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Friday, March 23, 2018

Those who object to President Barack Obama’s recent prisoner exchange raise a bracing question: How many Taliban terrorists is one freed U.S. soldier worth?

That question lies at the heart of the backlash that President Obama has received after doing what many of his critics have been urging him to do: take action to free U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held prisoner by the Taliban for the past five years.

The objections come mainly over the way he did it: He traded five high-ranking Taliban detainees from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, whom many sources call the most dangerous U.S. detainees on the island.

Yet the president makes no apologies, he says, for following the time-honored American military ethos: Leave no man or woman behind. The big dispute, his opponents fume, is over the price.

But what, I ask, is the alternative? When a civilized country is drawing down a military action, as the U.S. is withdrawing from Afghanistan, it does not leave its soldiers behind, even if big questions surround them like the current uproar around Bergdahl.

We are not, for example, like Joseph Stalin. After beating Adolf Hitler’s army in the Battle of Stalingrad, the Russian dictator was offered a high-value POW, his own eldest son, in exchange for a captured German field marshal. Yet Stalin refused. “I will not trade a marshal for a lieutenant,” he is reported to have said. The son, famously unloved by his father, would die in a German prison camp.

At the other, more honorable extreme, it’s hard to beat the risks taken by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he approved the release three years ago of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners — including convicted terrorists responsible for hundreds of Israeli deaths — to free Gilad Shalit, an Israeli sergeant who had been held captive by Hamas for five years.

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52 Responses to What Matters Most: Bringing Bowe Bergdahl Back

  1. Sometimes one has to stand aside and watch republicans beating their drums and dancing to themselves. Do they think Pres. Obama is all that stupid to do things blindly? Why not take a bit of time and think first before reacting?

  2. The real problem is that the Republicans have no alternative. Ever. They blindly condemn every action Mr. Obama takes regardless of the situation. They never have an alternative, just adolescent reaction. I can say with certainty that had Mr. Obama let Mr. Bergdaul rot with the Taliban, they would have pitched a hissy fit also.

  3. My question is” “Why then didn’t we just offer Amnesty for Bin Laden for the release of Bergdahl?” “Why did we risk American soldiers’ lives to capture these 5 Top Terrorists?”

    • paulyz,
      In your thinking, offering amnesty to Bin Laden for release of Bergdahl!!! What amnesty. Bin Laden to be brought to US and live there? Is what you mean!!!!! How many people Bin Laden killed? And how many people did Bergdahl kill? Was Bin Laden captured and stayed in GITMO? Please come back to your sense and think first before making any comparison. They do no match at all.

    • How do you know we didn’t just buy these guys? That’s how most of the folks in Guantanamo ended up there – we paid a reward to a warlord.

    • Good God! Did you forget that Osama bin Laden caused 9/11, which killed thousands of Americans, cost us a fortune, and changed our way of life? You want to offer amnesty for that mass murderer? That was why we were in Afghanistan to begin with. Why we were in Iraq, I will never understand, except the li’l Bush wanted to be the war President, which would guarantee his reelection. We bring home our POW’s. And you don’t have one fact about Bergdahl. I wonder why anyone would volunteer for the military if this is the way they are treated when they come home.

    • In addition to what’s included in the link you posted, is the fact that given that the U.S. is winding down its war in Aghanistan, there’s a strong likelihood that these supposed 5 terrible Taliban, who don’t really seem so terrible, would more than likely have been released within a year anyway because it’s American tradition to release all prisoners of war when the war is over. So had Obama not traded them for Bergdahl, they would have gone free anyway from Gitmo about the time they will go free from Qatar.

      An in addition to that, here’s an excerpt from an article in the DailyKos that provides even more insight into the situation that Bergdahl faced when we supposedly walked off and was captured by the Taliban:

      2. According to the now famous article by Michael Hastings about Bergdahl, his unit was basically a bunch of undisciplined fuck ups who went out on patrol without helmets, lost weapons, totally lacked morale and respect for military authority, etc. At least two commanders were actually demoted! So, you have to take with a grain of salt the accusations being made against Bergdahl by these people. Especially now that we know they failed to report Bergdahl left the base without permission on a prior occasion, and are still telling the media that he is a “deserter” when they know damn well that’s not true.

      See the full DailyKos article here:

      UPDATED: The GOP is Heading for a World of Hurt on Bergdahl, here’s why

  4. Our top priority, under circumstances such as this, is to bring our soldiers home. Period. That’s what President Obama did, and that is what we – as a nation – must support.
    If Sgt. Bergdhal broke military rules or needs mental health care, that’s for the military and medical personnel to determine, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what we were, and remain, obligated to do.
    Trying to score political points in cases like this highlight the desperation of a party that depends entirely on the destruction of the opposition, rather than on its record and vision.

  5. After 9/11, Americans all came together in solidarity. How did this all change? By the constant policy of fear. Fear of everything. Then the economy collapsed, reinforcing that everything is beyond our control, so stay afraid. . But the terrorists won in a big way that none of our big war machine can fix. They succeeded in pitting us against one another. We can’t even be relieved and supportive when a captured soldier comes home.
    We still need to be afraid, very afraid. We can’t solve problems. We’re too afraid. Makes you just want to grab a politician by the shirt collar and yell —snap out of it !! Do your job !!

    • I’m so tired of all these people who didn’t serve run their mouth about Bergdhal. If you didn’t serve you don’t have right to run your mouth about this man, just like if you don’t vote you don’t have the right to complain about the Government. Just so you know I’m a Nam Vet and I always vote.

      • Amen to that brother. If he did something wrong that is between him and the military, not congress, not the media, and certainly not the public. The President’s job and ours is to make sure we leave no pows behind. Most civilians don’t have a clue how the military works and probably are clueless about the UCMJ. But that doesn’t stop them from shooting their mouths off about Bergdahl.

    • what has damaged our country most may be foreign, but it is not the taliban or bin laden, it is Rupert Murdoch and his american compatriot Roger Ailes and the lies they spew in the guise of “news” to idiots and dittoheads who don’t realize they are being played in order enrich the already wealthy

  6. Ask any soldier of major rank in the US military in WWII or the Korean War what his duty regarding escape was. They would confirm that it WAS their duty to escape. So why is the GOP calling this soldier AWOL? He escaped a POW camp, not a US military base. The sole purpose of allowing soldiers to escape was to create a diversion that would distract the enemy and cause them to spend their war funds and manpower on capturing fleeing US soldiers. I have zero respect for any of the GOP bulls today. They are all clones of each other handpicked by their billionaire cronies.

    • First off how do any of you know what the deserter did once he was with the other side.Oh now we believe what the Taliban tells us.You people are so butt backwards.I don’t care what his unit was like the chicken crap still deserted his post.So in my eyes why would i believe one word from him or the people he ran off too.Ok now go back to your Taliban news and use that as your great info line.Oh and Eleanore how many soldiers of major rank have you asked ? Please go get captured and let us all know from your experience how you made out.BS seems to flow from your fingers a lot on here.

      • First off How Do YOU YOU YOU know? You lose an argument because you have nothing to substantiate your claims you can prove in a court of law. But then, typical of your ilk and their backward mentalities, you play judge AND jury and then demand we accept that bully pulpit from which you (or should that be “y’all”?) preach.

        My two neighbors were career military. That good enough for you Joi Boi? I know for a fact that my father-in-law who served in WWII in Fuji stated plainly enough for a 6 year old to understand that when any soldier is captured in a POW camp, his first duty is to escape. Brain dead men like you want to now turn this POW’s experience into a case for AWOL..BS…He escaped from a POW camp exactly as all military are expected to do. By your judge and jury bully mentality, this POW of 5 years was in an American POW camp? You are such a moron. Get captured in an Afghanistan POW camp, try and pretend it’s an American POW Abu Gharaib or Gitmo and see if you won’t escape. All your kind do is play arm chair militants who know it all when you know nothing.

        • First off you dumb asp i served not one but two tours in Vietnam.And to have a nobody such as yourself whom i might add has never once stood the post talk her backward BS.You talk from non experience and claim to know it all.If anyone has a backwards mentality it’s you.Can you say this soldier would be a POW if he hadn’t walked off his post.I don’t seem to recall any claims that others who served in the same unit were captured while on duty.You if anyone seem to be the arm chair militant and also seem to hold the title of one who NEVER served.Now go back to your moms basement and watch your little screen of life.

          • First off you Agent Orange Brain..Viet Nam as JFK stated in 1962 was “not our war.” You were drafted into that war. You didn’t go by choice. I can say that in WWII my father-in-law was in Fiji and my half brother in Korea. I’m not impressed with your brain, likely damaged in a war the US never should have drafted you for in the first place. Second, as any WWII vet would tell you, when you are a POW as many in German POW camps were, the rule was to escape. But your Agent Orange damaged brain wouldn’t know that. Many soldiers died in German and Korean POW camps when another soldier of rank fled. That wasn’t considered AWOL. Try to get professional help for that damaged brain and while you’re at it, ask any WWII or Korean War vet about escaping POW camps. By the way, did you dance a jig over Abu Gharaib or that Mi Lai massacre?

