Many Americans are furious with President Barack Obama for releasing five terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Qatar in exchange for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. According to the Washington Post on Sunday, Bergdahl - the only American soldier held captive in Afghanistan – was released Saturday by his Taliban captors after five years of captivity. This action was in exchange for the release of the terrorists who are being referred to as the “Taliban Dream Team.” Naturally, there is joy over the American being set free, but there are also grave concerns about Obama’s actions regarding the release of the terrorists.
Persons in the nation’s capital are asserting that President Obama negotiated with terrorists. As time passes since Obama’s actions over the weekend, there are questions being raised about Bergdahl’s own actions in the past. He was taken prisoner after leaving his base in east Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. There are many questions being raised as to why he left his base before he was captured and whether or not he will face any consequences for leaving his post when he returns to the United States.
There are very harsh statements being made against the freed American. It is being reported on Fox News that Bergdahl deserted his camp. It is also reported that 14 soldiers have been killed while looking for him over the past five years, according to retired Col. David Hunt.
The concerns over the release of Bergdahl and the release of the Taliban’s members from Guantanamo’s prison by Obama are growing rapidly. While there are those who argue that Obama had the choice to get the release of an American, there are many who believe the president blatantly broke the law. He broke the law by not informing the United States Congress of his actions, as required by federal law. Also, the Obama administration says the action involved dealing with another country, while it appears quite clear that Obama dealt with an extremely dangerous terrorist organization – the Taliban - and not a country or another government.
The White House, including outgoing Press Secretary Jay Carney and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, say that Bergdahl was a prisoner of war and that the president was dealing with a foreign country. It is being argued that Bergdahl was not a prisoner of war because the United States is not at war with Afghanistan. Again, it is being seriously argued that the deal was made with the Taliban and not with a country. The president is also being attacked for breaking the law which states that terrorists cannot be aided. There are those who assert that Obama aided the Taliban by the deal he made to release the terrorists.
Obama has been accused of ignoring the United States Constitution - on and off - to do as he wishes during his entire five years in office. However, the dealing with the Taliban and releasing the five terrorists without Congress’ approval is now being called President Obama’s most blatant and extremely dangerous misuse of power. Regardless of the White House’s reasons for breaking the law – asserting that secrecy was of the utmost importance and informing Congress would have threatened that secrecy – President Obama did not constitutionally follow the law. Also, it is said that Obama had to act quickly due to Bergdahl's medical state.
The law clearly states that a 30-day notification must be given to Congress before transferring the Guantanamo detainees. This simply was not done. It is claimed that the law could have been followed because these negotiations must have gone on more than 30 days. However, Congress was not notified.
Obviously, this past weekend’s actions pale previous Obama scandals including the Benghazi scandal, the NSA scandal, and the most recent scandal involving the VA – even though those issues will not die. Though the Obama administration’s first response is that the five terrorists released from Guantanamo will be watched closely for a year – watching their movements and activities – this alleged “close watch” is not defined. Obama officials are not giving any details of the plan to watch these men. There is very likely nothing stopping these men from returning to their former mission of working with the Taliban and taking up their mission of killing more Americans.
Expect loud calls for actions against President Obama after this latest action - much louder than have already been called in the past two days. Again, it pales the assumptions of missteps with the Benghazi scandal. It far surpasses concerns Americans have regarding the NSA, the VA, and other White House concerns. This may be the Obama action that leads to the president’s removal from office prior to the end of his term in 2016. It is the responsibility of a just United States Congress to take the necessary actions to see that President Obama follows the United States’ laws. There is already talk of yet another hearing over this latest Obama administration controversy.
The five persons released from Guantanamo are high-ranking Taliban officials, according to Time. They are Mohammad Fazl, the Taliban’s former deputy minister of defense; Mohammad Nabi, the former chief of Taliban security in Qalat; Abdul Haq Wasiq, accused of mass killings and torture during the Taliban’s time in power; Mullah Norullah Nori, the senior Taliban commander in the strategic northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif; and, Khairullah Khairkhwa, former Taliban governor of Heart Province. Their actions with the Taliban date back as far as the 1990s and as recently as 2002.
It is of great concern to politicians in Washington, D.C. that President Barack Obama has bypassed Congress to release the five terrorists. Additionally, Obama has promised to empty out Gitmo by the end of 2014. For the record, there are 149 prisoners still there. The concern is that Obama may continue to release prisoners in an effort to meet his deadline of closing the Guantanamo, Cuba detention center by year's end.