Opinion

America Betrayed Over Bergdahl, Taliban Leaders POW Exchange

In one of America’s most shocking wartime decisions, the Commander-in-Chief has knowingly broken the law to release five of our highest-ranking enemies in return for a young soldier who mysteriously vanished from his post days after allegedly writing to his parents, “the horror is that America is disgusting” and mailing home boxes with his books and uniforms.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, and Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member James Inhofe released a joint statement noting that President Barack Obama was required by law to provide a 30-day notice to Congress before transferring any detainees, explaining how their security threat was to be mitigated.

And the White House response?

“Unique and exigent circumstances” justified the decision. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel later claimed the Taliban’s prisoner was endangered, curiously more now than during his five years in captivity. Really?

So much for the Constitution. So much for Mr. Obama’s constant refrains about America following the “rule of law.”

But regrettably this is not just an academic exercise, nor just about the law. Nor about one soldier.

Releasing five of the Taliban’s top leaders from Guantanamo — including their former deputy defense minister, deputy intelligence minister, two governors and another top terrorist puts American soldiers and civilians in the cross-hairs of further mass casualty attacks.

How many more Americans will die because of this illegal and ill-advised prisoner exchange?

Meanwhile, their release was brokered by Qatar in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, a disillusioned former ballet dancer and French Foreign Legion reject-turned U.S. soldier who apparently told friends back in Idaho that he went to Afghanistan for “philanthropic reasons.”

According to Berghdahl’s e-mails released by his family to Rolling Stone, just before disappearing from his post along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, then-Private First Class Bergdahl wrote he was, “ashamed to even be American,” and “the US Army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools and bullies.”   According to Rolling Stone, he also talked to fellow soldiers and others about walking to Pakistan if the deployment was “lame.”

But this scandal is much bigger than Bowe Bergdahl.

In 1943, could anyone imagine FDR releasing five of Nazi Germany’s top leaders for a disgruntled soldier who very likely deserted his unit? Yet that is essentially what Mr. Obama has done. American power and prestige has hit a new low.

While he cynically characterizes this as a victory in bringing home an American soldier, it’s anything but a win for our nation. While it’s positive that Bergdahl has been freed, this lopsided prisoner exchange will only embolden Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists to seek out other U.S. military hostages, under any and all circumstances, whether they are willing captives or not.