An administration briefing tonight aimed at reassuring Senate hawks about the decision to trade prisoners of war with the Taliban to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl appears to have accomplished little, as opponents of the deal continue to condemn the exchange as unacceptable.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D – WV) insisted he didn’t believe reports of Bergdahl’s failing health, claiming “that one video you can tell he had been drugged,” and that he was not in a dire situation.
Sen. James Inhofe (R – OK), one of the leading opponents of Bergdahl’s release, insisted the administration was putting “too much emphasis on Bergdahl,” adding “if Bergdahl had been a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, it would have minimized the atrocity that was committed by President Obama.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) accused Obama of securing Bergdahl for political value, and he and several other Republican Senators are promising new legislation that would aim to block future trades for POWs.
Meanwhile, Republican hawks are eagerly moving forward with their own efforts to turn Bergdahl’s release to political advantage, setting up interviews with former platoon mates of Bergdahl’s who accused him of being a “deserter,” an effort to portray the POW as not worth recovering after five years.
Local politics are also active in Hailey, Idaho, Bergdahl’s hometown. The town has held a “Bring Bowe Back” rally every year on June 28, and news of his release had them gearing up to turn this year’s version into a homecoming. Today, officials in Hailey say they will cancel his homecoming celebration entirely “for public safety” reasons, with suggestions that the cancellation is related to growing opposition to Bergdahl’s release having been secured at all.