A few thoughts about the negotiated release of Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by members of the Haqqani network for five years before his release this past weekend.
First, I’m very happy for Bowe Bergdahl and his family, but there needs to be a public airing of the circumstances surrounding his disappearance (or desertion) from his post in Paktika province and eventual capture. When he’s ready, I think he owes these answers to the people who have been looking for him.
Second, critics who think we don’t negotiate with terrorists are delusional. It’s a convenient, tough talking point, but from Anbar to Kunar, people under the banner of the United States have engaged in talks with bad people to get what we want – whether that “want” is information, loyalty or leverage. Or one of us Americans.
Third, Bergdahl might be the most hated former American POW in history this side of Nicholas Brody – and he hasn’t stepped foot on U.S. soil yet. Go no further than the “Bowe Bergdahl is a Traitor” page on Facebook.
Finally, the Obama administration would probably be greeted with fewer eyerolls if it stopped trying to spin this event and honestly portray it for what it really is: an ugly deal … with terrorists (through Qatari intermediaries) … that returned five Taliban commanders into the gene pool … but also got our guy home.
Food for thought: here’s an editorial by The Washington Post asking whether the price was too high to gain Bergdahl’s release. The Post is slightly left of the real Chairman Mao on most issues.