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Obama’s Bergdahl Defeat.

Wow. Charles Krauthammer sums up the Bergdahl prisoner swap perfectly. He’s right, complaints about negotiating with terrorists are non-starters and off the mark from the get go, while accusations that the president broke law are ridiculous assuming you’ve ever read Article II — he’s the president, commander-in-chief, and gets a wide latitude of control regarding all things military, particularly when at war. But that’s where the defense ends and the fiasco begins. This was a giant crap sandwich, but the clowns in the White House —  complete with that parroting Pamela Doll known as Susan Rice, reenacting her Benghazi embarrassment — tried to turn it into the second coming of bringing home John McCain or Scott O’Grady.

One more thing before we get to Krauthammer. Have you seen the pro-Taliban tweet by Robert Bergdahl? He tweeted [since deleted], “I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen.” Not only is it insulting of those who died trying to find his son, but it stinks of moral equivalency. Mr. Bergdahl must not have heard that common Afghans are lamenting the return of former Taliban warlords (“Release of Taliban Detainees Alarms Afghan Villagers“). Even Human Rights Watch, hardly a right-wing or pro-Gitmo group, are troubled by what they call the release of Taliban war criminals. So does Mr. Bergdahl’s tweet go for avenging the death of Afghan children at the hands of these five released detainees? Can anyone in our useless lapdog media ask that question? They should, considering that almost one in every three (29%) released detainees has returned to terrorism and violence. It’s what they know.

Here’s Krauthammer:

The five released detainees are unrepentant, militant and dangerous. They’re likely to go back into the field and resume their war against local and foreign infidels, especially us.

The administration pretense that we and the Qataris will monitor them is a joke. They can start planning against us tonight. And if they decide to leave Qatar tomorrow, who’s going to stop them?

The administration might have tried honesty here and said: Yes, we gave away five important combatants. But that’s what you do to redeem hostages. In such exchanges, the West always gives more than it gets for the simple reason that we value individual human life more than do the barbarians with whom we deal.

No shame here, merely a lamentable reality. So why does the Bergdahl deal rankle? Because of how he became captive in the first place. That’s the real issue. He appears to have deserted, perhaps even defected.

The distinction is important. If he’s a defector — joined the enemy to fight against his country — then he deserves no freeing. Indeed, he deserves killing, the way we kill other enemies in the field, the way we killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American who had openly joined al-Qaeda. A U.S. passport does not entitle a traitor to any special protection. (Caveat: If a POW is turned, Stockholm-syndrome-like, after falling captive, these condemnatory considerations don’t apply.)

Assume, however — and we will find out soon enough — that Bergdahl was not a defector. Simply wanted out — a deserter who walked or wandered away from his duty and his comrades for reasons as yet unknown. Do you bargain for a deserter?

Two imperatives should guide the answer. Bergdahl remains a member of the U.S. military and therefore is (a) subject to military justice and (b) subject to the soldiers’ creed that we don’t leave anyone behind.

What to do? Free him, then try him. Make the swap and then, if the evidence is as strong as it now seems, court-martial him for desertion.

The swap itself remains, nonetheless, a very close call. I would fully respect a president who rejected the deal as simply too unbalanced. What is impossible to respect is a president who makes this heart-wrenching deal and then does a victory lap in the Rose Garden and has his senior officials declare it a cause for celebration. The ever dutiful, ever clueless Susan Rice hailed it as “an extraordinary day for America.”

Good God. This is no victory. This is a defeat, a concession to a miserable reality, a dirty deal, perhaps necessary as a matter of principle but to be carried out with regret, resignation, even revulsion.

The Rose Garden stunt wasn’t a messaging failure. It’s a category error. The president seems oblivious to the gravity, indeed the very nature, of what he has just done. Which is why a stunned and troubled people are asking themselves what kind of man they have twice chosen to lead them.