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Op-Ed: Saving Sgt. Bergdahl: Allah in the Rose Garden

Was it treachery or stupidity?
Published: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 10:58 PM


Strangeness in America.

But Israelis are used to this scene – a weeping Jewish family quietly welcoming home a son from captivity. Meanwhile there is dancing in Gaza and Ramallah. A thousand swapped Palestinian Arab murderers are paraded with kisses so that one Jewish soldier can go free. Israel does not bargain with terrorists – until it does.

But we cannot judge a father’s heart and a mother’s tears.

Since 1948 there have been some 20 prisoner exchanges between Israel and its enemies.

Most recently, on October 18, 2011, Israel handed over 1,027 terrorists back to the hands of Hamas for Gilad Shalit. That is an incredibly lopsided percentage. Is this right? Is it wrong? Either way, Israel is forced to gamble and takes whatever it can from an insatiable foe.

But America is not accustomed to scenes of jubilation in Afghanistan or elsewhere, after a single American soldier is traded for five Taliban terrorists who were serving time at Gitmo. That’s the deal that got Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl his freedom and earned for us a time to grovel.

Swiftly, Afghan/Taliban warlord Mullah Omar gloated about the exchange: “A big victory for the entire Afghan Muslim nation.”

But just as swiftly, revulsion set in throughout the Unites States of America.

Who are these five terrorists who will soon be back into the fight? “They are the worst of the worst,” says Senator John McCain.

He goes on: “There will be a price to pay for this exchange.”

Senator Lindsey Graham calls the five a “Taliban dream team.” Indeed, a windfall for terror, though Obama maintains he did “the right thing.” The same president who had no time to worry about thousands of veterans dying for proper health care throughout the mismanaged VA system suddenly finds a heart for a single American.

Who is Bowe Bergdahl? He is an American soldier from Idaho held by the Taliban for five years… and he may not be a hero, after all.

His commander in the field, Michael Waltz, told Fox News’ Bret Baier: “He was not captured. He left his post. He left on his own. He has a lot of explaining to do.”

Bergdahl, now recovering in a German hospital, has already explained himself. He has posted the following: “The horror that is America is disgusting.”

Waltz says that at least six soldiers were killed in a futile search to rescue Bergdahl.


Of all the scandals, this is the one that may stick to Obama. His administration is reeling from the sudden move.
Members of his platoon call him a deserter. They are outraged that he is being hailed a hero.

At least that was the message delivered by Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, who told the Sunday talk shows that Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction.” Yes, the same Susan Rice who bungled Benghazi over the airwaves and still has no shame doing it again. Like her boss, she counts on the media to cover for her.

This time, for the first time, this is not happening.

The investigation will begin, but there are serious questions as to whether Bergdahl is a deserter, or worse, a collaborator.

Of all the scandals, this is the one that may stick to Obama. His administration is reeling from the sudden move.

Did he not foresee the howls of indignation from all corners of the land? Of course not, spoiled as he has been from unconditional love.

For six years and more the news media have served as his babysitter. The rest of us have stood by compliantly as he has scorched the Constitution.

This one, though, is tough to swallow. People feel taken. That includes the press.

They call it “the optics,” images that send a disturbing picture. Directly from Idaho, America’s heartland comes a man wearing a foreign get-up. This is Bob, Bowe Bergdahl’s father. He stands next to a beaming President Obama in the Rose Garden. Yes, the Rose Garden. Obama is ready for his close-up.

He makes his usual speech. Bob Bergdahl steps to the microphone. Obama smiles favorably and knowingly when Bergdahl praises Allah for his son’s rescue.

More than all the rest, that may be the moment to have awakened America from its slumber.

Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the bestselling novelist, the anti-BDS thriller Compulsive. Website: www.jackengelhard.com