The president was asked about the Bergdahl controversy at a joint press conference in Brussels, and he made the Republicans look like unpatriotic fools with his answer.
President Obama said:
I’m never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington. That’s par for the course, but I’ll repeat what I said two days ago. We have a basic principle. We do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind. We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated and we were deeply concerned about it, and we saw an opportunity and we seized it, and I make no apologies for that.
We had discussed with Congress the possibility that something like this might occur, but because of nature of the folks that we were dealing with, and the fragile nature of these negotiations we thought it was important to go ahead and do what we did and we are now explaining to Congress the details of how we moved forward, but this basic principle that we don’t leave anyone behind, and this basic recognition that often means prisoner exchanges with enemies is not unique to my administration. It dates back to the beginning of our republic.
And with respect to how we announced it, I think it is important to understand that this is not some distraction. This is not some political football. You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in some distant land, and weren’t sure whether they’d ever see again. As Commander In Chief of the United States Armed Forces, I am responsible for those kids, and I get letters from parents that say if you are in fact sending my child off to war, make sure that child is being taken care of. And I write too many letters to folks who, unfortunately, don’t see their children again after fighting a war.
I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents, and that the American people understand that this is somebody’s child, and that we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back.
The president shouldn’t apologize, The circumstances to do not matter. Sgt. Bergdahl is still a US citizen who was wearing his country’s uniform. This means that we as a nation have a duty to bring him home.
If he did anything wrong, he should be punished here, not left to die in the hands of the enemy. These basic principles have been around for as long as the republic itself. None of this is new. What President Obama did is not unique in US history.
Republicans are trying to whip up a scandal, because they can’t win with their agenda, so the only option they have strategically is to drag their opponents through the mud. What is different about the Bergdahl situation is that they have chosen also to smear a soldier and his family.
None of the Republican behavior has been proper, appropriate, or in the least bit patriotic. By attacking Bergdahl and his family, Republicans are demonstrating that they can’t be trusted to support the troops that they sent into war.
President Obama was 100% correct. There is no apology necessary for bringing a prisoner of war home. Republicans should be apologizing to Sgt. Bergdahl’s family for their deplorable political attacks.
By standing tall, the president is destroying what was left of the myth that Republicans care about and support the troops and their families.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association