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The Other Shoe Dropping -- Situational Morality and Hostage Deals - jordan179 — LiveJournal
June 4th, 2014
08:28 am

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The Other Shoe Dropping -- Situational Morality and Hostage Deals
By now, many of you know that President Barack Hussein Obama, perhaps the stupidest or most treacherous man to ever occupy the office of President of the United States of America, has traded five top-ranking Taliban members taken prisoner years ago for the return of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl -- a man who was almost certainly either a deserter or -- worse -- a defector to the Taliban.

Six American soldiers have already tried trying to "rescue" the probably-traitorous Sgt. Bergdahl, and now -- with the release of five highly-dangerous enemy leaders -- many Americans and Afghanis will almost certainly die as the price of Obama's attempt to make himself look good.

Why did Obama do this?  Why would he engage in a prisoner exchange while a war was still going on?  Why one on terms so idiotically-favorable to the enemy?  How could he imagine that this would make him look good?  And why are some Americans willing to give him a pass on this incredibly-incompetent behavior?

Part of the problem is that progressive situational morality is very vulnerable to being beaten in a social game.  See, a code of honor plays the game long-term; situational morality short-term, and one can beat situational morality by putting the holder of that belief in a situation where yielding avoids an immediate bad result at the cost of accepting a longer-term worse-result.

"Hostage" situations are prime examples of this.  One yields something long-term important to "save the hostages" and then -- if one is playing to a political audience who <i>also</i> think short-term, one can proudly demonstrate that one has "saved the hostages," while the alternative -- of accepting that it is always the hostage-taker who controls his own actions and that hence one <i>isn't</i> "making" him harm the hostages (or, for that matter, spare them) is seen as "putting ideology above human lives."

Here is the logical conclusion of the hostage fallacy.  If one can be manipulated into making real political concessions (such as releasing dangerous prisoners) by the enemy threat of maltreating genuine prisoners, than making that threat toward deserters or defectors works equally well.  The enemy is taking advantage of the mistake Jimmy Carter made in 1979-81, and the other shoe has dropped.

And Obama is either a fool, or a traitor.

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From:stryck
Date:June 4th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
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I suspect that Obama and many in his cabinet think that war is like a sports game. Once the game is over, you send all the players over and it's done. No hard feelings.

That and some things I've heard suggested that most of the admin thought people would LIKE this exchange and be thrilled. They were probably desperate for something to prove how much they appreciate veterans in the wake of the VA stuff. And even though it backfired on them, it is helping to keep the VA scandal out of the news.

But they really can't see the difference between a deserter and a POW.
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From:banner
Date:June 4th, 2014 06:40 pm (UTC)
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Yup, just another sign of how much contempt the current democrat party has for the military and the people who have served in it.
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From:dacuteturtle
Date:June 4th, 2014 07:03 pm (UTC)
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From:jordan179
Date:June 4th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
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Patrick J. Buchanan said:

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Today’s terrorist may be tomorrow’s statesman.

I devoutly hope that the national story of any country which permits Taliban leaders to become "statesmen" ends in a night of terrible fire from the sky, as American missiles scour the Earth clean of the things in human form who would be willing to accept such "statesmen" as their leaders.

9-11 Quarter to the Foe!
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From:affablestranger
Date:June 4th, 2014 09:29 pm (UTC)
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All the media outlets are really pouring it on thick, Left and Right. I must admit that the Left's efforts are far more transparent and absurd, even considering the near record levels of passive-aggression, especially on NPR. And I generally like NPR. Listening today has been a real chore when it comes to anything Bamster.
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From:lostboy_lj
Date:June 5th, 2014 12:27 am (UTC)
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Why did Obama do this?

The better question is, "Why did Obama do this now?" The answer at first seemed simple, but I've since found it to be absolutely mind-bending.

I mean, there's the obvious strategic angle of diverting coverage from the VA scandal. Shinseki resigns on a Friday at the usual news-dump time (and so does Carney, weirdly enough). Then they do the illegal swap on the sly to break the media coverage into at least three parts: one of which allows the media to primp itself in the mirror (Carney) and the other which offers a supposedly positive Obama military story to counteract the bilaterally poisonous VA debacle (Bergdahl). Obama "never leaves a man behind", you see?

But on further review, the decision was so sudden, half-baked and batsh*t insane that it reminds me of panicked thinking. The VA scandal is the worst scandal so far from a PR standpoint, as it takes several of the administrations vulnerabilities (healthcare, the military, transparency, organizational competency, etc) and blends them into one horrible stew. But I think there's much more to this story going on behind the scenes.

Think of the way the last news cycle started. Last Monday, the White House is forced to apologize for "accidentally" blowing the cover of a CIA section chief serving in Afghanistan. Over the next few days, we get in short order:

1) An off-the-record meeting with former Sec State Hillary Clinton.
2) A speech to West Point that landed with a resounding, universal thud, even in friendly pubs like the NYT and WaPo.
3) The sudden resignation of both the VA secretary and the Press Secretary.
4) A ludicrous prisoner swap that sends five of the Taliban's top men loose in exchange for a deserter.

Carney is as despicable a flack as I've ever seen run a press conference, but I don't think his departure was something planned by the administration as part of a diversion tactic. I think he knew that this move was going to blow up in their faces, and he didn't want to go down with the ship. Same goes for that section chief, although I'm thinking his "outing" wasn't so voluntary.

