Public Disapproval of Bergdahl deal

June 05, 2014, 10:59 AM GMT+0

Initial reaction to the Bergdahl prisoner deal isn't positive, with most Americans saying that the government has no responsibility to rescue American deserters from enemy captivity

The initial sense of victory and elation at the release of Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban quickly gave way to a disconcerting sense of unease over the circumstances of both his capture and his release. The decision to release five Afghans from Guantanamo Bay without notifying Congress has raised a range of legal issues. Bowe Bergdahl's capture is more complicated than it first seemed, too as it is highly likely that he was captured as he tried to desert. The attempted rescue operations after his desertion costing the lives of as many as six American soldiers, according to soldiers that he served with who also said that he left behind a letter slamming the US role in Afghanistan.

The latest research from YouGov shows that the deal to free Bergdahl might not be the political victory that the Obama Administration may have hoped for. Half the country (49%) say that it's unacceptable for the US to release suspected terrorists to secure the release of a captive US soldier, and even first impressions of this deal before many of the darker details emerged show that people tend to oppose (39%) rather than support (35%) the deal that freed Bowe Bergdahl.

If the allegations about how Bergdahl was captured turn out to be true, support for the deal could fall even further, particularly among Republicans. Only 24% of Americans think that the government even has a responsibility to try and rescue a deserter who is captured by enemy combatants. This compares to 82% for soldiers that get lost and captured, 87% for soldiers who are wounded and captured. Even for soldiers that surrender to the enemy, most Americans (57%) think that the government has a responsibility to rescue them.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty