I do not understand the criticism of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange. Republicans leaders express concern that five Taliban leaders were released. These persons may cause harm to Americans. Pres. Obama mentioned that Sgt Bergdahl’s health was beginning to worsen. Today, Sen. Saxty Chambliss, R-Ga., suggested there was nothing wrong with his health. See CBS news report

Ok, but what about the possibility that his captors might cut off his head? I would consider that a threat to his health. . . .  Seriously, the U.S. Army has made prisoner exchanges since the Revolutionary War. I am sure back in 1778 or so, we exchanged some prisoners which freed some British soldiers who would cause us future harm. Prisoner exchanges have fallen out of favor in the 20th century. In the 19th century, an exchanged prisoner was supposed to swear an oath he would not participate in further hostilities. But, more often than not, the freed prisoner went back to fighting. Too, prisoner care has much improved since the American Civil War. The Civil War was probably the last time we engaged in regular prisoner exchanges. If the prisoners are reasonably well cared for, we lose some incentive for exchanges. 

But, in a war with the Taliban, circumstances are more primitive. I think it would be far worse to leave Afghanistan without Sgt Bergdahl. Regardless f the circumstances of his capture, we cannot leave a soldier behind. The fuss over the prisoner releases after the Viet Nam War should have taught us a lesson. For decades after the war, many veterans were certain the VietNamese had not released all the U.S. prisoners. We cannot go through that agony as a country again. I am sure most veterans would agree: we would rather assume the risk of five additional Taliban leaders than enduring the continued imprisonment of one of our own. 

I do not know how or why Sgt. Bergdahl was captured. But, I am thrilled he is back. I am sure that these critics are not veterans and have not served in a war zone.