Tiffany Miller: Obama can’t justify prisoner exchange
When a presidential-elect places their hand on the Bible and recites the prescribed oath, he becomes more than an American president, he becomes our military’s Commander in Chief. As American citizens, we expect that commander to make the tough decisions, the decisions that no one else wants to make because there are no easy answers to the problem. An effective president has to see past things, like political pressure and temporary boosts in approval ratings, and choose what is ultimately best for our country, not what is immediately expedient. With that standard in mind, the setting free of five of the most dangerous terrorists in the world is perhaps one of the most upsetting and short-sighted presidential decisions in recent history.
Showing little regard for the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars or the family members who lost loved ones in 9/11, President Obama released these men with a self-congratulatory pat on the back and used Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s family as political props to do it. Meanwhile, Obama has responded to the overwhelming criticism and outrage from both Republicans and Democrats with his usual aplomb.
It’s as if in Obama’s mind the rest of America is simply overreacting while he is the only one seeing the big picture. Our president was only protecting an American citizen in captivity, we’re told. These men will be going through an intensive rehabilitation program to help them become peaceful members of society, they keep telling us. And these horrible terrorists aren’t really so bad because they’re ready to serve out the rest of their sentences in the free house and free car their government is giving them, right? After all, isn’t one American’s life worth any price?
In answer to that question, NO, one American’s life isn’t worth any price, although I’m sure that Sgt. Bergdahl’s family would vehemently disagree with me. Wouldn’t any family trade five terrorists for their captive, presumably tortured child? We can look to the millions of Americans who have served in the U.S Armed Forces from the Revolutionary War to present day for that answer. Every day there are men and women willing to put their singular life on the line for the lives of perfect strangers and the good of the United States as a whole. Every day their families kiss them goodbye and pray that their spouse or child won’t be that one.
Isn’t that why we have a Commander in Chief in the first place? Don’t we need our president to make decisions that are sometimes best for the country as a whole, but not best for the one?
In my decidedly cynical viewpoint on President Obama’s administration, the needs of anyone except Barack Obama have little to do with his latest political fiasco. He made a campaign promise to close Gitmo and he’s going to keep that promise at all costs. By his way of thinking, the Afghan and Iraq wars are winding down, the troops are coming home, and it’s time to release our prisoners of war. There’s one gaping problem with that argument, however. The Taliban’s aim is to annihilate anyone who doesn’t religiously and politically conform to their beliefs and they have no scruples in accomplishing that cause. They willingly indoctrinate children, strap bombs to their chests, and choose dictators over democracy. The Taliban aren’t prisoners of war, they’re nothing more than another breed of Nazis, and in their minds there is no end to this war.
I wonder how many soldiers and CIA operatives died in pursuit of these Taliban leaders. I wonder how the people who watched the Twin Towers fall with their loved ones trapped inside feel. I wonder how President Obama could spout off that he “absolutely makes no apologies” about releasing mass murderers and actually mean it. And above all, I wonder how anyone could look into a camera and use the words “terrorist” and “rehabilitation” with a straight face.
But the deed is done and an American soldier, who reportedly deserted his unit and walked across a literal desert to do it, is about to come home. Standing in front of the White House rose garden with Sgt. Bergdahl’s parents on either side of him, President Obama took advantage of Bergdahl’s future homecoming with the perfect photo op and stereotypical political spin. But the next time terrorists strike, and it will surely be with these five Taliban extremists leading the way, Obama won’t have enough photo ops and political spin in the world to justify what he’s done.
Tiffany Miller is a Tahoe resident and mother. Visit her website at http://mycrayonbox.org.
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