            All you really want is to blame THIS and ONLY this president for your pathetic existence. Try looking in the mirror moron..You’re the reflection of your own moronic mentality.

          • Eleanore go put your ass on a stake and push your head out.I can tell by your lame comments you have always been one that sets all day on your head in hope someone can help you extract it.Not all service men and women were drafted and for your half witted ass i did join.I seriously doubt anyone alive that really knows your sick ass even would admit it.Now go back to your gee i wish i could have joined some terrorist group to spew more of my hate. Sick Bitch !!

          • Awww little spoiled ass Daddy’s boi Gander has a burr up his butt. I don’t make lame comments. I told you truth you don’t like Mr. MAN Bully…drop the militant attitude…I’m not impressed. If brains were your anus, you’d be full of “it.” You are one sick man. Perhaps, you suffer from too much inhalation of your own bloated Mr. MANhood? Try again Joi Boi…and tell your Daddy his son is jerk.

          • Your tour doesn’t give you the right to take another individuals judicial right away. Let the system take its course. You served want respect, and so do all our soldiers. Don’t buy into the GOP bullshit, they really don’t care about you either.

  7. Well I guess if it cost us 5 five star enemies it was a ‘good deal’ specially if the Taliban does not take more hostages!

    • You need to see item 3 in the article brought up by the link below (courtesy of T.J. Thomas). The 5 star enemy were more like 5 star pussycats.

      The fact that given that Obama has said the Afghan war is ending in 2014 means these 5 star pussycats would have been freed from Gitmo in 2015 about the same time they will be released from Qatar (because the US always frees its prisoners of war when the war is over).

      And you need to read this entire article that basically brings up that much of what is being said about Bergdahl is akin to normal GOP rehtoric – one lie after another:

      UPDATED: The GOP is Heading for a World of Hurt on Bergdahl, here’s why

        • I know; Canistercook is just another brainwashed mental midget. I actually post some of what I do more in hoping that other NM posters with common sense will be edified by the links so as to better understand what the truth is; than in trying to change the opinions of right-wing wackos that don’t have enough brains to see the forest for the trees.

          • As you no doubt know, I answer only the most egregious lies with facts, certainly not with any hope that he or the other trolls will change their minds about anything; most of the others I answer with the insults they deserve.

          • Yeah! That makes sense to me. But then there are clowns that are so obnoxious and clearly spaced out that they don’t even deserve a response – like the total idiot who posted the total trash just below using the screen name ganderdavis.

          • Clowns? your such a brave piece of crap to toss your pussy name calling out most of these others who claim to know all the facts about this man the info seems to get more and more on the side of the man went AWOL.But looking back at your constant yet unproven know it all BS know body could be right but you. Independent of brains should be your true title.

      • Oh please Obama claimed a lot of things when he took office and so far he only does something when he gets caught with his pants down.Remember all those EVIL RICH folks that Bush cared about ? Well guess what they are even richer now with Obama.So all you demwits stick to your BS history lessons like the one about Clinton leaving us with a surplus..LOL. Now that was a funny one.Your political party should begin with Dim not Dem.

  8. There are so many levels of wrong in this case that it is almost impossible to know where to get started. The war is wrong and is being wound down, the prisoners in Guantanamo is wrong and should be closed, refusing to free a citizen is wrong and the list goes on. The collateral damage of this case is even more disgusting. Because they are racist pigs, the GOP has no right to condemn our President, but they do, by their bleating they are telling our soldiers that their election is more important than bringing our guy home, that is wrong. Bergdahl is no poster child soldier, but neither is Pat Tillman being dead and all. Just like Vietnam, one day we will establish relations with Iraq and Afghanistan and the dead we made and suffered will not come back and the families will wonder why they sacrificed their children to another stupid, pointless war.

  9. The objections come mainly from a band of delusional hypocrites who would and do object to absolutely anything the president does.

  10. Bergdahl isn’t a deserter, but he does have a problem. As his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan express their anger towards him, and rightly so, nobody questions if there is something we’re missing in our rush to judgement to condemn him. Twice, in his training at Ft. Irwin, in California, as well as multiple times in Afghanistan, he wandered off his post during the night. To me, it sounds like he’s suffering from “sleep walking.” I don’t know the medical term for sleep-walking, but it’s similar to being a victim of being “date-rape drugged.” It’s like you’re awake and moving around, but you’re not of normal mind, and you don’t know what you are doing. This can be caused by a bad drug reaction, i.e. zolpidem, Ambien, and also a reaction to PTSD.
    When Bergdahl wandered off his post at Ft. Irwin, was he trying to defect to the Taliban? In California!

