The Obama Spring

Washington, D.C. -- For the Obama administration and their fellow travelers, spring of 2014 will go down as the beginning of the end. The brain trust that brought us "Fast & Furious," the IRS "enemies list," killing American citizens with "drone strikes," the disastrous "Arab Spring" and the Benghazi debacle has run out of bounds.

The O-Team used to brag they would "never let a serious crisis go to waste." They now have so many crises exploding around them that they had to advise our Nobel Laureate-in-chief to "stay off the golf course for awhile."

First it was Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Then came revelations the Department of Veterans Affairs was killing not curing our vets. Just days later the White House brain-trust had POTUS proudly take to the Rose Garden and announce he had swapped five vicious murderers detained in "Gitmo" for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a hostage in Pakistan.

While tens of thousands of illegal immigrants were flooding across our southern border, well-armed radical Islamists seized the Iraqi cities of Baji, Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit and Samarra and are now hammering on the gates of Baghdad. As the global price of oil skyrockets above $105 per barrel, officials at the largest U.S. embassy on Earth are burning classified material and preparing a reprise of Saigon 1975.

The Obama Spring of '14 is an unmitigated disaster that could have been prevented by a real leader. But Putin, like all our adversaries, knows our president is feckless. Our veterans know Washington's answer to their cry for help is to throw money at the problem and make more unfulfilled promises. And Bowe Bergdahl could have been free years ago if the O-Team hadn't used an American hostage to further a wrong-headed campaign promise to close Gitmo.

Contrary to what the Obama administration claims, Sgt. Bergdahl was not a POW -- a prisoner of war. He was a hostage. He was not held by the Taliban, but by the Haqqanis -- a violent, tribal, criminal enterprise entrenched along the wild, ungoverned, Af-Pak border region. All the Haqqanis wanted for Bergdahl was money. In 2012 officials in Washington rejected a proposal that Bergdahl could be freed in exchange for $1 million paid "for information leading to safe return of the American 'Golden Sparrow.'"

Instead, the Obama administration arranged for the Taliban to open an "office" in Doha, Qatar. There, secret "peace talks" led to the "Rose Garden prisoner swap" President Obama announced on May 31.

We now know the president did not abide by law requiring Congressional notification 30 days before releasing "Gitmo" terrorists. We know how deadly the five he sent to Qatar really are -- and that his "deal" puts every American overseas at risk of being kidnapped. But we still don't know whether a ransom was paid to those who held Bergdahl -- and if it was, how much or who paid it.

Much has been said about why and how Sgt. Bergdahl came to be a hostage and about his conduct. Now that he is back in the U.S., a general officer in his chain of command should convene an Article 32 investigation -- the military version of a grand jury. It's the only way Bergdahl, his accusers and those who searched for him in vain will have justice.

Closure may yet come for the Bergdahl family. But it's not coming any time soon for the Obama administration. The president's self-inflicted wounds now extend to the prospect of a radical Islamic Caliphate extending from Syria to the Persian Gulf. Having promised to "responsibly end" what he called, "Bush's War in Iraq," he then ordered all American military troops and field advisers out of the country in 2011.

Two weeks ago at West Point the commander in chief proclaimed Iraq to be a "great success." Either he didn’t know what was going on or he lied. Militant Sunni rebels calling themselves ISIL -- the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant -- have turned their vicious ire from the al Assad regime in Damascus to the Shiite government of Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad. Iraqi soldiers -- abandoned by American troops and advisers since the nefarious "Obama bug out" in December 2011 -- have cast off their uniforms, abandoned billions of dollars of U.S.-provided weapons and equipment and fled before the ISIL onslaught.

The ISIL, pledged to attack the American homeland, is suddenly the wealthiest terror organization in the world. According to reports from the field they have accumulated more than $500 million in cash looted from Iraqi banks.

In Baghdad, al-Nouri's corrupt, unpopular government is pleading for U.S. airstrikes. Though Obama says "all options are on the table," we aren’t likely to attack ISIL militants mingling with civilian refugees and no U.S. Forward Air Controllers on the ground.

Al-Nouri's friends in Tehran may yet save their Shiite friend from the tender mercies of the ISIL. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force is assembling a "Reaction Force" on the Iran-Iraq border.

Unfortunately for all of us, the sanguinary events in Iraq aren't the end of Obama's springtime of woe. Yet another self-inflicted disaster is just weeks away. Obama administration negotiators, meeting secretly in Geneva with Iranian diplomats, are preparing a final "Permanent Agreement" on Tehran's nuclear program to be presented in July.

This document will be described as a wonderful deal for all. The Ayatollahs will renounce nuclear weapons. UN "inspectors" will be dispatched to poke around Iranian reactors. Sanctions will be lifted with congratulations all around. And our president will be "shocked and surprised" -- a Jimmy Carter term or art -- when the Iranians announce they have nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them.

Oliver North is the author of "Counterfeit Lies," a novel about how Tehran will evade restrictions in the new Permanent International Agreement on Iran's nuclear program.


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