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One for Five UPDATE

The exchange of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo was heralded Saturday morning as a breakthrough in negotiating with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Sunday and Monday, the exchange is getting head winds from Congressional Republicans. Mike Rogers (R. MI) claims the exchange was illegal and against U.S. policy of trading with terrorists. We will certainly have more of this. And we will have more criticisms on the grounds that Bergdahl walked away from his unit on purpose. Bergdahl is now in Germany for medical treatment and probably won't be heard from for a long time.

President Obama will be criticized through the November elections, but he probably made the right decision for Bergdahl. And maybe he made the right decision for the Taliban prisoners, at least two of whom have been at Guantanamo for over a decade. If Congress won't let the president bring Guantanamo prisoners to the U.S. for trial, what better way to dispose of them. They have been sent to Qatar where it is said they will be banned from traveling for a year. Maybe the Qataris will pension them off and they will live there ever after.

CNN's description of the Taliban prisoners.

UPDATE: June 6: The Times's Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, gives a rundown on some of the media coverage and responses from the Times's news editors.

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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 And maybe he made the right decision for the Taliban prisoners

Yes - when I first heard this news, my initial thought was, 'Does the Taliban have any other prisoners of war for whom we can trade more Gitmo prisoners?  A few more trades and we'll have solved the Gitmo issue.'


I apologize if this is a really naive question, but: could the President have the Gitmo prisoners appear before military tribunals to be held at Guantanamo (or somewhere else outside of the US) and resolve the prisoners' cases that way?  

God bless this POW and  even  the war criminal Obama for getting him released.Once again the reality on the ground trumps the narrative, policies and labels of the  US Congress and the right wing.Whether "terrorist" or soldier ,in a war you negotiate to exchange prsioners.[We even negotiate with murdering thuggish street gangs]That's been happening since the beginning of time. And the Taliban were the government of Afghanistan at the  time we invaded.All these right wing hypocirites who love to glorify the military and label all soldiers heroes and say we can't do too much for these soldiers ,yet when it cpomes to this POW,they want to abandon him;sound like the very enemy they claim don't value the lives even of their own.Suddenly a soldier is expendable but when our professed enemy reasons this way we decry their lack of value for human life.The right has abandoned their own American values,in saying we should not negotiate to release one of our own.Kudos to Obama and all those in the military who did not listen to the US Congress and the right wing.If you really value your soldiers, you exchange as many prisoners as it takes to get one of your own back. The reality of war where negotiations and prisoner exchanges happen trumps the labels of the US Congress, it's policies and its narrative.The label "terrorist" is designed to dehumanize people.This exchange trumps that. A little humanity brroke through.Thank God for that too.

Jim P: Don't know the answer to your question about these particular prisoners. Some trials at Guantanamo have been postponed or put off limits because of problems with evidence (gotten through torture) or insufficient evidence. Two of the men seem to have been taken prisoner at the beginning of the war and have been held since (over ten years). Does this make them actual POWs? Do Geneva Conventions apply? The stories haven't told us.

Really - "......even  the war criminal Obama"

Ms. Steinfels - we hear enough of this ridicule, masked bigotry, racial hatred, etc. on Fox News and listening to Republicans in Congress.

This comment needs to be deleted - dotCommonweal is not a place for malicious gossip and name calling.

How sad and pathetic

Correction;an un indicted war criminal.In this country charging the president with wrong doing is protected speech.

@ Bill deHaas: The great Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe once sparked controversy by referring to Harry S Truman as a "mass-murderer." Said about an American president, and a man who had helped defeat the forces of fascism, this was a highly inflammatory remark. However, she was correct. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a mass-killing of civilian perpetrated against a nation that was already on the brink of defeat. It cannot be justified ethically, under any interpretation of just-war theory. It was an act of mass-murder, and it was Truman who ordered it. Therefore, whatever else might be said about the man (good or bad), Truman was a mass-murderer.

It's not ridicule, bigotry, or malicious gossip to call a spade a spade. I don't know what war crimes rose-ellen caminer believes Obama is guilty of, but I would certainly like to find out.

The bombing of Libya-ordered by Obama- caused an ncredible degree of loss of life, and has left the nation in a state of chaos that will claim many more lives in the years to come. I fon't know if anything done in the intervention constituted a war crime in the technical, legal sense and I don't need to know. The action cannot be justified ethically.

