Is released soldier a hero or a traitor?
Published: Thursday, June 5th, 2014
Questions surround the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl over the weekend. The last known American POW was freed by the Taliban in western Afghanistan near the Pakistan border last Saturday morning after being missing for five years. He was turned over to a team of U.S. special forces in exchange for five notorious Islamic militants who had been held at Guantanamo Bay. Under the terms of the exchange, the five terrorists are supposed to stay at Qatar for a year.
It all began when members of Bergdahl’s unit say the 23-year-old PFC left his camp after finishing a guard-duty shift, taking with him a knife, water, his diary and a camera. He left his weapon and body armor behind. In the days before his departure he detailed his disillusionment with the Afghanistan campaign in emails to his parents and by complaining about his fellow soldiers. He wrote, “I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of U.S. soldier is just the lie of fools. I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”
He went missing in the rugged area of southeastern Afghanistan where NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman was killed. For some reason, the military encouraged his parents and fellow soldiers to sign nondisclosure agreements. Before everyone signed, a member of his unit reportedly called for Bergdahl’s execution as a deserter on Facebook. The search for Bergdahl stretched from days and weeks into months. At least six soldiers searching for him were killed by enemy fire or IEDs during the course of this search time.
In Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, the town is planning a celebration when he returns. Its single main street is line with bright yellow balloons and signs to greet the sergeant when he comes home after five years as a POW. “Bowe is certainly a hero,” said a former boss.
President Obama’s national security advisor Susan Rice said on ABC last Sunday that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction” and that “Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield.”
This might be more believable if Rice had not said it. After all, she is the administration official who was trotted out on five different Sunday morning television talks shows and lied about a YouTube video being the catalyst for the attack on our consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya.
According to a law the president himself signed, the administration is to give Congress at least a 30 day notice before transferring detainees out of Guantanamo prison. Administration officials say this was not done because they claim Bergdahl's health was failing and they needed to save his life. He reportedly walked to the helicopter that whisked him away to freedom.
Some legislators like Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, raised concerns over whether the state of Qatar could prevent the former terrorist prisoners from ever again threatening the United States. He called them “the hardest of the hardcore, these are the highest of the high risk people. It’s disturbing that these individuals would have the ability to re-enter the fight.”
We’re glad Bergdahl is back, but he obviously is a confused young man who may have some mental issues. In the meantime, the administration seems to have made another serious mistake in releasing five known hardcore terrorists for Bergdahl. There are good reasons they have been locked up for the past 12-13 years. These battlefield combatants are now free to kill more Americans.
If this is the president’s plan to shut down Guantanamo, we suggest going back to the drawing board.
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