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Author Topic: Obama admin. negotiates with terrorists
Seneca
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quote:
How could he help in his rescue? How could our troops know his status if he was being held incommunicado?
The difference would be whether he would willingly come along when we came to rescue him or whether he'd participate in a trap for our forces or even resist us when we came to get him.

quote:
That's not fact, just more speculation. Note the first sentence of the second paragraph in your cited article
Standard CYA language to prevent certain kinds of defense in the inevitable court martial. The balance of evidence suggests otherwise.

quote:
Nice how you give a fellow soldier the benefit of the doubt, especially in wartime conditions.
I might have given him the benefit of the doubt if there were any question as to how he left. But arguing about AWOL vs desertion is like arguing between manslaughter and murder. It's clear he intentionally abandoned his post. That is the worst thing you can do in a warzone, the ultimate betrayal of your brothers and sisters who are counting on you.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
The difference would be whether he would willingly come along when we came to rescue him or whether he'd participate in a trap for our forces or even resist us when we came to get him.
Which they would only know after they rescued him, which they didn't do. It seems that the argument is being made that they *shouldn't* have tried to rescue him *because* he was a deserter. That's something they could not have known, despite the circumstantial information they may have had.
quote:
I might have given him the benefit of the doubt if there were any question as to how he left. But arguing about AWOL vs desertion is like arguing between manslaughter and murder. It's clear he intentionally abandoned his post. That is the worst thing you can do in a warzone, the ultimate betrayal of your brothers and sisters who are counting on you.
And therefore he didn't deserve to be rescued, right?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
But arguing about AWOL vs desertion is like arguing between manslaughter and murder.
I think there's actually a pretty meaningful distinction between manslaughter and murder.
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Seneca
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quote:
Which they would only know after they rescued him, which they didn't do. It seems that the argument is being made that they *shouldn't* have tried to rescue him *because* he was a deserter. That's something they could not have known, despite the circumstantial information they may have had.
If someone deserts and you have witnesses saying they saw him sneaking off, then you don't try to "rescue" him because it most likely would be a trap or he wouldn't come willingly and may alert the enemy when you show up.

quote:
And therefore he didn't deserve to be rescued, right?
It isn't so much deserve as much as it isn't worth the elevated risk of soldiers dying in an attempted rescue in those circumstances.
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AI Wessex
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No one saw him leave.
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Seneca
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Yes they did.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/03/world/asia/where-bergdahl-disappeared.html?_r=0

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AI Wessex
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Where does that say he was seen leaving the base? Please be specific. I'd hate for you to be wrong again.
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Seneca
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Considering I wasn't wrong before I'm not sure what you mean.

An Afghan boy saw a man matching his description sneaking through the brush at the same time he disappeared.

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AI Wessex
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Oh, you mean he was seen after he left the base not *leaving* the base. Did the boy report it? Where does it say that, or do you just know what you citation doesn't actually say.

Btw, you could just admit that you were wrong on this one. It would be a minor goof and others here would respect you for admitting your very first mistake.

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Seneca
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quote:
It would be a minor goof and others here would respect you for admitting your very first mistake.
Wouldn't be my first , but I'm not wrong here on this point.


quote:
Buetow said when the platoon realized that Bergdahl was missing, they immediately went to neighboring towns looking for him and finding him was their top priority. He said two Afghan children first told them they saw Bergdahl crawling through the weeds with no weapons, which the children thought was unusual.

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Greg Davidson
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Interesting point from Matt Welch
quote:
When it comes to terrorism, apples-to-apples rates of recidivism may not be possible—all it takes is one murderous nutbag to kill scores of people, the “worst of the worst” are probably going to be worse than the first ones released, and it’s important to be clear-eyed about the risk here. But one risk that rarely gets mentioned by War on Terror hawks is the (to my mind) equal certainty that other people around the world will be inspired by the existence of America’s Kafkaesque prison to commit murder against Americans. Put another way, we will be able to “see” acts of terrorism committed by those who are sprung from Gitmo, but the “unseen” acts of terror that are partly motivated by the U.S. conducting itself as a superpower above the law are no less real

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Buetow said when the platoon realized that Bergdahl was missing, they immediately went to neighboring towns looking for him and finding him was their top priority. He said two Afghan children first told them they saw Bergdahl crawling through the weeds with no weapons, which the children thought was unusual.
Like I said, they *didn't* see him leave. They went looking for him. See the difference?
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Seneca
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And they found witnesses who saw him, on his own, trying to covertly get away from the base. Coincidence? I think not.
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Wayward Son
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All this talk about what Bergdahl did or did not do is a waste of time.