RE: Bergdahl: It's possible they are all this stupid in the State department now, or at least that the number of numbskulls promoted to the top has pushed the decision-making circuitry past some moronic event horizon. It's also possible they have enough Al Capone-like hubris stored up from past crimes that they just assumed the supine press would let them get away with it, or at least politicize it to the degree that it would batter both side. But even taking into consideration nitwit narcissists like Jen Psaki, how does a room full of adults with even partially functioning brains push the button on this Bergdahl swap? And why on earth would they send Susan Rice out there (again!) to tell us Bergdahl served with "honor and distinction", when there was no political need to characterize him that way, and when any insect with a few sparking ganglia could predict how it would backfire on them?

I'm starting to see shades of Sherman's Savannah March - the beginning of a bizarre, scorched-earth political strategy that will last until the midterms. The VA scandal is so explosive, so grotesque, so bipartisan, and the Bergdahl deal was so outlandish and brazenly illegal that I'm starting to think Obama is trying to bait the House Republicans into impeaching him. The idea would be to use those impeachment hearings to rally his base, fling around accusations of racism and incite general unrest among the flock, all with the hopes of staunching a congressional Republican tidal wave in November.

Edited at 2014-06-05 12:36 am (UTC)
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From:ford_prefect42
Date:June 5th, 2014 05:54 am (UTC)
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Actually, I am wondering if it isn't a deliberate tactic. From the very beginning of the Obama presidency, scandals have been pushed out of the headlines by bigger scandals. The acorn voter fraud was pushed out by the "safe school Czar" that had handed out "fisting kits" to high school students. That was pushed out by the GM bondholders, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera..

Maybe it's just coming to the point that even many of the democratic base can't support it. I mean, a lot of them are trying VERY hard to cover for it, but just MAYBE he's overplayed his hand this time.
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From:lostboy_lj
Date:June 5th, 2014 07:00 am (UTC)
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Occam's Razor is basically taunting me here:

- Incompetence
- Cynicism
- Hubris
- Evil

They all make sense, individually and in various mixtures. But the execution is just SO bizarre...

Maybe I'm a bit like Pauline Kael back in '72. I can't conceive of the sort of person this action would be meant to persuade. That's why I only see burning fields. There are a crap load of nihilists out there who don't grapple with daily political ethics, but who will be more than happy to join an ad-hoc, social-media crusade if the First Black President(TM) is getting impeached.

Hmmm... In that sense, I guess I'm not like Kael. I think I see this coming. I don't know any now, but I knew them, and know what they're like.
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From:jordan179
Date:June 5th, 2014 04:13 pm (UTC)
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Obama might get a surprise. He may wind up alienating so much of the country that he will see an impeachment begin -- and end in his won conviction. Obama might wind up a President who served with "distinction" -- the distinction being that he was the first one to wind up in Federal prison.
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From:lostboy_lj
Date:June 5th, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
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It'll never, ever, ever happen. He's got bulletproof skin, and he knows it. That's why he's baiting them into giving it a try; if the House impeaches his administration will start shooting race cards out of every orifice, and his press flunkies will line right back up behind him to avoid getting hit by friendly fire.
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From:prester_scott
Date:June 7th, 2014 02:57 pm (UTC)
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Yes, this. The impeachment drive is a trap.
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From:expanding_x_man
Date:June 11th, 2014 04:55 am (UTC)
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He may wind up alienating so much of the country that he will see an impeachment begin -- and end in his won conviction. Obama might wind up a President who served with "distinction" -- the distinction being that he was the first one to wind up in Federal prison.

It is not real likely, but it is actually POSSIBLE. I mean, people are beginning to see through him and the left has lost a lot of its initial enthusiasm and so - may not be there to defend their former hero. The Obamacare debacle, where many lost their insurance, or paid double or at least - paid more for less, and others (like me) could not even OBTAIN the simplest insurance any more - also made him lose favor with many. I mean, when you hit people in the pocketbook, they tend to get sick of you. There is a limit. At the least, he has come to look incompetent. This however... right after the VA scandal, which has not even played out. It is possible he will leave office in infamy.

This move was just too much. It makes you think he means to ruin western civilization by allowing these terrorists to run free -- but he probably just does not understand how to engage in intelligent warfare. I think you nailed it on the head above.

Edited at 2014-06-11 04:57 am (UTC)
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From:jordan179
Date:June 5th, 2014 04:11 pm (UTC)
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And why on earth would they send Susan Rice out there (again!) to tell us Bergdahl served with "honor and distinction", when there was no political need to characterize him that way, and when any insect with a few sparking ganglia could predict how it would backfire on them?

I will acknowledge that Susan Rice was correct regarding the "distinction." Very few US soldiers desert to the enemy on the battlefield. Consequently, Bergdahl has "distinguished" himself from the rest.
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From:gothelittle
Date:June 5th, 2014 06:08 pm (UTC)
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I am continually amazed by the level at which Obama seems to simply not grasp the thought processes of the average American.

Every time he uses words like 'comrade', or decides to send a message to public school students to be specifically viewed without their parents' consent or knowledge of content, or thinks that if he orders a priest to give money to a third party to buy an abortion pill for a woman that the priest isn't enabling abortion anymore...

Now he thinks that he can encourage soldiers to express their sexual preference for the subgroup of people among whom they will be housed, reduce military spending with the express purpose of ensuring that we can't handle more than one conflict at a time, ignore the cries at the VA and worsen the situation until soldiers and veterans die...
...and fix it all by trading five terrorist masterminds for a deserter who hasn't managed to be rescued by any deals (last-minute or otherwise) until suddenly he has to prove that he loves the military.

And each time, he puts on the shocked puppy-face, like he absolutely cannot *fathom* why we are not kissing his feet in gratitude for doing "exactly what we want him to do"...
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From:justgoto
Date:June 5th, 2014 11:32 pm (UTC)
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And Obama is either a fool, or a traitor.

He can be both.
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