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Republicans Criticize Deal That Led To American P.O.W.’s Release

Sgt Bowe Bergdahl

Several Republican Members of Congress are criticizing the deal that led to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after five years of Taliban captivity:

Amid jubilation Saturday over the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity by the Taliban, senior Republicans on Capitol Hill said they were troubled by the means by which it was accomplished, which was a deal to release five Afghan detainees from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The top Republicans on the Senate and House Armed Services Committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out.

“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” House Armed Services Committee chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.) and ranking Senate Armed Services Republican James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in a joint statement.

Lawmakers were not notified of the Guantanamo detainees’ transfer until after it occurred.

The law requires the secretary of defense to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to re-engage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests.

Before the current law was enacted at the end of last year, the conditions were even more stringent. However, the administration and some Democrats had pressed for them to be loosened, in part to give them more flexibility to negotiate for Bergdahl’s release.

A senior administration official, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the law was not followed.

“Due to a near-term opportunity to save Sergeant Bergdahl’s life, we moved as quickly as possible,” the official said. “The administration determined that given these unique and exigent circumstances, such a transfer should go forward notwithstanding the notice requirement.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that the detainees transferred from Guantanamo to Qatar, where they are to stay for at least a year, “are hardened terrorists who have the blood of Americans and countless Afghans on their hands. I am eager to learn what precise steps are being taken to ensure that these vicious and violent Taliban extremists never return to the fight against the United States and our partners or engage in any activities that can threaten the prospects for peace and security in Afghanistan.”

I can’t speak to the legal issues at play here, but I would imagine that the law in question has at least some exceptions contained within it that would apply in a situation such as this where time is of the essence. Even without those exceptions, though, it’s unclear what the penalty might be for failure to comply with the 30 day notice requirement other than giving Congress the ability to air a legitimate complaint.

As to the broader issue, though, it strikes me that it’s going to be hard for the GOP to come out of a real battle with the President over this looking good, if that’s what they choose to do here. Yes, it’s true that we have “negotiated with terrorists” to ensure the release of an American Prisoner of War, but it’s not as if we haven’t done that before. President Reagan did it on several occasions as part of the efforts to ensure the release of the Americans and others who were kidnapped in Lebanon back in the 1980s and, indeed, went so far as to engage in secret diplomatic negotiations with Iran to advance those discussions. But what else were he and President Obama supposed to do? In both cases, rescue seemed to be unlikely due to where the men in question were being held. So, if you want to get the prisoner out alive, you have to talk to the people holding them. Yes, we’re admittedly taking a risk in releasing these five men from Guantanamo, but prisoner exchanges have been a part of war since time immemorial, why is it such a bad thing this time?

On a final note, I guess I’d just have to wonder what these Republicans would say to Sgt. Bergdahl’s parents. Would they tell them that we should have let their son continue to be held hostage to prove a broader political point? We like to say that we would never leave a solider behind, and today we proved that. Sgt. Bergdahl is coming home, and that strikes me as a good thing. Perhaps Republicans should stop trying to score political points against the President and be thankful for that.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    Support the Troops!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  2. James Joyner says:

    I’m not a fan of legitimating the Taliban, which isn’t a proper combatant force under the Geneva Conventions. But, otherwise, POW swaps are fairly common.

    I’m mildly troubled with the administration yet again thumbing its nose at the law on a matter of consultations with Congress. But, again, that’s hardly an invention of this president and the”exigent circumstances” argument strikes me as plausible if this was a hastily arranged deal.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 8

  3. stonetools says:

    Isn’t the Homeland TV series based on something like this? ;-).

    Anyway, best of luck to Sgt. Bergdahl. And screw the Republicans. First,we don’t abandon our own. Second, nothing in this deal approaches the illegality of Saint Ronaldus’s deal with Iran.

    And if the so called terrorists return to the field, oh well-DRONEZ!!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 2

  4. al-Ameda says:

    But what else were he and President Obama supposed to do? In both cases, rescue seemed to be unlikely due to where the men in question were being held. So, if you want to get the prisoner out alive, you have to talk to the people holding them. Yes, we’re admittedly taking a risk in releasing these five men from Guantanamo, but prisoner exchanges have been a part of war since time immemorial, why is it such a bad thing this time?
    ——————————————
    Exactly. Besides, when the Republican Party complains – over a 6 year period – about all of the actions, words and decisions of this administration, what are the odds that people will not conclude that this is yet another episode of “Just Politics”?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 3

  5. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Even without those exceptions, though, it’s unclear what the penalty might be for failure to comply with the 30 day notice requirement other than giving Congress the ability to air a legitimate complaint.

