Butler County Times Gazette
  • Kent Bush: Facts unclear on release of American soldier

  • Even the clear facts are controversial
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  • If you have a strong opinion on the release of Bowe Bergdahl, you are wrong.
    The only thing you could possibly be basing that opinion on is a set of partial facts, the reactions of others and the same opinions you held before this previously unknown soldier was released.
    The facts are unclear. Even the clear facts are controversial.
    First, the soldier wrote some incendiary stuff before he apparently deserted his post. I understand how even a dedicated young man in that situation can become disillusioned. He crossed some lines in belittling the country and other American soldiers in his emails.
    Clearly, this is no hero.
    His dad is an idiot and a PR nightmare. If your son is “captured” by the enemy and your response is some sort of Stockholm Syndrome by proxy that causes you to become a Muslim or at least sympathize and empathize with the cause of your son’s captors, you likely have more than a few issues. Thanks to the good old duck hunters in Louisiana, it is hard to differentiate rednecks from radical Muslims in America.
    Regardless, the President should never have held a joint press conference with these particular parents. That was a major mistake.
    There are also problems with the release of what is being called the Taliban Dream Team in exchange for our one sheepish soldier. We didn’t get a great deal and it does seem to encourage capturing more troops in the future.
    But do the people who lie awake at night worrying about whether negotiating with terrorists will make terrorists behave poorly really believe that those same people weren’t already trying to capture American troops in Afghanistan?
    Do you really think they are sitting there in a Taliban department head meeting and some mid-level manager has a great idea to impress the boss, “Hey, maybe we could abduct a soldier and then arrange a prisoner trade for the guys holed up in Guantanemo.”
    I’m sure the idea had been discussed a couple of times before the deal to release Bergdahl was announced.
    Many are justifiably worried about what these former captives will want to do now that they are on the outside again. I get that.
    But something tells me President Barack Obama also had that thought cross his mind. I would wager that the CIA is probably aware of these concerns and I will be less than surprised if a few drones aren’t offering free wake up calls to the villages where the Dream Team finds refuge soon.
    It takes a great deal of hubris to sit in suburban Kansas and question how people who have all of the information– some of which would terrify you – handled this situation.
    Page 2 of 2 - I know this, if Bergdahl would have starved to death or died due to preventable illness because this deal was turned down by the administration or if he became the next person featured in one of the Taliban beheading videos, the outcry against our government for allowing that to happen to one of our soldiers would have been overwhelming.
    I don’t think Obama was right to sign off on the deal or circumvent Congressional notification to get it done. But I also don’t think he was wrong.
    I do think he knows a lot more of the facts than those that have been released so far.
    I won’t pretend to know better. If you think you do, you are wrong.
    Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com

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