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Monday, June 02, 2014

OTP - June 2014: Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Bitter Mouse Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 4613 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics, stupid ideas

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   801. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:03 PM (#4719983)
It would make more sense to hear the interview in context, but there is a key difference between "release" and "exchange". McCain opposed releasing them as "a confidence building measure, but said he would support exchanging them. McCain fairly clearly delineates a distinction between the two. I'm not sure what it says about Joek that he can't tell the difference. LOL indeed.

I'm not sure what it says about 'Shredder' that he's so bad at "reading for comprehension," although I have a few suspicions. I've discussed the "distinction" McCain "delineat[ed]" in multiple comments.

***
what does the phrase "confidence-building measure" mean to you? i'll use in an excerpt and bold it for you:
so, what does "confidence-building measure" mean, and what does it refer to? everyone with a third grade education should be able to figure it out.

What are you talking about? You can keep posting that excerpt until you're blue in the face; nothing therein suggests McCain supported trading high-level Taliban leaders. He hedged in all sorts of ways: "inclined to support," "depending on a lot of the details," "I'd have to know the details," etc. It also seems clear that McCain didn't know that Bergdahl was suspected of being a deserter, or that Bergdahl's fellow unit members were against such a deal.

If McCain was fully in favor of such a trade, what "details" would he need to know, other than that Bergdahl was being released?
   802. steagles Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:03 PM (#4719984)
Speaking of Wars, the 70 year anniversary of D-Day is tomorrow. Does anyone have a good documentary that they can recommend about it?
nothing specific comes to mind, but operation fortitude is a really interesting thing if you want to look into it.
   803. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4719987)
Until last week, the U.S. wasn't known to entertain such trades.


Right. The US has never made a prisoner exchange ever in the history of forever. I guarantee you George W. Bush didn't release hundreds of Taliban fighters during his admin, including one who later went on to be involved in Benghazi.
   804. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4719989)
It is relevant both to how much you're willing to trade to get him back (clearly you owe more, and should be willing to give more for a Medal of Honor winner than a deserter) and whether or not you celebrate his return, or downplay it.


You, of all the people on this Board, are the last one I'd expect to find making distinctions about the worth of individuals.
   805. Shredder Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4719990)
As usual for 'Shredder,' too stupid for a reply.
As usual for Joek, too stupid to come up with reply. It's OK to admit you're wrong, Joek. But by all means, feel free to just say "your dumb" or "bad analogy" or "False, LOL" and act like you know what you're talking about.
nothing therein suggests McCain supported trading high-level Taliban leaders.
Yeah, except for that part where he said "Now this idea is for an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting man. I would be inclined to support such a thing." You really are precious.
   806. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4719991)
The Rose Garden "buffoonery" doesn't.

It speaks volumes about this cultural moment, as previously noted herein.
   807. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4719992)
Right. The US has never made a prisoner exchange ever in the history of forever. I guarantee you George W. Bush didn't release hundreds of Taliban fighters during his admin, including one who later went on to be involved in Benghazi.

Bush made one or more POW-for-(non-)POW trade(s)? Funny how the media hasn't mentioned that this week.
   808. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4719993)
No. He never got a POW back in return for his releases.
   809. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4719995)
It speaks volumes about this cultural moment, as previously noted herein.


Do you come your pants or get a cookie every time you vomit this "decline" bit out or something?
   810. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4719997)
As usual for Joek, too stupid to come up with reply. It's OK to admit you're wrong, Joek. But by all means, feel free to just say "your dumb" or "bad analogy" or "False, LOL" and act like you know what you're talking about.

Touched a nerve, did I? Oh, well. You've always been nothing if not angry.

(Also, I posted a reply. How many times do I need to post the same thing?)

Yeah, except for that part where he said "Now this idea is for an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting man. I would be inclined to support such a thing." You really are precious.

LOL. If all McCain cared about was Bergdahl being released, why did he repeatedly mention that he'd "have to know the details"? Which details would those have been?
   811. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4719999)
There is absolutely no indication of that.

There's plenty of indication, including for starters the fact that he's still alive and that he's with the Taliban, instead of roaming the countryside or living somewhere else. Or dead as he'd probably be if the Taliban thought he was an actual enemy American soldier.
   812. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4720002)
There's plenty of indication,


Tell us about how he gave birth to dragons for them man.
   813. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4720010)
Do you come your pants or get a cookie every time you vomit this "decline" bit out or something?


Not unless he teams it with a "modern leftists" or "modern liberals."
   814. Shredder Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4720011)
Touched a nerve, did I? Oh, well. You've always been nothing if not angry.
Not particularly. I'm not sure why the rightwing nutjobs in this forum seem to think these threads make me angry. I enjoy watching you flail around in these threads, moving goalposts here and there, failing to ever really make any argument besides "you're wrong" or "you're stupid" and "LOL, that thing quoted does not say exactly what it says in the plain text right in front of me". It's funny watching dumb people try to act smart. Kinda like watching a cat follow a laser pointer. It's funny reading things like this
LOL. McCain said he was against exchanging "hardcore Taliban leaders,"
even though the passage quoted in your own response says nothing of the sort, but again, this gets back the fact that you're too dumb to understand the difference between a release and exchange. Actually, that part's not funny. It's really kinda sad.
   815. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4720013)
But I've never known the US (or any nation, in fact) to try to calculate the 'virtuousness' of prisoners prior to exchanging them.


FWIW I once met a retired CIA guy who years after the fact was still appalled that we'd traded Vilyam Fisher to get Gary Powers back...

His claim was that Fisher was a far more valuable spy/intelligence asset than Powers- who really knew nothing of importance other than how to fly the U-2, it's capabilities etc--- which the Soviets already had a good handle on, and besides the U-2 overflights over the USSR were winding down anyway...

He was of the opinion that Powers should have offed himself- my thought was that if what Powers knew wasn't that important wtf should he have offed himself?

The CIA guy was basically pissed off that the U-2 incident harmed the US because it embarrassed the US, we had lied about not doing the overflights, by getting captured and allowing himself to be paraded around he let the godless commies prove that Ike had been lying... I asked if wouldn't power's body and the plane's wreckage have done the same thing for the godless commies... Dude just started muttering under his breath. (and the CIA guy was really just a desk-bound analyst not a real spy...)


Any way, on the bright side, if nothing else the Bergdahl swap pissed off Karzai, that's got to be worth something
   816. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4720014)
Interesting that Sam cites my support for the GOP as justification for his distorting my position.

I'm not distorting your position. I'm simply removing the spin of it.

Then where did I say what Sam described in #773? Don't think anyone will find anything close. But knock yourself out.