Too many people are unwilling to call Obama out on this because he's a Democrat, or because they like his health-care plan or for some other, similar reason. It just shows how our society has become too complacent about the evils of war.

I don't know of any war crimes that have been attributed to President Obama.  It's a very serious charge, and I agree that whoever makes that accusation should be able to explain its basis.

President Obama, I believe, has tried to wind down the two wars, even though that hasn't happened on the timetable his progressive base would have preferred.  He also has tried, with some success, to reduce nuclear stockpiles - something for which, in my estimation, Catholics don't give him nearly enough credit.  

President Obama just may calibrate his foreign policy more according to principles of Catholic social justice than any other president I can think of.  And please realize, this comment is coming from someone who is a pretty severe critic of the President's foreign policy!  But I do give him credit for having the right principles (in these matters, anyway). 


This post is NOT about what President Obama is or is not accused of. I'll delete further comments on the subject.

Bill d, thanks for the link to that Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article. It provides some good background.

If a Uigher detainee wants to return to his ethnic homeland in China but the Chinese government doesn't want him, and will arrest him at the airport gates, take him out back and shoot him, I don't know what to do.  I have to say that it kind of doesn't sound like the US government's problem.  Is it?


Several Uighars have left Guantanamo and been given a home I believe in the Czech Republic. I can't lay my hands on the data now, but other prisoners have also been released not to their native lands but to other countries willing to receive them. The Uighars "country" has been "incorporated" into China which is swamping the territory with ethnic Hans (Chinese). The Uighars speak a Turkic language and are Muslims.

At least some of the five prisoners had been held, without a trial, for 11 years. Eleven years. How can I say it -- XI years without being charged or tried. Sounds like...

Well, anyhow, Mr. Obama got rid of the guys we coudn't figure out how to treat because we can't reach decisions anymore. There is an odd element in the weekend blowback, though. The Democrats are saying  Sgr. Bergdahl is a prisoner of war. But it was the Rs who said we were in a war against terrorism. The Ds were saying we should treat terrorists like criminals, and the Rs said boy! was that ever wimpy. But now they are saying Bergdahl was a hostage, not a POW -- which would make the people holding him terrorist kidnappers and the Republicans' "war" not a war.

Of course, if the Ds were right in the first place, as the Republicans have belatedly decided -- only temporarily, no doubt -- Bergdahl really was a hostage. In that case, the Republicans now are right for Democratic reasons, and we should not have followed the Reagan precedent of negotiating for a hostage release.

If the Rs were right in the first place, and it was a war, the war is almost over. Then all the POWs at Guantanamo will have to be returned. So it was smart for the administration to get something for people who were supposed to go back anyway. And if it really was a war, then there is no question Bergdahl was a POW. GOP howls don't compute. They could advocate invading another country to keep the Global War On Terrorism going, but that wouldn't help them with their Bergdahl objection.

Why does this story remind me of that of John Walker Lindh, the young man studying in Afghanistan who somehow ended up in a Taliban fighting squad just after 9/11? Like Bergdahl, Lindh was somewhat of an odd spirit, and definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Branded as a "traitor", Lindh was all but dead in the USA and accepted a plea deal that put him in Federal prison for 20 years.

Politics have a way of playing with peoples' lives, whatever their personal circumstances (and guilt or innocence) might be. This goes for the Guantanamo prisoners as well as our own POW's. 

The truth of the matter is that young men are particularly susceptible to this kind of trap. Easily seduced by ideology, they are the pawns of comfortable and arrogant, older men who are obsessed with political power.

The sooner Gitmo is emptied, the better.

Tom Blackburn - brilliant.  Have footnoted this.

Thanks, Ms. Steinfels...and the *ethical* crack about Truman only revealed an *unethical* ability to understand ethical decisions.

The use of drones within a sovereign nation's air space of which we're not at war, to kill people including civilians, without due process, is considered an act of war.The innocent victims cannot be called collateral damage because deadly action in an undeclared war zone is a first strike offense.And a violation of international law.[I feel obligated to respond as I was called out;I hope this does not get deleted!]

