National Security Expert at SU Feels Swap to Bring Sgt. Bergdahl Home was 'the Right Thing to do'

Jun 3, 2014

The Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School is relieved that a US soldier has been returned but, he's also concerned about the release of five high level Taliban operatives.  Bill Smullen has been keeping a close watch on developments.  He says the released detainees are dangerous planners and thinkers.

Director of National Security Studies at SU's Maxwell School, Bill Smullen.
Credit Maxwell School website.

“They are going to invest, my guess is, in harm to the American Force remaining in Afghanistan. So that is a concern of mine and I think that, quite frankly, the intelligence community has to be on the outlook for things they can do to ramp up their activities in Afghanistan against the remaining US Forces.”

Smullen estimates that means about 36,000 troops in Afghanistan are still in harms way.  He says the exchange to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl proves to be a dilemma for the Obama Administration, and not just for making the case to Republicans but, also to the American people.

“However, I would just say that what we did to bring a soldier home is something that we have done traditionally. It’s sort of a code of conduct, if you will.  You leave no colleague, no fellow soldier behind.” 

As the US Military plans to fully withdraw from Afghanistan in 2016, Smullen believes that bringing back Bergdahl was the right thing to do.  Now it’s a matter a waiting, he says, to see if the Sgt. will be charged as a deserter or not, for leaving his base five years ago.