Americans all over the country are cheering the return of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Afghanistan to the US. Sgt. Bergdahl had been held by the Taliban in Afghanistan for almost five years and may have been working to see him released.
Now, I have a question that may upset some readers. Was the price paid for his release too high?
Hear me out. Don’t storm off just yet… and don’t mark me as some unpatriotic American. I am not anti-soldier and I pray that all of our MIA soldiers make it home soon.
Bowe Bergdahl fits in a different class.
First, because he is very likely a deserter, not someone who was caught doing his job. Second, because we had to negotiate with Al Qaeda loving Taliban terrorists to get him. Third, we handed over five very bad men to get this done. Fourth, the entire deal is likely illegal because King Obama — um, I mean President Obama — didn’t consult Congress first.
Let’s start with reasons two and three and four first.
Top Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out.
“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. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.) and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, James M. Inhofe (Okla.), said in a joint statement.
Lawmakers were not notified of the Guantanamo detainees’ transfer until after it occurred.
It might seem like this law is too inflexible and doesn’t allow for real time negotiating, but the rules were actually just freed up a bit in recent months to help deal with Bergdahl’s situation. So the White House knew exactly what it was doing when they chose to ignore the law and send five known terrorist back into action without telling Congress first.
Not only did the Obama administration negotiate with terrorists, which completely changes everything about American policy on terrorism, but we handed over some very bad dudes to get this deal done. These weren’t five pawns or five grunts. These were five hard-boiled terrorist leaders. Al Qaeda and the Taliban just reloaded their entire command structure. A structure that we’ve spent years dismantling…
While not as well-known as Guantanamo inmates like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Taliban 5 were some of the worst outlaws in the U.S. war on terror. And their release will end up replenishing the diminished leadership ranks of the Afghan Taliban at a moment when the United States is winding down the war there.
“They are undoubtedly among the most dangerous Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior editor at the Long War Journalwho keeps a close watch on developments concerning the detainees left at the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Fazl, for example, was the Taliban’s former deputy defense minister and is wanted by the United Nations for his role in massacres targeting Afghan’s Shi’ite Muslim population.
Senator John McCain also had some similar concerns releasing these men reminding us all that they “are hardened terrorists who have the blood of Americans and countless Afghans on their hands. I am eager to learn what precise steps are being taken to ensure that these vicious and violent Taliban extremists never return to the fight against the United States and our partners or engage in any activities that can threaten the prospects for peace and security in Afghanistan.”
So, we negotiated with terrorists changing a decades-long policy of not negotiating with terrorists because it would simply breed more terrorism. We also released five very dangerous terrorists back into the world who will, no doubt, one day soon return to their terroristic ways. How many more lives will that cost? And all of this was done illegally by an administration that continues to show less and less respect for our laws every day.
I hope Bowe Bergdahl is worth all of that. But I can’t be sure he is…
Rolling Stone magazine quoted emails Bergdahl is said to have sent to his parents that suggest he was disillusioned with America’s mission in Afghanistan, had lost faith in the U.S. Army’s mission there and was considering desertion.
Bergdahl told his parents he was “ashamed to even be American.” Bergdahl, who mailed home boxes containing his uniform and books, 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.”
A senior Defense Department official said that if Bergdahl is released, it could be determined that he has more than paid for leaving his unit – if that’s what really happened – “and there’s every indicator that he did.”
They are convinced that on June 30, 2009, just a few months after he arrived in Afghanistan, Bergdahl willingly walked away from his unit, which was deployed in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, adjacent to the border with Pakistan. While they do want Bergdahl home, they think he should have to answer allegations that he deserted his unit.
His father doesn’t make it any easier to trust Bergdahl’s motives or our government’s decision to send these five evil men back into the world.
Look. It doesn’t matter if he’s a deserter or not. When an American is being held captive overseas we should do everything we can to get him back. However, breaking a cardinal rule like “we don’t negotiate with terrorists,” then releasing five hardened terrorist criminals illegally… was definitely not the right move.
It would probably be the wrong move for a heroic soldier taken in battle, let alone one who had deserted his post and his comrades.
I hope Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is brought home safe and sound. I hope that he enjoys a long and happy life with his family…
But even more, I hope that this decision by the Obama administration doesn’t turn out to be the wrong one.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com