BTW, if I wanted to "spin", I'd just ask why Obama was releasing the leaders of a terrorist movement that kills girls for going to school?
   817. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:52 PM (#4720020)
From all indications, he flipped and aided the enemy.

There is absolutely no indication of that.

I don't see how folks here can ignore the statements of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers who are saying he deserted and may have aided the Taliban. Here's CNN quoting Bergdahl's team leader:
"Bergdahl is a deserter, and he's not a hero," says Buetow. "He needs to answer for what he did."

Within days of his disappearance, says Buetow, teams monitoring radio chatter and cell phone communications intercepted an alarming message: The American is in Yahya Khel (a village two miles away). He's looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban.
. . .
Many soldiers in Bergdahl's platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.

"Following his disappearance, IEDs started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical," said Buetow.

It was "very suspicious," says Buetow, noting that Bergdahl knew sensitive information about the movement of U.S. trucks, the weaponry on those trucks, and how soldiers would react to attacks. "We were incredibly worried" that Bergdahl was giving up information, either under torture, or otherwise, says Buetow.

There are dozens of articles like this. To say there is "absolutely no evidence" that Bergdahl switched sides is simply not true. There may be a question of whether the evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt, but that is another issue.

   818. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:56 PM (#4720022)
Not particularly. I'm not sure why the rightwing nutjobs in this forum seem to think these threads make me angry. I enjoy watching you flail around in these threads, moving goalposts here and there, failing to ever really make any argument besides "you're wrong" or "you're stupid" and "LOL, that thing quoted does not say exactly what it says in the plain text right in front of me". It's funny watching dumb people try to act smart. Kinda like watching a cat follow a laser pointer. It's funny reading things like this

Since you claim to enjoy it ... LOL.

Also LOL at the irony of you, of all people, saying it's "funny watching dumb people try to act smart." I guess we can add self-awareness to the long list of areas in which 'Shredder' is deficient.

even though the passage quoted in your own response says nothing of the sort, but again, this gets back the fact that you're too dumb to understand the difference between a release and exchange. Actually, that part's not funny. It's really kinda sad.

What was it you said about it being "funny watching dumb people try to act smart"?

I'll ask again, for the third or fourth time: If all McCain cared about was Bergdahl being released, why did he repeatedly mention that he'd "have to know the details"? Which details would those have been?
   819. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4720023)
I don't see how folks here can ignore the statements of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers who are saying he deserted and may have aided the Taliban.


There is evidence he deserted. That evidence can now be weighed appropriately by the military justice system.

There is no evidence other than hearsay and empty speculation that he "aided the Taliban."
   820. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 05, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4720025)
Speaking of Wars, the 70 year anniversary of D-Day is tomorrow. Does anyone have a good documentary that they can recommend about it?


The Longest Day actually isn't that bad if you want a focus on the 24 hour period itself.
If you haven't seen it before (or even if you have) one thing to note is that there were 4 separate directors/film crews- the Germans were obviously trying to whitewash their role, every German with significant face time (some who actually played themselves btw) is seen complaining (or muttering to themselves) that Hitler is delusional, the high command is inept, the war is lost, etc etc.

The British Director/writers kept trying to put in what comes off as inappropriate attempts at comic relief, Sean Connery's character in particular is an abomination (A very un-Bond-like bumbling oaf).

The Omaha scenes pales next to Saving Private Ryan's, but there is a mesmerizing "single take" scene involving the taking of a harbor and the advance on a hotel/casino (I believe it was shot as a continuous 5 minute take from a helicopter- it starts in close up and the camera view gradually widens even as it is following the action on the ground)
   821. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4720033)
I said
Like I said people are emotional about the PR part of it, which is interesting to some, but not me.


You replied

None of it is interesting to you, which is the problem. There's nothing you can't hand-wave away if done by "Team Blue."


And then regarding my reply to that, you say.
Entirely non-responsive to my claim that you're not interested in the Taliban being incentivized to take hostages.


Well genius it is non-responsive to that, because that is not what I was responding to. I was responding to your statement that "none of it is interesting to me". And I clearly showed what a pile of BS that statement was.

By your goal post shift clearly you agree with me, there are things I care about. As to the nonsense about "nothing you can't hand-wave away if done by "Team Blue"" Obviously you were sleeping earlier when I directly slammed Congressional Democrats (including the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in 2016). How describing their acts as "Cowardly" becomes hand waving for Team Blue is an exercise for your brilliance.

Hey look I still have not responded to your Taliban prisoner rant. Why? I think it important to bring our boy home and end the war. Once the war is over they won't be taking POWs. And I don't find the increased risk of prisoner taking to be very worrisome.
   822. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4720036)
I don't find the increased risk of prisoner taking to be very worrisome.


Almost certainly less worrisome than the Israelis who exchange prisoners with terrorist organizations.
   823. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4720037)
Well genius it is non-responsive to that, because that is not what I was responding to. I was responding to your statement that "none of it is interesting to me". And I clearly showed what a pile of BS that statement was.

Yes, you showed how interested you are in the Taliban being incentivized to take hostages by ... not mentioning it at all in your three-paragraph reply.

By your goal post shift clearly you agree with me, there are things I care about.

First of all, there was no goalpost-shift. Beyond that, if you cared about it, you would have mentioned it in your reply, rather than wasting three paragraphs on something you allegedly don't care about.

Obviously you were sleeping earlier when I directly slammed Congressional Democrats (including the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in 2016). How describing their acts as "Cowardly" becomes hand waving for Team Blue is an exercise for your brilliance.

Yes, you bashed certain members of "Team Blue" for ... not being in the tank enough for "Team Blue." A real Sister Souljah moment if ever there was one.

Hey look I still have not responded to your Taliban prisoner rant. Why? I think it important to bring our boy home and end the war. Once the war is over they won't be taking POWs. And I don't find the increased risk of prisoner taking to be very worrisome.

A classic Bitter Mouse mixture of hand-waving and foolishness.
   824. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4720040)
Once the war is over they won't be taking POWs.


Don't be naive. Clearly the Taliban is a mere month, two at the most, away from invading Ft. Hood and taking hostage every soldier stationed there. Rumor has it they already control Ft. Bragg, but Obama is burying the news out of political fear during the midterms.
   825. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 07:42 PM (#4720041)
I'm not sure why the rightwing nutjobs in this forum seem to think these threads make me angry.

Your being unable to post without name-calling & insults is the giveaway.
   826. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 05, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4720047)
"Bergdahl is a deserter, and he's not a hero," says Buetow. "He needs to answer for what he did."

Within days of his disappearance, says Buetow, teams monitoring radio chatter and cell phone communications intercepted an alarming message: The American is in Yahya Khel (a village two miles away). He's looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban.
. . .
Many soldiers in Bergdahl's platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.

