EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 15, 2014

Your views: Letters to the editor

Obama’s prisoner deal ignores reality

To the editor:

There has been much ado concerning Barack Obama’s releasing five Taliban leaders in exchange for an Army sergeant. Much of the angst expressed has referred to reputed deficiencies in the released sergeant’s character or in his loyalty or suitability to serve in our armed forces. At this point the focus on a released U.S. prisoner is premature and, as is so often the case, operates as a smokescreen for the true nature of yet another misguided move made by Obama.

The key lies in the characterization of Taliban prisoners who have been granted their freedom. They have been universally described as “leaders,” having gained such distinction within radical Islam and, more specifically, within the Taliban hierarchy, through their having performed laudably and centrally in Taliban operations and successes. Our troop, being an NCO, might have “led” a squad or two of soldiers, at best. But the Taliban released by Obama had been instrumental in the large scale aims and operations of the organization whose workings have so aided radical Islam in its worldwide pursuit of dominance.

Not only was this undertaking unwise, it was equally ill-timed. In brief, here is how Obama and company orchestrated events. On May 25, there was a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. On May 27, there was an announcement from Barack Obama that roughly 70 percent of the troops in Afghanistan were to be withdrawn by year’s end. On May 31, we learned of the release of five major, imprisoned players in Taliban activities. The top Taliban leader declared their release a great “victory.” One wonders if he also sent a “thank you” note to the White House.

In short order the Pakistani Taliban in conjunction with Uzbek jihadists attacked the Peshawar and Jinnah airports in the Karachi area, with 60 to 70 terrorists and innocents reportedly killed. On June 10, an al-Qaida offshoot, acronym ISIS, easily overran Iraqi forces, taking control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

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