Bergdahl prisoner swap

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116
Bergdahl prisoner swap

Do you think doing a prisoner swap of Bergdahl for 5 top Taliban prisoners was a good trade? Do you think it will result in more soldier abductions now that they know that they can use them to trade? Does the fact that Bergdahl was probably a deserter affect how you feel about this?

As some question whether Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a hero or a deserter, President Barack Obama is defending the decision to secure the soldier's release from his Taliban captors in exchange for transferring five prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"We don't leave men and women in uniform behind," he said during a news conference in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday.
"This is what happens at the end of wars," Obama said of the prisoner swap. "Regardless of the circumstances, we still get an American soldier back if he's held in captivity. Period."
Five Taliban prisoners in U.S. custody were transferred to Qatar, where, Obama said, he is confident that they would not endanger U.S. security because the Qataris will monitor them closely.
A senior U.S. official says the assurances from the Qataris are "pretty darn good," and that Obama knew beforehand that his decision would generate debate.
Bergdahl, the last American soldier held captive from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, is at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he will remain until he completes his treatment, a U.S. defense official there told CNN.
After that, he'll return to the United States and go to a San Antonio military base, the official said.
Bergdahl is in stable condition and is being treated for conditions related to five years of captivity, the hospital said Tuesday. Citing privacy laws, the medical center did not provide specifics about his medical condition.
He is undergoing a period of "reintegration" that includes decompression and help from doctors, security officers, lawyers, chaplains, his family and more, the hospital said.
"The goal is to return him to family and society and on the path to complete recovery," the medical center said, adding that there is no timeline for the recovery process.
Circumstances of capture uncertain
But not all share the sense of pride about the deal that released the prisoner of war.
Many of those who served with Bergdahl call him a deserter whose "selfish act" ended up costing the lives of others.
According to firsthand accounts from soldiers in his platoon, Bergdahl, while on guard duty, shed his weapons and walked off an observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera and a diary.
At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for Bergdahl, according to soldiers involved in operations to find him. The Pentagon was not able to provide details on specific operations in which any soldiers killed during that time were involved.
Also, many soldiers in Bergdahl's platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.
But the accounts surrounding the circumstances of his disappearance remain uncertain. Published accounts have varied widely, from claims that he walked off the post to claims that he was grabbed from a latrine.
A reporter asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Sunday whether Bergdahl had left his post without permission or deserted -- and, if so, whether he would be punished. Hagel didn't answer directly.
A senior U.S. defense official told CNN there was an Army fact-finding investigation in the months after Bergdahl's disappearance. The report discusses the likelihood that Bergdahl left under his own free will.
But the commander who signed the report apparently indicated the door had to be left open for final conclusions until hearing directly from Bergdahl, the official said.
'Innocent until proven guilty'
The question's of Bergdahl's conduct is separate from the effort to recover any missing U.S. soldier, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said in a statement.
"As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we'll learn the facts," Dempsey said. "Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty."
He added: "Our Army's leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred."
Bergdahl has not been interrogated yet by U.S. officials because he is still undergoing medical care, Obama said at the news conference. The President added that Bergdahl has not met with his family, either.
The questions about the circumstances of Bergdahl's capture in Afghanistan were immaterial to the U.S. government's efforts to get him back, Obama said.
"Whatever the circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he is held in captivity. Period. Full stop. We don't condition that," he said.
It will be up to the Army to decide whether to reopen the investigation officially.
Obama was asked why Congress wasn't consulted about the prisoner exchange. The President said that over the years, the White House had talked with Congress about the possible need for such an exchange, and that officials had to move quickly when the opportunity arose.

Obama defends prisoner exchange for Bergdahl - CNN.com

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

Anyone who actually believes we don't negotiate with terrorists and that this case sets some sort of precedent that hasn't been set before is sorely mistaken and hasn't done their research.

I support the decision.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1537

I do not support this decision at all, especially after learning he was a deserter

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

I think that we can't possibly have all the information to make an informed judgement.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I think it was a horrible decision even if he hadn't been a deserter trading one soldier for 5 top Taliban prisoners, one of whom was the Taliban Army chief of staff, is a bad idea. The fact that he was a deserter and walked off after sending his things home to his parents just makes it even worse. I think this is really going to come back and bite us when these guys go back and join with their friends in Afghanistan and at a minimum start killing the guys we still have left there.