"Following his disappearance, IEDs started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical," said Buetow.


Yeah, but what do they know -- they only served with the guy -- as against a bunch of stateside internet lawyers and sophists?
   827. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 08:14 PM (#4720062)
   828. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 05, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4720077)
Do you come your pants or get a cookie every time you vomit this "decline" bit out or something?


Not unless he teams it with a "modern leftists" or "modern liberals."

But when he tags on "as previously noted herein," he can pump it into his mouth.
   829. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:34 PM (#4720104)
I don't find the increased risk of prisoner taking to be very worrisome.

Almost certainly less worrisome than the Israelis who exchange prisoners with terrorist organizations.


The Israelis exchange prisoners to get back deserters?
   830. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:46 PM (#4720110)
The Israelis exchange prisoners to get back cadavers.
   831. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:02 PM (#4720113)
I should reiterate that the circumstances of Bergdahl's capture continue to be irrelevant.

Not at all. If he willingly joined the Taliban, and that's how he was "captured," his desertion becomes treason.


And you can bet your bottom dollar that if the Obama administration could show that he wasn't a deserter, we'd have heard about it by now.
   832. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:11 PM (#4720117)
Some tensions among Democrats - Bergdahl Furor Adds To Dem Angst About Obama:
On Monday, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was cheering the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “I am looking forward to him being reunited with his family soon and am thankful for his service, his sacrifice, and his courage,” the New Hampshire Democrat said in a statement. By Wednesday, she wasn’t cheering anymore. “I continue to have concerns about the Administration’s failure to consult Congress,” she said in a second statement after the Obama administration briefed senators about the exchange for five Taliban prisoners. And of the allegations that Bergdahl deserted his unit, Shaheen said, “I fully expect … that there will be a full investigation into Bergdahl’s separation from his unit, and that appropriate actions will be taken.”

For Democratic candidates in the most competitive races, the Bergdahl case has been yet another reason to put a healthy distance between themselves and President Barack Obama. They’ve been doing it on Obamacare for months, but they’re not exactly rushing to his defense on the economy, the Keystone pipeline or his response to the Veterans Affairs scandal, either. If this were a sales contest, they would have been fired by now.
. . .
Democrats are staying far away from Obama this year. At best, they’re quietly following in his footsteps and not admitting it. At worst, they’re leaving skid marks. You almost need a detective to find Democrats using the words “President Obama” on the stump these days — at least in a positive way.

On Bergdahl, the Obama Administration has compounded its problem by digging in their heels and attacking those that disagree. Going after John McCain and the soldiers that served with Bergdahl is not a winning strategy.
   833. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:16 PM (#4720118)
Yes, you showed how interested you are in the Taliban being incentivized to take hostages by ... not mentioning it at all in your three-paragraph reply.


It isn't that I am uninterested, I just think it far fetched. Tell you what Joe let's bet. I bet you there will be zero US POWs taken by the Taliban for the next six months. Surely that is long enough for this incentive to come to fruition and the mighty Taliban to capture many hostages.

If there is one or more hostages taken I will change my handle to "Bitter Mouse knows JoeK was right" for a week. If I win - no hostages - the you change your handle for a week acknowledging I am correct.

That is what I think about your fear of scary incentives to the scary Taliban.

That enough of a reply?
   834. Lassus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:17 PM (#4720119)
And you can bet your bottom dollar that if the Obama administration could show that he wasn't a deserter, we'd have heard about it by now.

Boy you really are fond of the proving a negative thing, aren't you?
   835. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4720120)
And you can bet your bottom dollar that if the Obama administration could show that he wasn't a deserter, we'd have heard about it by now.


You can't generally prove a negative like "He wasn't a deserter". You can prove "He was a deserter". You can present evidence that suggests he did not desert. But proving he wasn't a deserter? Pretty difficult.

Besides as many of us keep saying, it doesn't matter to most of us if he is or he isn't. Just because you care doesn't make it President Obama's top priority.

EDIT: Negative Coke for Lassus.
   836. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:21 PM (#4720122)
Regarding the nuance, caution and hypothetical contexts of John McCain's old comments, he was being asked by Anderson Cooper about the specific preexisting swap that was ultimately agreed to this week. Identical premise, same compromises, same middleman, same P.O.W., same five Taliban prisoners, each one identified by name in various press reports from CNN, Reuters and others. Those details McCain would have to see were all public knowledge two and a half years ago, and were certainly available to the Senate Armed Services Committee on which McCain has long served. I'm not supportive of this trade, but John McCain absolutely was. Unlike the Senator, the deal didn't change.
   837. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4720124)
Going after John McCain ... is not a winning strategy.


Going after McCain is ALWAYS a winning strategy, particularly when McCain made such a fool of himself by changing positions. Citing Politico to the contrary is self-refuting.
   838. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4720125)
Republican Representative Raul Labrador (Idaho):
"I'm a little bit disturbed by some of the Republicans out there who keep saying this has never happened before. That is not entirely true. If you look historically, at the end of any conflict, you have a swap of prisoners, and that happens. Usually our side will release people that are less than desirable in order to get some of our people back in these swaps. So I would suggest that anybody who's being hyper-critical about this, they should look at the history. This has happened before.
...I'm delighted he's coming home. I'm so happy for his family. I was able to talk to his parents on Sunday and they are very excited. But there are a lot of questions. And I think those questions are going to need to be answered, but now is not the time for those questions. I think now is the time for us all to share in the joy of the family, of the city of Hailey and the state. I think we need to leave those questions aside for a couple of weeks."
   839. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:47 PM (#4720134)
Going after McCain is ALWAYS a winning strategy, particularly when McCain made such a fool of himself by changing positions.

Of course, McCain strongly disputes that he changed his position. Bit of a stretch to suggest someone who says "it depends on the details" has agreed to any arrangement. But if Democrats want to try that strategy, far be it for me to stop them. When should we look for the Democratic surge in the polls?
   840. Mefisto Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4720146)
We should certainly take McCain at his word rather than relying on our lying eyes. He said, he said is always more reliable.
   841. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:17 PM (#4720148)
A couple pages back, when I posted the latest Presidential Job Approval Poll, I was chastised for not posting the allegedly more important Generic Congressional Vote Polls. While I still believe that the Presidential Job Approval is important, in an effort to keep everyone happy, here is the latest Generic Congressional Ballot Poll - GOP +4. Satisfied now?
   842. steagles Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:17 PM (#4720149)
Of course, McCain strongly disputes that he changed his position. Bit of a stretch to suggest someone who says "it depends on the details" has agreed to any arrangement. But if Democrats want to try that strategy, far be it for me to stop them. When should we look for the Democratic surge in the polls?

this seems like a good issue for someone to use to separate themselves going into the 2016 republican primary.
   843. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:28 PM (#4720156)
Regarding the nuance, caution and hypothetical contexts of John McCain's old comments, he was being asked by Anderson Cooper about the specific preexisting swap that was ultimately agreed to this week. Identical premise, same compromises, same middleman, same P.O.W., same five Taliban prisoners, each one identified by name in various press reports from CNN, Reuters and others. Those details McCain would have to see were all public knowledge two and a half years ago, and were certainly available to the Senate Armed Services Committee on which McCain has long served. I'm not supportive of this trade, but John McCain absolutely was. Unlike the Senator, the deal didn't change.

