President Barack Obama is doubling down in his defense of his blunder in defying the rule of law, exercising poor judgment and mischaracterizing (I’m trying to be charitable) the service of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in his ill-conceived “deal” to free the lone American serviceman held captive in Afghanistan.
The proximity of this poor decision to the heat of opprobrium the president was recently suffering for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) access-to-care scandal is disquieting. When it is set against his prior action in jumping at the Joint Plan of Action to “give diplomacy a chance” in the matter of Iranian nuclear ambitions, there is a downright disturbing pattern. Is our narcissist-in-chief jumping at available but poor deals-in-the-offing to turn the page on his own political difficulties?
The Joint Plan of Action arguably accorded Iran the right to reprocess uranium, a critical step in the race for creating a nuclear bomb. Under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, on which Iran is a signatory, they are committed under international law to refrain from acquiring nuclear weapons. That’s why the Bush administration was adamant that the basis for negotiations was a cessation in all Iranian reprocessing activity. The Joint Plan of Action also eased sanctions on Iran. The quality of the plan and the quality of the decision to swap a terrorist for a deserter have widely been panned. What is also peculiar is the timing.
Much like the proximity of the Bergdahl decision to the heat of the VA scandal, the decision to go forward with the Joint Plan came in the weeks after the humiliation of the “redline that wasn’t.” Surely, no one would think that a U.S. president could take an available but bad deal simply to ease political pressure. Or surely he wouldn’t do it twice. Hmmm … perhaps this is not a full-blown accusation; too much is yet unknown about the circumstances of the Bergdahl situation, but the trend has not been favorable to the president. And by his record, from possible abuse of IRS authority to the cover-up of Benghazi (how sweet is it that they sent same-old-story Suzie—National Security Adviser Susan Rice to the un-hip—out again on a Sunday morning), the flouting of the War Powers Act in Libya, the refusal to defend the integrity of our borders and the humbling in Ukraine, among others—sheer exhaustion forbids me from continuing—you have a stream of malfeasance, corruption and ineptitude that would make Millard Filmore blush.
Still, with this president and that record, you have to ask yourself: How big a factor was the desire, nay the need, simply to turn the page on the VA scandal in presidential decision-making? Does it explain the undue haste to secure the deal that led to a neglect of the legal duty to inform Congress? Did it, in the case of Iran, lead the administration to take a bad but available deal on Iranian nuclear ambitions? One doesn’t want to think so, but raise your hand if you think this president, at this time, deserves the benefit of the doubt. Just as I thought.
All very disturbing.
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