News / USA

Obama Makes 'No Apologies' on Bergdahl Release

Bowe Bergdahl, shown in video while a captive of Taliban in 2010 (file photo)
Bowe Bergdahl, shown in video while a captive of Taliban in 2010 (file photo)
VOA News
President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would make “no apologies” for agreeing to a deal that released Taliban detainee U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, despite controversy in Washington that Congress was not notified ahead of time.
 
“I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody's child,'' Obama said at a news conference after a Group of Seven nations summit in Brussels, Belgium.
 
"We saw an opportunity and we seized it and I make no apologies for it," Obama reiterated.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama discussed details about the release of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years, during a news conference after the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 5, 2014.U.S. President Barack Obama discussed details about the release of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years, during a news conference after the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 5, 2014.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama discussed details about the release of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years, during a news conference after the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 5, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama discussed details about the release of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban for five years, during a news conference after the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 5, 2014.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon reported Bergdahl's health is stable and improving as he recuperates at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.
 
In Brussels, the president addressed fierce criticism from Republicans and some Democratic allies that he did not sufficiently inform Congress over the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl, who was kept in captivity for nearly five years.
 
"This is not some abstraction, this is not some political football," Obama said. "As commander in chief of the armed forces, I am responsible for those kids.

"We don’t condition whether not we make the effort to get them back," he added.
 
Taliban weigh in

The Taliban also released a statement on Thursday, claiming Bergdahl's release shows the Taliban have legitimacy as a movement capable of negotiating successful deals with the United States, a Taliban commander told Reuters.
 
“This gives the Islamic Emirates more legitimacy in front of the world. It shows we are able to deal directly with the Americans and also successfully,” said Maulvi Mubarak, shadow Taliban chief of the Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar.

Mubarak said the deal would also boost morale among the Taliban's ranks, including the hundreds of men under his command in three neighboring districts.
 
“This will give us more courage and determination to carry on this holy task,” he told Reuters.

The five Taliban leaders who were exchanged for Bergdahl have rejoined their families in Qatar after 13 years in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The freed Taliban leaders will live under restrictions in Qatar, including a one-year ban on their travel. They include: Khairullah Khairkhwa, former Herat provincial governor and founding member of the Taliban; Mullah Mohammad Fazl, former chief of the army staff; Norullah Nuri, former civilian head of the northern zone; and Abdul Haq Wasiq, former deputy head of intelligence.

The fifth man, Mohammad Nabi Omari, is being described as a relatively minor figure associated with the Haqqani network that was holding the American soldier.

Bergdahl improving

Since Bergdahl's release last weekend, "his health continues to improve daily," said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

Bergdahl has been speaking English with the staff at the Landstuhl medical center in Germany. However, he hasn't spoken with his parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl of Idaho, Warren said.
 
Bergdahl also is more engaged in his treatment plan at the center, but there is no specific timetable for his return to the U.S. for further treatment, Warren said.

Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan in 2009. Some soldiers have said he walked away from his unit, and have alleged at least six soldiers died trying to find him.
 
He was freed last week in a controversial prisoner-swap deal that saw five Taliban militants released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and flown to Qatar.
 
Some Republican members of the U.S. Congress have said Obama set a dangerous precedent with the swap for Bergdahl and might have broken the law.
 
"I am never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington. That is par for the course," Obama said.

Some material for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
June 05, 2014 12:40 PM
For those opposed to the deal, one must ask: All of a sudden PTSD no longer matters. Does this mean any American soldier or cop suffering PTSD is a coward who must be despised? Seems so.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 06, 2014 8:28 AM
THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW? --- Less than .01% of .01% of the US military ever saw combat of any kind -- (BUT?) -- from my experience with the (DAV) Disabled American Veterans I worked with and knew, after my honorable discharge, I found out almost all their disabilities were frivolous, (non-combat related), made up injuries and PTSD to get disability payments for life, and still work a real job.. (that's what clogs the VA hospital system, all the fakers trying to get a free ride)...

MOST the Disabled American Veterans get at least 10% to 20% disability payments for the rest of their lives -- and free health care for them and their families -- (and the VA doctors help them get it?) --- Over 98% of (disability claims) of Disabled American Veterans, are for (non-combat related) claims they got injured or wounded or PTSD, when in the military sitting on their butts -- and they are really as healthy as any American civilian. .... REALLY


by: Edward F from: Wisconsin
June 05, 2014 12:31 PM
OK. so the US Marine held in Mexico is different?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid