The Obama administration presented the release of Bowe Bergdahl as an indisputably glorious moment for the country. Amidst the celebration on Saturday, Obama didn’t bother to mention that Bergdahl was a deserter. Obama considered the swap of five of the most dangerous terrorists of the Taliban for Bergdahl worthy of a Rose Garden ceremony. Even for the release of a decorated soldier, that would have been a dubious idea, given the shocking, precedent-breaking character of such a trade. But for Bergdahl, whose story of desertion and possible treachery and collaboration grows more troubling with each new report, a Rose Garden ceremony seems almost like a parody of liberalism.
Obama administration officials, straining to defend the trade, noted that the Israelis have occasionally released Palestinian prisoners for hostages. But one can’t imagine the Israelis ever executing such a trade for a deserter whose actions caused the deaths of soldiers (the number keeps climbing in press reports) who conducted a long and risky search for him.