If he did something wrong, the military will try him and punish him. We have neither all the facts or a say in any of that.

But regardless of his guilt or innocence, he needed to come home.

We don't let our enemies punish our troops.

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Seneca
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quote:
But regardless of his guilt or innocence, he needed to come home.
That isn't universally true. If he willfully deserted, which it's pretty clear he did, then it was dangerous to get him back either by rescue or trading terrorists for him.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
it was dangerous to get him back
Why?
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Seneca
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Nothing like chopping sentences up and taking them out of context...
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Wayward Son
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quote:
If he willfully deserted, which it's pretty clear he did, then it was dangerous to get him back either by rescue or trading terrorists for him.
So are you suggesting that the military should have first determined whether Bergdahl deserted before deciding whether to try to find him? That, once they determined he had deserted (with Bergdahl unable to testify on his own behalf), they should have left him to the Taliban to do whatever they wanted to him?

IOW, you want a military board to decide which American POWs are worth saving and which are not? Or are you satisified with a verdict by the court of public opinion?

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AI Wessex
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quote:
And they found witnesses who saw him, on his own, trying to covertly get away from the base. Coincidence? I think not.
However, you made a very specific claim that he was seen leaving the base. Would you like to amend that claim without admitting that you were wrong, only misinterpreting what you read?
quote:
If he willfully deserted, which it's pretty clear he did, then it was dangerous to get him back either by rescue or trading terrorists for him.
Why?
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
So are you suggesting that the military should have first determined whether Bergdahl deserted before deciding whether to try to find him?

Pretty sure they already know the answer, and that they tried to get him back anyway. But out of curiousity would you hold the military accountable if they decided to send out search parties searching for a known deserter if those search parties were ambushed in what was clearly a trap designed to take advantage of them? Would we not criticize that result as having been "obviously" a bad decision?
quote:
That, once they determined he had deserted (with Bergdahl unable to testify on his own behalf), they should have left him to the Taliban to do whatever they wanted to him?
No, they shouldn't. Should they have been willing to trade a thousand prisoners for him? Be willing to impose Sharia over the whole US? This is a debate about the appropriateness of a deal, not about an absolute of whether we should try to bring someone home.

Noone yet, has justified why he was worth trading five men. It's certainly not for combat value, as he's unlikely to ever be trusted in uniform again. It's unlikely he'd have been released if he had any usefull intel.

Is it really just that you think any American, even one that is possibly a traitor and all most certainly a deserter, is worth five people of another nationality?
quote:
IOW, you want a military board to decide which American POWs are worth saving and which are not? Or are you satisified with a verdict by the court of public opinion?
I think its like 60% of the public that think this was a bad deal, are you satisfied with public opinion?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Noone yet, has justified why he was worth trading five men.
What number would you have preferred?
Bear in mind that we're going to have to let those men go eventually.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
I think its like 60% of the public that think this was a bad deal, are you satisfied with public opinion?
You sure they have enough information to make tactical military decisions like this one? You sure they are using their best judgment?
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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Noone yet, has justified why he was worth trading five men.
What number would you have preferred?
Bear in mind that we're going to have to let those men go eventually.

Let them go after the war was over is the general idea. Obama's given away five rooks for a pawn.
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TomDavidson
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The war is over.
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Seneca
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The Afghan War is over? Stop the presses! Someone tell the Pentagon!
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TomDavidson
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I wish someone would tell the Pentagon.
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Seneca
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Someone might want to fix the wikipedia entry and also let Obama and Congress know too... they seem to be confused. I wish everyone was as aware and knowledgeable as the people here on this internet forum.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
But out of curiousity would you hold the military accountable if they decided to send out search parties searching for a known deserter if those search parties were ambushed in what was clearly a trap designed to take advantage of them? Would we not criticize that result as having been "obviously" a bad decision?
I would hold the military accountable for stepping into a trap, not for trying to get someone back.

quote:
This is a debate about the appropriateness of a deal, not about an absolute of whether we should try to bring someone home.
Agreed. But the conversation seems to be focused on whether Bergdahl deserted, not whether the trade was a good one.

quote:
Is it really just that you think any American, even one that is possibly a traitor and all most certainly a deserter, is worth five people of another nationality?
Noting that Bergdahl has not been proven to be a traitor (being a POW kinda indicates he wasn't on their side [Smile] ) and that his "desertion" status is up to military justice, I would still state that getting him back was worth giving up something. As I said before, it is for us to meet out justice, not for our enemies.

Now, I do agree that there is some question about whether the particular price that we paid for his release was worth it. But that all comes down to who we traded.

If it were five grunts who didn't know nothing from nobody, the obvious answer would be yes, it was worth it. But, of course, these five weren't just low-level grunts.

