Letters to the Editor

Letter: Wrong reaction

June 12, 2014


To the editor:

All members of the military live and die by the saying “No man or woman is left behind.” This is carved into them from day one in the service. It is a trust that says you will be returned alive, wounded or dead to this country. Commanders also live by this saying. It does not say “No man or woman is left behind if we like them.” Ever since the commander in chief of the armed forces arranged for the return of Sgt. Bergdahl, the GOP has screamed and yelled about the condition in which Bergdahl was captured. They have accused and convicted and would have sentenced Bergdahl to be left as a prisoner of war.

Those in Congress are missing the point. There is a responsibility of all commanders, to ensure that all personnel under their command are returned. They are not there to pass judgment; justice will be determined if required when our military personnel have returned to the soil of this country. It is a shame that the U.S. Congress even contemplates leaving a POW in the hands of a terrorist organization. Welcome home Sgt. Bergdahl, the president and the people of the United States welcome you back, if not the Congress of the United States.      


Brock Masters 3 years, 11 months ago

You miss the points of contention.

Obama failed to notify Congress about the release as required by law. He and his administration referred to Bergdahl as a hero when he wasn't. Yes, it is important to bring our service people home, but at what cost? 5 dangerous terrorist released? And what precedent does it set now that we will trade with terrorist?

Think about it. A terrorist group kidnaps an American tomorrow are we going to trade for them? When does it stop? Until we have no terrorist in prison?

Amy Varoli Elliott 3 years, 11 months ago

Technically the Taliban have never been labeled a terrorist organization, that is the legal loop hole

Brock Masters 3 years, 11 months ago

How so Amy? The requires notification of detainees from GITMO - not terrorist.

And if you're referring to negotiating with terrorist, you don't have to be officially labeled one to be one.

Radically Islam has not been designated as a terrorist organization but is there any doubt that some Muslims are terrorist - Boston bombers for example?

Jim Slade 3 years, 11 months ago

On the contrary- Congress had been notified about negotiations with the Taliban for quite a number of years.

The Taliban is a political party, so much so they even hold seats on the Afghani parliament. They just happen to harbor terrorist organizations. I see no difference negotiating with them and negotiating with Pakistan or Iran who also harbor terror orgs.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 11 months ago

You are right, Jim, leaders of all countries have to communicate and negotiate with each other regardless if they like the others politics or find them likable. We live in a world with a multitude of world views, culture, religious and political beliefs. We have no trouble with Saudi Arabia and their leaders are pretty extreme. What we see and read about on the news is just the surface of the pond, we have no idea what lives underneath.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 11 months ago

Sure, Jim, justify a bunch of murderous, trogledites. You think just like that obtuse president of ours.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 11 months ago

Saudi Arabia, Pinochet, Ngo Dinh Diem, Sadaam Hussien (when he was fighting against Iran), the Taliban when they were fighting the Soviet Union, etc. The longer we keep these people in Gitmo, the more likely they will either be forgotten or become heroes. We never deal with murderous, troglodytes, do we?

Jim Slade 3 years, 11 months ago

Remind me never to go to war with you.

"I don't care if we leave a man behind"

That would be your motto.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 11 months ago

The GOP would not have approved this action because Pres Obama was leading the way.

The Taliban has not been designated as a terrorist organization so I hear on Radio News.

Reagan/Bush hired the Taliban during the Afghan - Russia conflict. Made sure they had weapons and money. The USA government does make contact with Taliban leadership according to the news.

Isn't it odd. The USA government is doing what Russia went broke doing.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 11 months ago

The President didn't need the GOP approval. He didn't need his own party's approval. He just needed to pick that phone he has and give a ring to Congress and say, "I'm doing this."

Richard Heckler 3 years, 11 months ago

It is the GOP igniting this nonsense and dragging the Bergdahl family through the mud so to speak. This is sick behavior no matter what.

If there are legal questions surrounding Bergdahl he cannot possibly receive a fair trial or hearing due to the sick misbehavior of the GOP. Couldn't they keep their mouths shut?

Brock Masters 3 years, 11 months ago

No more than the left could in regards to anything Bush did.

One party's bad actions do not justify bad actions on the part of the other party, but do not have selective indignation.

And, in this case I agree with the GOP for raising these issues. Breaking the law should not be allowed and the public should know it as well as not allowing the lie that Bergdahl was a hero to be perpetrated.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 11 months ago

The GOP didn't turn the whole thing into a photo op, now, did they Heckler? He will receive a courts martial and be judged by a jury of his peers in the military. This is not a civilian trial that is coming up.

