Obama’s mishandling of the Bergdahl release

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Does President Obama feel sick to his stomach over his decision to trade five of the most dangerous Taliban prisoners from Guantánamo Bay for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has now been charged with desertion? Let’s hope so.

{mosads}Last May, when Obama announced the exchange, he stood with Bergdahl’s parents and hailed him a hero; National Security Adviser Susan Rice said he had served “with honor and distinction”; and defenders of the deal spoke only of the need to leave no soldier on the battlefield. Yet it was immediately clear the administration had not done its due diligence — members of the military, in Bergdahl’s platoon, had not been consulted. They said he had left them, and that subsequently, six other men had died trying to look for him.

The Taliban Five, as they have come to be known, are soon to be released from custody just weeks from now in Qatar. We don’t know what they will do next, but we do know two things: Obama is eager to empty out Gitmo, despite bipartisan opposition in the Congress, and the recidivism rate for freed detainees is disturbing. And Bergdahl is innocent until proven guilty, and could face anything from freedom to prison for life. But until we see what happens to Bergdahl and the Taliban Five, let’s feel free to draw this conclusion now: Obama mishandled the Bergdahl release by celebrating it when he didn’t know the exact circumstances of the case. Or Obama and Rice both knew and still used it for political gain. Even worse.

What a sad chapter for America. Too bad there could be more to come.

IS GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WIS.) A FLIP-FLOPPER? OR ARE HIS FLOPS OK? AskAB returns Wednesday, April 1. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to Thank you.

Tags Afghanistan Afghanistan War Army Bowe Bergdahl desertion Guantánamo Bay prisoners Susan Rice Taliban

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