Swapping an Army sergeant of questionable integrity for five high-ranking Taliban terrorists has turned into an embarrassing gaffe for the Obama administration, says conservative columnist Patrick J. Buchanan.
"There really is a disconnect, frankly, with what is going on and what is being said,'' Buchanan told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"You have the president celebrating the return of our soldier on Saturday, [National Security Adviser] Susan Rice saying on Sunday that it was honorable service . . . and this fellow was captured on a battlefield and that he was a POW.
"Then you've got Monday the chairman of the Joint Chiefs saying the possibility of court-marshal and investigation is wide open. The truth is these folks went out front figuring they had a winning hand here and it blew up in their faces because they did not know the details or did not understand the meaning of them,'' Buchanan said Tuesday.
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Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that Bergdahl, released after five years as a Taliban captive, may be disciplined if the Army finds evidence of misconduct.
Members of Bergdahl's unit have said he was captured by terrorists after abandoning his post.
Buchanan — a former presidential candidate and author of "The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority,"
out in July from Crown Forum — said Rice's glowing words for Bergdahl were another blemish on her record.
"Susan Rice's credibility was severely damaged, if not destroyed, when she went on those five TV shows during the Benghazi episode in which she said it was a video that caused this and it was basically just a riot by a bunch of unhappy Muslims," Buchanan said.
"Then she goes out here and utterly contradicts what the story that the soldiers have and that the Army knows and goes on the air and says he was captured in a battlefield. No one has said that. Where does she get this material? Who feeds her this material? She's the national security adviser and she seems to be the least informed person about what is going on in Afghanistan or Iraq or Benghazi.''
Buchanan disagrees with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's contention that the swap will not put Americans around the world in danger from kidnap plots.
"To retrieve one soldier who at best went AWOL and very possibly deserted and may have been collaborated, in order to retrieve him you give back five commanders of the Taliban responsible for defense and for fighting and for intelligence, you have not made a good deal for the United States,'' he said.
"Why would others not seek to grab Americans and exchange them for their own people who are in American penitentiaries? There's no doubt about it, there's going to be an incentive on the other side to repeat what they think is a victory.''
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