Euphoria over the Taliban's release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was quickly tempered by media reports that Bergdahl had abandoned his post and that his father made comments opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bergdahl's father tweeted, "I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child."
Does that include those children killed while being used as human shields by the Taliban? Where is Bergdahl's concern for women who die from "honor killings" and for girls who are denied an education?
The up-front cost of this "prisoner exchange" is the release of five terrorists from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. Future costs could be much higher. Not to mention the fact that news of the controversial exchange knocked reports on the VA fiasco right off the front pages. Was this partly the administration's intent?
Official U.S. policy has been "we don't negotiate with terrorists." Except when we do. Sgt. Bergdahl, America's only prisoner of war, was reportedly in failing health after more than five years in captivity and negotiations to secure his release were urgent and laborious, but freeing five dangerous men to secure the release of one soldier could very well put this country in increased danger. What should we have done? It depends upon the outcome one is seeking. If rescuing one man is paramount, then any price is worth it. But if that rescue leads to the deaths of others, as is likely, then the price is too high.
In a joint statement following President Obama's announcement of the terrorists' release, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.), and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke of "...consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans."
The five terrorists include two senior militant commanders alleged to have been implicated in murdering thousands of Shiites in Afghanistan. The five have been shipped to Qatar. President Obama says the Qatari government has assured him they will be subjected to security restrictions and won't be a threat to the U.S. How does he know this? Even in a "moderate" Muslim state like Qatar, Islamic blood is thicker than the "water" of infidels.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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