Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Should Obama Have Traded Terrorists for Bergdahl?

Many in the press, on the late night talk shows and over the internet have been asking if President Obama made the correct decision of trading suspected and known terrorists the United States has had in captivity for several years in exchange for the American soldier PVC Bowe Robert Bergdahl held captive in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl has been charged by fellow soldiers of being a traitor and to have gone absent without leave (AWOL) in a willful act of desertion. It was also reported before his disappearances that he had begun acting a bit strangely and out of character, saying he wanted to wear the skin of his first taliban kill or to simply leave and "walk the earth." Once he did go and "walk" he was soon absconded by the Taliban and held captive for the last four years. Some are wondering if what the American military has here is a case of a Nicholas Brody, the fictional military character in the hit Showtime series Homeland who was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda for several years then found by American troops. Brody turned out to have been turned by his captors and worked as a spy for the terrorist organization once back on American soil.

Now back to the original question. Should President Obama have traded terrorists for the release of Bergdahl? My answer comes from the perspective of being a military veteran of thirteen years, six of which were spent as part of the intelligence community, is a resounding YES! Bergdahl should have been retrieved if for no other reason than to bring him home, find out what he knows of the enemy, give him a fair military trial for the charge of desertion and suspicion of possible treason. If, after weighing all the available evidence and testimony he is found guilty then the penalty should ensue. If, however, Bergdahl is found innocent then he should be allowed to go home to family and receive all the back recompense due him as an American soldier as well as any and all needed health care, both psychological and physical.

Either way, we do not abandon an American soldier on the battlefield - dead or alive - regardless of their political, religious or other convictions.

So again, yes, we should have made the trade just as we should have done everything possible to save Ambassador Stevens and the men with him in Libya. However, on that one our leadership in the White House and State Department failed miserably. They got this one right -- for a change.

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