American Führer

Many Americans are lauding the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held prisoner for the past five years by the Haqqani network, an insurgent group affiliated with the Taliban, probably somewhere in Pakistan.

His freedom came about via a prisoner exchange, with the United States trading five Taliban detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay.

The Guantanamo Bay detainees released are:

  • Khairullah Khairkhwa, an early member of the Taliban whose most prominent post was as governor of the Herat province from 1999 to 2001.
  • Noorullah Noori, who served as governor of the Balkh province and played a role in coordinating fighting against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.
  • Fazl Muhammad, the commander of the main force that fought against the Northern Alliance in 2001 and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban. He was also accused of war crimes during the Afghan civil war in the 1990s.
  • Abdul Haq Wasiq, deputy chief of the Taliban’s intelligence service.
  • Muhammad Nabi Omari, a minor Taliban official from the Khost province.

The exact details surrounding Bergdahl’s capture are sketchy, with many sources reporting that Sgt. Bergdahl was not captured by insurgents, but that he deserted his post, willingly joining the terrorist organization that just released him. But let’s for a moment set aside Sgt. Bergdahls’s disquieting story, and pay attention to the larger story surrounding his “release.”

How far has Barack Obama overstepped his authority this time?


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2 thoughts on “American Führer

  1. Hasn’t every president acted outside the specific intentions of some laws this way at one point in their presidency?

  2. jsb…

    While many Presidents have indeed acted outside the specific intentions of some laws over the course of history, it should never mean that we tacitly accept any President doing so.

    Having said that, this specific situation goes beyond simply acting “outside the specific intentions” of a law.

    What Barack Obama did was to sign a bill into law while simultaneously decreeing a portion of that bill as “unconstitutional” announcing that he would ignore it as he saw fit.

    You may find other instances of US Presidents usurping the power of both the Legislative and Judicial branches of government in that manner, modifying a duly enacted act of Congress by decreeing that a portion of the law is unconstitutional without the law having its day in Court, but I haven’t.

    If the Executive has that level of power, then we no longer have three co-equal branches of government.

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