Our local news tonight included an interview of a PFC who was in Bergdahl's unit, and who is of the opinion that Bergdahl deserted and should be prosecuted.  The same story reported that there is a lot of anger among veterans, and showed photos of six American soldiers who were killed in action while searching for Bergdahl after he allegedly walked away from his post.

This ABC News story covers some of this and provides some additional details.  (The story I saw on-air tonight, which was on a different network, doesn't seem to be on the local station's website yet.  I'll check back and post a link if it appears.)

One unnamed former Special Forces soldier is quoted in the ABC News story as suggesting that Bergdahl shouldn't be prosecuted for deserting his post, as five years of captivity with the Taliban seems to be punishment enough.  While I understand that point of view, it might be better to go through with the prosecution (if warranted); if the verdict is guilty, then perhaps the sentence could take his captivity into account.

The ABC News story also notes that the Obama Administration stated that Bergdahl served with honor and distinction, a claim that seems to be at odds with what is being reported.  We will have to see what facts emerge and what the Army decides to do.


Bergdahl's legal status aside, apparently several soldiers were killed trying to find the missing soldier.  We need more information;  I'm taking a wait-and-see approach for now.  If, as Jim P. has written, there is reason to prosecute Bergdahl and if he were to be found guilty, perhaps the sentence could take his captivity into account.  Regardless of any outcome, a shadow will be hanging over Bergdahl, likely for the rest of his life.

Apologies for my off-topic post earlier. After Bill deHaas's angry retort to rose-ellen caminer, I felt compelled to offer a post in her defense. But it wasn't really necessary.

As far as this POW trade thing goes, I don't see a problem with it. Some people say it violates the rule about not negotiating with terrorists, but I always understood that rule as existing to prevent groups from holding government agencies hostage through terrorist acts. ("If the CIA doesn't release this guy we'll blow up the bomb" or something like that) Does it mean that groups that are linked to terrorist activities forever lose their right to negotiate with the US government under all circumstances? I don't see why it should, though maybe someone who knows a bit more on this can enlighten me.

As far as Bergdahl being a deserter goes, it's sad that soldiers died trying to find him and he ought to be prosecuted, but unless one believes imprisonment by the Taliban to be a fair and just punishment it shouldn't make a difference in determining if the trade was right.

It seems like we call everyone we disagree with "terrorists".  Hard to see how Taliban members, the ruling party until we overthrew them, fighting us on their own soil- not ours- qualify as terrorists any more than did the Germans during World War II or the Viet Cong.  If these people are terroists, put them on trial; if they're not, let them go.


Here is the news story I referenced in an earlier comment - it's now up on the web site.  It includes an interview with a member of Bergdahl's platoon.  Apparently two other members of the platoon were killed searching for Bergdahl.  Based on what this former soldier says,  it seems reasonable that Bergdahl should be brought up on charges.


The story in today's New York Times gives several possible version of what happened including senior officers denying that fellow soldiers were killed searching for him.

"The furious search for Sergeant Bergdahl, his critics say, led to the deaths of at least two soldiers and possibly six others in the area. Pentagon officials say those charges are unsubstantiated and are not supported by a review of a database of casualties in the Afghan war."

The story goes on to cite a story by one of his fellow soldiers arranged by Republican strategists. By tomorrow we will be in the land of missing flights!


I really hope the GOP isn't trying to discredit Bergdahl for political reaosns. Our politics in the US are as nasty as it gets, but  going after a captured soldier would be beyond the pale.

I thought he was captured because he was caught unawares while using the bathroom,


I'm glad that Bowe Bergdahl is coming home alive.  It seems likely that he is neither a hero nor a deserter; there is a lot of gray territory between these.  Most of us, if the truth were known, have occupied some gray territory in our lives. I wish people would wait to fling accusations until more facts are known.  What I don't understand is why he was in the millitary in the first place, absent the draft. Given his home-schooled, counter culture upbringing; and what has been described as an arty, free-spirited personality; the military just sounds like a really bad fit.  He was described as very idealistic, perhaps not very realistic. He apparently wrote some letters home about being really upset when a child got run over by a military vehicle, civilians getting killed, that sort of thing.  They don't say "War is hell" for nothing, I'm surprised all of them don't have PSTD. But in a volunteer military, when they don't have to accept every warm body that walks through the door, don't they exercise any discernment about who is or isn't suited to that life?

