As the reader has no doubt noticed, the story of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release from captivity by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network in Afghanistan is currently front-and-center in the news. Bergdahl had been held captive since June 2009 and was released on May 31. In exchange for Bergdahl’s release, the Obama administration freed five Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo Bay.
The release of Bergdahl and the Gitmo detainees immediately became steeped in controversy. Some soldiers who had served with Bergdahl claim that he deserted (or was at least AWOL) prior to his capture in 2009, and this appears to be supported by the Army. The Obama administration and the State Department on the other hand, assert that Bergdahl was captured, making him technically a prisoner of war. Some members of Congress allege that the White House broke the law by not giving them a required 30 days notice of the impending release of the Gitmo detainees.
At present, my morbid curiosity is pondering the question of how many among the conservative press and politicos are more or less clueless with regard to the underlying implications of this affair and its function as a distraction from more grave matters, how many are being professionally irresponsible, and how many are simply posturing.
It isn’t as though the questions, concerns and criticisms being leveled aren’t valid ones. The issue of the imprudence of negotiating with terrorists and the precedent this sets, releasing extremely dangerous Taliban assets in exchange for someone who may be a deserter and Islamist sympathizer, and the questionable legality of the administration’s actions cannot be ignored. The administration’s having arranged for Bergdahl’s release while Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi languishes in a Mexican prison is also a profound slap in the face to America and the military, which ought to be discussed, if for no other reason than to neutralize White House propaganda.
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