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09 June 2014

USA TODAY/Pew Poll: Veterans Oppose Bergdahl Trade By 68%-16% Margin; Only 6% Sympathise With Him

WASHINGTON — Public opposition to the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has less to do with Bergdahl himself and more with how President Obama handled the transfer, according to a new USA TODAY/Pew Research Center poll.

The poll shows 43% of Americans say it was wrong for Obama to make the deal, compared with 34% who say it was the right thing to do.

Veterans are much more harsh in their assessment of the 28-year-old sergeant. Only 6% of veterans who responded say they sympathized with him, while 33% say they were angry. By 68%-16%, veterans say Obama made the wrong decision. 

“If he was a captured prisoner of war, we wouldn’t be having this discussion,” says Joe Davis, the director of public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “He put his teammates in jeopardy, and you absolutely don’t do that in a combat zone.”

Veterans are worried about the precedent set by the transfer, Davis says. “We have a long history in this country of not negotiating with terrorists,” he says. “And we just did.”

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