In National Review, Victor Davis Hanson notes that Obama campaigned in 2008 on the premise that he would increase pressure on and defeat the Taliban. But six years later, there have been more U.S. casualties under Obama then there were under Bush. As Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in Duty, “(Obama) doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.” Read here why Mr. Hanson believes the Bergdahl/Taliban swap is part of a much larger story.
The Bergdahl affair is a chapter in a much larger story. Obama campaigned in 2008 on the premise that George W. Bush had unwisely diverted resources to the bad war in Iraq from the good one in Afghanistan. Accordingly, Obama promised to step up and defeat the Taliban. Six years later, and with the U.S. military suffering more casualties under this administration than were lost during the Bush administration, Obama now feels that America has had enough.
The president wants to quit the war, whether Afghanistan is subsequently lost to the Taliban or not. He wishes to close Guantanamo, as he promised in 2008, regardless of a law that demands congressional approval to release detainees, and despite the dangers incurred by the release of terrorists. Bringing Bergdahl home is part of sporadic negotiations with the Taliban about easing Americans out of the war, and also useful for closing down Guantanamo.
Obama is wagering that the public does not care all that much whether Bergdahl is a deserter. Or whether the administration has negotiated with terrorists such as the Haqqani network or the Taliban. Or whether the released Taliban militants will soon return to fight in Afghanistan.
Obama is also betting that Americans are sick of Afghanistan, and don’t really care how American soldiers leave or what they leave behind, as long as they all leave.
We saw that in Iraq in 2011, and we are seeing it again as a backdrop to the Bergdahl swap.