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And now we've successfully politicizied the successful return of an American military prisoner

by: Eric B.

Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:41:39 AM EDT


Who was is that said that the United States doesn't negotiate with terrorists? It was Ronald Reagan, and he said it while he was in the middle of selling Hawk missile parts to Iran as part of negotiations with terrorists to return our hostages in Lebanon. This was also in the middle of the great 80s "Missing in Action" action-adventure film craze in which various people -- Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Chuck Norris -- conducted private invasions of Vietnam to rescue military prisoners. The idea was etched in stone: If bad people take you hostage or prisoner, the United States will lift every stone to make sure you come home, because to do otherwise was dishonorable.

In an act of great disgrace and shame, all that changed over the weekend.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, appeared on Fox & Friends on Monday where he asserted that the White House did not follow the law when they negotiated the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity in exchange for five high-ranking Taliban prisoners. He said he intends to investigate the prisoner swap and criticized President Barack Obama for ending the “chapter in American history where we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

Well, first of all, he's lying when he says that America hasn't negotiated with terrorists. This isn't a case where he's simply wrong. As chair of the House Intelligence Committee, he no doubt knows full well that we've negotiated with terrorists before to get people released, have done so since terrorism and organized crime became things, and will do so in the future because it's easier to get your people back through negotiations than waving your dick at them and sending in the special forces, which tends to get lots of friendly people killed.

We haven't emboldened terrorists or sent a message that we do things differently. We and everyone else (anyone care to guess how many times the Israelis have swapped prisoners with Hamas and Hezbollah), when there's no other choice, have negotiated with terrorists. In fact, most of the actual heat Reagan took for saying that we don't negotiate with terrorists came from foreign and military policy experts, who said such a rigid stance needlessly and stupidly bound our hands in getting our people back.

Having read a few articles about this guy over the years, I have the same questions everyone has about his conduct and the reallocation of military resources required to go looking for him. That, of course, is part of the military code that we don't just abandon people. The president's hands are tied on this, and his top brass and his military people and veterans everywhere would never forgive him if he picked and chose who he brought back. It's simply the way we did things, until the end of May, 2014, when half the United States decided that the "everyone comes home" only applies to people rescued by Republican presidents.

Eric B. :: And now we've successfully politicizied the successful return of an American military prisoner
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A POW not a hostage (4.00 / 4)
Sgt. Bergdahl was a POW and the president had an obligation to bring him home.  Negotiations to bring POWs home have long gone on and are different than hostage-taking where someone is held captive in return for demands.  The only thing different than in most previous wars was the theater of combat.  Our enemies aren't all nation-states anymore.  But predictably the Republicans are putting politics over patriotism and attacking the Commander in Chief for negotiating to return a POW to America.  Can you imagine the howls from the right if President Obama ignored an opportunity to bring a POW home?  

The circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's being captured should be investigated but they are irrelevant to whether we should, as a war is winding down to conclusion, bring him home.  The fact that Republicans are politicizing this sickens me.  


The Fister trade was worse (0.00 / 0)


A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Reagan? (0.00 / 0)
Reagan traded 1500 missiles to Iran for a few hostages--not POWs, hostages.  

And it didn't stop the same Groups in Lebanon from taking MORE hostages (0.00 / 0)
Truly not St. Ronnie's finest moment.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison


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