Stillwater News Press

Opinion

June 13, 2014

DIANE DIMOND: President’s very real military problem

STILLWATER, Okla. — The president of the United States is the commander in chief over all branches of the military. It is a historic time, given that no military member goes public to speak negatively about the ultimate commander.

But now, with the Veteran's Hospital scandal in full bloom, after the administration's smokescreen about what triggered the deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy at Benghazi and after the president's tepidly received speech at West Point announcing diplomacy will replace military responses henceforth, the time for silence is over.

Now, career military personnel are speaking out through gritted teeth, insisting they speak for active duty personnel who cannot talk without being punished. They are speaking about injustice, ineptitude and impeachment.

The era of silence changed after President Obama's super-secret prisoner swap – five “high risk” Taliban prisoners from Gitmo in exchange for one U.S. Army solider held for nearly five years in Afghanistan. The fact that the soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, walked away from his unit leaving a note saying he was “disillusioned with the Army,” did not support his commander in chief's mission in Afghanistan and was, “leaving to start a new life,” left military types stunned that the president would stage a Rose Garden ceremony with Bergdahl's parents.

“I'm just surprised the president was dumb enough to stand next to them,” Major Mike Lyons told me. “It's another example of him (Obama) reading the tea leaves wrong.”

Lyons, a West Point graduate (class of 1983) is a highly skilled strategic operations specialist with a resume as long as your arm. He surmises the extraordinary secrecy surrounding the prisoner transfer boomeranged on the president.

“What do I think is part of the reason the president did it? He just didn't get good advice about the swap and the aftermath. This is not a stellar soldier. He has lots of liabilities,” Lyons said. Not the least of Bergdahl's liabilities are unconfirmed reports that as many as six soldiers died in Afghanistan's Paktika Province during missions to rescue him from the Taliban.

None of the almost dozen military men I heard from were against bringing Bergdahl home. It was the way in which the president negotiated Bergdahl's return that rankles.

Former Navy Seal Steve Robinson, who works with the POW Network, says he is personally disgusted that the United States has now negotiated with terrorists because it sends a signal to the enemy that if they capture an American soldier, the U.S. will eventually bargain with them.

He's equally disgusted to learn that soldiers from Bergdahl's unit were made to sign non-disclosure agreements not to talk about the missing soldier, the incriminating note he left behind or his odd behavior. Now that those agreements have lapsed, we've seen a parade of Bergdahl's colleagues on TV calling him a “deserter,” a “traitor” and even a “collaborator.”

“Every Seal I have heard from (believes) this is the worst possible deal that could have been struck,” Robinson said. “And, five to one? It should have been the other way around,” he said in an agitated tone.

Every military person I spoke with predicted that the five returned Taliban leaders will re-enter the fight against America and be pressed to do so sooner rather than later.

I asked a former member of the Navy Seals elite Jedi Unit (the same unit that killed Osama Bin Laden) to tell me how he feels about the whole episode. “Betrayed and angry ... both those words apply,” he said.

Let's call this man Tommy, for his civilian life must necessarily remain as clandestine as his military service.

“The White House is whitewashing the ill deeds of this deserter and is lying to the country on mainstream media,” Tommy told me. And like all the other military men, he insists that Bergdahl must now account for his actions and face a military tribunal or court- martial.

None of those I interviewed are lawyers, but each offered the opinion that the commander in chief committed an impeachable offense by ignoring the law that requires a president to give Congress 30 days' notice about any prisoner exchange.

As Robinson put it, “The president has to follow the law. He waited five years ... Bergdahl's health was not an issue. Why couldn't he have alerted Congress and waited just 30 more days?”

Forget what the politicians on Capitol Hill are saying about the prisoner swap. Forget the pontifications from the myriad of talking heads on TV and radio. Now you know what members of our U.S. military are thinking and saying. They have lost all respect for their commander in chief.   

Visit Diane Dimond's at www.dianedimond.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Stocks
NDN Video
Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent
Must Read