The brother of Kayla Mueller, the American ISIS hostage who was killed under circumstances that remain unclear, says her situation became worse after President Obama traded five senior Taliban commanders for alleged Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
At that point, the militants increased their demands, her brother said.
Mueller’s father, Carl Mueller, said that the United States’ willingness to swap for Bergdahl but not pay ransom or allow ransom to be paid for his daughter “was pretty hard to take.”
“I actually asked the president that question when we were in the White House,” he said. It’s not clear what the answer was.
Obama’s exchange for Bergdahl was a prisoner exchange in name only. The five Taliban he offered up for Bergdahl were so disproportionately senior – and dangerous – compared to Bergdahl that the exchange is effectively a ransom payment.
Of course we should try to get all our service members back, even deserters. But we cannot get them back at any cost. Particularly deserters.
Setting those five bad guys free jeopardizes many, many lives. It diminishes the efforts of those who fought and died to capture them. And surely it would be natural for terrorists to perceive, after such a trade, that we negotiate for hostages.
And that appears to be exactly what happened and what may have helped seal the fate of the brave young idealist, Kayla Mueller.