As always, thanks for unskewing things for us, Gonfalon. It sure is helpful to have someone with your special abilities. Now that you mention it, it seems clear that John McCain misspoke when he said — repeatedly — that he'd "have to know the details" before agreeing to any such deal. As the Obama administration has shown over and over again, details are for losers.
   844. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:31 PM (#4720157)
It isn't that I am uninterested, I just think it far fetched. Tell you what Joe let's bet. I bet you there will be zero US POWs taken by the Taliban for the next six months. Surely that is long enough for this incentive to come to fruition and the mighty Taliban to capture many hostages.

If there is one or more hostages taken I will change my handle to "Bitter Mouse knows JoeK was right" for a week. If I win - no hostages - the you change your handle for a week acknowledging I am correct.

That is what I think about your fear of scary incentives to the scary Taliban.

That enough of a reply?

You think only the Taliban noticed the deal Obama made?

You can't generally prove a negative like "He wasn't a deserter". You can prove "He was a deserter". You can present evidence that suggests he did not desert. But proving he wasn't a deserter? Pretty difficult.

Huh? Is this serious?

Besides as many of us keep saying, it doesn't matter to most of us if he is or he isn't. Just because you care doesn't make it President Obama's top priority.

You do more hand-waving than a third-base coach in a beer league.
   845. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4720165)
You think only the Taliban noticed the deal Obama made?


So no bet then. Thought so. I realize the stakes are scary high for you.

As to the other two comments: <yawn>.
   846. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:46 PM (#4720167)
So no bet then. Thought so. I realize the stakes are scary high for you.

As to the other two comments: <yawn>.

Yes, my refusal to go along with a dumb "handle bet" resolves the issue of whether Obama's actions incentivized hostage-taking. You're right.
   847. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4720179)
834. Lassus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:17 PM (#4720119)

And you can bet your bottom dollar that if the Obama administration could show that he wasn't a deserter, we'd have heard about it by now.

Boy you really are fond of the proving a negative thing, aren't you?


835. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4720120)

And you can bet your bottom dollar that if the Obama administration could show that he wasn't a deserter, we'd have heard about it by now.

You can't generally prove a negative like "He wasn't a deserter". You can prove "He was a deserter". You can present evidence that suggests he did not desert. But proving he wasn't a deserter? Pretty difficult.


What happened, did Daily Kos put out lefty talking points which included this silly "prove a negative" thing? I didn't use the word "prove," I used the word "show," and one can certainly come forward with evidence that one wasn't a deserter, just as one can come forward with evidence that one didn't murder Mrs. Peacock in the kitchen because one was bopping Miss Scarlet in the study at the time.



   848. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 06, 2014 at 12:40 AM (#4720182)
As always, thanks for unskewing things for us, Gonfalon. It sure is helpful to have someone with your special abilities. Now that you mention it, it seems clear that John McCain misspoke when he said — repeatedly — that he'd "have to know the details" before agreeing to any such deal.

"As always" is your motto. Try not to be corny all your life, unskewing unskewing unskewing unskewing.


Reuters, May 9, 2012, "Family pleads for U.S. prisoner at heart of Afghan peace push":
"For months, U.S. negotiators were seeking to arrange the transfer of five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay military prison to the Gulf state of Qatar. The transfer was intended as one of a series of confidence-building measures designed to open the door to political talks between the Taliban and Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government... Another U.S. official declined to say whether the newly public discussion might endanger Bergdahl or further discourage the peace process, which had envisioned the transfer of Taliban prisoners to Qatar in coordination with Bergdahl's release... A third U.S. official said the hope remains to be that the Afghan peace process can be revived. "The onus is on the Taliban," the official said. "This process could be restarted if they come back to the table." Under the proposal, the government of Qatar would have had oversight of the transferred detainees' behavior and travel. The detainees, some of whom are seen as among the most menacing left at Guantanamo, would also have begun a deradicalization program."


CNN, February 3, 2012, "The Taliban who may leave Gitmo":
"As part of its efforts to explore peace talks with the Taliban, the Obama administration is considering the controversial release of several senior Taliban figures from the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay... diplomatic sources say they would probably be relocated to Qatar in the Persian Gulf, where the Taliban is negotiating the establishment of a liaison office to facilitate dialogue with the U.S.
...A CNN analysis of detainee records at Guantanamo Bay published by WikiLeaks suggests the following detainees among those being considered for release. CNN has been told by a knowledgeable source that the list is accurate. The source spoke on the condition no name was used because the list has not been publicized. Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa.. Mullah Mohammad Fazl:.. Mullah Norullah Nori:.. Abdul Haq Wasiq... Mohammad Nabi Omari."

Exchanged two and a half years later for Bowe Bergdahl were these five men: Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Nori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, and Mohammad Nabi Omari.

McCain, who was warily positive about the deal this past February, and who had not been informed of the deal as of June 2014, is quoted in the 2012 CNN article opposing a straight release of the five, and commenting on their histories. He made the comments following a closed briefing in which he was updated on the status of the negotiations.
   849. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 06, 2014 at 12:58 AM (#4720184)
A couple pages back, when I posted the latest Presidential Job Approval Poll, I was chastised for not posting the allegedly more important Generic Congressional Vote Polls. While I still believe that the Presidential Job Approval is important...

You can find some correlation between presidential job approval numbers and down-ballot election results in presidential election years. You cannot find them in midterms. I'm sorry, but you can't.

You can keep believing otherwise, of course. But you can't fill in those blanks about how, where or to what degree Congressional results would change, if Obama's approval were to move noticeably in either direction.

