The prisoner/hostage exchange between the US Government and the Haqqani Network,
a known terrorist group that operators in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is a complete failure
in leadership by this president, the Secretary of Defense, the member of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff who were on board with this decision, and by any other senior US military
leaders who did not resign in protest over this decision and action.
Here are two quotes, one by President Obama and one by Rear Admiral John Kirby,
Pentagon Press Secretary:
“He is an American soldier,” Rear Adm. John Kirby said. “It doesn’t matter how he was
taken captive. It doesn’t matter under what circumstances he left. … We have an
obligation to recover all of those who are missing in action.”
"Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we
still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity,” Obama said. “We don’t
President Obama and Admiral Kirby, you are correct we should get back every soldier,
airman, sailor, and marine-those who are captured so that we may rescue them and
those who desert so that we may hold them accountable.
What we should not do, ever, is negotiate with a terrorist group. President Obama,
Secretary Hagel, and everyone else who made the decision to implement this swap has
now put a price on the head of every American service member, whether they are
captured or simply desert.
The fact that this man is a deserter makes the negotiations and swap of prisoners for a
hostage that much more onerous. The leadership of President Obama and his advisors has
resulted in a world that is more dangerous for those who serve in the military and likely
for all US citizens who travel abroad.
In the past our government has worked behind the scenes to secure the release of
American hostages held by terrorists. The impact of those decisions is questionable and
likely lead to additional hostage taking. Unwise past actions do not justify current
actions. At least in the past our political and military leaders were wise enough not to
negotiate so openly with terrorists.
Senior Pentagon officials, military and civilian, should have tendered their resignations
before fulfilling the orders to implement this swap. I don’t call for this lightly, but the
potential ramifications for such a brazen and open negotiation with terrorists for a
hostage are that frightening.
This begs the question of why President Obama decided that this swap was worth the
potential costs. What did he hope to gain out of it at this point? The swap could have
taken place at any time during the past couple of years, yet it wasn’t done until now.
What is the political reasoning behind a swap of five dangerous members of the Taliban
for a soldier who is considered a deserter by his fellow soldiers? Why do the swap and
why do it now?
The majority of military members will not see this as a sign that the President of the
United States is concerned for them enough to make a trade should they be taken
prisoner by a terrorist. Rather many will see that the President of the United States and
senior military leadership are willing to put them at the risk of greater harm for the sake
of a deserter and a yet to be revealed political agenda. President Obama suffers either
from a lack of understanding of how the world works or he has little regard for the safety
and security of our service members. Neither is a good option.