This time out, the topic relates to the prisoner exchange and the return of US soldier Bowe Bergdahl. I can see both sides on this one but lean towards support of President Obama‘s actions.
And frankly, I have a lot more questions than I have answers.
I’ve done a small amount of research on the topic so it could be said that my knowledge on this is a mile wide but only an inch deep. Naturally I expect to be criticized for my reasoning.
My biggest concern relates to the U.S. negotiating with terrorists when we have publicly stated that we don’t do that.
It seems like we’ve created a situation where soldiers, journalists and citizens in general have now become targets outside our borders with this very recent example that the administration will release lots of bad guys to get back just one of our own.
On the other hand, isn’t that sort of what President Reagan did in the Iran Contra deal? It’s widely believed that Reagan negotiated with the Iranians on the 66 hostages held and got them released only when former President Carter’s plane was taking him back to Georgia just after Ronnie’s inauguration.
When Reagan couldn’t directly send the weapons the Iranians wanted – in addition to the ransom allegedly paid – he back doored the transfer of weapons through Central American groups.
It’s splitting hairs, I know, but it was actually Qatar that brokered the Berdahl deal and made it happen, not the US directly. And I don’t believe for one second that Qatar will monitor these guys and prevent them from reentering the fight against America. So I really see both sides on this point.
That said, prisoner exchanges between enemies is a pretty standard occurrence and goes way back in history. The world is a very different place today and where wars in the past have been between countries with actual borders, the enemy we have today is really a gang of thugs that have franchises around the world and are not limited by national borders. We don’t completely know who they are and where they are.
The argument that, “Yes, we have dealt with real countries to make prisoner exchanges in the past but that doesn’t mean we should deal with terrorists today” doesn’t really hold a lot of credibility but I see the point. Even conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer generally supports President Obama’s action. And the fact that I agree with Krauthammer gives me cause for concern.
President George W Bush released a large number of prisoners from Guantanamo during his presidency so we’ve got a recent precedent of this occurring under a Republican administration. And I do give credibility to the position that, “ We don’t leave our soldiers behind.”
Bergdahl was a prisoner for five years and the administration floated the idea of dealing with the bad guys to get him back months ago. The general response from Republicans on the hill back then was that this idea was palatable so the thought of dealing with the Taliban to get him back did not appear to be an outrageous one. Of course, now that the deal has gone down, the GOP is screaming. And now that the details are more public, I understand their reaction, but only to a degree.
Next on my list of questions is the idea that Bergdahl is no hero and he deserted his post.
Soldiers may have died trying to get him back. I get that and I have concerns on that as well. However my gut feeling is to let the military sort that out now that he’s back in US hands. If warranted, let the military put him on trial and let’s try to learn all we can and make a decision that is based on facts not knee jerk reactions.
What I do have a problem with is the attacks and threats on Bergdahl’s parents.
Being a parent, nothing is more important to me than the safety of my children. I can’t think of much that I wouldn’t do for my son or daughter. To attack the parents for what they have done is way over the top.
OK, that’s where I’m at on this one. Convince me why I should see it your way.