The reason you can't do it is because we can't look back at past midterm results and see any pattern in which higher presidential approval ratings correspond with good news for his party, while lower approval ratings lead to worse news. Again, this lack of cause and effect applies to midterms only.
   850. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2014 at 12:58 AM (#4720185)
Reuters, May 9, 2012, "Family pleads for U.S. prisoner at heart of Afghan peace push":
"For months, U.S. negotiators were seeking to arrange the transfer of five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay military prison to the Gulf state of Qatar. The transfer was intended as one of a series of confidence-building measures designed to open the door to political talks between the Taliban and Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government... Another U.S. official declined to say whether the newly public discussion might endanger Bergdahl or further discourage the peace process, which had envisioned the transfer of Taliban prisoners to Qatar in coordination with Bergdahl's release... A third U.S. official said the hope remains to be that the Afghan peace process can be revived. "The onus is on the Taliban," the official said. "This process could be restarted if they come back to the table." Under the proposal, the government of Qatar would have had oversight of the transferred detainees' behavior and travel. The detainees, some of whom are seen as among the most menacing left at Guantanamo, would also have begun a deradicalization program."


CNN, February 3, 2012, "The Taliban who may leave Gitmo":
"As part of its efforts to explore peace talks with the Taliban, the Obama administration is considering the controversial release of several senior Taliban figures from the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay... diplomatic sources say they would probably be relocated to Qatar in the Persian Gulf, where the Taliban is negotiating the establishment of a liaison office to facilitate dialogue with the U.S.
...A CNN analysis of detainee records at Guantanamo Bay published by WikiLeaks suggests the following detainees among those being considered for release. CNN has been told by a knowledgeable source that the list is accurate. The source spoke on the condition no name was used because the list has not been publicized. Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa.. Mullah Mohammad Fazl:.. Mullah Norullah Nori:.. Abdul Haq Wasiq... Mohammad Nabi Omari."

And?

Nothing in those excerpts changes the fact that McCain specifically said he'd "have to know the details" before agreeing with such a deal. It's also not clear that McCain knew Bergdahl was suspected of being a deserter or that his fellow unit members were against such a deal. Obama certainly wasn't advertising either of those facts; the odd NDAs the DOD required Bergdahl's unit members to sign and Obama's brazen Rose Garden ceremony are evidence of that.
   851. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 06, 2014 at 01:32 AM (#4720190)
For someone who complains so much about unskewing, you do it like a champ.


John McCain isn't a flip-flopp'r.
There is more than one North Star in the heavens.
Writing and talk do not prove him.
Does he contradict himself?
Very well then, he contradicts himself.
(A spokesman denied that the Senator contradicts himself.)
He is large, he contains multitudes.
   852. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2014 at 02:07 AM (#4720194)
For someone who complains so much about unskewing, you do it like a champ.

You're the only one doing any unskewing here. McCain plainly and repeatedly said he'd "need to know the details" before agreeing with a prisoner swap. Given that McCain is one of the biggest media whores in D.C. and a noted blowhard, if the hedged comments in the brief exchange with Anderson Cooper are the best evidence you've got of McCain's alleged support for this deal, your case is incredibly weak. (And even if McCain did offer full-throated support in February, there's no evidence McCain knew Bergdahl was suspected of being a deserter or that his fellow unit members were against such a deal, either of which would be valid grounds for McCain to change his position.)
   853. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 06, 2014 at 02:58 AM (#4720199)
Let it go
Let it go
McCain's not running anymore
Let it go
LOL
No need to be his unpaid whore

We can see
What John used to say
When the coast was clear.
He'll change his story twice by this Saturday.
   854. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:31 AM (#4720206)
Yes, my refusal to go along with a dumb "handle bet" resolves the issue of whether Obama's actions incentivized hostage-taking. You're right.


The sequence of events was:
JoeK insults me and adds dumb talking point about emboldening the Taliban.
I repond to insult and ignore dumb point about Taliban.
JoeK doubles down on Taliban point with me and others.
I ridicule Taliban talking point and offer a "dumb bet".

Your immediate response was the lovely goal post shift: "You think only the Taliban noticed the deal Obama made?"

It is not about the dumb bet, it is about showing that even you don't believe your silly "Taliban will now kidnap our soldiers because of incentives" bit. At all.
   855. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:35 AM (#4720207)
I didn't use the word "prove," I used the word "show," and one can certainly come forward with evidence that one wasn't a deserter, just as one can come forward with evidence that one didn't murder Mrs. Peacock in the kitchen because one was bopping Miss Scarlet in the study at the time.


Sure. Show you are not from Mars then.

The point is not the difference between prove and show. The point is that it is extremely difficult to show something didn't happen, especially something like desertion which is mostly intent.

But let's get specific, what sort of evidence that the Obama administration almost certainly already has (not specifics, just the sort of thing you are talking about), what should they be showing us to "show" he did not desert? What would this evidence consist of? The letter he didn't write or the conversation he didn't have about deserting?

Note: It wasn't a DailyKos thing, it was a "Ray posted something dumb and we both responded to it" thing.
   856. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 06, 2014 at 07:40 AM (#4720208)
Meanwhile, here's some news that shows what can be accomplished when politics get put aside:

Senators Reach Accord Easing Worries Over Veterans’ Health Measure

WASHINGTON — In the wake of a revelations that officials at veterans hospitals across the country have been manipulating patients’ appointment times by creating secret waiting lists, two senators reached a bipartisan accord on Thursday to give authority to the acting Veterans Affairs secretary to fire senior officials and to expand access for veterans who do not live near medical facilities or have experienced long waits.

Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont and the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, bypassed the normal committee process and worked around Republican leaders in both chambers who were seeking a more narrowly focused bill. The resulting agreement addresses crucial concerns of both parties.

The measure — which could come to the Senate floor as early as next week — is likely to be the main legislative response to the scandal, which led to the resignation last week of Eric Shinseki as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The agreement could defuse partisan tensions that have arisen since the first reports of long waiting lists and the news that some veterans had died awaiting care. Mr. McCain’s seal of approval — he is a former prisoner of war — and his willingness to take on members of his own party, will make it difficult for Republicans to oppose a solution to a problem that they elevated into a national scandal....

The House passed a narrow bill last month granting the Veterans Affairs secretary authority to fire or demote senior executives without going through a bulky federal review process. But Mr. Sanders wanted a Senate measure that would also deal with access to care at overburdened medical facilities.

Republicans in the House and Senate, led by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, tried to browbeat Senate Democrats to take up and pass the House bill, but Mr. Sanders — backed by the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada — held firm and reached out for a negotiating partner.

Talks went nowhere with Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the veterans committee, but Mr. McCain bucked his skeptical leadership to work out the deal, with Mr. Burr’s blessing and the help of Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, who is known as an opponent of big government.

“This should not be a political issue,” Mr. Sanders said. “It should not be a partisan issue.”....




   857. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:11 AM (#4720217)

But let's get specific, what sort of evidence that the Obama administration almost certainly already has (not specifics, just the sort of thing you are talking about), what should they be showing us to "show" he did not desert? What would this evidence consist of? The letter he didn't write or the conversation he didn't have about deserting?


