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by
Bridget Johnson

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June 5, 2014 - 9:36 am

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told BBC that he was “satisfied” that the risk of handing the five Taliban commanders “was mitigated enough, that risk, for our country that it was in the interest.”

He also called it “irrelevant” whether the Taliban “think it’s a victory or not.”

“Let’s look at the bottom line. We have back in our position — possession our one prisoner of war that was still outstanding. We have him back. Now I don’t think that’s insignificant,” Hagel said. “…The fact is I think it’s important for our individual military members to know that we will continue to find them and get them wherever they are. I think that’s a bigger — a big assurance for our military men and women to know and be confident of that.”

Hagel spoke last night with the parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who is still in Germany.

“I wanted to first reassure them that we were doing everything we possibly could to help rehabilitate him, get his health back, where it needs to be, so that he can get reunited with his family and brought back into — into society, quite frankly,” he said.

“I know of the criticism. I’ve been the target of it, so I’m quite aware of it. We did the right thing here. I wanted to reassure them that the president feels very strongly about this. I feel very strongly about it. I’ve been to war. I know a little something about this. And this was the right decision for the right reason. We don’t leave our people behind. How circumstances, why the disappearance, the Army has already addressed that and we’ll get to that.”

The Defense secretary stressed that much of the information on the Bergdahl swap remains classified and will be revealed to appropriate congressional committees, but “it was our judgment based on the information that we had that his life, his health were in peril.”

“Imminently?” asked the BBC host.

“Well, when you say ‘imminently,’ it’s easy for us to sit here and look behind and say, well, 24 hours, 48 hours. It was our judgment, and it was unanimous, by the way, I might add. It was the secretary of defense, secretary of state, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, director of national intelligence, attorney general. It all came — we call came to the same conclusion that we didn’t want to take any chances here,” Hagel replied.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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If you mean by mitigated that we can go kill them next week, I might agree. But I don't for some reason....
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder if he realizes that we simply don't believe anything he says.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
This man speaks multiple languages. English isn't one of them.

His primary tongue is gibberish.

A man who asks for the Taliban, walks into their arms and then collaborates with them...does the military define him as a "prisoner of war"?

Because, if those are the facts...we did not "save" a "prisoner of war". We traded five terrorist masterminds for someone who was aiding and abetting them.

Five nasty enemies for a traitor. Harsh condemnation if those indeed are the facts. And if Kerry/Obama/Hagel/Rice/Clinton KNEW he was a traitor, a collaborator and someone who hated America...and traded 5 terrorist masterminds for him...the excuses, alibis and lies about it all....show THEM for exactly who they are.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Calibrating the exact value of Hagel's idiocy is a fun passtime. Before he took over as secdef I thought he was 100% idiot, but he surprised me and I downgraded that to only 50% idiot. But with these comments he earns back a few points, say 60% idiot and rising.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hagel, like most of the Obama regime appointees, is an idiot.

The huge majority of our military personnel, active and veterans, want Bergdahl tried for desertion. It's not lost on them, as it seems to be for Hagel, that he was a prisoner of the Taliban, by choice.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
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