So what is important is just how damaging it was to release these five terrorists. How much more damage can they do? How inspiring will they be? And will making a public trade like this result in more kidnappings? And is that a bad thing, if it means there will be less direct murders as a result?

quote:
I think its like 60% of the public that think this was a bad deal, are you satisfied with public opinion?
If it were you, or your child, on the line, would you be satisfied with public opinion? Opinion formed by biased media presentations and political demagoguery? [Eek!]

Sorry, I don't trust the public that much. Too easily manipulated, and not familiar enough with the niceties of the situation. The military is far better equipped to deal with this situation.

And I especially dislike the idea that bringing back a POW should be subject to the whims of public opinion. Could you imagine anyone suggesting this regarding Vietnam POWs? [Eek!]

BTW, if public opinion reversed, and 60% decided next week it was a good deal, would you be satisfied? [Wink]

[ June 10, 2014, 03:34 PM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
they seem to be confused
Delusional, more like. [Frown]
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Seneca
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Obama can't be delusional! That's impossible!
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TomDavidson
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I think Obama, for his part, is just cynical. He's running out the clock.
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Seneca
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Congress can't be delusional, that includes Beloved Liberal Harry Reid and all of his press releases, bills funding and regulating and public acknowledgment that the Afghan War is still happening. Impossible!
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TomDavidson
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While I don't share your impression of Reid's importance, or love him as much as you do, I'm certainly willing to grant the possibility that he's delusional.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
Congress can't be delusional, that includes Beloved Liberal Harry Reid....
I'm surprised you aren't talking about Boehner, as he's got more power than Reid. Why is that?
quote:
While I don't share your impression of Reid's importance, or love him as much as you do, I'm certainly willing to grant the possibility that he's delusional.
We don't have to entertain whether anyone in government is delusional. They operate on far less information about the world than most people use to navigate their own lives, and I'd say that a lot of people who live "small lives" are in various states of denial and misapprehension, even somewhat delusional. There's no other way to explain some of the notions that people attach themselves to and refuse to let go of.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
But out of curiousity would you hold the military accountable if they decided to send out search parties searching for a known deserter if those search parties were ambushed in what was clearly a trap designed to take advantage of them? Would we not criticize that result as having been "obviously" a bad decision?
I would hold the military accountable for stepping into a trap, not for trying to get someone back.
You were arguing that they shouldn't make a determination of whether someone is a deserter before trying to get him back. I think that failing to do so would create the kinds of risks associated with walking into a trap that I reference.

It seems a little inconsistent to argue rescue without investigation, which would necessitate that you don't determine a key fact about whether he could be colluding with the enemy to create such ambushes.
quote:
quote:
This is a debate about the appropriateness of a deal, not about an absolute of whether we should try to bring someone home.
Agreed. But the conversation seems to be focused on whether Bergdahl deserted, not whether the trade was a good one.
If you look at the end of any string of argument you can make such a criticism. In this case the focus on the possibility of desertion was a response to the attempt to claim the moral high ground of forcing the other side to justify making rationale decisions against the supposed good of bringing home our soldiers at all costs. Many fewer people agree that a deserter or traitor deserves the same efforts as someone taken against their will.

The debate moved here because no one on your side will actually argue the merits of the equity of the trade itself. That just leaves you guys with the mudslinging responses and attempts at the moral highground to which that is a response. If you want to argue this trade was a good value, or a good policy, please, I'd be happy to argue that with you instead.
quote:
quote:
Is it really just that you think any American, even one that is possibly a traitor and all most certainly a deserter, is worth five people of another nationality?
Noting that Bergdahl has not been proven to be a traitor (being a POW kinda indicates he wasn't on their side [Smile] ) and that his "desertion" status is up to military justice, I would still state that getting him back was worth giving up something. As I said before, it is for us to meet out justice, not for our enemies.
I didn't say he was a traitor, the evidence available certain points to him being a deserter.

So seriously, if any of these five people kills again, was trading his life for their life of their victim a good trade?
quote:
If it were five grunts who didn't know nothing from nobody, the obvious answer would be yes, it was worth it.
Only if you believe that Americans are inherently worth more than people of other nationalities. And setting such a precedent ensures that kidnappers will view them as such as well.
quote:
How much more damage can they do? How inspiring will they be? And will making a public trade like this result in more kidnappings? And is that a bad thing, if it means there will be less direct murders as a result?
There's already been a propaganda effect. Reports that discredited Taliban fighters are being seen as a power that has to be dealt with, hope for what might have become a lost cause. Even if not a one of these five enters active operations the cost of that is potentially enormous.

