The Taliban Swap: Yet Another Illegal, Dictatorial Move on the Part of Barack Obama

One of the things that used to drive liberals crazy (as well as Constitutional conservatives) was that, rather than vetoing laws he didn’t like, George W. Bush would sign them “into law” but also append “signing statements” to describe how he was interpreting the law. Arguably, he was saying in advance that he didn’t plan to follow what the law actually said.

And once again, Barack Obama is just another George W. Bush.

According to the Washington Times,

Amid jubilation Saturday over the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity by the Taliban, senior Republicans on Capitol Hill said they were troubled by the means by which it was accomplished, which was a deal to release five Afghan detainees from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Top Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out.

“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.) and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, James M. Inhofe (Okla.), said in a joint statement.

Unquestionably the Administration has just rewarded the Taliban. I may be wrong but my guess is that they expect the Taliban to destroy our current set-up government in Kabul and are trying to win them over. But I’m not an expert.

What I do find repulsive is the story’s partisan bias: “Top Republicans … went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law.”

Claiming they “went so far” suggests they were being extreme and immoderate by making the accusation. In fact, that is simply what happened. Barack Obama broke the law. The story goes on to say:

Lawmakers were not notified of the Guantanamo detainees’ transfer until after it occurred.

The law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests.

Before the current law was enacted at the end of last year, the conditions were even more stringent. However, the administration and some Democrats had pressed for them to be loosened, in part to give them more flexibility to negotiate for Bergdahl’s release.

A senior administration official, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity to explain the timing of the congressional notification, acknowledged that the law was not followed

So the Washington Post itself goes so far as to accuse Barack Obama of breaking the law. Why do they begin the story with a claim about Republicans? They should have simply reported the fact that Barack Obama broke the law.

And, of course, Barack Obama has stated that he considers it his privilege to break that law.

When he signed the law last year, Obama issued a signing statement contending that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers as commander in chief and that he therefore could override it.

The signing statement is a lie, the Constitution specifically delegates to Congress the authority, “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.” They made a rule, a law, and the Dictator-in-Chief broke the Constitutional law.

Of course, this is one of many dictatorial moves made by Obama. And Congress still does nothing about it.