    Do you really have to ask? Isn’t it rather clear that this is obviously yet another impeachable offense?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 13

  6. Tillman says:

    Yes, we’re admittedly taking a risk in releasing these five men from Guantanamo, but prisoner exchanges have been a part of war since time immemorial, why is it such a bad thing this time?

    ’cause Obama did it.

    I don’t know, I’m getting lazy with my thinking. There’s the legitimate accusation that the administration broke the law. Hell, they straight up admit they did. Maybe Bergdahl flipped off a Republican once. You have the possible valuation issue of how we had to trade five prisoners for one soldier, which actually seems rather Israeli-Palestinian in terms of lopsidedness. Perhaps Bergdahl’s father flipped off a Republican once.

    It’s a complicated…issue, I guess. Man, I just really can’t care about Republican complaining anymore.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 52 Thumb down 3

  7. Tillman says:

    This is the Boy Who Cried Wolf. This is a fwckin’ fable right here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I think the current record for exchanges is 1,000 Palestinian terrorists for 1 Israeli soldier’s body.

    And in the cold calculus of reality, the price has now been set: 1 American PFC (rank when captured) is worth 5 top Taliban leaders. The Taliban now has a proven incentive to capture American service members.

    n a final note, I guess I’d just have to wonder what these Republicans would say to Sgt. Bergdahl’s parents. Would they tell them that we should have let their son continue to be held hostage to prove a broader political point? We like to say that we would never leave a solider behind, and today we proved that. Sgt. Bergdahl is coming home, and that strikes me as a good thing. Perhaps Republicans should stop trying to score political points against the President and be thankful for that.

    President Obama should start working on what he’ll tell the family of the next American to be kidnapped and held for ransom — either money or terrorists. And the families of Americans who these released prisoners might end up killing.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 88

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    I quit paying any attention to anything Republicans had to say about foreign policy years ago. That especially applies to John McCain and Lindsey Graham..

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 4

  10. Cessna says:

    I am so glad this POW is finally home. Being excited that the GOP can’t come out looking good if they criticize the Obama regime, Doug Mataconis’ leftist reporters bias shines through.

    Welcome home Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. I hope the VA gives you a voucher so you don’t have to go through further abuse from the VA System BS like a lot of our soldiers have had too.

    One last thought, I hope these terrorist that have been released are quickly hunted down by Special Forces and terminated before they have the chance to murder more soldiers or other innocent victims.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 41

  11. Woody says:

    1. The SOBs now have an incentive to “capture Americans”? Perhaps killing them outright is preferable, so long as it prevents a Democratic President from any kind of credit. How thoughtful of Rep. McKeon and Sen. Inhofe.

    2. If this opportunity wasn’t taken, and the SOBs videotaped killing Sgt. Bergdahl, who thinks these two Republican worthies would be defending the President, on principle?

    Yeah, crickets here, too.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 62 Thumb down 3

  12. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Cessna: Sorry, not allowed under either US law or the Geneva Convention even though “the Taliban,,, isn’t a proper combatant force under the Geneva Conventions.

    By the way James, thank you for that particular turn of phrase it exemplifies the peculiar world foreign policy resides in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You never fail to disappoint.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 2

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Republicans Criticize Deal That Led To American P.O.W.’s Release

    I am shocked, SHOCKED!!!! that Republicans would criticize a Black Democratic President ™ making a deal with an enemy to bring home a prisoner of war. REALLY. I am.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    not.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The Taliban now has a proven incentive to capture American service members.

    What, you really think the Taliban had NO…. read ZERO…. incentive for capturing Americans before???? REALLY?!?!?!?!????

    Haysoooos Chrispos… A box of rocks would give Einstein a run for his money compared to you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 4

  16. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “The Taliban now has a proven incentive to capture American service members.”

    Whereas just yesterday they were inviting them over for tea and cakes. Imagine how silly they must feel now that they realize that all this time they should have been trying to capture or even kill the American forces in their country. Boy, Obama shure must be dumb to give them this idea!

    This has been another lesson in international affairs from the dumbest man on the internet, the troll who calls himself Jenos.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 4

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    the”exigent circumstances” argument strikes me as plausible if this was a hastily arranged deal.

