McCaskill defends White House in release of POW

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Sen. Claire McCaskill defended the White House’s decision to indirectly negotiate with the Taliban in securing the release of the only prisoner of war in Afghanistan, saying Republicans would be “going crazy” if Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been killed.

“We save an American life on foreign soil, the president and foreign policy gets criticized,” the Missouri Democrat said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We lose American lives on foreign soil, the president gets criticized. Are you seeing a theme here? It’s politics.”

SEE ALSO: Hagel: U.S. didn’t negotiate with terrorists in securing Bergdahl’s release

Mrs. McCaskill said Sgt. Bergdahl was not a hostage but a prisoner of war.

“Unfortunately, this is our enemy now,” she said. “We don’t have nation-states as enemies. We have, in fact, terrorist organizations as enemies and this was a prisoner of war.”

Sgt. Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. special forces by the Taliban Saturday in an area of eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border after secret and indirect negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban. In exchange, Qatar is taking custody of five Afghan detainees that had been held the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Top Republicans in Congress have criticized the move, saying it could have consequences for others in the military.

But Mrs. McCaskill said Mr. Obama acted within his constitutional authority and did what he should have done.

“If in fact this man’s life had been lost and it came out that we had this opportunity and our commander-in-chief passed on it, the Republicans would be going crazy right now,” she said. “I’m very proud that we now have no POWs left in Afghanistan, and the president should be proud of it also.”

SEE ALSO: GOP lawmakers warn of Taliban incentives in freeing American POW

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