Americans still aren’t warming to the swap of the Taliban Five for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. If anything, they’re growing increasingly ambivalent, bordering on restless. In other words, there’s nothing even remotely approaching the national euphoria — the feel-good-story of the summer! — anticipated inside the White House when the deal was finalized.
A survey by released Monday by the Pew Research Center for USA Today found a plurality of Americans still think the exchange was a bad idea, reflecting a solidifying of the national mood.
Overall, 43 percent say it was the wrong thing for the Obama administration to exchange five Taliban prisoners for captive soldier Bergdahl, while fewer (34 percent) say it was the right thing to do; 23 percent do not offer an opinion.
This compares interestingly to a similar poll taken by Rasmussen Reports before the circumstances of how Bergdahl fell into Taliban hands was widely publicized.
Rasmussen found a narrower split: 43 percent disapproved; 40 percent approved; 17 percent offered no opinion. Now that we have a better idea — Bergdahl, then 23, wandered off his post in southeast Afghanistan, leaving his weapon, nighttime goggles and a letter of rebuke for the United States and its Middle East mission — Pew found just as many solidly rejecting the trade, while the number supporting it slipped and those who simply don’t know what to think surged.
And while Pew notes those indifferent to Bergdahl’s plight hit nearly 60 percent (compared to the identical 15 percent who are either sympathetic to or angry with him), a landslide majority (64 percent) think President Obama should have alerted Congress before the trade came off.
In other words: So much for that celebratory balloon drop. Happy days are not so much here again.