    James, I know, and you do too, that there are Republicans in Congress, and given even half a chance they would screw this deal in a heartbeat if it meant putting Obama in his place. Hells Bells James, the entire Republican party is an “exigent circumstance.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 2

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @stonetools:

    Second, nothing in this deal approaches the illegality of Saint Ronaldus’s deal with Iran.

    Very true.

    secret diplomatic negotiations with Iran

    doesn’t touch what happened. For those of you too young, or too Republican, to remember, please Wiki “iran contra affair”.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  19. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Capturing vs. killing. Kidnapping. And anywhere, not just in Afghanistan.

    And nothing I said was in any way judgmental. I’m not judging the decision. I’m just pointing out the obvious repercussions.

    Closing question: what would be the consequences if the next prisoner they take is a woman?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 36

  20. An Interested Party says:

    And in the cold calculus of reality, the price has now been set: 1 American PFC (rank when captured) is worth 5 top Taliban leaders. The Taliban now has a proven incentive to capture American service members.

    Umm, no, the price was set almost thirty years ago…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: #1 You still haven’t answered my question. #2 EVERYTHING you said was judgmental. Question: Did you say Have you ever said the same thing about Reagan? #3:

    Closing question: what would be the consequences if the next prisoner they take is a woman?

    First a question in return: Republican or Democrat as President?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  22. rudderpedals says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Closing question: what would be the consequences if the next prisoner they take is a woman?

    Which woman? It’s going to make a difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  23. Tyrell says:

    One question: do they have any more US service people being held as prisoner ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Franklin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    … is worth 5 top Taliban leaders

    Where are you getting this information? I’m not arguing for or against, I just haven’t seen anything that said these were “top leaders”. I did read a comment somewhere that said these 5 had only committed offenses against fellow Afghans, not Americans (which would make them nothing but Afghan criminals, subject to justice in an Afghan court), but again I have no idea where people are getting this information, so I can’t argue one way or another.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  25. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The Taliban now has a proven incentive to capture American service members.

    Now the terrorists have kidnapping as a weapon. We;re so lucky they’ve never thought of that before. Damn Obamacare for giving them that idea.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 3

  26. ernieyeball says:

    @Tyrell:do they have any more US service people being held as prisoner ?

    From Doug’s post earlier today:

    WASHINGTON — The lone American prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict, captured by insurgents nearly five years ago, has been released to American forces in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility, Obama administration officials said Saturday.

    Does that help?
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/lone-american-pow-from-afghan-war-freed-in-prisoner-swap-with-taliban/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. ernieyeball says:

    @Franklin: Where are you getting this information?

    Where does Mr. Cavity (first initial A) get anything?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  28. bill says:

    since when do “several” republicans represent the entire party anyway? the 5-1 ratio is kind of weak, can we at least drone them in the near future?!

    @stonetools: we got way more of ours back, and pretty cheap. just because carter couldn’t figure out anything and left them to rot…..well, i could go on.
    we did leave some of our own behind, somewhere in libya i believe, remember?!

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 17

  29. Rafer Janders says:

    Would they tell them that we should have let their son continue to be held hostage to prove a broader political point?

    Point of fact: he wasn’t a hostage. It’s a war, and he was a uniformed armed combatant held by a hostile enemy force. That makes him a POW, not a hostage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  30. An Interested Party says:

    just because carter couldn’t figure out anything and left them to rot…..

    Umm, Carter didn’t exactly leave anyone to rot, but do go on with your delusions…you do seem to be full of them…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  31. Rafer Janders says:

    Oh, if only President Obama had traded advanced weapons to the Taliban for Sgt. Bergdahl, and then used the proceeds from those arm sales to fund a terrorist army in Central America, then maybe this would be a deal that the Republicans could have gotten behind! There is, after all, solid precedent for that under Ronald Reagan…..

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 3

  32. Rafer Janders says:

    You know what? Let the GOP complain about brining an American POW home. Go on, do it. Reveal your true colors. Let the voters take a good hard look.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  33. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And in the cold calculus of reality, the price has now been set: 1 American PFC (rank when captured) is worth 5 top Taliban leaders.

