FERGUSON: The worst trade ever

June 6, 2014 

All things considered, I haven’t been especially hard on President Barack Obama during his time in office. It’s not that I’m a fan, I just knew when he was elected that his political views were far to the left of my own and therefore I didn’t expect to care much for the way he governed. It’s probably fair to say that he has lived down to my expectations.

I guess didn’t think there was a whole lot to say when the country elected a known liberal and then he governed like a liberal. He seems like a good family man who was trying to do what he thought best and I’ve never had any personal animosity towards him.

But the events of the past week have brought a sudden end to my spirit of grudging acceptance for the current president of the United States. The deal he signed off on to trade five known terrorists for a lone American POW is the most bone-headed and embarrassing act committed by a president that I can recall, and he has finally earned the full force of my displeasure. Brace yourself, Mr. Obama.

I’d really like to know what top-notch team of negotiators he assembled to work out a deal with the Taliban to trade five mid- to high-level terrorists we were holding at Guantanamo Bay for a single American POW being held captive in Afghanistan. The 5-for-1 ratio is bad enough, but maybe it wouldn’t seem so bad if the POW we liberated was some kind of war hero, or even just a good soldier who got captured while doing his duty.

But according to all the information I’ve read about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, he was “captured” by the Taliban after walking away from his post and wandering into the countryside. That’s right -- our government gave up five known terrorists so they could liberate one American deserter.

To make a bad situation worse, there are questions about whether what Obama’s team did was legal. They are required to inform Congress before releasing any prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, and it does not appear that they did so.

Even members of the president’s own party are crying foul over this apparent violation of the law. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

There seems to be a building consensus both in Congress and with the public that the whole situation is outrageous, indefensible and just plain crazy. What were they thinking? How could any reasonable person have seen this as a sensible thing to do? And how ridiculous and weak does this make us appear to the Taliban and others who seek to do us harm?

Frankly, this has convinced me that Obama should be removed from office. He and his team do not know what they are doing, and I’m afraid of what further harm they might do to the country in the next two years.

Having said that, I doubt impeachment is a realistic option. My guess is that Obama’s team will be able to build a case that Congress knew, or sort of knew, that it was negotiating for Bergdahl’s release. They had to know their political enemies would come after them over this, so I expect they have some legal fig leaf to hide behind.

But I think there should be some price to pay over this. Losing control of the Senate in the upcoming congressional election would be a good start. I’d like to see Obama weakened significantly if he can’t be removed from office. The less power that he has in his hands, the better I will sleep at night.

All we can hope for now is that his ability to further damage the country can be limited. And we can hope that the next president (no matter what race, sex, age, sexual orientation or astrological sign he or she happens to be) actually has a clue about what they are doing. It would be a nice change.

Bill Ferguson is a resident of Warner Robins. Readers can write him at fergcolumn@hotmail.com.

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