Brock Masters 3 years, 11 months ago

Only in the world of someone blinded by hate would the Taliban not be considered a terrorist organization.

Open your eyes and see the world as it really is.

There is no good guy on the right or the left. They view and treat us as their pawns pitting us against one another.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 11 months ago

And yet, during the 80's we armed them ourselves, didn't we?

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 11 months ago

Representative Charlie Wilson of Texas went to Pakistan to visit the hospitals where the children wounded by the Russians had been taken. The Russians had put bombs in toys and dolls so that children would be killed and maimed when they picked them up. Wilson was so angry about this that he worked very hard to get funding to the Mujahideen to enable them to fight back. The Taliban was one of the Mujahideen factions that formed during the Soviet occupation.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 11 months ago

Bruce, I would argue that President Obama and Congress are all about politics right now and the country be damned. Both sides of the aisle are so entrenched in ideology, they have all taken their eyes off of the ball. As a veteran, I agree that we serve with the confidence that if our country can get us back it will. That being said, parading Bergdahl's family in front of the cameras, making his release a photo op and then trying to sell yet another false narrative about "serving with honor and distinction," infuriated those who served with him that knew the truth. Members of Congress never said they didn't want to get Bergdahl back. What they are upset about is another move by the President that circumvented his responsibility to consult Congress on what he was about to do. This President is a despot who feels absolutely no responsibility to answer to anyone.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 11 months ago

Berghdahl Swap

ALEC GOP is using Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to win back the WH and congress = sick

We citizens must not realize to what degree the right wing will go to win the white house and both houses of congress back which would be the ultimate nightmare and is mentally unbalanced.

What important fact remains true through all of this? It is illegal to hold people in jail locked up behind bars without criminal charges. It is illegal to hold people without charges for week,a month or a few months without charges.

Perhaps not in mainstream media there has been a ton of discussion from legal minds across the USA on this very issue. Holding anyone without charges is illegal.

In essence there are sooooo many in congress aka lawmakers who were supporting this nonsense which makes them supporters of law breaking.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl being gone for 5 years without charges is quite telling. And he was being held hostage not exactly a picnic.

Too many people in congress are being stupid and uninformed about this and sucking too many USA citizens into this web of nonsense.

We citizens must not realize to what degree the right wing will go to win the white house and both houses of congress back which would be the ultimate nightmare.

And while in detention many prisoners were subject to torture another illegal activity.

The reason they were still being held without charges is because there is no evidence available to substantiate charges. There are plenty of legal minds representing that very issue.

Bob Smith 3 years, 11 months ago

The current regime had no problem leaving Americans to die in Benghazi.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 11 months ago

J. Christopher Stevens and all people who serve overseas in our embassies know the dangers, and they aren't even trained soldiers. They are just as important as our soldiers as they do a lot of work that prevents getting our troops involved. They weren't "left behind". They were there doing their jobs. Who was it who cut funding to embassies? Oh yeah, Congress. Why hasn't this been investigated be a special committee in the House? Oh yeah, because it's the people who are responsible, and they want to deflect blame away from them.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 11 months ago

Bergdahl was tortured while he was in captivity but that's ok. Obama should have ASKED CONGRESS first.
His family is now getting death threats. From their own countrymen.
I seriously wonder how many Vietnam vets are having PTSD flashbacks over this.

Brock Masters 3 years, 11 months ago

So, the president can, if they feel it justified, violate the law?

You will be okay with a Republican president doing it - right?

It is okay to say one prisoner even if it means many more will die? How many innocent people will die at the hands of the terrorist freed?

Would you be okay if the police freed a convicted murderer in exchange for the release of a hostage? If not, what is the difference?

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 11 months ago

So did Congress give their vote on the 500+ detainees released under George W. Bush? Many of whom, by the way, went on to create terrorist acts.
Just asking.....

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 11 months ago

And no, the President didn't "violate the law" but please proceed....

Brock Masters 3 years, 11 months ago

You were quick to blame Bush, but no response on proving Obama didn't violate the law. Why is that?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 11 months ago

Many of us who voted for Obama did so, because he was going to shut down Gitmo, either by moving them to the mainland or by releasing them to their home countries. We are disappointed that he hasn't, but why hasn't he? Oh yeah. Congress threw a fit when he suggested moving them to the mainland, even when a town in Montana said they would take the prisoners to bring jobs to their community. There was recently a story about how we treated German prisoners of wars with dignity and respect, so they could go back home with good feelings. We could have done this with these prisoners, so they could go back and say "Hey, those Americans were really nice to us. Maybe we should be friends." But no, Bush and Cheney decided to torture them and disrespect their Koran and prove to them that what they've been told about Americans being nasty people is correct.

