Many Americans were not sure what to think earlier this week when the U.S. government broke its own rule of never negotiating with terrorist when it made a prisoner swap to ensure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
When news first broke of his release over the weekend, the swap was heralded on Sunday morning talk shows by Susan Rice, the United States National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Rice said it was a “joyous day” and that he’s going to be safely reunited with his family. She also said “he served the United States with honor and distinction.”
President Barack Obama was joined by Sgt. Bergdahl’s parents at the White House. He said “I know I speak for all Americans when I say that we cannot wait for the moment when you are reunited, and your beloved Bowe is back in your arms.”
In viewing these events, it is easy to rejoice that a prisoner of war has been released and will returning to his Idaho home.
Then the information began pouring out in the media coverage in regards to the five men released from Guantanamo Bay to ensure Sgt. Bergdahl’s release.
One of the detainees, Mullah Mohammad Fazi, is wanted by the U.N. for war crimes involving the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan. Reports show his original capture being used as a recruiting tool. Lord only knows what his release will mean.
Another detainee, Mullah Khairulla Khairkhwa, is known for his close ties with Usama bin Laden.
Mohammad Nabi Omari was caught smuggling pieces of missiles with a plan to assemble them.
Abdul Haq Wasiz was accused by Human Rights Watch of mass killings and torture.
All five had direct access to the Taliban.
Details of the swap show these five prisoners being sent to Qatar and having “restrictions,” keeping them in that country for at least one year.
If they are like any past Guantanamo Bay detainees, these men will likely rejoin extremist forces as pick off where they left off. All five are considered “high risks.”
Through the years, the Joint Task Force-Guantanamo Bay commanders reported numerous prisoners released to have resumed terrorist activities.
Media reports then began to focus on the fact that President Obama didn’t give a 30-day notice to Congress necessary to move the prisoners.
White House Spokesperson Jay Carney said “it was the judgment of the team and the president that there was enough urgency to ensure that Sgt. Bergdahl was safely recovered that a 30-day window of hoping that that opportunity remained open was not an option.”
He noted ongoing discussions about Sgt. Bergdahl’s case with Congress during the previous year.
By the end of Monday’s coverage, the complete focus of coverage turned to the events leading to Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture.
Reports began pouring in that Sgt. Bergdahl was a “deserter” and left an Afghanistan Base on his own looking for the Taliban.
Former Army Special Forces Officer Michael Walts, who commanded units involved in the search and rescue of Sgt. Bergdahl, told Fox News that “he was not captured. He went missing. He left on his own.”
Waltz then said there were several traps left for Special Forces who were trying to locate the sergeant.
Some reports show six American soldiers being killed during the search in areas where they wouldn’t have been unless they were a part of a search and recovery mission.
Fellow platoon members Cody Full and Gerald Sutton went on national television to say he violated his oath, deserted the U.S., and put other Americans in jeopardy.
Full also told CNN that before Sgt. Bergdahl disappeared, he said the sergeant told him “if deployment is lame, I’m going to get lost in the mountains and make my way to China.”
Sgt. Evan Buetow told the Daily News that he remembers being on a small team with an interpreter who spied on radio and cell communications in the area of the base. He said he overheard Afghans in the nearby village stating “there’s an American here looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban.”
Now emails have resurfaced from Sgt. Bergdahl in 2012 that were reported by the late Michael Hastings in the Rolling Stone.
To his parents he wrote “the future is too good to waste on lies.” “And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting…I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”
In the Rose Garden appearance with President Obama, Sgt. Bergdahl’s father recited in the Pashto language the phrase “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahm.” In English, it means “In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Compassionate.”
Both the New York Post and Washington Post finished the day with stories on a deleted Twitter post by Bob Bergdahl that said “I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen!”
The tweet was sent three days before the prisoner swap. Another tweet still remains on his account calling democracy a “cult of the west.”
While my first reaction was that his account might have been hacked, I’m still unsure.
The Bergdahls were asked about the missing tweet when they returned home to Idaho but refused to comment.
My hope is for the major media outlets to continue keeping this a front page and top news story. Questions need to be answered.