Informed Americans are split down the middle on most important policy issues. So it is hard to win statewide or national elections on policy grounds — charisma counts, negative ads count, and all the other things most of us hate about politics count. ("Obama adamantly defends Taliban prisoner swap that freed U.S. soldier," June 3)
But the rash of recent controversies involving the Obama administration may have the salutary effect of focusing us on competence.
Whatever one thinks of the recent decision to swap those particular Guantanamo Bay detainees for this particular American prisoner of war, there is little dispute that it was handled incompetently. So now we all have to face the kind of loud politics most of us detest, our elected officials are distracted and will engage in expensive hearings that in the end won't much matter, and stuff that needs doing simply won't get done.
We could do with a lot more competence, and maybe all the recent controversies will focus us on that instead of what we know are always pretty empty policy promises.
Jeffrey C. Briggs
The rescue of our only prisoner of war should have been a source of pride for America and validation of the fact that we do not leave behind those who serve in our military.
Before this young man returns home from five years of Taliban captivity — which essentially may have been torture — the Republicans are setting him up for condemnation because it was President Obama's efforts that returned him to us.
Waiting for facts has never been a Republican goal, which is why we are in this war in the first place.
Does the president really think that because the United States has announced it will leave Afghanistan, the war is over? It will continue, as will the threat from the Taliban and other Islamic extremist groups.
Is this administration so naive that it is depending on a third party, the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, to "monitor" these Taliban commanders?
I agree with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): The price to bring home Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was too high. Even if he was a legitimate POW, which has been strongly disputed, you don't swap prisoners without a peace agreement.
Charles Manson was presumed innocent until proven guilty. So were killers Jeffrey Dahmer, Sirhan Sirhan and so on.
So why not Bergdahl? Why the rush to judgment by some conservative politicians and pundits?
Of course, the reason is political; you knew that, and my question is rhetorical.
The real question is: When will voters start choosing representatives who will identify and deal with real issues of public concern, instead of ideologues and party hacks?