So, lets talk about this Bowe Bergdahl business. Or rather, I’m going to tell you why you should be mad about it. You don’t have to agree; in fact, if you have a dissenting opinion, please share it below. But in my opinion, this is the situation as it stands.
Our President, Barack Obama, released five high-risk Guantanamo Bay Prisoners in exchange for one American Soldier. At first, that doesn’t look so terrible. So our price is 5:1. That doesn’t mean much if it means that one of our own is back on American soil, right?
But let’s look at some facts.
On June 30, 2009, Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl was relieved of guard duty, left his rifle, helmet, body armor, and web gear in a neat pile and walked away. Although it was originally speculated that he was captured on guard duty instead of just leaving his things neatly for his commanding officer to find, the fact remains that although most of his gear had been left, Bergdahl still carried his compass.
Tell me, what self-respecting terrorist group leaves a prisoner his compass? Not many, I should think.
But that’s not the only thing that enrages me about this trade five years later. Bergdahl went missing from his post. His unit didn’t just assume he’d died and went on with their lives. They looked for him, in a series of daily search missions throughout the summer of 2009, resulting in the death of 10 American soldiers. And every single one of those deaths could have been prevented had Bergdahl taken his contract and oath to the United States Armed Forces more seriously.
I do not condemn Bergdahl’s actions. God knows that in the same position, there’s a damn fine chance I would have done the same thing. But the fact is, is that Bergdahl volunteered for his service. And Bergdahl walked away. And because of that, 10 soldiers were killed in the search for him.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is no hero, and we should not celebrate him as such. As good as it is to have him released, he endangered himself and many others with one reckless act.
Moving forward to the men that we exchanged with the Taliban for him. Five detainees that have been called “the worst of the worst,” each with a very high probability of launching attacks against the United States (or their allies) upon return to their home country. They have a one year travel ban. One. Year. Which, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know they won’t abide by.
“They are undoubtedly among the most dangerous Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior editor at the Long War Journal who keeps a close watch on developments concerning the detainees left at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Look them up; Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Mohammed Nabi Omari. Each one is worse than the last.
I haven’t even touched upon the illegality of President Obama’s actions. Although the law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests, Congress wasn’t even aware that the trade was occurring until after it had occurred.
What are we allowing, whenever we stand idly by as our administration makes these decisions without the consent of our elected representatives? The American people as a whole, myself included, weren’t even aware of the possibility of this trade until after it had occurred. That alone should be something to be pissed about.
I’m not here to assess whether or not Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s life was worth the freedom of five prisoners. I am glad that he has been released, and will hopefully be able to seek out the help he needs after facing the horrors that I know he dealt with during his internment. However, I do believe our President’s decision deserves some major scrutiny. What precedent is he setting by not only willingly release terrorists back into their home country, where they are very likely to resume leading Taliban attacks against American soldiers, but also in treating a known deserter, who left his brothers in arms to die in search of him after deciding, for whatever reason, that he know longer wanted to serve his country, as a hero?