WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed by the Taliban more than one week ago but many Americans have expressed their disapproval of the deal.
A CBS News Poll shows that 45 percent of Americans disapprove of Bergdahl’s exchange for five Taliban militants being held in Guantanamo Bay. But the poll also shows that while 37 percent approve of the deal, one-in-five Americans have no opinion on the matter.
Among U.S. military members surveyed, a majority (55 percent) say they disapprove of the prisoner swap for Bergdahl, who was held in Taliban custody since leaving his post in Afghanistan in 2009. Sixty-five percent of veterans say the U.S. paid too high of a price for his release.
A majority of Americans agree, with 56 percent saying the U.S. paid too high a price to secure Bergdahl’s release.
President Barack Obama has been criticized by some lawmakers for not informing Congress of the prisoner swap at least 30 days before it was executed, a requirement under U.S. law. But the Obama administration defended the decision on the grounds that there was an urgent risk to Bergdahl’s health and a slower response could have caused greater threat to his safety.
But few Americans agree with the administration’s rationale: The poll shows a clear majority – 72 percent – who say Obama should have notified Congress in advance, and that includes 55 percent of people who identified themselves as Democrats.
CBS News Polls traditionally show that Americans prefer the president seek approval of Congress on military matters.
A separate survey by USA Today and the Pew Research Center finds similar data, especially in regards to those who don’t have an opinion, or are unsure what to make of the Bergdahl swap. Forty-three percent said the prisoner exchange was the wrong thing to, just over one-third (34 percent) said it was the right decision, and 23 percent were unsure of the ordeal.
Nearly half (49 percent) of those polled say the prisoner exchange will increase the threat of terrorism against the U.S. or U.S. troops, but 40 percent say it will have no effect.