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Republicans criticize Bowe Bergdahl release, fellow soldiers call him a deserter

By Daniel S Levine,

While many are happy to see Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl released by the Taliban, including his parents, some are questioning the decision to swap him with five Taliban prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay. Republicans have questioned the legality of the deal and Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers suggest that he was a deserter, not a hero.

Bergdahl was the only american Prisoner of War during the Afghan war and was held for five years before his release on Saturday. He was captured back on June 30, 2009 in the Paktika province.

The five prisoners that were sent back to the Middle East were all high-ranking members of the Taliban and arrived in Qatar, where they will stay for a year. The Obama administration insisted that the move proved that they will leave no servicemember behind. However, Republicans have questioned the administration’s decision to move so quickly without notifying Congress of plans to release Guantanamo prisoners, as law requires.

According to The LA Times, the president is required to give Congress 30-day notice before releasing a Guantanamo prisoner. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the decision had to be made quickly and Obama would not have been able to give such notice.

“What does this tell the terrorists? That if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told ABC’s This Week Sunday. In addition, Cruz called the swap “very disturbing.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told CBS’ Face The Nation that the five prisoners released are “the hardest of the hard core” and are “possibly responsible for the deaths of thousands.”

Meanwhile, the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s capture five years ago are still uncertain. The question remains - why did he wander off his base? some of his fellow soldiers believed that he deserted his post and put others in danger. There have also been Facebook pages that criticize him, such as one called “Bowe Bergdahl is NOT a hero.”

“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” former Sgt. Matt Vierkant told CNN. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him."

A Pentagon official, who wished to remain anonymous, told CNN that Bergdahl isn’t likely to face punishment from the military.

Bergdahl is currently in Germany for an exam and will be taken to a military hospital in San Antonio this week before arriving home in Idaho.

image courtesy of INFphoto.com

 
 

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