Trading with Terrorists 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 11:09 PM - Politics
Posted by Seven

For the last 5 years, Bowe Bergdahl has been the single U.S. prisoner of war held by the Taliban after he was captured in 2009. Various media reports, based on accounts of soldiers who served with Berghdahl and e-mails he sent home to his parents and friends, show a young soldier who became disillusioned with the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. The reports say Bergdahl sent his laptop and clothes home halfway through his 12-month deployment and left behind a note saying he wanted to start over. He left behind his rifle and body armor and took only a compass, knife, water, camera and a diary, according to soldiers in his platoon.

Whether or not he left to join the Taliban, or to simply find a civilian port to travel back home, the fact remains that the circumstances surrounding his disappearance do arouse some suspicion. But we're not going to talk about why and how he was captured. What bothers me is the sudden shift in U.S. foreign policy.

For decades the U.S. mantra has been "We do not negotiate with terrorists". We never give them what they want, even if it costs lives, and they know this. They have no bargaining power and the goal is to force them to fight, or to go home. On a modern battlefield where the enemy is nebulous at best, if you can't force battles to take place, they never will and missions overseas will drag on for years, costing countless lives in prolonged guerilla fighting and billions of dollars. So why the sudden shift in tactics?

Perhaps it may have been an easy way to start clearing out guantanamo. Since it's inception, the secretive and heavily guarded prison complex in Cuba has held captured enemy combatants, terrorists, rebel leaders, and innocent people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whiling away the years, some of them beginning their 13th year in captivity, it's impossible to believe that these people don't hate America by now, whether they did upon their capture or not. These individuals are considered to be so dangerous that no country in the world would take them if we were to release them, which is why they're still there, some of them long after they were scheduled to be released. Not even Iran wants them.

But here was a fresh opportunity. This trade took five Taliban commanders off our hands, sent to Qatar to be held for a full year before they are free to leave AND we got an english-speaking american captive in return who's been in close-quarters with the Taliban for five years now. Imagine the intelligence we can get from that guy... Imagine what he's overheard and seen. Imagine also, the amount of money we had to pay Qatar to take these individuals that are being hailed as the returning heros of one of the most brutal and oppressive muslim regimes in modern history.

The consequences of this can't be forseen yet, but we'll probably begin to see quite a few more kidnappings in the future since they were sucessful here. You simply can't give violent people what they want, ever, or they get even bolder, more violent, and their demands become greater. All of eastern Europe learned this when they tried to pay off both the Huns and the Mongol horde. They learned it again when they tried to placate Hitler and didn't respond to his conquest of Austria. We learned that with the Somali pirates when they were paid millions to return ships they had captured. They became a real problem once they saw that you could actually be sucessful as a pirate and many more ships were taken for ransom. And now, we've just proven to the Taliban that you can be sucessful as a terrorist and get what you want. This is a very bad precedent...

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