Most Americans will agree that rescuing a prisoner of war is the right and patriotic thing to do; however, when this prisoner of war apparently converted to Islam and declared jihad while in captivity, the action turns from one of heroics to one of controversy and doubt.
Regardless of the reason behind Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s conversion and change (whether he did so to ease his captivity or out of free will), his actions while in captivity along with the release of five of the most dangerous Gitmo detainees drastically increase the security threat toward America.
This controversy is further muddled by the fact that Obama bypassed the law by not giving Congress a thirty-day notice before releasing the inmates from Guantanamo Bay.
Having just finished my second book, Our Presidents Rock!, it is interesting to contemplate how previous presidents would have acted if they were in President Obama’s shoes today. Would George Washington have negotiated the release of Sgt. Bergdahl? Would Franklin Roosevelt have released five of the most dangerous Taliban members in Gitmo? Would the military experience of Andrew Jackson and Dwight Eisenhower have influenced them toward compassion or chastisement for Sgt. Bergdahl?
First, George Washington — the general — would never have allowed Sgt. Bergdahl to walk off his base unarmed in the first place. Known for his military leadership and tight control and regulation of his army, Washington would have ensured that his men stuck to their positions and refrained from wandering into enemy range. Furthermore, Washington never tolerated any form of desertion, going so far as shooting men who attempted to desert during battle. Needless to say, Bergdahl would never have been a POW were George Washington still the chief commander of the U.S. Army today.
George Washington — the president — would have acted in the same manner as George Washington, the general: carefully contemplating, to the full extent, Sgt. Bergdahl’s actions on the day of his capture and his overall conduct while serving in the war before negotiating his release. Had Washington read the emails Sgt. Bergdahl sent to his father about being “ashamed” to be an America followed by his subsequent declaration of jihad, Bergdahl would have received great chastisement (to say the least).
Andrew Jackson would share Sgt. Bergdahl’s pain, in that he served as prisoner of war during the Revolutionary War. And that’s exactly where Jackson’s sympathy would end. Although both men experienced the same terrors of war, their responses to the situation differed greatly. Jackson, only a boy at the time of his imprisonment, refused to be intimidated or swayed by his British captors and instead displayed courage (or recklessness) far surpassing his young age. When a British soldier asked Jackson to shine his shoes, Jackson refused, receiving a large cut across his face from the soldier’s sword. Thus, upon hearing of Sgt. Bergdahl’s acquiescence to the request of his Taliban captors, Jackson would have shown no mercy.