Testimony from Bergdahl in which he denies being a deserter and explains his side of the story; testimony from soldiers in his unit who DON'T believe he deserted and who can speak to his actions and statements to the contrary and to his character; evidence that the emails between him and his father that Rolling Stone reported are faked or can be explained; rebuttal of the evidence that he DID desert, through testimony, through character witnesses; testimony from the commander who can refute or explain the evidence that Rolling Stone presented about the suspicious questions Bergdahl asked the commander about what items he could take with him if he left; etc.


   858. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:16 AM (#4720218)
Meanwhile, here's some news that shows what can be accomplished when politics get put aside:

Senators Reach Accord Easing Worries Over Veterans’ Health Measure


If you read the whole article, they "fixed" the problem by throwing a lot of money at it. Easy to do when you're dealing with a relatively small number of patients. More difficult to do when Obamacare starts really tanking, with long wait times and lack of access and such, and there are 300 million people to deal with. But, hey, wealth redistribution.

Also, it's sort of comical that they needed to "reach across the aisle" and have a special bill to fire people in government who are incompetent or corrupt, "without going through a bulky federal review process." And yet the liberals here still push back against the idea that there is no accountability in government.


   859. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:24 AM (#4720220)
All of the arguments that a simple prisoner exchange suddenly makes the world more dangerous for Americans because the Taliban/terrorists will suddenly think "we can just kidnap some Yankees!" is pretty much case study in politically motivated goal-directed reasoning. The set of facts don't allow a convenient attack point against the hated opposition (Obama) because a good thing happened (a POW is brought home.) So to make up for this defect in the world, the rabid partisan must create narratives and just-so scenarios that allow them to maintain the belief that the hated opposition (Obama) is still stupid, evil and wrong. Thus you get the unfounded and unprovable talking point that this prisoner exchange will lead to more hostage taking. (Has that ever been the case in previous wars? Did prisoner exchanges in previous conflicts lead to an increase in POW taking? Does this prisoner swap somehow alter the balance of power on the battlefield such that it's now more likely that the enemy can capture and control American soldiers or Marines? I doubt any of those answers are "yes.")

This is nothing more than partisan Republicans spinning reality in order to maintain their most important article of faith - Obama is evil and always wrong - regardless of any factual event or outcome in the world.
   860. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:26 AM (#4720221)
If you read the whole article, they "fixed" the problem by throwing a lot of money at it.


As opposed to having the Congress roll up their sleeves and go fill the open doctor positions themselves, Ray? If the problem is lack of funding that leads to lack of doctors, which leads to lack of services (and a horrific coverup internally due to corruption through the administrative org of the VA) then the wawy Congress fixes the first set of problems (not the corruption, but the funding/services problem) is to throw money at it.

Obviously the corruption requires a different kind of fix.
   861. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:28 AM (#4720223)
Testimony from Bergdahl in which he denies being a deserter and explains his side of the story


This would require having Bergdahl back in country, of course.

The Pentagon has already run an investigation, in 2010, and decided that he most likely deserted his post. That's why the Executive, and not DOD, were in charge of getting him back.
   862. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:31 AM (#4720225)
Testimony


So what you want is testimony before any sort of action or decision from the administration or military regarding a court martial? Really. If they want to have a court martial, or are even having an investigation around whether to have a court martial you want them to rush to put testimony out there? Because with most such investigations the important thing is to do everything publically.

You also realize the guy was ill and is still recovering.

Bergdahl, who remains in stable condition, has yet to speak with Bob and Jani Bergdahl since he was released Saturday in exchange for five high-profile Taliban fighters, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said Thursday.

“His health continues to improve daily,” Warren said. “He is conversing with medical staff and becoming more engaged in his treatment plan. He is resting better and showing signs of improvement.”


And finally - again - even if he was a deserter (something that can be determined whenever, there is no huge rush) it really doesn't matter in terms of the POW exchange to most of us.
   863. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:34 AM (#4720226)
It's notable that Bernie Sanders, who has previously touted the VA health care system as an ideal model, now realizes that it sucks and that it had people literally dying while waiting to get care while the long wait times and such were covered up by bureaucrats who couldn't be easily fired once their corruption was learned.
   864. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:36 AM (#4720227)
If the problem is lack of funding that leads to lack of doctors


My understanding is one of the problems is distribution of Vets. So some parts of the system have excess capacity, while others (mostly places the older vets are retiring) have not enough. So they need to build up capacity in the high usage places. And yes that costs money.
   865. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:41 AM (#4720228)
In other news I am amused that the Texas open carry loons have basically forced the NRA to back down. You don't often see the NRA back down from anything.
   866. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4720229)
Testimony from Bergdahl in which he denies being a deserter and explains his side of the story


This would require having Bergdahl back in country, of course.


Sure, but interviewing members of his unit, looking at his emails, etc, certainly didn't require him to be back first.
   867. bobm Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:50 AM (#4720233)
So some parts of the system have excess capacity, while others (mostly places the older vets are retiring) have not enough. So they need to build up capacity in the high usage places. And yes that costs money.

Here's a thought: downsize or close the underutilized facilities. Reallocate some money so one needs less new money. Or is one not allowed to lay off government employees?
   868. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:52 AM (#4720236)
North Korea Holds American Over Bible Left in Hotel


See, already the Bergdahl exchange has emboldened our enemies!
   869. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4720238)
Sanders and McCain also.... established new committees! What a shock that bigger government was their solution.
   870. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 08:57 AM (#4720240)
Here's a thought: downsize or close the underutilized facilities. Reallocate some money so one needs less new money. Or is one not allowed to lay off government employees?


If a hospital in MN is at 70% and one in AZ is at 100% (and needs thirty percent more capacity) you can't exactly ship the excess (Well that and percents are not additive that way).

It costs money to build out more capacity in AZ, and unless you can completely shut down facilities elsewhere you don't save that much in downsizing (which, btw they may already be doing). And of course even shutting down a facility costs money (though you save in the long run).

Basically in order to expand capacity somewhere we need some of Ray's money.
   871. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4720244)
Sure, but interviewing members of his unit, looking at his emails, etc, certainly didn't require him to be back first.


The Pentagon conducted this investigation in 2010.
   872. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4720246)
Or is one not allowed to lay off government employees?


Does one wish to undermine the tepid economy just to prove a point?
   873. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4720247)
The Pentagon conducted this investigation in 2010.


Right, and even you seem to agree that the guy "most likely" is a deserter. So why the "you can't prove a negative" silliness from liberals like Lassus and BM?
   874. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4720250)
Right, and even you seem to agree that the guy "most likely" is a deserter. So why the "you can't prove a negative" silliness from liberals like Lassus and BM?