The Bergdahl controversy reminds me of Malaysian Airlines 370.  The talking heads don't have facts, so they fill the airwaves with speculation instead of moving on to other newsworthy stories for which they DO have solid information.

When this country engages in voluntary wars and uses an all-volunteer force, one cannot expect the quality of military performance that would come from a truly professional military.  If one looks at who volunteers for the military, it is not a cross-section of the population but, rather, those who do so out of a variety of NEEDS rather than WANTS.  They are young, heavily weighted to minority (can we still call non-whites “minorities” in this country anymore?), usually economically desperate and less-than-adequately educated.

Once faced with the reality (usually on multiple tours of duty) of what war is really about and how the folks at home, except for immediate family and friends, don’t really give two hoots in hades about how and if you survive, it is not surprising that some of those who don’t fit into the military mold end up by flaking out.

I’m not surprised if Bergdahl is indeed a “deserter” and are really surprised that there are not more of them.

Anyone with experience of and in Vietnam knows how the popular idea of everyone in the forces being the best of the best was disabused of that idea a long time ago.

What is a "volunteer" foce when the unemployment rate is over 10 percent (and even worse for young men).

The military have their rules and it will be sobering to see what Bergdahl gets charges with (or not). But so many higher ups have been charged with nothing. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Brenner, etc. have gotten off scott free (except perhaps for their own consciences), it's hard to imagine that Bergdahl will be charged, especially if he is found unable to stand trial. And if he is, what a military court would find him guilty of. We can be sure that Republicans will run this up the flag poll thousands of time, and the part of the media that is mindless will run right up after them.

Flight 370, indeed!


I really hope the GOP isn't trying to discredit Bergdahl for political reaosns. Our politics in the US are as nasty as it gets, but  going after a captured soldier would be beyond the pale.

I am disturbed by the political animus. Negotiating the freedom of citizens captured abroad is such a delicate matter. I really wish people stood behind their president at least for those issues, and refrained from doing or saying anything that might get in the way. Sometimes one gets the feeling that those relentless critics are Republicans before they are US citizens.

"But so many higher ups have been charged with nothing. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Brenner, etc. have gotten off scott free (except perhaps for their own consciences)... ."

I doubt that those men have had one nanosecond pang of conscience.


I really hope the GOP isn't trying to discredit Bergdahl for political reaosns.

This exchange could have been made very quietly, but the White House ballyhoo'd this deal in order to get political credit.  Almost nobody had heard of Bowe Bergdahl until the White House PR machinery cranked up.  This story has been driven by vet anger and reporters doing their job.  To be sure, Republicans are now reaping the political windfall.


If things are as he claims and civilians are being killed wantonly or  deliberatly with impunity, then he deserves a medal and the perpetrators deserve to be prosecuted.The "awe shucks war is hell" platitude  is not a green light to commit atrocites against civilians! Perhaps he joined believing we're there to topple the, dangerous to us, and  oppressive to the afghan people, Taliban   only to experience deliberate crimes against civilians being committed.If that's the case then he's another innocent  decent  American who got polticized BY the US army.                                                             And soldiers need to be told that when  or if they have a crisis of conscience  even if already deployed in a war zone they still have recourse to a consicencious objection claim. Much like a reading of Miranda rights.Perhaps he did not know that though he could no longer in good consicence support what was happening he had an out that did not necessitate deserting.

Everyone is making interesting points, even when they're at odds with each other. In the main, I think that having Bowe Bergdahl in U.S. custody and debriefed is a good thing. But whether anything useful comes out of his story remains to be seen. Bergdahl's image as a nut job from a nut job family seems to be gathering traction. So does the "good men died to save his worthless hide" narrative. All this is going to allow his story to be discredited. (Swiftboating, anyone?)

I agree that the Obama administration staged the occasion for the PR value, and that doesn't seem too bright. Hell, I'm a Democrat and the first thing I thought about while watching the live special report announcement was that the GOP was likely to start screaming about negotiating with terrorists.

This might have been done more effectively had it been done with less fanfare, especially given Dad Bergdahl's weird beard, grown to show humility to the Muslims holding his son and speaking Pashtun. A lot of people are going to jump to conclusions on that alone.

