President Obama and the high price we paid for Bowe Bergdahl

After almost a year of debate, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion and misbehaving before the enemy.

This was the expectation and, I believe, the right decision. Bergdahl left his post in Paktika, Afghanistan, in the middle of the night in June 2009 after expressing his disappointment with U.S. policy there. Six brave soldiers died looking for him once he was taken by the Taliban. These were lives we never should have lost.

The Bergdahl trade was a bad one on every level.

Furthermore, we are now facing the possibility of losing even more lives in this saga.

The Bergdahl trade was a bad one on every level.

Three main points highlight the absurdity of swapping five high-level Taliban terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay to bring Bergdahl back to the U.S., and the level of bad decision-making involved.

1. The swap itself.

In exchange for Bergdahl, we turned the prisoners over to the Qatari government, a so-called friendly government but one we have no good reason to trust at this level. And the supervised release is set to expire in just two months.

Recent reports suggest that at least three of the five Taliban leaders have attempted to “re-engage” with their old terror networks, the most disastrous outcome we could’ve expected from this.

To this end, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said, “I’ve seen nothing that causes me to believe these folks are reformed or [have] changed their ways or intend to reintegrate to society in ways to give me any confidence that they will not return to trying to do harm to America.”

It looks like Pompeo is right.

2. There was no congressional oversight of the swap.

The Obama administration went ahead with this deal on its own, leaving top figures in Congress in the dark.

Former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) broke with President Obama on this, telling reporters, “It’s very disappointing that there was not a level of trust sufficient to justify alerting us.”

I’d say it’s more than disappointing. It’s an egregious overreach on the part of the administration and shows a complete disregard for process and for Congress itself. Moreover, as negotiations with the Iranians on a nuclear deal continue, the lack of congressional oversight there is increasingly worrying.

3. Susan Rice.

It’s almost as if I don’t need to write anything more on this beyond her name, but it’s important to make this clear. Rice went on all the Sunday shows arguing that Bergdahl served with honor and distinction. She praised the swap – and the decision-making that brokered the deal in the first place.

Just like on Benghazi, she has been proven wrong. And it’s understandable that many are questioning how she still has her job.

The Bergdahl trade was a bad one on every level.

This is not to say that I am not aware of, and cognizant of, the argument that the U.S. should never leave an American behind, especially in enemy hands. However, in this case, I believe it to be a principle that must be considered alongside competing priorities.

And the price we have now paid for a deserter is just much too high.