In the days since Barack Obama traded five dangerous terrorists for suspected Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl, the administration has faced significant criticism over the propriety of the deal it made with the Taliban. Not only has mounting evidence put Bergdahl’s allegiance to the U.S. in doubt–Obama has been attacked for violating a law mandating he notify Congress at least 30 days before releasing prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.
Obama himself signed that law into existence last year after the proposal sailed through Congress.
Results of a USA Today/Pew Research poll released this week indicate that outrage over the developing scandal is widespread.
By a 43-34 margin, Americans think the exchange was a bad move. As for the criticism of Obama’s unilateral action in making the deal, the poll found that respondents back the law requiring congressional notification by a more than 2-to-1 margin.
Among veterans, the results are even more telling. A mere six percent of those with a military background reported having sympathy for Bergdahl. One in three said they are angry at him.
Veterans polled were more than four times as likely to respond that they thought Obama made the wrong move in implementing the prisoner exchange as they were to support the deal.
USA Today cited Veterans of Foreign Wars Public Affairs Director Joe Davis, who explained why many veterans are upset over the entire ordeal.
“If [Bergdahl] was a captured prisoner of war, we wouldn’t be having this discussion,” he said.
Instead, Davis explained, the 28-year-old “put his teammates in jeopardy, and you absolutely don’t do that in a combat zone.”
He said Obama’s deal exacerbated the situation.
“We have a long history in this country of not negotiating with terrorists,” he concluded. “And we just did.”