The Obama Administration doesn’t fare well among the general public on the question of whether the U.S. made the right call in exchanging five Taliban detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s freedom. But among veterans, Obama fares even worse.
A USA Today/Pew poll released today reveals the vast majority of American military veterans aren’t pleased with the Obama Administration for trading five known terrorists for a possible deserter. By a 68-16 percent margin, veterans polled said Obama “made the wrong decision,” according to USA Today.
Asked whether they found Bergdahl a sympathetic figure, veterans were similarly displeased: “Only 6% of veterans who responded say they sympathized with him, while 33% say they were angry,” the summary indicates.
Among the general population, “43% of Americans say it was wrong for Obama to make the deal, compared with 34% who say it was the right thing to do.”
The head of the Veterans of Foreign Wars public affairs office, Joe Davis, told USA Today he believes veterans are angered by what they perceive as the Obama Administration’s subversion of longstanding diplomatic values that reflect American ideals even as they serve soldiers’ welfare.
“If he [Bergdahl] was a captured prisoner of war, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. He put his teammates in jeopardy, and you absolutely don’t do that in a combat zone,” said Davis. The U.S. government has “a long history in this country of not negotiating with terrorists. And we just did.”
The general public also believes, by a 2-1 margin, that the White House should be legally obligated to notify Congress before moving on any prisoner transfer with diplomatic or military implications. Just last year, Obama signed the law obligating him, as President, to do that very thing with regard to Guantanamo Bay prisoners – although he protested the law’s potential to limit his flexibility to “act swiftly” in negotiating such deals.