At this point, it is difficult to believe that the Obama Administration was unaware that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was likely at best, a deserter, and at worst, actively seeking to aid the enemy.
But whether or not they knew that, they were certainly aware of the fuzzy math and the questionable legality regarding a prisoner transfer involving the Qatari government and the Taliban with no notice given to Congress.
When a president intentionally chooses a course of action that is guaranteed to produce a significant amount of fallout, there are several questions that need to be asked.
First, was he unaware that the fallout would be this extensive? Did President Obama, in an effort to end the public relations nightmare stemming from problems within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, pull out all the stops to get Bergdahl back without doing sufficient research?
In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. The announcement that the U.S. government had secured Bergdahl's release and that it was freeing five senior Taliban figures from Guantanamo Bay has been portrayed first and foremost as a prisoner exchange. But the four-year history of secret dialogue that led to Saturday's release suggests that the main goal of each side may have been far more sweeping. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video)
Or, second, did he suspect significant pushback but believe that he and his administration would be able to weather any media scrutiny? Given the cover generally provided to this president by mainstream media outlets, that seems to be a reasonable assumption for him to make.
The third – and perhaps most terrifying – option is that the Obama Administration knew exactly what to expect in regards to media and citizen response, and calculated its actions accordingly.
But if that is indeed the case, what were those actions calculated to do? Was the prisoner exchange, as many have suggested, planned in order to draw attention away from any further investigation into the VA? And if so, what horrors could they possibly be expecting investigators to uncover?
Was the prisoner exchange designed as part of a continued effort to keep attention away from Benghazi, and in so doing, draw cover fire for the all but inevitable 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign?
Was it perhaps a part of something bigger? Was the right hand flailing madly in an attempt to prevent people from noticing the left hand pushing through brand spanking new Environmental Protection Agency regulations that could cripple the coal industry and bring America’s economic recovery to a screeching halt. Not only that, but those same regulations could basically guarantee that the American economy could never again rise to the top globally.
President Barack Obama looks to Jani Bergdahl and Bob Bergdahl, the parents of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Saturday, May 31, 2014, as Bob Bergdahl speaks about the release of their son. Bergdahl, 28, had been held prisoner by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. He was handed over to U.S. special forces by the Taliban in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees held by the United States. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
After all of the speculation, Americans can at least find solace in one thing. Due to impressive vertebral growth in a surprising number of reporters and news anchors, it looks like Bergdahl will at least be asked the relevant questions regarding his disappearance and time in captivity. Or will he?
If Bergdahl escapes the scrutiny that is being demanded by Americans – most notably the soldiers with whom he served, some even breaking military gag orders in order to demand it – it may be a result of a move by the president which, at this point, would have to be qualified as either accidental or brilliant.
Unlawful Command Influence is the term, and it is the bane of the existence of anyone who seeks to enforce the Uniform Code of Military Justice. UCI, to the layman, is what happens when someone with a lot of rank or power makes a comment or takes an action that interferes with the judicial process.
If Bergdahl were to be tried for desertion or for aiding the enemy following statements such as those coming directly from the Obama Administration, to say that the judicial process would likely be influenced would be an understatement.
When it is all taken together, the likelihood is that someone within the Obama Administration knew what the fallout from the prisoner exchange might be and that the most potentially disastrous bits could be mitigated with a few well-timed comments that could later be presented in court by Bergdahl’s defense as Unlawful Command Influence.
Virginia Kruta holds a dual BS in Political Science and History from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, and writes from her home in the People's Republic of Illinois. Find her on Twitter @VAKruta or reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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