David Brooks says President Obama was right.
It doesn’t matter if Bergdahl had deserted his post or not. It doesn’t matter if he is a confused young man who said insulting and shameful things about his country and his Army. The debt we owe to fellow Americans is not based on individual merit. It is based on citizenship, and loyalty to the national community we all share.
Soldiers don’t risk their lives only for those Americans who deserve it; they do it for the nation as a whole.
It doesn’t matter either that the United States government ended up dealing with terrorists. In the first place, the Taliban is not a terrorist organization the way Al Qaeda is. America has always tried to reach a negotiated arrangement with the Taliban, and this agreement may be a piece of that. In the second place, this is the dirty world we live in. Sometimes national leaders are called upon to take the sins of the situation upon themselves for the good of the country, to deal with the hateful and compromise with the loathsome. That’s their form of sacrifice and service.
So President Obama made the right call.
Naturally he has to find fault somewhere, so he does it by complaining about the Rose Garden announcement with Bowe Bergdahl’s parents, but that’s his instinctive (and probably RWN-mandated) response. He can’t help it. But I give him credit for the rest of it.
If that’s not enough to make you spit-take your Starbucks, here’s Charles Krauthammer, who has never had a nice thing to say about President Obama ever, also on his side.
Speaking on “Special Report,” Krauthammer told Fox News host Bret Baier that Bergdahl should face an investigation over allegations that the soldier left his post in Afghanistan on the night he went missing. However, he insisted that the White House did the right thing by bringing him home first.
“Look, had the choice been mine, I would have made that same choice,” Krauthammer said. “It’s a difficult decision and I would not attack those who would have done otherwise.”
Krauthammer said that the United States, along with other Western countries, “always comes out on the short end” in hostage swaps. He included Israel in this, pointing to when the country gave up 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for one sergeant.
“The reason we put a value on the individual human life the way that the ones at the other end of the table don’t,” Krauthammer said. “That’s why we always end up with unequal swaps.”
If neither of them backtrack in the next twelve hours after getting tons of hate mail from real ‘Murkins, then I’d say we have something noteworthy going on here: sensible and reasonable response from the right to something Barack Obama did.