(OPINION) — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl needed to come home from captivity in Afghanistan, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of swapping some brutal thugs at Guantanamo Bay. It sets a dangerous precedent and it’s a page from the George W. Bush playbook — act now, worry later. Still, as a mother, I can’t help but feel some sympathy to his parents for the five years of anguish they have had to live through. In short, I am very conflicted about the prisoner swap deal
I have had some time to think about the turn of events that led to Bergdahl’s release from captivity in Afghanistan where he was held as a prisoner of war for five years. After learning that several soldiers died trying to find him, my heart breaks for the families of those fallen soldiers. To make it worse, Bergdahl is being called a deserter by many because he walked off the base. In their minds, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is no hero. Still, that’s no reason to leave one of our own behind. One of our own — how about bringing home the thousands President Obama intends to leave behind to help stabilize a country led by an ungrateful leader such as President Hamid Karzai?
The soldiers we lost in the hunt for Bowe Bergdahl have been identified as Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, and Private First Class Morris Walker, 23, who were killed in an IED explosion on August 18, 2009. Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, on August 26, 2009. Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, and Private First Class Matthew Michael Martinek, 20, died after a rocket-propelled grenade ambush on September 4, 2009. Lastly, Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, was killed in an IED blast on September 5, 2009.
President Obama’s intentions may have been honorable, but you can’t deny, it’s a game changer in rules of engagement, when dealing with extremist groups like the Taliban. The idea that we don’t negotiate with terrorists was just stomped on, particularly since Bergdahl deliberately wandered away from his base in Paktika province five years ago.
The Taliban is celebrating the release of five of its senior members while we are left in the throes of confusion and anger at the White House. How could the president swap a murderous thug named Mohammad Fazl, who is closely associated with Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s commander? He is wanted by the United Nations as a potential war criminal for the murders of thousands of Shiites. His Gitmo case file says it all….”detainee is likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and its allies.” There are no guarantees that the five prisoners won’t revert to their old ways and engage in terroristic behavior.
The Republicans are losing no time in their “outrage,” oblivious to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney releasing 500 Gitmo inmates and Ronald Reagan selling missiles to Iran in exchange for the hostages being freed. It’s laughable that Fox News should trot out Dick Cheney of all people to give his two cents about Obama failing, saying those terrorists will come back and attack America. He should know since one of the prisoners’ released on his watch, Abu Sufian bin Qumu, is suspected of playing a role in the Benghazi consulate attack.
Again, I am not justifying what President Obama did. I am very concerned about the precedent this will set. CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said President Obama broke the law. Um, isn’t he the Commander-in-Chief, or is it that he’s being a bit too uppity for his critics? The fact is, this is not the time for partisan posturing, but a time to reassess American policy where this matter is concerned. We have been down this road before and Americans shouldn’t be used as bargaining chips. That goes for when Ronald Reagan did it and now with Obama.
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