Obama ‘Won’t Apologize’ for POW Trade, But Other Dems May

Congressional Dems Distance Themselves From Obama

President Obama today stood behind the trade which secured the release of prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, saying he will make “no apologizes” for the deal, despite a growing political row over the issue, as hawks try to villainize Bergdahl.

Obama insisted the Taliban didn’t want the details of the trade leaked out beforehand, and that was why he didn’t inform Congress. Indeed, for years Congressmen, if they touched on Bergdahl’s captivity at all, had faulted the administration for not doing enough to secure his release.

Since Bergdahl’s release, the campaign to portray him as some sort of closet jihadist who “defected” to the Taliban has grown to the point that Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R – GA) says if Obama had informed Congress he would have “raised holy Hell” to stop the deal from taking place.

Initially the opposition was couched as opposition to seeing Taliban prisoners of war freed in the trade, but as the media circus around Bergdahl, his father, and his father’s beard grow, recovering him at all seems to be a contentious issue, and a planned welcome home ceremony has been cancelled over fear that the protest against it would be too large for Bergdahl’s tiny hometown to handle.

Congressional Democrats, especially those facing election this fall, are running for political cover now, and that means running away from Bergdahl’s freedom, and issuing similar statements of “concern” about the trade, even if they were the same Congressmen and Senators who were cheering the deal just days prior.

Others, while offering similar qualms about Bergdahl’s specific case, mostly on the basis of half-heard media reports of things someone may have seen, urged President Obama not to let the anti-Bergdahl backlash get in the way of securing the release of other Americans caught overseas.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.