Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is coming home.
He’s been released by the Taliban – which has been holding him captive since 2009 – in exchange for five Taliban prisoners.
And even though Bowe is having his homecoming, every American’s relief should be tempered by the risk that Obama took to secure his freedom.
The fact is, trading five hardened terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl’s release is just too steep of a price. And now, some members of Congress are demanding answers.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, expressed his shock on NBC’s Meet the Press: “You’re now going to have five people potentially on the ground, targeting American troops, Afghan troops and Afghan people… This whole exchange is shocking to me, and I’m very disappointed.”
“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans,” stated Sen. James Inhofe, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
A Question of Great Import
Rep. Mike Rogers, the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, called the move a “fundamental shift in U.S. policy” that “will threaten the lives of American soldiers for years to come,” now that Obama has shown that he’ll empty Guantanamo of Al Qaeda leaders to achieve one small victory, such as Bergdahl’s release.
According to Rep. Buck McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the move has given Taliban terrorists a “strong incentive to capture Americans” – especially if they know they can get high-level people in return.
Indeed, all five released prisoners were major terrorists, according to Pentagon documents released by WikiLeaks. Here are some highlights:
- Mohammad Fazl was the Taliban’s Deputy Minister.
- Abdul Haq Wasiq was the Taliban’s Deputy Minister of Intelligence.
- Khairullah Khairkhwa was a heroin trafficker and the Taliban Governor of the Herat Province in Afghanistan.
- Norullah Noori was personally recruited by Osama bin Laden to participate in terrorist campaigns.
- Mohammad Nabi Omari was a Taliban official in the Khost Province in Afghanistan.
But that’s not all. You see, there’s still the question of whether Bergdahl was captured or simply deserted.
It’s a question of great import, especially given the circumstances of his release.
Transcripts of radio intercepts released by WikiLeaks suggest that Bergdahl was captured whilst using a temporary latrine. As one Taliban fighter said, “We were attacking the post [where] he was sitting. He had no gun with him… Can you guys make a video of him, and announce it all over Afghanistan that we have one of the Americans?”
But Rolling Stone magazine published emails that Bergdahl sent to his parents, and they paint a different picture. The emails show Bergdahl’s state of mind around the time of his capture, and it’s apparent that he was disillusioned by America’s mission in Afghanistan.
In fact, Bergdahl had completely lost faith in the mission and was considering desertion before his capture. He wrote to his parents that he was “ashamed to even be American.”
Bergdahl mailed home boxes containing his uniform and books. He also wrote: “The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong.”
So there’s a chance that Obama released five dangerous terrorists in exchange for a terrorist sympathizer who wasn’t a prisoner of war, but rather an army deserter all along.
Your eyes on the Hill,