Joshua Cain 3 years, 11 months ago

"Obama should have ASKED CONGRESS first." - Cait

Not should....is required.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 11 months ago

Nothing matters at all to the Republican Party except opposing ANYTHING that the black non-citizen president proposes or designs and winning elections at any cost. If leaving Sgt. Bergdahl with the Taliban would have won them any political advantage, the soldier would still be a captive until he died. As far as notifying congress, well, he would have had better luck in keeping this under wraps by notifying the National Inquirer.

Brock Masters 3 years, 11 months ago

How do you figure the president didn't violate the law? He signed the law that required him to give congress 30 days notice before releasing prisoners from GITMO.

The law wasn't in effect when Bush was president and those 500 were not all freed. Many are still in custody in other countries.

Please explain how the president didn't violate the law.

Joshua Cain 3 years, 11 months ago

He violated the law willingly. Plain and simple.

Here's another relevant passage from the 2014 NDAA.

....the Secretary determines, following a review 10 conducted in accordance with the requirements of 11 section 1023 of the National Defense Authorization 12 Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (10 U.S.C. 801 note) and 13 Executive Order No. 13567, that the individual is no 14 longer a threat to the national security of the United 15 States.

Are these individuals no longer threats? I'm quite sure they are.

Another limp defense of this swap was that if it leaked the Taliban would kill Bergdahl.....well the leak happened back in June 2013 from the Taliban themselves.


Now how is it that this swap needed to be under wraps when we already knew the swap has been shopped by the Taliban for some time?

Joshua Cain 3 years, 11 months ago

Whether Bergdahl is a deserter or not is irrelevant. Whether the Taliban is considered a terrorist org vs. actually being one is irrelevant.

The primary relevant piece of this story is that fact that this administration willfully violated the law. The law was passed specifically to prevent the executive branch from going around congress. Doing so robs congress of it's duty to conduct oversight.

There is no reason congress should not have been notified.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 3 years, 11 months ago

"When the President does it, it means it is not illegal." President Richard M. Nixon. Quote from 1977 interview with David Frost.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 11 months ago

What is it with those looking to justify Obama's actions by pointing to Bush? I'll say this. The military was much more respected by Bush than Obama. I point to Obama's "golf clap" reception at the West Point graduation this year as opposed to Bush's standing, cheering ovation at their graduation in 2008. Bush was a leader. Obama is a community organizer.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 11 months ago

Gee, I wonder why Bush canceled his trip to Switzerland when he found out Amnesty International was ready and waiting to file the paperwork with the Hague to have him arrested.
"No, he isn't." You, sir, owe me a new computer monitor from the iced tea I sprayed all over it when I read your comment.

Bob Forer 3 years, 11 months ago

Scott, community organizers were the folks behind the decades long struggle for civil rights. Do have a problem with that? Why do you use "community organizer" as a pejorative? It is as democratic and American as apple pie.

Well, maybe not within your narrow view of America.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 11 months ago

I would argue your view of America is equally limited if not more so.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 11 months ago

Community organizers in the Wild West Days you guys would like to bring back created schools for kids, law enforcement, helped neighbors put up their barns, helped bring in a town doctor, etc. Damn, the community, right Scott? Greed is the new American way, but that hasn't always been true. We used to take pride and care about our community. Many of us still do. We know our neighbors. We come to their aid. But I know plenty of people who don't even want to recognize their neighbors. Does community really mean so little to you? Truly sad.

Bob Forer 3 years, 11 months ago

"I would argue your view of America is equally limited if not more so."

Well Scotty, you are certainly making a little progress. You just acknowledged you have a limited view of America. Self-critical reflection suggests that you are taking the first steps towards recovery.

Keep it up. A smiley face and three shiny gold foil stars are in your future. Oh, and i almost forgot the oblitgatory "works and plays well with others."

Bob Forer 3 years, 11 months ago

I yearn for the day when the last angry white man "gets over" the fact that America elected an African American as President.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 11 months ago

Ah, the last gasp of the intellectually bankrupt. Call the President's detractors racist. Pathetic.

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