US Does Not Negotiate…ok, maybe a little

Last night I was part of a radio show, WarriorTalk, where one of the topics discussed was the release of Sgt. Bergdahl. For now, let’s leave his actions alone and rather let’s take a closer look at the aftermath.

The policy heard around the world

The US has had a long standing policy of “not negotiating” with terrorist, it goes back several decades. Why did we have the policy in the first place is probably the best place to start this conversation? Having studied terrorism as part of my job in the Navy and even after leaving the Navy it was determined the slippery slope created when one deals with terrorist could never be controlled and that for the protection of all citizens, both military and civilians it was in our best interest not to negotiate with terrorism.

The birth of counter-terrorism teams

This shift to a “not negotiating” largely led to the standing up of special operations forces as an answer to when bad things happened to our people. Hostage rescue became an incredibly sensitive mission profile that we spent countless hours and even lives training in preparation for the balloon to go up. Personally I believe this policy helped get our special operations forces teeth to take a big bite on the global stage.

Modus operandi

So, the kidnapping modus operandi from the 1970-1980’s shifted for the terrorists. The hijacking of aircraft or cruise liners all but died down and while some will argue it had to do with the new and improved security measures you have to tip your hat to the “threat” of not negotiating. When the terrorist recognize that we are not going to sit down at the table it alters their plans, it’s as simple as that. Of course, terrorism is a complex business so don’t think for a moment I am over simplifying the issue, but we all have to acknowledge that for the last several decades it worked.

Did the policy of not negotiating create a safer world for our citizenry? In my opinion having traveled the globe I would say absolutely. Our policy helped create and strengthen our alliances and even create new ones. There was solidarity in the fact we, meaning many of the top nations, recognized the importance behind this policy.

Needs of the administration outweigh

So, our current administration feels they can justify their shift in policy. They someone feel that exchanging one American citizen whose military status is questionable, I mean questionable in the terms of a military deserter, for five high level terrorist. So, the big question is why did our government make this deal? If you were to think about it, one possible answer has to do with the president’s promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay.

As I try to rack my brain as to why this administration would compromise the safety of US personnel abroad I can’t really come up with a good strategic justification. First off, we have the countless lives lost bringing to justice these five HVT’s. That was no walk in the park, these guys didn’t get to the top of the list for no reason. Then you have the reality of other terrorist organizations recognizing that we do have a price. I don’t care what this administrations says, the world’s terrorist organization just heard one thing; we do negotiate.

As this administration continues to act recklessly on a global stage, the American people will be left to clean up the mess. I hope that enough people will recognize the fact this administration acted in their own interest, their own personal agenda and not in the best interest of the American people. All I can say is be extra vigil out there.

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