The prisoner swap of five Taliban militants for Bowe Bergdahl is a symptom of a larger problem affecting the Obama administration’s approach to the War on Terror, according to Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
“Put simply, he doesn’t seem to understand that we are still at war,” Rubio wrote in a USA Today op-ed published Tuesday night.
Rubio explained that while Bergdahl’s release is “welcome,” the circumstances of his release are troubling in that it essentially legitimized the Taliban by elevating “a terrorist group to the position of a nation state’s military.”
According to Rubio, there are three reasons the prisoner swap is worrying to him: namely it signals to other terrorist groups that the U.S. is willing to work with them; it shows that the U.S. can be pushed to acquiesce to demands; and finally it puts American lives in danger by making them more attractive targets.
The Florida Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate pointed out that the threat of Islamic terrorism continues to exist and that “al-Qaeda is not defeated” but rather has “morphed into affiliates operating in as many as a dozen countries.” He cited Syria as an example for the threat of radicalization.
“The American people deserve better than a president who refuses to speak honestly about the threats we face. Speaking about ending wars and ‘nation-building at home’ and pursuing law enforcement solutions to global challenges may sound alluring to a public fatigued by an increasingly chaotic world,” Rubio wrote. “But it is innocent Americans who are going to pay the consequences if we continue down this path of not taking the threats to our country seriously.”