Reports I've seen are trying to balance coverage (Bergdahl's town constabulary says the Bergdahl's are a great bunch), but not in any way that helps people figure out what's really going on here. Nobody seems to be digging very deep, and maybe it's not possible at this point. I think the public would be better served with less "information" in the form of hearsay and speculation at this point.

I would like to know what Qatar is going to do with those released from Guantanamo (besides detain them in the country at large for a year). 

Qatar is filthy rich from oil. Maybe they will give the each Taliban a mini-palace and security guards who will watch their every move. Qatar is in trouble with other Gulfies for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. It will be in their interest to keep these five Taliban under wraps.

What PR did the White House crank up, except to announce the exchange. What am I missing here. In fact, it looks like the Taliban is making hay of this:

From FP Situation Report: "The Taliban released a video of Bergdahl's release in eastern Afghanistan. The first images of the peaceful transfer of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, clad in traditional Afghan dress, looking confused and dazed by the daylight, appeared late yesterday. The Pentagon had no immediate plans to release any such images, but the Taliban had other ideas. The WSJ's Maria Abi-Habib in Kabul: "...In the video, an Afghan insurgent, his face hidden by a scarf, tells Sgt. Bergdahl menacingly in Pashto moments before the release: "Don't come back to Afghanistan. Next time we catch you, you won't leave here alive." Armed insurgents surrounding the pickup truck laugh as Sgt. Bergdahl bows his head, looking confused and scared. 'Long live the holy warriors of Afghanistan! Long live the great holy warrior and the leader of the believers, Mullah Mohammad Omar!' the insurgents chant, referring to the Taliban leader who has eluded U.S. capture since 2001."

Margaret, I think that the "let's celebrate a returning soldier and his reunion with his family" strategy backfired.

PR thinking sometimes makes me cringe because it's so calculated, and this is just off the cuff. But even a fairly callow administrative aide ought to have been able to figure out that Mr. Bergdahl's "humility beard" and the possibility of his speaking Pashtun (which translates to "talking Islamist" in the heads of a lot of lame brains), to rethink the announcment strategey, especially since there are still people who believe--or are fueling that belief--that Obama is some type of crypto-Muslim who wasn't born here.

I would have suggested that the president make an announcement from the Oval Office, alone, and anticipated and addressed the criticism he received from the GOP, e.g., "Some will say that we are negotiating with terrorists, but the fact is that these five individuals have been in our custody for over 10 years, and our experts believe that any ties they may have had to terrorist groups or activites is now so diluted as to render them impotent to harm our nation or its people. The government in Qatar will continue to keep a watchful eye on these former detainees, and will restrict their movements for the next year."

Further, the event should have been framed in terms of "this negotiation returns to U.S. custody a soldier who is in a unique position to provide intelligence that will help us better understand opposing forces at work in a divided area of the world." 

He could have ended with a "we wish the Bergdahl family the very best as they prepare to reunite with their son."

The emphasis would have been on the safety of releasing more Gitmo detainees (thus paving the way for more trades and closing that mess down), and the focus on U.S. interests at a time of transition in our relations with various elements in the Muslim world.

Reporters would doubtlessly have gone to the Bergdahls for a statement, but there would be no visuals of Mr. B. and his beard and Pashtun-speaking while standing next to the president.

There still would have been backlash, but I think something like the approach I outlined might have been more effective in meeting it.

Obama  showed  leadership by being outfront  about the prisoner exchange. By not  acting "soberly"[cowering; like this was hatched in the basement of the White House as a necessary but offensive thing to have done, so best to be as quiet as you can about it] but flaunting it in the rose garden of the White House, he's  claiming it as as an achievement.By doing this he pulls the rug out of those who are making hay about it.What will they do-impeach him?I don't think so.

What PR did the White House crank up, except to announce the exchange. 

Margaret - I've read that Susan Rice appeared on one of the Sunday morning political talk shows where she touted the exchange.  Apparently, this is where the "served with honor and distinction" claim was made.


Rose-Ellen, no, they won't impeach him, but, as I noted earlier, he could have been out front about the exchange in a different way that might have waved fewer red shirts at the opposition. Maybe. My sense is that the fact that Obama is president is red shirt enough for a whole lot of people, and no matter how he handles things, he's going to get criticized.

