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Published: Monday, June 9 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

Vote Republican then....

We all know what a "bang-up" job George Bush and Cheney did, right?

ECR
Burke, VA

Some questions for Mr. Merrill:
- On what evidence do you base your comment that Bowe Bergdahl is a "Barney Fife"? Have you interviewed him? Do you know all the facts of the case or are you basing your opinions on the comments made by Congressman and Senators who previously backed a prisoner trade but now find it reprehensible, just in time to create a crisis before the mid-term elections?

- How long should we hold prisoners of war at the prison in Guantanamo without prosecution?

Article 118 of the Geneva Convention, which covers the treatment of military personnel, says that "prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities" which will come to an end in 2016. Taliban detainees, for whom we traded, would seem to have an argument for being repatriated following the end of hostilities in Afghanistan.

"Afghani­stan is a party to the Geneva Conventions, and the Taliban represented the nation’s de facto govern­ment," said Richard D. Rosen, a retired Army colonel who now directs the Center for Military Law and Policy at Texas Tech University.

Get something for these prisoners or just release them. Which is better?

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Pokémon?!
Seriously?!

I'm forever grateful you or your 6 year old is not President of the United States!

Ralph West Jordan
Taylorsville, UT

Re:Talbot Merrill

I am wondering if it were your Pokemon playing son who was being held captive, would you still consider the deal as "embarrassing"? On the other hand you are right we could have used our military might and just take what was ours, but it was deemed more important to bring him out of captivity in a helicopter as opposed to a body bag! Remember in another time or another place this could have been your son or my son!

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

Would you like to be the one "left behind"?

We sent these men and women over there. Whatever his reason for walking away, he is one of ours and we should bring him home.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Talbot, put down the pokemon cards, turn down the talk radio, hop off the web.... and do a little more deeper research on what is really going on in that part of the work. This is the same place where Osama Bin Laden was able to hide in near open view for over 10 years. This is part of the world where there are large swaths of territory that their own governments have little to no control over. This is part of the world where the Soviet Army had to retreat from in defeat.

This is part of the world that when we find people of interest, it has become to dangerous to send our own troops in to get at these assets, but we adapted and now use drones to strike at these people. So if you think trading 5 Taliban was a sign of US military weakness, you have a lot more studying to do.

When you trust a bunch of media talking heads versus people who have actually commanded military operations in the darkest part of the world, you need to reconsider your sources of information.

Esquire
Springville, UT

Israel has been making trades like this for decades. I often thought with those trades, the value of one Israeli soldier is worth a thousand Palestinians? This sends a remarkable lesson, one which opponents of this trade should think about. This is on top of a lot of other reasons and issues. Rather than continuing this Fox driven Salem Witch Trial (yet again), maybe folks should settle down and be more pragmatic, rational and empathetic. But, that's asking too much of the right wing that prefers the emotional satisfaction of attacking at every possible opportunity, no matter how ludicrous.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

The following was from a 2011 CNN article:

The Israeli government will "trade more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one captured Israeli soldier."

Maybe your son should school the Israeli's on how to get a good deal!

A month ago conservatives, and veterans were savagely attacking President Obama for leaving American military members behind. Now that he has freed the last remaining POW they are criticizing every aspect of his efforts to get Bergdahl back.

There is no sense of proportionality to the conservative's attacks. Bush gets a free pass on starting two catastrophic wars and Obama gets pilloried for bring back the last prisoner!

Mark B
Eureka, CA

If the other guys have had your guy for five years, wouldn't that indicate that they also have the power to kill him - no matter WHO has the military edge in the conflict? I'm not sure the writer has thought this through. Maybe Pokemon cards don't reveal the whole picture.

airnaut
Everett, 00

Lesson Learned....

Conservatives will gladly send someone else's kids over seas to fight their wars,
Conservatives will also leave them there if the next President is a Democrat.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If President Obama had not brought Bowe Bergdahl home, the right would be screaming for his impeachment for leaving our POW behind. Now they want to impeach him because he brought him back. Our country has always done prisoner exchanges, George Washington did them with the British. We've done them in virtually every war. It is how we got John McCain out of Vietnam.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

This letter is another perfect example of the devolution of the Republican party.

This is one thing that should never have been politicized. Something everyone should have agreed is a good thing the President did.

As has been pointed out endlessly, there are many precedents for this action every where in the world. Still rather than using those precedents to support the return of an American, the right chooses to completely ignore them and make comparisons like Pokémon card trading.
Absolutely shameful.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

Mr. Merrill,

Since you have such vast knowledge of the inner workings of prisoner exchanges - so much so that this could have been done "easily," I suggest you hop on a plane immediately and start handing out resumes to everyone in DC that you see. I'm sure the government could use your expertise.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

At first I got excited thinking that this way another Frank Overfelt letter. Then I saw that it wasn't. Anyone else wonder what this guy's credentials are? Why isn't he working for DC already? What insider information does he have since he appears to have all the answers? And who plays Pokemon anymore? That's so early 2000s.

Anyone else find irony in him living in Lebanon, Missouri?

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Pokemon cards?

Gee -- and Oliver North had to resort to exhanging 1,500 missiles to terrorists.

Sign this guy up for book deals,
Conservative Pep-Rallies,
and give him his own TV show on FoxNews!

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@airnaut,

The other lesson learned is... that Democrats will protest and fight against war UNLESS a Democrat is President.

Where has Sandy Sheehan been lately? Camping out in front of Obama's ranch?

Where have ALL the anti-war protesters been lately? Quietly crawled back under their rock once Obama was elected. Because that's what it was all about. Getting a Democrat elected.

FreedomFighter41
Provo, UT

Completely partisan letter. Apparently this Talbot values partisan attacks over the well-being of an American soldier.

I'm guessing that had Romney won and don't the exact same thing this letter writer would be singing a completely different tune.

Such a silly petty letter. You should feel ashamed.

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Sgt. Berdahl is an American. If he broke laws, they were our laws. If he broke faith, it was with us. We do not leave people to rot in foreign prisons. He is home; now we can decide if we need to prosecute him.

People who claim he is worthless because he is not perfect (either accidentally or intentionally) embarrass me no end.

And five Taliban generals is nothing compared to Iran/Contra. If you are going to condemn a President, remember Ronald Reagan. To this day, that is the most disgusting, and long-term damaging, thing ever done by a President of the United States

Henderson
Orem, UT

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

- Mark Twain

Mark Twain couldn't have described this letter any better.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

The BO apologists are out in force today. Where is GaryO?

ECR,
His apparent desertion – at least walking away from his unit - indicates Barney Fifeism

LD_ lib,
His 6 year old would do a better job than BO is doing.

airnaut/open minded
you mean JFK and LBJ were conservatives when they sent our sons to Vietnam to die? We weren’t even attacked by the Vietnamese. You seem to forget we were attacked by those in Afghanistan. I guess that means nothing to you.

No, you comment says you will ignore any justification for defending this nation to defend your blatant attacks on conservatives. You should be GLAD they were sent there, otherwise your defense industry job would be gone.

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