Bergdahl Swap A Retro Moment in the New Cold War
by Rachel Marsden
U.S. President Barack Obama recently agreed to the release of five Taliban leaders from
Obama said he expressed his personal gratitude to
The leader of the Haqqani network,
Today, a similar dynamic is emerging.
It would be easier to dismiss these parallels if the Cold War wasn't reigniting right before our eyes.
However, for those trying to keep tabs on this updated version of the Cold War, the Bergdahl case makes it clear that some traditional warfare parameters have been updated:
Since when are deserters considered captives?
It's one thing to rescue a prisoner of war held captive by the enemy. It's quite another to redefine a POW as someone who decided to abandon their post whatever reason, and that's what Bergdahl is being accused of by various servicemen.
If Bergdahl did indeed desert his unit, it was a strange choice, but his choice nonetheless. Some are claiming that the search for Bergdahl resulted in the deaths of two or more soldiers. There needs to be a clear and unforgiving distinction between "captive" and "Taliban groupie." Just because someone runs away to live in a McDonald's playland foam pit and eat Big Macs all day doesn't mean that he's a prisoner of
Since when does a prisoner of war swap mean releasing unlawful enemy combatants?
The Obama administration sounds as if it's trying to turn the swap of Bergdahl for five Gitmo terror suspects into the equivalent of a POW exchange. Traditionally, POWs are recognizable belligerents identifiable by uniforms, flags national emblems or insignia. Classified Pentagon documents obtained through WikiLeaks indicate that the five Gitmo prisoners involved in this exchange possessed none of the above upon capture; just a multitude of connections to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network or a combination thereof.
With warfare evolving from state-vs.-state belligerence to ideological warfare in the post-9/11 era, some feel that international law should be updated to offer the same protections to those who can't be bothered to find a logo and some embroidered patches to wear. It used to be that under the Peace of Westphalia treaties, such unlawful combatants were liquidated on the battlefield. More recently, if unlawful combatants were suspected of possessing intelligence that could help prevent future attacks, they were shipped off to
The middle ground was capturing terror suspects alive and shipping them to
And that agenda appears to be for history to more or less repeat itself by reverting back to the geopolitics of the 1980s.
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"Bergdahl Swap A Retro Moment in the New Cold War"