Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We're In, is now available.
When he announced the exchange of five Guanatamo detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by Islamic jihadists in Afghanistan since 2009, Barack Obama declaredthat the swap was “a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.” However, as ever more damning information came to light about both the deal and Bergdahl himself, it became increasingly clear that the prisoner exchange was actually a reminder of Barack Obama’s unwavering commitment to appeasing and aiding jihadis.
Many people have questioned the wisdom of this deal that sends five seasoned, committed, and ruthless jihadis back to Afghanistan, where they will undoubtedly resume their jihad against the American troops there. The freed jihadis include, according to the Associated Press, “Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the Taliban deputy minister of intelligence”; “Khairullah Khairkhwa, who served in various Taliban positions including interior minister and had direct ties to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden”; and “Mohammad Fazl, whom Human Rights Watch says could be prosecuted for war crimes for presiding over the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001.”
Even more disturbing, however, are the questions swirling around Bowe Bergdahl himself. Former infantry officer Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served with Bowe Bergdahl, wrote in the Daily Beast on Monday that “Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.” Refuting reports that Bergdahl got separated from his unit while on patrol, Bethea declared: “Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not ‘lag behind on a patrol,’ as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.”
Corroborating this was an Associated Press report that was also published on Monday, stating that “a Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his unit, and after an initial flurry of searching the military decided not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue him, according to a former senior defense official who was involved in the matter.” This official said that the evidence that Bergdahl had deserted was “incontrovertible.”
Why might Bergdahl have deserted? A clue may lie in the fact that the Taliban claimed in 2010 that Bergdahl had converted to Islam and was teaching bomb-making to its jihadists. His father, Robert Bergdahl, appears to be a convert to Islam, as during the ceremony with Obama in the Rose Garden announcing the exchange, he proclaimed: “Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim” – the phrase, “In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful,” which is the heading of 113 of the Qur’an’s 114 chapters. (Journalist Neil Munro notedin the Daily Caller that “although Bergdahl quoted the Quran verse, the White House transcript did not translate it or even include the Islamic prayer. Instead, the transcript simply said Bergdahl spoke in the Pasho language, which is the language of the Pushtun tribe, which forms the vast majority of the Taliban force. In fact, ‘Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim’ is Arabic.” The lavishly-bearded Robert Bergdahl has also called for the release of the jihadists in Guantanamo and has implied that American troops are killing Afghan children in a tweet he concluded with “ameen,” the Arabic form of “amen.”)
What’s more, it was also revealed Monday that in an email to his father just days before he deserted, Bergdahl wrote: “I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.” He thundered: “I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”
His father thundered back: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”
Apparently he did, by walking away from his unit and seeking out the Taliban. Nor was his action entirely unexpected. James Rosen reported atFoxNews.com Monday that Bergdahl — “both in his final stretch of active duty in Afghanistan and then, too, during his time when he lived among the Taliban — has been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. intelligence community and is the subject of ‘a major classified file.’” In conveying as much, the Defense Department source confirmed to Fox News that many within the intelligence community harbor serious outstanding concerns not only that Bergdahl may have been a deserter but that he may have been an active collaborator with the enemy.”
It strains credulity to imagine that Barack Obama was not apprised of the existence of this file and these suspicions about Bergdahl. In any case, high-level officials appear to have been aware of them and embarrassed by them for quite some time, as they have enforced a gag order on the members of Bergdahl’s unit, threatening legal action against them if they revealed what happened on the night Bergdahl disappeared.
Why the cover-up? Were Obama Administration officials afraid that the story of a Muslim soldier (if the Taliban claim is true) deserting his post and joining up with the enemy would have negative repercussions for Obama’s disastrous fantasy-based policies in Afghanistan and elsewhere? Did they think that such news would provide a fresh basis to challenge the “diversity” in the military that military brass value more than life itself – as Army chief of staff George Casey demonstrated when he said right after the Fort Hood jihad massacre that “as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse”?
Whatever his reasoning may be, Obama has now traded five battle-hardened jihad warriors for someone he was in a position to know was a deserter and possibly a traitor, who had said that he was ashamed to be an American. If the mainstream media and the Democratic Party covers for the President in this, the latest in his long string of insults to the American people, it will be an outrage. But there is no doubt that they will do so. And quickly this incident will be forgotten, like all of Obama’s earlier insults. But if there are any free people left in America, they will not let this incident be forgotten – and will use it as the linchpin to begin the massive change we so desperately need in the political and media culture.
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