Editor’s note: Chuck Norris’ weekly political column debuts each Monday in WND and is then syndicated by Creators News Service for publication elsewhere. His column in WND often runs hundreds of words longer than the subsequent release to other media.
I have four colossal disagreements with how President Obama cut the deal for the prisoner swap between U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and five senior Taliban leaders – the latter the White House itself admits could “absolutely” rejoin terrorist cells.
Sure, I have far more than four issues with how it all went down, like the absolute avoidance and disregard of constitutional submission and congressional consent. But this administration seems to have little regard for proper protocol with anything, so I’m going to focus here on a few different angles of argument.
No one is overlooking or minimizing the understandable elation of Bergdahl’s family over his homecoming. But was there really no other military or negotiating option than to return five of the most hardened criminals and enemies of the U.S. back onto the battlefield where at least six other soldiers gave their lives trying to rescue Bergdahl?
Our whole country – including those across the political spectrum, from Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., to Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. – is asking: Why in the midst of war would Obama release five of the greatest anti-American terrorists in exchange for Bergdahl, who, according to several of his own military colleagues and superiors, abandoned his post and platoon and likely even became sympathetic with the Taliban mission?
He responded to that question while in Europe (Brussels). The first part of his answer was this: “This is what happens at the end of wars.”
But what about if the war hasn’t ended, which is exactly where the U.S. is now? I don’t know if Obama has noticed recently, but military personnel are still fighting on the battlefield. For the president, the war is in the past tense, but the battle continues in the present.
Duke University political science professor Peter Feaver, who served as a National Security Council special adviser under George W. Bush, explained to the Washington Post: “The deal the president struck is a deal you strike when the war’s over. The military, they’re thinking about, ‘We’re still fighting this war.’ For them the war’s very much still on, and the question of will we win or not is up for grabs.”
So this is the first of my four vehement objections to Obama’s handling of the prisoner of war swap:
1. The war is not over; military personnel are still fighting.
My second objection is found further in the president’s justification this past week: “This is what happens at the end of wars. That was true for George Washington; that was true for Abraham Lincoln; that was true for FDR; that’s been true of every combat situation – that at some point, you make sure that you try to get your folks back. And that’s the right thing to do.”
But is that true? Did Washington, Lincoln and FDR engage in prisoner swapping in the same vein as president Obama? (Some have come to the president’s aid in saying so.)
Let’s just examine George Washington’s prisoner-of-war policy alone.
President Obama justifies his grounds for his prisoner exchange by the fact that George Washington engaged in similar prisoner exchange with the British during the Revolutionary War. What Obama doesn’t tell you, however, is that both the Brits and Colonists exchanged prisoners of wars because both had “few facilities to accommodate large numbers of prisoners,” according to Mount Vernon Estate, George Washington’s own residence, information on “Prisoners of War.”
And as far as specifically buying Americans back from captivity at the price of handing back over British soldiers, like Obama did with Taliban leaders, Mount Vernon also explained exactly what Gen. Washington’s policy was: He “made sure that no states holding military prisoners should trade a British soldier for an American citizen. Washington believed that this would have legitimized the British capture of more citizens, most of whom were largely defenseless.”
Mr. President, did you want to read that last quote again?
In regard to Obama’s comparison with these stellar commanders in chief like George Washington, I feel like I want to respond just as vice presidential and Democratic opponent Lloyd Bentsen responded to Republican contender Dan Quayle during the 1988 vice presidential debates after Quayle likened his political experience to that of John F. Kennedy: “I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
I’ve studied George Washington, and Mr. President, you’re no George … (Oh, you get the point!)
That’s my second objection to the president’s justification:
2. Obama is no George Washington. And this present modern-day prisoner swap in the midst of a modern-day war on terror in which they use our planes as missiles and salivate over suitcase nukes can by no means find its equal during the Revolutionary War or others where – however dangerous – muskets, single-shot rifles and cannon balls were used.
Next week, I will give No. 3 and No. 4 as I continue in Part 2.
Above all else, let’s never forget the names of those who gave their lives in attempts to rescue U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl or closely related missions: 2nd Lt. Darryn Deen Andrews, Staff Sgt. Clayton Patrick Bowen, Pfc. Morris Lewis Walker, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek, and Staff Sgt. Michael Chance Murphrey.