Sen. Paul and the rest of the GOP should realize that even nations that have learned to live with terrorism as a way of life (states like Israel, Colombia and Sri Lanka) have traded thousands of prisoners in exchange for hostages.
The talking points flying around this week have all been on a single subject -- the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier captured in the war in Afghanistan.
Sacred war is a national rite of collective sacrifice and transcendence, as Lincoln declared in the Gettysburg Address: Marking in blood the rebirth of the nation. Yet we no longer inhabit a world where societies seek this celebration as the catharsis of identity -- although some peoples insulted and injured, like Putin's Russia, may dream of it. For we Americans today it is enough to feel a quick surge of pride, a little patriotic shiver or frisson, at the opening of Pro Ball. We need only genuflect to memory now. We have ritual commemoration locked in, 24/7 on cable, on the Military and Hitler channels, and now also, the ever-forthright "American Heroes Channel." TV always remembers, but how do we?
John Kerry said recently that Edward Snowden -- who gave up his career, access to his friends and family, and a comfortable life in Hawaii to tell the truth about the illegal, secretive activities of the Obama administration -- is "a coward and a traitor."
Our nation sent its soldiers into a dangerous part of the world, knowing full well that Americans would not be coming back home. If you want to blame Bergdahl, please also remember to blame the country that sent its citizens to battle a determined and deadly enemy.
The recent release of Taliban prisoners of war from the Guantanamo base in Cuba has whipped up hysteria among the media and politicians alike, both of whom have been all too quick, once again, to equate the Taliban with al-Qaeda.
Last Saturday the president was joined on the White House South Lawn by Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's family as he announced their son had been released. But the good news, many Republican members of congress had quickly tweeted their support, suddenly turned into a political firestorm of controversy.
The political forces that are trashing the deal to rescue Sgt. Bergdahl are the same political forces that got us into the Iraq war. They are the same political forces who want to keep the Afghanistan war going indefinitely.
The hypocrisy manages to be both stunning yet also banal, even predictable. It's not rocket science. Sgt. Bergdahl was never a living, breathing human to these people -- just what the director Alfred Hitchcock would have called a "MacGuffin."
If you don't like Obama's politics, he's fair game. But for being a mensch and not wanting to disrupt the schedules of others and being a good sport when they took photos and videos, hey, members of the media, was it that slow of a news day?
Citizens, and especially media pundits, should pay attention Gen McChrystal's words and remember that America does not leave soldiers -- even ones who make mistakes -- in enemy captivity.
Nothing demonstrates how war has changed more than the fact that thousands of soldiers become prisoners of war (POW) or went missing in action (MIA) in previous conflicts whereas now, with the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, there are no American POWs.
What at first seemed very clear-cut almost instantly became clouded in fog. This fog may clear some when the Army makes a formal statement about the circumstances of Bergdahl's capture by the Taliban, but until that point the speculation is running pretty wild.
In the summer of 2009, I worked as an adviser in Kabul, Afghanistan. My team shared a basement with the ISAF's Public Relations team, and the hottest news story during my stay was the recent capture of U.S. soldier Private Bowe Bergdahl.
Perhaps the rulers of nations, learning nothing since the time of Alexander the Great, will continue to mobilize their citizens for war until only small bands of miserable survivors roam a barren, charred, radioactive wasteland.
Long before Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could ever have put his fellow soldiers in danger, certain people advocated policies that would put millions of American soldiers in harm's way.