the world will take the "terrorists" if they were to be released from gitmo. I say hogwash and that is exactly the propaganda they want you to believe. Many of the "terrorists" we put in gitmo were nothing more then sheep farmers, average workers etc. The U.S. put a bounty on a "terrorists" head so if someone wanted to make some easy money or maybe was mad at somebody for whatever reason, they turned them into the U.S. as a "terrorist". For most of these average people, there were no questions asked because at the time "they" wanted to make us believe they were bing effective in fighting "terrorists" so they just wanted warm bodies in gitmo to look good. Detain them at gitmo and ask questions later.
Most of the world knows this and we are just told differently as just another piece of daily propaganda. Who wants to admit we have held and waterboarded a sheep farmer for all of these years ? That sure wouldn't look good now would it ?
As for negotiating with terrorists, it has always been only about whether or not it is benefical to us. First i would like to submit that there really wasn't a "terrorist" attack waiting to happen here by those fundamentalist muslims we are all so scared of. If they truly wanted to do us harm, it would be so easy anyone could do it. How hard do you think it would be to disrupt our food supply if we were truly under threat of terrorism ? One could just take out an irrigation system or 2 on a corporate farm and there would be an immeidtae impact. How about the electricasl grid. As the blackout a few years ago caused by a lightening strike showed us, taking out a transformer even far from the city can have dire consequences. How hard would it be for a small group of terrorists to take down many transformers ? They could blnaket us in darkness as easy as taking out a dozen transformers far from prying eyes and security cameras. The list goes on and on. The only reason there was a war on terror was to gain monetarily and to invoke new lwas taking away our rights and the American people thanked them for it.
Those that may kidnap others. Can't say i blame them. For some reason we expect people who we have caused great harm to to fight back with bullets, knowing they dopn;t stand a chance. How does a farmer fight back knowing his son is in gitmo for no reason and after watching so many die around him for nothing but a motive of profit ? They say 1 million Iranians and Iraqis were killed in the "10 year war" between them which was nothing more then a proxy war for the U.S. Those deaths are on us. Or how about we used to celebrate the fact that Kermit Roosevelt was responsible for the overthrow of the elected parliament of Iran in the 50's just bacuse they wanted to , dare I say it, nationlaize their oil to keepo Americans from bleeding trhem dry.
On and on and on........
sorry, decent premise but the only terrorists i see are the few who control America as they have done more harm to others and this planet then anyone at anytime throughout history.

Seven 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 05:08 AM
I agree with most of your points. America is hardly innocent in all this, and throughout history you'll rarely find any side of a conflict that doesn't have blood on it's hands. That said, I still feel this sets a terrible precedent for this country. Warranted or not, this country's enemies now have a bargaining chip that they know works and it'll be used against us again.

I'm working on an article describing the various "blowback" scenarios we've faced in the middle east, including the current uprising in Iraq (We trained those same fighters to fight Assad in Syria).

Zarniwoop 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 10:41 PM
Well an open shift in the US narrative, not an new precedent really....the US has been trading with, arming, supplying and generally aiding "terrorists" for decades (if not since the very get go). We've given them symbols, martyrs and lionizing images to run with before as well...

It is likely another part of the boom/bust cycle of creating enemies for future battles. The military industrial complex needs to be fed and without tomorrow's "terrorists" we wouldn't have today's arms sales. These five individuals can further the goal of creating enemies abroad, more enemies, more missions to go on, more money to be spent. Even things like this can find their way back to the big two. Pride & Greed. In this case, mostly greed.

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