Obama is hardly the first president to negotiate with terrorists for hostages

Bowe BergdahlForget Benghazi, Republicans are licking their chops to hold a Congressional hearing over the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Citing a law enacted just last year, the Republicans are demanding that hearings begin immediately over the Obama administration’s negotiation with the Taliban to secure the release of Bergdahl. The Republican goal is obvious as they want to impeach Obama more than anything in the world.

More than helping a still fragile economy. More than passing a jobs bill. Heck, they want to impeach Obama even more than they want to repeal Obamacare and they have tried to accomplish that over 50 times. What it will really mean is more pointless hearings that will no doubt waste more time and tax payer money.

The current Congress already has the distinct honor of being the least productive. Republican members of Congress, including chairs of crucial committees, fail to see the benefit in presenting bills to the Congress. Instead they are choosing to go after the headline-grabbing attacks on President Obama because that is what will score points with their electorate. Rather than do their jobs they are focusing on the next election cycle. And it is hurting the country.

The Republicans are now dropping everything to focus on what they claim is just another criminal act by the Outlaw President. Hell, he shouldn’t even be President because he is a foreign Muslim. But this time he has gone too far by negotiating with terrorists and this is America. We don’t negotiate with terrorists. EVER!

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Yet several experts tell a different story, including some very conservative former members of the Bush and Reagan eras. Experts like Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, who says “we have long negotiated with terrorists. We should be tough on terrorists but not on our fellow Countrymen who are their captives, which means having to make a deal with the devil when there is no alternative.”

Hoffman cited a series of high-profile negotiations in the past. The list not surprisingly involves several instances involving sitting Republican Presidents, including the Iran hostage crisis that began in the 1970s and was resolved the day Reagan came into office. There was also the Iran-Contra affair, also under the Reagan Administration, that led to the release of several hostages in Lebanon after selling arms to Iran.

According to USA Today, Charles “Cully” Stimson, a security expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, said there are even more examples of small-scale negotiations with terrorist groups that the public, and many members of Congress, just don’t know about.

However, President Obama does not operate that way. He chooses to operate with a fair degree of transparency and nothing has changed regarding this event. His administration acted with a sense of urgency due to the declining health of Bergdahl and immediately after securing his release the administration notified the appropriate members of Congress.

Instead of congratulating the President on bringing this matter to an end, the Republican controlled House is going conduct another circus-type hearing. The hearing will produce nothing, just like the Benghazi and IRS hearings, but that won’t matter to Republicans. They will whip their base into a frenzy right before the midterm elections and spend millions of taxpayer dollars in the process.



  1. I look forward to your words getting crammed back down your throat. Just like what’s been done to you here before.

  2. Late last spring, just after the GOP/Tea Party had successfully negotiated their sequester cuts which eventually resulted in the loss of over 600,000 jobs and 1.75% annualized GDP, Jim DeMint, another former conservative office-holder who left elective office early to go for the big bucks (at the Heritage Foundation), wrote a letter to GOP/Tea Party members of Congress.

    The letter contained his version of a battle plan for the 2014 mid-terms and essentially encouraged conservatives to follow this simple strategy: “Between now and November, 2014, your focus should be “investigating and litigating, not legislating.”

    Even DeMint was smart enough to know that the Republican Party has more fault lines than southern California and that their lack of even the semblance of a coherent, cohesive public policy owed to the fragile and tenuous nature of party ties among differing constituent groups. Ask Marco Rubio—who is still operating under the delusion that he has the support necessary to make a run for the presidency in 2016— how “that immigration reform thingey is goin’ fer ya’?”

    By-and-large, excepting those times when they needed to pass bills providing subsidies for Big Agriculture and Big Energy and/or tax cuts/loopholes for Big Corporations/Big Money, the Republicans have followed DeMint’s playbook.

    They have obstructed any and every presidential or Democratic initiative and, other than measures aimed at making the most vulnerable even more vulnerable and making the most wealthy even more wealthy, their legislative accomplishments have been nil. At the same time, every presidential burp has occasioned one or the other of John Boehner’s Clown Show to call for a congressional investigation and, as an aside, mention to constituents at a town hall meeting that the sound of the burp “just might rise to the level of the ‘I’ word.”

    William Seward did his utmost to discourage Lincoln from attempting to pass the 13th Amendment through the House of Representatives in the winter/spring of 1865, preferring to wait until the new Congress—filled with Lincoln’s Republicans—took office later in the year. In doing so, he dismissively referenced the House as a “hall filled with hicks and hacks.”

    Point taken.

    So, while the Republicans have been content to investigate and litigate, legislation that might move the country forward in every way it needs to move forward languishes in the House hopper. And the irony of it all is that the GOP/Tea Party blames the president for “not creating jobs” and “not creating economic growth.”

    The conservative base, galvanized as it is around a common hatred—and my own belief is that “hatred” is the proper characterization—of Anything Obama (and we thought, for a millisecond back in 2008, that perhaps we were enjoying the beginnings of a post-racial age!), has proven itself eager to believe anything pejorative that its leadership says about the president (no matter how counter-factual it might be). Which leads to two conclusions:

    One, DeMint’s playbook of “investigate, litigate, but don’t legislate” has worked well for Republican office-holders. It hasn’t worked well for the country, but when did the Republican Party begin to care about the welfare of the country?

    Two, relative to Secretary Seward’s 1865 analysis of the House of Representatives as being a “hall filled with hicks and hacks,” it is clear that little has changed over the past 150 years.

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