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But is this true? And even if it is, did the president make the right call?
My friend Professor Amos Guiora of the University of Utah, whose background includes the Israeli military, and who is a respected attorney in the counter-terrorism arena, said on NPR this morning that the first obligation of a nation is to its soldiers. Professor Guiora noted that the state enters a contract with the soldier it puts in harm's way. And that contract includes the commitment to get the soldier back if that man or woman becomes a prisoner of war or a hostage.
By contrast, he added, whether or not the five Taliban leaders exchanged for our man ever commit another act of terror against the US or not is a matter of pure speculation. It cannot trump America's contractual and moral obligations to its troops.
I think this is sound legal and moral reasoning.
Additionally, even GOP lawmakers who saw the proof-of-life video of the soldier, which apparently led the Obama administration to act was quickly as it did, appear to be conceding that the guy was in bad shape. The 30-day-notice period in the law might have meant he didn't come home at all.