And why would you think increases in kidnappings leads to less direct death? You do understand that kidnappings occur through violence, often with casualties on both sides, often in the death of the hostages. Even rescue attempts often have extreme casualties. Not to mention that if you are doing trades you are releasing people who are often being held because they killed people, how effective is it as an "anti-death" strategy once the plan becomes, kill people, if anyone is captured take a hostage and trade for their release.
quote:
quote:
I think its like 60% of the public that think this was a bad deal, are you satisfied with public opinion?
If it were you, or your child, on the line, would you be satisfied with public opinion?
Lol. Do you seriously think we should make policy on the basis of what would you do if it was your kid on the line? Might as well agree to commit murders on behalf of the Taliban, I know plenty of people that would do so to save their own kid.

Policy has to be at somewhat of a remove. We can't make bad trades because of threats.
quote:
Opinion formed by biased media presentations and political demagoguery? [Eek!]
Or opinion formed by basic human understanding that desertion is morally repugnant, voluntary and not something that entitles the deserter to the highest levels of efforts to be rescued from the consequences of their own actions.
quote:
BTW, if public opinion reversed, and 60% decided next week it was a good deal, would you be satisfied? [Wink]
It's a lousy deal no matter what. It's so obviously a lousy deal that a public that is overwhelming in support of "bringing our boys home," "no man left behind" and the idea that American POWs are special still recognises that its lousy on its face.

You've made more of my sarcastic response to you on the public opinion point than I meant by it. It's never been my argument that public opinion is relevant on this question and I don't feel a particular need to defend that argument.
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
What number would you have preferred?
Bear in mind that we're going to have to let those men go eventually.

I thought long and hard about this, and I'm of the view that this question is like the classic, when did you stop beating your wife question.

There is no number I would have preferred. Notwithstanding the history of the practice, I don't believe we should engage in "prisoner" exchanges of this sort, I can see it with spys or nationals that are being held for political reasons, but for combatants? Not so much.

If the conflict is over, they should be released unconditionally. If they are criminal's (including war criminals and terrorists) they shouldn't be released other than consistent with justice. What part of a "trade" is consistent with that?

But even more the idea of trade implies to me a concept of ownership or classification of prisoners as a commodity, that just seems fundementally wrong to me.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Lol. Do you seriously think we should make policy on the basis of what would you do if it was your kid on the line? Might as well agree to commit murders on behalf of the Taliban, I know plenty of people that would do so to save their own kid.
By which it's possible that "policy" promulgation should factor in whether 5,000 soldiers lives are a reasonable expense for those larger objectives. Come to think of it, that is exactly why soldiers' lives are expendable. Whatever happened to never leaving a comrade on the field of battle? Eh, for $20 it isn't worth it.
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Seneca
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A comrade doesn't desert.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
By which it's possible that "policy" promulgation should factor in whether 5,000 soldiers lives are a reasonable expense for those larger objectives. Come to think of it, that is exactly why soldiers' lives are expendable. Whatever happened to never leaving a comrade on the field of battle? Eh, for $20 it isn't worth it.

Nothing happened to it, it's a statement of philosophy that we still honor.

But last time I checked we still send soldiers into situations where they can get killed. If we held to your apparent version of the core philosphy we wouldn't do that, because the deaths of the soldiers aren't worth the objectives. Your lack of perspective really seems to me to argue that any concession is worth it, that no objective can justify death, where is the line for you?

[ June 11, 2014, 11:19 AM: Message edited by: Seriati ]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
A comrade doesn't desert.
You should stop as you drive to your conclusions to pick up a few facts along the way. That way when you get there you can show the evidence. So far you've passed bad information and conjecture as if they were facts and I doubt many are persuaded.
quote:
If we held to your apparent version of the philosphy core we wouldn't do that, because the death's of the soldiers isn't worth the objective.
No, I didn't say that. I was characterizing your argument as suggesting that the cost of rescuing Bergdahl was more than his value. My point of view is that sending soldiers is the last thing we should do after exhausting all other options, and even then weigh a bad outcome without sending them against a possibly better outcome with the costs that would involve.

Since Iraq is and always has been doomed as a democracy, was it worth the cost? Think of it as how many barrels of oil equals one 20 year old soldier's death. Is it twice as many barrels if he just loses a leg or an eye or suffers PTSD for the rest of his life?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Notwithstanding the history of the practice, I don't believe we should engage in "prisoner" exchanges of this sort...
That's a valid enough objection, I suppose. If you don't think prisoners of war should ever be exchanged during war, I can understand why this would bother you. As you note, however, the historical precedent is strongly against you on this one.
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