The Bowe Bergdahl controversy spilled over onto Fox News, where opinion among commentators until Sunday morning has been mostly overwhelming in its condemnation of the release of the American POW in exchange for five Taliban-connected prisoners who had been held for about a decade in Guantanamo bay.
But during a panel discussion on Fox News Sunday, Fox News personality Juan Williams sounded a dissenting note — blasting Republicans for their cowardice in calling for the release of Bergdahl, then opposing it when it happened.
Citing Republicans and “some of these right-wing bloggers” who were “calling for Obama to get Bergdahl any way, take any risk to get our man back” Williams accused Republicans of reversing their position in “the most craven way.”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “craven” as “having or showing a complete lack of courage : very cowardly.”
Williams also defended Bowe Bergdahl as a “prodigal son” and said that rather than attacking Bergdahl as a traitor and even calling for his execution — a possibility that has been raised on Fox News — Americans should be “loving” Bergdahl.
“The clear principle is we don’t leave soldiers behind. And at the moment, I think what’s necessary here, I’m reminded this sunday morning of the story of the prodigal son,” said Williams. “You don’t make judgments as you have the opportunity to bring that child back. America should be loving this child at this moment. Obviously we don’t know why he left. We think he’s a troubled person. We think he may have lost a sense of America’s mission. All true. But the idea is we don’t leave people in the enemy’s hands. The enemy saw him as an American soldier. That young man suffered; he was caged, Chris. His parents suffered.”
Another Fox News panelist, Stephen Hayes, said that the release of the five Taliban prisoners calls into question the principle that no American soldier should be abandoned by his or her country.
The controversy over the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange may have seemed puzzling overseas, where prisoner exchanges are common. To obtain the release of one captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, who in 2011 had been held on the Gaza Strip for five years, Israel exchanged not just five, but 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.
Over the years, Israel — a country arguably more besieged by terrorism throughout its history than any other — has traded about 7,000 prisoners to obtain the return of 16 Israeli captives, some of whom were already dead.
“I felt proud for the United States,” said Avi Dichter, former head of Israel’s internal security force, in an interview with Time Magazine. “I’ve never seen a terrorist, including an arch-terrorist, that he’s worth more than the nails of an Israeli soldier. That’s why I don’t believe the five are worth more than the nails of Bowe Bergdahl.”
[Image: Fox News Screen Capture]