Jonah Goldberg: Bergdahl's free, but at what cost?
Thus establishing from the start that he considers the controversy to be a kind of partisan farce, he proceeded to rebut criticisms virtually no one has made. This is Obama’s favorite rhetorical trick; he builds and then tears apart a straw man while insisting that the American people are on his side.
Search through the statements of Obama’s critics — Republicans and Democrats — and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who disagrees that the U.S. should do what it can to retrieve its POWs. No one has ever said the U.S. shouldn’t try.
The Obama administration had been negotiating for years for Bergdahl’s release. Why negotiate at all if we don’t have conditions? Without conditions, the Taliban could ask for anything — all of the prisoners in Gitmo, a billion dollars, the LA Clippers — and our hands would be tied.
Deep in the White House bunker, they still thought this would be a “huge win” politically.
And they were so enthralled by their political strategy that they didn’t think to get their facts straight about Bergdahl’s record. Hence the hapless performance by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who went on ABC’s “This Week” to say that Bergdahl had served with “honor and distinction” and that he was captured on the battlefield.
Jonah Goldberg is an editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
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