Because "most likely" isn't "prove," and a guy like you who sort of lives on the knife's edge of pedanticism can't really complain that much when people are pedantic back at you. None of this has any bearings on whether or not it was correct to bring Bergdahl home (it was obviously so) or whether we gave up "too much" in return for him (we didn't.) And none of it has anything whatsoever to do with the wishcasting about "this will embolden the enemy to take more POWs" (it won't.)
   875. Lassus Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:16 AM (#4720252)
So why the "you can't prove a negative" silliness from liberals like Lassus

If you'll note, I have said barely boo on this topic. In fact, I'm one of the liberals DOUBTERS if you go back to the first page of this event - I would not be surprised if he was a deserter. But when you try to make points not once but twice by asking for proofs of negatives, I find it notable. It's logically ridiculous. There's your "why".
   876. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4720257)
Because "most likely" isn't "prove," and a guy like you who sort of lives on the knife's edge of pedanticism can't really complain that much when people are pedantic back at you. None of this has any bearings on whether or not it was correct to bring Bergdahl home (it was obviously so) or whether we gave up "too much" in return for him (we didn't.) And none of it has anything whatsoever to do with the wishcasting about "this will embolden the enemy to take more POWs" (it won't.)

The Rose Garden ceremony belies the conclusion that Obama believed Bergdahl was a deserter (or at least that he would be proven to be).

Nor is your conclusory statement that we didn't give up too much for him, proven. Your Israeli cadaver example is inapposite, as there's nothing wrong with giving things up to get back your honorably-serving dead.

And everyone's missing the bigger picture. We've torn the country's principles asunder under the guise of protecting our safety. Torture, Gitmo, drone assassinations, spying, mass expansion of executive powers. "We have to have Gitmo, these people are DANGEROUS my biggest obligation is to keep you safe!!!!"

Then, after all that, after altering our country to near unrecognizability, we give up five DANGEROUS!!!! Gitmo prisoners ... for a deserter.(*) And then fete the guy in the Rose Garden. Read in that appropriately broad sense, the whole thing's like the rotting cherry atop a 21st century cake of sh!t.

Pathetic.

   877. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4720267)
You, of all the people on this Board, are the last one I'd expect to find making distinctions about the worth of individuals.

Late to respond, but why?

Innocent life demands more protection than guilty life. I've never opposed the death sentence, for example.

Also, we make relative judgments about the value of people's lives all the time. The healthy 30 y.o. gets a liver transplant before the 80 y.o. alcoholic.

There's a difference between not directly killing innocent people (in which calculus each life is equal) and expending effort to save a life (in which calculus we are not expected to treat every life as equal). e.g. I'd spend all my savings on life saving medical treatment for my wife. I wouldn't do that for a stranger. That difference is in no way immoral.
   878. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4720268)

And everyone's missing the bigger picture. We've torn the country's principles asunder under the guise of protecting our safety. Torture, Gitmo, drone assassinations, spying, mass expansion of executive powers. "We have to have Gitmo, these people are DANGEROUS my biggest obligation is to keep you safe!!!!"


I am against pretty much all those things. But I am not sure why any of that speaks against getting one of our POWs back. You may think it crap, but better crap with our POW home than crap with him still in captivity.
   879. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4720272)
But I am not sure why any of that speaks against getting one of our POWs back. You make think is crap, but better crap with our POW home than crap with him still in captivity.

Because the prisoners we gave up are, by definition, so DANGEROUS!!! that we had to rip the country's principles up to keep us safe from them.

The premises you're citing conflict entirely with the premises behind the "war on terror."
   880. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4720273)
Because the prisoners we gave up are, by definition, so DANGEROUS!!! that we had to rip the country's principles up to keep us safe from them.


You're confusing Taliban fighters with international terrorists. The men we released have never carried out an attack outside of their home nation of Afghanistan, have they? And the only attacks they carried out there were insurgency campaigns against an invading army (the US.)
   881. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4720275)
Your Israeli cadaver example is inapposite, as there's nothing wrong with giving things up to get back your honorably-serving dead.

No, that's just silly. If you know he's dead, you shouldn't give up dangerous prisoners for a body. You want to throw them a few buck, fine.

This was part of the "Black Hawk Down" disaster. They remained in an area for several hours trying to extract a body from a crashed helicopter. It ended up costing 10-15 additional deaths.

IMHO, it's grossly irresponsible to risk peoples' lives to recover a body, I and don't recall it being a part of US military culture until recently. WW2 memoirs and films are full of "leave him, he's bought it", with no recriminations for the guys leaving the dead or dying man behind.
   882. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4720277)
You're confusing Taliban fighters with international terrorists. The men we released have never carried out an attack outside of their home nation of Afghanistan, have they? And the only attacks they carried out there were insurgency campaigns against an invading army (the US.)

The Taliban are a core organization covered by the AUMF and fundamental thereto.
   883. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4720279)
The Rose Garden ceremony belies the conclusion that Obama believed Bergdahl was a deserter


No it doesn't. Those are just the voices in your head talking again. The Rose Garden ceremony, if it proves much of anything, proves only that Obama failed to foresee the public blowback from segments of Bergdahl's battalion, or the wingnuts latching onto that blowback and running with it as this week's Benghazi. It is virtually certain that Obama knew what the 2010 Pentagon investigation found (that was, after all, why the Executive was running the program to get him back rather than the DOD), and almost certainly thought then (and probably still do now) that whatever penalty the Army levies against Bergdahl for desertion will be written off as "time served" due to his five years of captivity by the enemy.

That is, after all, the position of the Army.
   884. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4720281)
The Taliban are a core organization covered by the AUMF and fundamental thereto.


So? All that means is that the POTUS is authorized to fight them with the military (and other means.) It doesn't change the fact that the status of Taliban fighters is distinct and different from actual international terrorists. The five men we exchanged for Bergdahl were irregular soldiers in Afghanistan's irregular national army. They were captured and held as POWs because we invaded their nation (looking for the terrorists who planned the 9/11 attacks.)

I can't tell if you're being snarky with that whole "so DANGEROUS!!!" bit up there, but the fact of the matter is the five men we exchanged pose no danger at all to US citizens today, will not do so for at least a year (barring Qatar failing to hold them, of course) and have never been a danger to any American other than the soldiers and Marines we sent into Afghanistan. It being the case that we are leaving Afghanistan in 2016, it's unlikely that they will pose much real danger to those soldiers or Marines eitehr.
   885. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4720283)
And everyone's missing the bigger picture. We've torn the country's principles asunder under the guise of protecting our safety. Torture, Gitmo, drone assassinations, spying, mass expansion of executive powers. "We have to have Gitmo, these people are DANGEROUS my biggest obligation is to keep you safe!!!!"


