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Atlantic Editor ➠ Taliban Five Just ‘Paper Pushers’

t5   CaptureAtlantic Editor: Taliban Five Just ‘Paper Pushers’; Gitmo Detainees ‘Political Prisoners’

Appearing on MSNBC’s The Rundown on Monday, The Atlantic’s Washington editor-at-large Steve Clemons dismissed criticism of the Obama administration trading five Taliban prisoners for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl: “Well, look, I think we need to turn this on its head. There’s been a lot of conventional reporting about the Taliban Five….These are important people, but they were largely paper pushers.”

Host Jose Diaz-Balart countered: “But these guys are clearly not Sisters of Charity workers.” Clemons replied: “No, absolutely not. And we shouldn’t be disillusioned about it, they are affiliated with the Taliban. But in today’s world, the Taliban is not Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda is not ISIS. So the Taliban is going to be a feature of Afghan politics well into the future.”

Clemons then proclaimed: “But that’s part of the uncomfortable not-discussed-enough part of some of the Guantanamo prisoners, is that they’re political prisoners as much as they are military or national security holds for us.”

After Diaz-Balart noted Bergdahl being charged with desertion, Clemons acknowledged: “Well, clearly, the United States should have not done a high-five that we got Bowe Bergdahl out….we celebrated him as a national hero, we celebrated him in ways that I thought were inappropriate.”

However, Clemons concluded the exchange by continuing to push the notion that releasing the Taliban terrorists was no big deal: “…my sense is covertly we needed to move these Taliban Five regardless of whether Bowe Bergdahl was the excuse. It’s an incorrect assessment to think that we gave up something great that we wanted to keep to get Bergdahl back.” More

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