    Um, whom does that make look bad, us or the Taliban….?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  34. RaflW says:

    it’s unclear what the penalty might be for failure to comply with the 30 day notice requirement

    Oh, I’m sure it’s impeachment. Turn on the Drudge siren!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  35. Tran says:

    @James Joyner: The problem will always be the American system of government. In a situation where the executive and legislature can block much of each other’s actions, the two are held by different ideological unified parties and politics is seen as a zero-sum game, the system must break down to unbearable gridlock.

    Checks and balances were a very good idea at the time of the founding, given the power the executive (read: Kings) usually had, while the legislature was rather weak in comparison, if there was a proper legislative branch at all. But the system is no longer useful in the modern age, and it is a sign of the strong commitment to democracy and the constitution that Americans have that they managed to make it work for so long, while most others who tried it had regular military coups and other breakdowns of their constitutional order.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  36. On a final note, I guess I’d just have to wonder what these Republicans would say to Sgt. Bergdahl’s parents.

    We already know what Republicans say to people that have been held hostage by terrorists, just ask Terry Anderson, who was held hostage by Hezbollah for over six and half years:

    This year’s most extraordinary example of slimeball politics involves the former hostage Terry Anderson, who is running for state senator in a district in southern Ohio. His opponent, Joy Padgett, a longtime Republican functionary, links him and Dan Rather as two liberal journalists who don’t get their facts straight, going on to show a photo of Anderson shaking hands with a Middle Eastern–looking man and accusing him of being soft on terrorism.

    Anderson, a former chief Mideast correspondent for the Associated Press, was taken hostage by Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1985 and held until 1991. Following his release, he returned to Lebanon with a CNN crew and searched out his former captors. A photo from that trip is the one now being used by Padgett.

    [...]

    “The picture,” he continued, referring to the photo of himself shaking hands with the Hezbollah official, “is one of the guys who kidnapped me, who held me for seven years, who chained me and blindfolded me. I went back to Lebanon with a CNN news crew and looked him up and put him on camera and asked him, Why did you do this?

    “She now says I am an apologist for terrorists.That’s sheer nonsense. It’s offensive. I’ve just about had enough.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  37. Tyrell says:

    @al-Ameda: Why was this American soldier being held ? Why did this take so long ? The people who were holding this man prisoner (this “Taliban” or whatever they call themselves), need to be held accountable. This should not have taken five years.
    “Payback time” (Ventura, “The Predator”)

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 19

  38. Grewgills says:

    @Tyrell:
    Poe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. John Hanna says:

    @James Joyner:@DC Loser:
    I am a conservative i
    n many respects and belief, but I always marvel at he remarkable accuracy Republican politicians have when aiming at their feet!!!!!!! FOR Pet’s sake, idiots, the soldier is HOME. Just shut up and WELCOME him home!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  40. rudderpedals says:

    @Grewgills:

    Poe?

    Gotta be

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. dennis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Jenos, are you saying that the Taliban, and terrorists in general, had not calculated the value of taking American soldiers prisoner before this negotiated deal? Now, all of a sudden, they’re going to say, “Aw, shyt! This worked! Let’s take more Americans prisoner!” Is that what you’re offering?

    That’s just silly thinking. As though they didn’t have precedent of the value of taking prisoners. Please, exercise some energy in thinking things to a rational conclusion next time, instead of jerking that knee every time you perceive Obama has done something outrageous. I understand you don’t like the President; but you’re letting that dislike color (???) your thinking and, as usual, it’s making you look silly.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  42. Ron Beasley says:

    @James Joyner: Berdahl would have died of old age before the Republican congress acted. The main thing they oppose is giving Obama anything that looks like a victory.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  43. Bird Dog says:

    @James Joyner:
    It’s not just the flouting of the rule of law by Obama, it’s the hypocrisy. As a candidate, while criticizing Bush on signing statements, Oabama said, “We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21

  44. dennis says:

    @Tyrell:

    Why was this American soldier being held ? Why did this take so long ? The people who were holding this man prisoner (this “Taliban” or whatever they call themselves), need to be held accountable. This should not have taken five years.
    “Payback time” (Ventura, “The Predator”)

    See, this is the problem with Republicans. They conduct foreign policy as though world affairs are a Tom Clancy novel. I’ve brought up this point here before: remember Reagan prepared for the Reykjavik summit by reading “Red Storm Rising?”