    • Bergdahl may well have some psychological problems but don’t let what the guys from his unit in Afghanistan say bias you’re opinion as they themselves sound like they’re even more screwed up than he is. See this:

      According to the now famous article by Michael Hastings about Bergdahl, his unit was basically a bunch of undisciplined fuck ups who went out on patrol without helmets, lost weapons, totally lacked morale and respect for military authority, etc. At least two commanders were actually demoted! So, you have to take with a grain of salt the accusations being made against Bergdahl by these people. Especially now that we know they failed to report Bergdahl left the base without permission on a prior occasion, and are still telling the media that he is a “deserter” when they know damn well that’s not true.

      And see the whole article via this link:

      UPDATED: The GOP is Heading for a World of Hurt on Bergdahl, here’s why

  11. Whatever happened to the yellow ribbons and rah rah rahs. As a Vietnam Veteran this reminds me of what we went through as a group. We were called names and accused of horrific crimes just because we were in country. If Bergdahl committed any crime then a military trial is the place to resolve those issues.

    We were blamed for losing a war by the same crowd that is attacking Bergdahl. These “conveniently patriotic” buttheads deserve to have their teeth punched out. There are just some men and women who cannot live up to the requirements of being a soldier. Where were they during the wars of the last 40 years. Let them join and fight or shut the EFF-UP!

    • So a man who walked off his post is a hero to you? With that train of thought maybe you smoked one to many with Eleanore.Also you really need to get your story straight about what group of losers attacked Vietnam Vets.Proud i served and back then i didn’t care for deserters/AWOL but understood a lot of them were drafted. Bergdahl enlisted of his own free will.I have no problem with a military trial and if it’s proven this man was captured while standing his post then great.But if he walked off and got himself captured then i’m sorry folks the man made the choice to go AWOL.

      • Where did you read in his posting that the man is a hero?
        You are just blinded by your hate. Now take a deep breath and say a prayer, and ask God to help you with your hatred as it is holding you hostage.

  12. Dems are worthless garbage collectors.They sit back and build their garbage dumps and then lead the stupid and the blind into the garbage river of death.One after the other sinking further down till they suffocate on the taste and stench of anything that democrats create.Only democrats would back a deserter that clearly walked off his post.But the demwits claim it’s all about the fact they care..LOL. How many times have those same democrats tossed our military under the bus? Yet act like they really give a rats butt for anything for our military.Hillary is just another LOW LIFE Clinton following in the steps of her LOW LIFE Husband.Who knows maybe her daughter will find herself in need of military help and those military will sit back and watch like Hillary and Obama and after the smoke clears and the body bags are loaded will be able to say. What Difference Does it Make !!

    • Its hard to believe there are people like you out there, nothing you say has any fact associated with, just blind hate and lies, what a miserable live you must live.

    • If your going to post, try facts. Just because you don’t like the democrats doesn’t mean you are correct about anything.

  13. The real problem is that Americans voters are unwilling to unseat a bunch of narrow minded CONs hellbent on turn democracy back into a Confederacy. This is their version of “change” for the better. When you look at who they’ve been “bettering” since GWB took office, you see how desperate they are to keep your state supporting theirs.

  14. given that we still have troops in Afghanistan, i wonder how they might be feeling about all this ruckus especially in light of the fact that they might become pows at any moment? I think I would be worried that folks back home might just be willing to leave me behind–especially if it meant scoring political points against a President the teaparty loves to hate.

    • Nobody seems to be able to read on here.I’m all for bringing any prisoners of war home and yes that’s even if they went AWOL while on duty.Let the military handle them.Yet all you claim how we always bring our POWs home.Well i guess you forgot how quickly we left our Vietnam POWs behind. Funny how all the liberals and democrats always seem to quickly change the subject when one of theirs get caught doing something that if it were a republican the lynch mob would be finding a tree and tossing the rope over the limb.To bad your to chicken shit to hold your own parties feet to the fire.

  15. As much as the Conservatives rah rah the military, they don’t really care a whit about them. Remember the way they trashed a hero amputee, Max Cleland, they called him a coward because he was against li’l Bush’s attack on Iraq. Also a Vietnam medal winner, John Kerry, they couldn’t throw enough darts at him. Now we have our last POW rescued from five years in that hell hole in Pakistan. They have no facts yet, but are having a frenzy feast trashing him and his family. They really have no shame.

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