One of the newer whines on the right wings is that Obama could have gotten Bergdahl back earlier, but waited to do so because he wanted to use the release as a political lever to close GITMO. I find that questionable, but it's a popular meme in the fever swamps right now.

Regardless, if you read the transcripts of Obama's recent address to West Point, and map it to his decisions to ramp down Afghanistan, you may find that he's behaving in the manner you'd prefer (at long last.)
   886. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4720284)
From that same article linked to in #856 above:

In putting together the veterans bill, Republicans particularly wanted to make sure that the measure would apply to veterans who are either stuck on a waiting list or who live 40 miles or more from one of the department’s medical centers. It also would authorize the department to lease 26 major medical facilities in 18 states and Puerto Rico to try to shrink the backlog.

The measure would also provide $500 million to bolster the Veteran Affairs Department’s ability to recruit and retain doctors. And the deal includes a measure to improve the delivery of care to veterans who were victims of sexual assault while in the military.

“We have learned that in many parts of this country veterans cannot get the timely care that they need,” Mr. Sanders said. “So this bill in a significant way begins to address that important issue.”

In the short run, the agreement would authorize veterans to seek care from private doctors, paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It also would offer veterans in-state tuition at any public university, and it would extend those benefits to spouses of service members who died during their time in the military....


IOW the bill addresses the major concerns raised by the sane members of both parties, but keep the talk show rhetoric flowing.
   887. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4720287)
No, that's just silly. If you know he's dead, you shouldn't give up dangerous prisoners for a body. You want to throw them a few buck, fine.

This was part of the "Black Hawk Down" disaster. They remained in an area for several hours trying to extract a body from a crashed helicopter. It ended up costing 10-15 additional deaths.

IMHO, it's grossly irresponsible to risk peoples' lives to recover a body, I and don't recall it being a part of US military culture until recently. WW2 memoirs and films are full of "leave him, he's bought it", with no recriminations for the guys leaving the dead or dying man behind.


The Israeli example was prisoner trades for dead bodies.
   888. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:19 AM (#4720290)
Because the prisoners we gave up are, by definition, so DANGEROUS!!! that we had to rip the country's principles up to keep us safe from them.

The premises you're citing conflict entirely with the premises behind the "war on terror."


Well I think the WoT! has been a colossal mistake and tearing up the countries principles a bad idea from the start. And none of that has anything to do with getting a POW back. Even if a deserter, he is still a citizen and still one of ours.
   889. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4720294)
IMHO, it's grossly irresponsible to risk peoples' lives to recover a body, I and don't recall it being a part of US military culture until recently. WW2 memoirs and films are full of "leave him, he's bought it", with no recriminations for the guys leaving the dead or dying man behind.


I am willing to let the military run the tactics side of the equation. If they want to "leave no man behind" OK, if they are willing to leave them behind (dead ones), actually I am OK with that also.

The civilians should determine strategy, the military tactics. Of course the Bergdahl trade was not a military tactical matter so that is not super relevant.
   890. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:23 AM (#4720295)
The Israeli example was prisoner trades for dead bodies.


So, for the record, you are arguing:

1. Trading dangerous prisoners for a dead body = perfectly fine, but
2. Trading dangerous prisoners for a live soldier = terrible!

That's utter ####### lunacy.
   891. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4720299)
The Israeli example was prisoner trades for dead bodies.

Right, that was stupid.
   892. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4720300)

So, for the record, you are arguing:

1. Trading dangerous prisoners for a dead body = perfectly fine, but
2. Trading dangerous prisoners for a live soldier = terrible!

That's utter ####### lunacy.


Hey! I agree with Sam today.
   893. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4720301)
Your Israeli cadaver example is inapposite, as there's nothing wrong with giving things up to get back your honorably-serving dead.

No, that's just silly. If you know he's dead, you shouldn't give up dangerous prisoners for a body. You want to throw them a few buck, fine.


Regardless, the example was irrelevant. And I'm still waiting to hear whether Israelis exchange prisoners to get back deserters. (This is not a gotcha; I actually don't know the answer. But if the Israeli point brought up by Mark is relevant, the example should be prisoners for deserters.)
   894. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4720304)
1. Trading dangerous prisoners for a dead body = perfectly fine, but
2. Trading dangerous prisoners for a live soldier = terrible!


I wouldn't trade dangerous prisoners for a dead body, but, then, if it's true that this guy was an America-hater (cite: Rolling Stone emails) and had deserted his unit - with some in his unit speculating that he was aiding the enemy - I wouldn't be rushing to exchange dangerous prisoners for him, no.
   895. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4720314)
if it's true that this guy was an America-hater


That term is meaningless.
   896. Mefisto Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4720316)
But if the Israeli point brought up by Mark is relevant, the example should be prisoners for deserters.


No, it doesn't. But since you're too lazy to do your own searches, here is a list of Israeli prisoner exchanges.
   897. Mefisto Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4720322)
   898. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 06, 2014 at 11:06 AM (#4720333)
From the link at 897:

But the report is said to contain no mention of Sergeant Bergdahl’s having left behind a letter in his tent that explicitly said he was deserting and explained his disillusionment, as a retired senior military official briefed on the investigation at the time told The New York Times this week.

Asked about what appeared to be a disconnect, the retired officer insisted that he remembered reading a field report discussing the existence of such a letter in the early days of the search and was unable to explain why it was not mentioned in the final investigative report.


And...

The report is also said to contain no mention of any alleged intercepts of radio or cellphone traffic indicating that Sergeant Bergdahl was asking villagers if anyone spoke English and trying to get in touch with the Taliban, as two former squad mates told CNN this week in separate interviews; they both said they remembered hearing about the intercepts from a translator who received the report.


All of the allegations are essentially based on "my cousin knows a guy who read the report" type of urban legend building.
   899. Lassus Posted: June 06, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4720335)
if it's true that this guy was an America-hater
That term is meaningless.


That band sucks ass.
   900. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 06, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4720340)
That term is meaningless.


Well, let's get very specific, then. Should we rush to exchange dangerous prisoners to get this guy back?

Last e-mail to parents[edit]

On June 27, 2009, according to Hastings, Bergdahl sent a final e-mai­l to his parents:[1]:4


The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.[1]:4

His e-mail went on to describe his disillusionment with the U.S. mission in Afghanistan:


In the US army you are cut down for being honest... but if you are a conceited brown nosing #### bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank... The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools...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, that they have no idea how to live. We don't even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks... We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them...I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting...There are a few more boxes coming to you guys. Feel free to open them, and use them.[1]:4

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