    Similarly, they conduct domestic policy according to another fictional literary work…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  45. C. Clavin says:

    If you had a Republican caucus that was capable of doing something then they might have an argument. But they aren’t…so they don’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  46. C. Clavin says:

    Beghazi made a fool of Jenos and he ran away and hid.
    Instead of coming back wiser from the lesson he’s come back…well…let’s just say…less wise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  47. al-Ameda says:

    @Bird Dog:

    It’s not just the flouting of the rule of law by Obama, it’s the hypocrisy. As a candidate, while criticizing Bush on signing statements, Oabama said, “We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.”

    I’m sure that Darrell Issa will open an investigation into this lawlessness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  48. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @John Hanna:

    …I always marvel at he remarkable accuracy Republican politicians have when aiming at their feet!!!!!!! FOR Pet’s sake, idiots, the soldier is HOME. Just shut up and WELCOME him home!

    This is the challenge: they just can’t help themselves.

    Since a Democrat cannot be worthy of the presidency (much less a black man), then each and every action can only be seen as a target for attack.

    This is no shock or surprise… it is a simple pattern of the last 6 years:
    [Noun] [Verb] IMPEACH !

    Action:

    President Obama (fill in the blank) .

    Reaction:

    GOP members condemn president Obama and (fill in the blank). Promise constituents to overturn (fill in the blank). Request campaign donations so they can defeat (fill in the blank).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  49. Greg Petliski says:

    “Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans.”

    Give me a break! As if the Taliban had never tried to capture an American before.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  50. Lounsbury says:

    @James Joyner: And Afghanistan ain’t bloody 20c Europe. The idea USA ‘legitmates or not the Taleban is an absurd intellectualism.

    The Taleban legitmate the Taleban in the Afghan context. Not Euro-American abstractions that have nothing to do with real- Afghani politics or operational realities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  51. Tyrell says:

    @dennis: Actually I have only voted for a Republican once: 1972 election: Richard Nixon – George McGovern. McGovern was a WWII veteran, a bomber pilot, and an honorable man. But his campaign was a disaster: disorganized, bad decisions. Even at that, there was hardly no way that he could have won against a second term Nixon president.
    For most of my life, there was virtually no Republican party in existence in our town and county since the 1860’s. This is still southern Democrat country around here. I was a big supporter of Johnson and Hubert Humphrey. If Humphrey had another week, he would have won that election. But neither he nor anyone else running was going for an immediate withdrawal from Vietnam. On that issue, all the candidates in ’68 and ’72 were similar. No “bugging out” as Nixon always said.
    I am certainly glad that soldier was released and know that these exchanges are nothing new. It just seemed to take a long time, seems like it could have been done some time ago.
    A lot of Vietnam pow’s were never released or accounted for. There needs to be an investigation about that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  52. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    A lot of Vietnam pow’s were never released or accounted for. There needs to be an investigation about that.

    Darrell Issa, are you listening?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  53. Tonya Tipton says:

    I support what the President has done. You best believe that these 5 terrorists will be watched like a hawk after their release in a year and if these terrorists goes back to their old ways then this President has no problem taking them out as he has taking out more terrorists than any other President in history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  54. Ben Wolf says:

    @dennis: Jenoz is arguing (whether he knows it or not) that it is better to give up a present and definite good for fear of a possible future evil. Which is about the worst reasoning I’ve ever encountered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  55. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    OK, a little more awake and sober now.

    Now people who want something from the US have an incentive to kidnap Americans — not just the Taliban.

    And the discussion of whether or not this was a good move is quite interesting.

    “Was it a good move?”

    “Reagan did it!”

    “But was that right? Wasn’t Reagan nearly impeached over it? Weren’t people indicted over it?”

    “But Reagan did it!”

    It seems the point isn’t to discuss the matter, but to shut up (pre-emptively, in some cases) those who might dare to criticize Obama.

    So far, I’m still considering whether this was a good move. Part of me is thinking that this is above my pay grade.

    Oh, and Sgt. Berghahls’ father had an interesting Tweet that he’s since deleted:

    I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, Ameen!

    According to Google, “Ameen” is the Arabic equivalent of “Amen,” and is often used to end Muslim prayers.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  56. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Ben Wolf: Bullcrap. It’s a difference of how one sees precedents.

    Your side looks at the past: you seem to think that by yelling how some Republican somewhere did something similar, that means you can demand people shut up. Fast & Furious was an expansion of a Bush-era program. The Heritage Foundation studied something vaguely similar to ObamaCare. Reagan dealt with Iran over hostages.

