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updated: 6/8/2014 9:48 AM

U.S. values collided in Bergdahl's predicament

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  • This image made from video released by the Taliban shows a man believed to be Bowe Bergdahl at left. Bergdahl, a U.S. Army soldier, went missing from his outpost in Afghanistan in June 2009 and was released from Taliban captivity on May 31 in exchange for five enemy combatants held in the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

      This image made from video released by the Taliban shows a man believed to be Bowe Bergdahl at left. Bergdahl, a U.S. Army soldier, went missing from his outpost in Afghanistan in June 2009 and was released from Taliban captivity on May 31 in exchange for five enemy combatants held in the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
    associated press file photo

 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Two American values collided in Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's calamity.

One had to give.

The one about never leaving a man behind prevailed.

The one about never negotiating with terrorists got lost in the swirling dust storm of a U.S. helicopter retrieving the soldier from his Taliban captors in a swap now provoking recriminations in Washington.

Bergdahl and the five Guantanamo detainees traded for his freedom were captives in an undeclared, unconventional and open-ended war that never fit neatly into the Geneva Conventions, U.S. military doctrine or slogans about how to behave.

Whatever universal rights are affirmed by the old standards, they came from an era of recognizable battlefields and POW camps, with victories and defeats signed with flourishes of a pen.

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