The release of five detainees tied to the Taliban, in exchange for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, has caused outrage in Congress at the attitude of the Obama Administration. In a 90 second proof of life video shown to the Senate on Wednesday, Bergdahl was seen to be hardly responsive, and many Senators thought he looked drugged. What they did not see were any immediate threats to his life or anything else that would constitute an immediate threat. Also, the video they were shown was shot in December of 2013, so it was months old already. Yet officials made the decision to make a deal with the Taliban for the Army Sergeants return, based solely upon the video footage shown to the Senate.
The Obama Administration defended the trade, alleging Bergdahl was close to death, which the Administration claimed was shown in the video presented to Congress. However, Senators were not so quick to buy the story being touted by the Administration. Feeling the outrage dealt to Congress by the Obama Administration, Senator Saxby Chambliss, stated that he did not think that there were any issues from a health standpoint of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl that required the release of the five detainees, who have clear ties to the Taliban. Several other Senators, including Republican Senator Mark Kirk, from Illinois, said they did not see any serious threats to Bergdahl and that he appeared healthy, if drugged and slow to respond.
Senator Chambliss went on to state that Bergdahl’s safety was uncertain, while Democrat Joe Manchin from West Virginia, went on to lament the fact that Bergdahl seemed to be in a different state of mind and was clearly drugged, but that had been five months ago. Most of the Senators agreed that the Army Sergeant did not look anywhere near death as claimed by the Administration. Congress is outraged by the Obama Administration releasing the five detainees with ties to the Taliban, for Bowe Bergdahl, without giving them the required 30 days’ notice as stated by the Governments own laws. Senator Mark Kirk believes the video had an emotional impact on President Obama, which was what he thinks it was intended to do as Bergdahl does not look so good in it.
There are some people who think that this trade will inspire more hostages being taken, as it seems as if this was an extremely easy negotiation. Others are looking closely at Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s actions leading up to his disappearance on June 30, 2009. There are some who claim the soldier willfully left his post while allegedly on guard duty, deserting his unit in a premeditated plan to leave the Army. There is a growing critique over the exchange of the five Taliban detainees that outrages Congress, given the obscure circumstances surrounding the vanishing of Bowe Bergdahl. Yet the Obama Administration is defending its stance on bringing back its women and men in uniform, that the country has a commitment to bring them home regardless of the circumstances of their capture.
Opinion by Korrey Laderoute