    This isn’t any kind of discussion, it’s making excuses. This is to avoid having to actually discuss the matter.

    I’m not looking for historical precedents so I can shut up the other side, I’m looking at what kind of precedent this is setting. Here’s a group that wants something from the US, so they kidnapped an American and made demands, which we met.

    Yeah, this may never happen again. This might have been unique.

    I’m not willing to bet on that, though.

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  57. An Interesed Party says:

    I’m not looking for historical precedents so I can shut up the other side, I’m looking at what kind of precedent this is setting. Here’s a group that wants something from the US, so they kidnapped an American and made demands, which we met.

    Bullshit…you’re looking for any way possible to slam and trash the President…people point out how this kind of thing has happened before to showcase your tremendous hypocrisy…it’s nothing when other presidents do it, but when Obama does it, it’s the worst possible thing that’s ever happened!!!!!!! Oh, and no one is trying to shut you up…on the contrary, the more you spew, the more you illustrate yourself as a fool and an endless source of amusement for the rest of us…carry on…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  58. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @An Interesed Party: OK, IP, let’s cut through the crap. I just found out that the law involved here was signed by Obama himself. So here’s a law that he supposedly believed in enough to put his name on, but the very first time it could be applied, he chose not to.

    So, was Obama wrong when he signed it, or wrong when he blew it off?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  59. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Your side looks at the past: you seem to think that by yelling how some Republican somewhere did something similar, that means you can demand people shut up. Fast & Furious was an expansion of a Bush-era program. The Heritage Foundation studied something vaguely similar to ObamaCare. Reagan dealt with Iran over hostages.

    None of this has anything to do with your desire to forgo the definite good of returning this soldier to his home out of fear that a future evil may one day materialize.

    Fear exists to warn us of danger. When you let it dictate your actions you become a slave to your own passions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  60. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: And for the record: if a law required that this man continue in his deplorable condition, that law is an ass. I would approve of any president breaking it. Obama, of whom I have been a fierce critic, did a good thing and I am proud of him for it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  61. Remember folks, according to the GOP, only one President could negotiate with terrorists and it not be a scandal: Ronald Reagan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  62. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Ben Wolf: The law in question didn’t forbid this deal explicitly. It said that before any detainees at Guantanamo were moved anywhere, for any reason, Congress had to be notified at least 30 days in advance.

    Obama could have brought in Harry Reid and John Boehner, told them about the deal, and said that if either of them leaked it, he’d make sure the American people knew they’d screwed the deal. That wouldn’t meet the letter of the law, but would at least be in the spirit of the law he signed.

    @Timothy Watson: Oh, bullshit. Clinton negotiated with the terrorist Yassir Arafat. Bush negotiated with the terrorist Muammar Khadafy. The issue here is Obama deliberately and willfully breaking a law that he himself signed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  63. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Timothy Watson: Remember folks, according to the GOP, only one President could negotiate with terrorists and it not be a scandal: Ronald Reagan.

    And when Reagan did that, there was a special prosecutor and investigations and indictments and convictions. Does this mean that that was wrong? Are you prepared to give Oliver North an apology?

    This is becoming a very predictable pattern: every single Obama scandal provokes the left to find a similar situation under a Republican and throw that up, That’s supposed to end the issue then and there.

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  64. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    This is becoming a very predictable pattern: every single Obama scandal provokes the left to find a similar situation under a Republican and throw that up, That’s supposed to end the issue then and there.

    What’s predictable is that Republicans run investigations on everything Obama does. Perhaps Darrell Issa will fulfill all of your dreams and run a multi-year investigation on this incident too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  65. Tonya Tipton says:

    Well get ready because the Republicans are going to have hearings over this just like their endless hearings on Benghazi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  66. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Are you prepared to give Oliver North an apology?”

    Sure. Just as soon as he serves his prison term.

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  67. Lori says:

    @Cessna: From what I understand they were traded for Bergdahl with an agreement to hold them for a period of one year, at which time US Troops will be pulling out, and we would, by law, have to release all detainees anyways. Quite frankly, we didn’t lose anything by getting one of our own out of captivity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  68. Tonya Tipton says:

    If Bergdahl was this terrible soldier who deserted his post then why was he promoted twice and he was about to be promoted again in June from what I read. I also found this article this morning about the 6 soldiers who everyone is claming died while searching for Bergdahl.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/04/1304285/-How-Many-Died-Saving-Bergdahl-Likely-None

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0