Jean Hughes @1:21...This is what comes from my not watching TV. I saw the father in a photo and thought he was a Mennonite. Guess not. The wife with bare shoulders and long hair should have been a clue. Missed the Pashtun talk. Oh well. You're right, bad PR roll out.

The only solution for the Obama media mess up is for you to consult with the PR gang at the WH and educate them on the law of unintended consequences.

BUT...Whatever Obama does, he is going to be run down by the Republicans. If he had done everything, they now say he should have done: 1. Don't negotiate with terrorists; he would have been called out for abandoing this wonderful soldier, true patriot, etc., etc. 2. 30 days notice to Congress; that would have been on Fox News in a nano-second; end of negotiations. 3. Five Taliban!!! Would four have been acceptable?  Etc. etc.

Carry on!

When I made the remark, "They don't say 'War is hell' for nothing", it was meant as an observation, not an excuse.  Of course if civilians were deliberately targeted, the perpetrators deserve to be prosecuted. 

Rose Ellen commented that a soldier could make a claim to conscientious objector status even after deployment.  I didn't know that.  I wonder if soldiers are told that as a matter of routine, like she said maybe similar to Miranda rights. I wonder what would happen if a soldier actually claimed that right. During the Vietnam era conscientious objector status was notoriously hard to obtain; just about impossible if you weren't a member of a group such as the Quakers or Mennonites.

The only solution for the Obama media mess up is for you to consult with the PR gang at the WH and educate them on the law of unintended consequences.

Ha! Actually, Margaret, two sweet girls (Heidi and Dylan?) did call me up from the White House. The first time they called, I thought they wanted money and hung up because if you give Democrats money, even $10, they're like stray cats yowling at your door every night at supper time.

ANYway, they called right back and asked if I was the Jean Raber who'd recently written to the president about the ACA. They wanted to know if they could use an excerpt from the letter as a testimonial about the Affordable Care Act. I said yeeeessss, but proceeded to tell them exactly HOW they should use it and, while I was on the phone, they should write down the ways I felt the act needed amendment, all of which was in the letter I had written, and was Very Important Information.

I think they might have been all of 22 years old. I also suspect they did not have a firm grasp on the ins and outs of the ACA. I could tell their bright little eyes were glazing over as I outlined my agenda. Then finally one said she had to go call more people, but she was REALLY glad I had health insurance now, and to have a REALLY good day. So I just told them to carry on and hung up.

I felt like that Cassandra person no one ever listens to.

Jean, bully for you!  I know I'm getting old because it's stuck in my head that Dylan is a boy's name. 

Margaret, you might be right that there is no way to spin this one to the President's advantage.  But I would agree with Jean's Oval Office talking points, and would add one or two of my own:

  • "Questions have been raised as to how Sergeant Bergdahl became separated from his unit and was captured by the Taliban; and further questions have been raised about his treatment and actions while he was held captive.  I've ordered the Army to make a thorough investigation and forward their findings and recommendations to me.  But whatever the outcome of that investigation, it's important to me that we bring Sergeant Bergdahl back to the United States rather than leave him in the hands of the Taliban."
  • "In the aftermath of Sergeant Bergdahl's capture, American units were deployed to search for him, and tragically, several of those soldiers lost their lives in those operations.  The parents of those soldiers are with me here.  We honor their sons' sacrifice on the battlefield, and we pledge our continued support and prayers for the families of all American soldiers who are killed or wounded in war."

I'm sure you're right that Republicans would still try to make political hay, but my view is that, had the President positioned the situation this way, he and his administration would be less vulnerable to criticism now.  (It seems possible to me that the White House may have considered some form of the talking points I'm suggesting, and decided that this would complicate the storyline.)

Jim, yes, I agree that mentioning the soldiers who tried to find Bergdahl should have been mentioned. 

Geez, maybe you and I should start our own PR firm. 

Go for it!  J & J PR, Inc.: "Let us tell you what to say, how to say it, and who you should say it with. We know!"

I have the uncomfortable suspicion that some of those who objected to this trade would not be having a problem at all if Bowe Bergdahl was coming home in a coffin, even if we had to trade 5 terrorists, POW's, whatever, to bring his remains back. "Dolce et decorum est pro patria mori" and all that sort of thing. It's the living that always make things complicated.

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