Whom to Believe: Obama or Congressional Committees?
Update: Now, Obama Seems to Have a “Catch and Release” Program for Afghanistan
KABUL — The United States has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups, a bold effort to quell violence but one that U.S. officials acknowledge poses substantial risks.
As the United States has unsuccessfully pursued a peace deal with the Taliban, the “strategic release” program has quietly served as a live diplomatic channel, allowing American officials to use prisoners as bargaining chips in restive provinces where military power has reached its limits.
But the releases are an inherent gamble: The freed detainees are often notorious fighters who would not be released under the traditional legal system for military prisoners in Afghanistan. They must promise to give up violence — and U.S. officials warn them that if they are caught attacking American troops, they will be detained once again.
And, we all know that Muslim terrorists, err I mean insurgents, would NEVER lie to non-believers.
Just before Barack Obama landed at his Afghanistan campaign stop in Afghanistan last week members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees left after a fact-finding visit.
Unlike the President’s glowing description of how things are going for the NATO Coalition and how Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been weakened, members of Congress (including Democrats like Daine Feinstein, painted painted a far different picture – that the Taliban is much stronger than it was juwt two years ago. U.S. April casualties, greater than any month since the Afghan campaign started 10 years ago – seem to agree with the members of Congress:
Just two hours before President Barack Obama landed in Afghanistan on Tuesday, a congressional delegation was departing.
The delegation, made up of the top four intelligence members on the House and Senate intelligence committees, had spent several days flying around the country, under the radar, visiting with U.S. military and intelligence officers and, of course, a healthy dose of Afghan officials, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
It turns out that not everyone assesses the future threat of the Taliban in quite the same way.
Speaking to the nation Tuesday night, the president said the insurgency was on the decline.
“Over the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban’s momentum,” he said.
The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said that on the ground, military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan had a different view of the strength of the Taliban and its determination to be patient and wait out the American withdrawal.
“What struck me more coming out was the conclusion from folks on the intelligence side, and these are folks with lots and lots of experience with interrogations and they are dealing with Taliban as they’re captured and brought through the programs, that they believe the Taliban is stronger today than it was even a couple of years ago,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan.
“They’ve adjusted, and their adjustment is: We just have to let people know we’re there, and we have to wait till they leave,” he said of the Taliban.
Hat tip: CNN, the Washington Post and hotair.com
14,000 mile campaign stop