On June 12, as al Qaeda forces marched toward Baghdad, John McCain spoke on the Senate floor. Noting that the al Qaeda affiliate ISIS has conquered a third of Iraqi territory, has overrun the city of Mosul, has captured abandoned American equipment, and has stolen more than $400 million in cash reserves, McCain said that the enemies of the United States are on the verge of a strategic victory. Only a major course correction, McCain went on, might prevent the emergence of an al Qaeda state that stretches from eastern Syria to the outskirts of Baghdad. “It’s time that the president got a new national security team,” he said.
President Obama’s decision to announce the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap in a triumphant Rose Garden appearance suggests the White House had no inkling of the broad public skepticism that would follow.
On Monday, USA Today published a poll showing that more Americans oppose the Bergdahl trade than support it. That same day, administration official told members of Congress it was Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and not Obama, who made the final call.
That’s odd, given that Hagel himself said over the weekend that Obama “made the ultimate decision,” and Hagel merely “signed off” on it.