Poll: Obama's Handling of Bergdahl Trade Was 'Wrong'

Image: Poll: Obama's Handling of Bergdahl Trade Was 'Wrong' Jani and Bob Bergdahl look on as President Barack Obama makes a statement regarding the release of their son, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, on May 31 in the Rose Garden at the White House.

Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014 08:04 AM

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President Barack Obama has been criticized by Americans for arranging the trade of five Taliban prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a new poll shows.

The USA Today/Pew Research Center survey says that 43 percent of Americans think Obama was "wrong" to have made the deal, while 34 percent thought it was the "right" thing to do.

The study of 1,004 adults, including 128 veterans, was conducted by Princeton Survey Research from June 5 to June 8 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points overall and 10 points for veterans.

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When it comes to veterans, 68 percent said Obama was "wrong" to make the swap, while 16 percent said that it was the right decision.

The research also showed that only 6 percent of veterans felt sympathy for Bergdahl while 33 percent said they were angry with the former POW, who has been accused by his own platoon of walking off the base or deserting before he was seized by the Taliban five years ago.

Overall, 15 percent felt sympathy for Bergdahl, while 15 percent were angry at him.

"If he was a captured prisoner of war, we wouldn't be having this discussion," Joe Davis, the director of public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, told USA Today. "He put his teammates in jeopardy, and you absolutely don't do that in a combat zone."

"We have a long history in this country of not negotiating with terrorists. And we just did."

However, the poll showed that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, thought that the United States had a responsibility to bring Bergdahl home, no matter what reason he went missing, while 29 percent said he wasn’t entitled to that same guarantee as other soldiers.

An overwhelming number of Americans, 64 percent to 30 percent, believe that Obama should be required to inform Congress before trading prisoners for captive soldiers.

Congress passed a law last year that says the defense secretary must give Congress 30 days notice before transferring detainees from the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

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