Meanwhile, concerns continue to mount about the risk posed by the five Taliban members who were released. Defense Department documents on WikiLeaks detail the violent backgrounds of the prisoners.

One, Mohammad A Fazl, served as the Taliban Army chief of staff and was wanted by the United Nations for possible war crimes, "including the murder of thousands of Shiites." He was listed as a high risk to the U.S. and its allies.

Another, Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, was "directly associated" with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and Usama bin Laden.

Traded Taliban leaders free to roam in Middle East? Claim undercuts Obama assurance | Fox News

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

My nephew and BIL both served in Afghanistan. I would be absolutely livid if our military pulled out and left one of them there as a POW, knowing full well that he was alive. I don't think we the general public know that Bergdahl was a deserter and I'm certainly not going to base any decisions on a few unsubstantiated emails that someone says he wrote. It doesn't make a difference to me. The U.S. does not leave its military personnel in enemy hands, period. I trust that the government will do a full investigation, and if he's found to have been a deserter, then he will be dealt with properly, here on American soil with the full rights any serviceman would have to a fair trial and defense counsel. Maybe there's a reasonable explanation for why he walked away from camp, if that's what happened. Maybe it will turn out that he really was kidnapped. And maybe he'll still spend the rest of his life locked up, as a deserter instead of as a POW, but at least it will be somewhere safe, and where his family can visit.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

So did my son. Twice and he volunteered to go both times. There is a lot more information than a few emails. Men died looking for him. If he wanted to quit than he should have faced the consequences instead of putting the lives of others in danger. I agree that they should have done their best to bring him home in SPITE of what he did, but the price they paid was way too high.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/us/us-soldier-srgt-bowe-bergdahl-of-idaho-pow-vanished-angered-his-unit.html?hp&_r=2

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

Chuck Hagel disagrees with you and Time Magazine. People were dying over there regardless of what Bergdahl did or didn't do. What if it turns out that he was kidnapped? Would that make those people's deaths better in some way? The fact is that we were at war, and people die in wars, and whether they die fighting the enemy or trying to rescue a comrade or caught in the way of friendly fire or getting hit by a truck doesn't really make a difference. I looked at that Time article. I never thought of that magazine as tabloid trash before but that article is one of the most biased pieces of trash I've ever read. And while the headline says six people died searching for Bergdahl, only one person is actually identified as such, and his death was 2.5 months after Bergdahl went missing!

Chuck Hagel Condemns Early Judgment Of Bowe Bergdahl As Unfair

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

It is my opinion that he is likely a deserter and its also my opinion that some or all of the deaths being referred to were tied to the search for him.

However that has no bearing on my feelings that we had a responsibility to get him out of there...and prisoner swaps have been done before so its not like thats anything new.

I believe he should be court martialed...if he is guilty(whch I think its likely he is) i would have never thought for one minute the punishment for what he's done should be to die a prisoner to the Haqqani network. It pains me to think that anyone believes that is where he should have spent the rest of his life...instead of receiving an appropriate trial at home.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

It didn't have to be one or the other. They could have waited longer and tried to get a better deal. I don't think releasing 5 top dangerous prisoners that are almost sure to kill more people was worth it. The war in Afghanistan will never really be over and these guys are just going to go back to business as usual and more people will die. This was a political move by Obama because he thought it would make him look good and it backfired.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3319

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

It didn't have to be one or the other. They could have waited longer and tried to get a better deal.

I don't think you are well equipped to decide how important it was to get him out now. Certainly not more equipped than the people who had to actually make the decision.

I don't think releasing 5 top dangerous prisoners that are almost sure to kill more people was worth it.

They originally wanted twenty something prisoners...and a million dollars. We have traded way more lopsided than 5 for 1 before.

The war in Afghanistan will never really be over and these guys are just going to go back to business as usual and more people will die. This was a political move by Obama because he thought it would make him look good and it backfired.

Your opinion....some people will be convinced anything and everything that Obama does is just for political gain. He could find the cure for cancer and people would find fault in it. Seriously, how many prisoners swaps in the past do you think came with no risk. If you are going to wait for a no risk solution...then you might as well let him die there. Its not going to happen.