It is a fact of warfare that people go missing in combat. Although the United States has attempted to recover soldiers and sailors throughout our history, there have always been servicemen listed as Missing in Action (MIA).
Every branch of the service has its own policy toward recovering their personnel during and after action, but what does that mean for a soldier who just walks away from his post, deserts, and is captured by the enemy? Do we, as a country, have a responsibility to liberate a serviceman that has abandoned his comrades?
Contrary to the initial claims of the administration, it appears likely that Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post, his fellow soldiers, and his country one evening in Afghanistan. Even though the military mounted an extensive search and rescue attempt for Private Bergdahl, the Taliban captured him first.
It is unfortunate that they got to him before the rescuers did, but if Bergdahl had been picked up by his fellow soldiers, what path would he have taken then? If it became clear that Bergdahl had been deserting, he would have been tried and punished by a military court-martial. Desertion in the face of the enemy is a crime for soldiers. He certainly would not have been called a hero by politicians who were trying to turn his captivity into political goodwill.
“We allowed this administration the latitude to make a deal like this and have no way of holding them accountable for it.”
We also would not have had an excuse to release five terrorists. Even if we, as Secretary of State John Kerry said, “keep an eye on them,” this release sets a dangerous precedent for our country. If any of those released return to terrorism and hurt or kill anyone else, it will be our responsibility. We allowed this administration the latitude to make a deal like this and have no way of holding them accountable for it. Any blood shed by these terrorists, in the future, will make this situation even more horrible.
My opinion is that there should be an upper limit to what we will do as a country to assure the release of prisoners held by terrorist organizations. We will negotiate, and saying we don’t is ignoring the facts that we have negotiated with terrorists since at least the presidency of Thomas Jefferson where we bartered with the Barbary pirates to release Americans captives.
That 200 year old lesson should not be forgotten by the people who prey on Americans. Eventually, when the demands became too outrageous, the response changed from paying the pirate chiefs to destroying them. Even though the victory over those terrorists came with a cost of our servicemen’s lives, we paid it to stop a practice that had been going on for hundreds of years.
Eventually, the cost of paying off the terrorists will be too high and we will destroy them. Not by going in and winning hearts and minds, but by simply destroying their ability to threaten us.
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