News / USA

Washington Debates Terms of Bergdahl Release

Washington Debates Terms of Bergdahl Releasei
X
Michael Bowman
June 01, 2014 7:17 PM
A U.S. Army sergeant freed by the Taliban after nearly five years in captivity is receiving medical attention in Germany before an expected reunion with his family in the United States. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the Obama administration is responding to criticism from some lawmakers over the release of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in return for Bowe Bergdahl’s freedom.
Michael Bowman
A U.S. Army sergeant freed by the Taliban after nearly five years in captivity is receiving medical attention in Germany before an expected reunion with his family in the United States. The Obama administration is responding to criticism from some lawmakers over the release of five detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in return for Bowe Bergdahl’s freedom.
 
Hours after Bowe Bergdahl’s release near the Afghan-Pakistan border, President Barack Obama shared a moment of joy with the sergeant’s parents, Bob and Jani.
 
“I know that I speak for all Americans when I say we cannot wait for the moment when you are reunited and your son, Bowe, is back in your arms,” said Obama.
 
Bowe Bergdahl’s mother then expressed her gratitude.
 
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported Bowe.  He has had a wonderful team everywhere.  We will continue to stay strong for Bowe while he recovers.”
 
But amid cheers, some criticize the price paid for Bergdahl’s freedom, and worry that dealing with the Taliban could embolden militants and put more Americans at risk.
 
Republican Senator Ted Cruz, speaking on ABC’s This Week program, was among those questioning the deal.

“I think it is very disturbing that we are releasing five acknowledged terrorist Taliban leaders in a deal with terrorists.  Sergeant Bergdahl was fighting to capture these terrorists.  Can you imagine what he would say to his fallen comrades who lost their lives to stop these people who were responsible, directly or indirectly, for threatening or taking U.S. civilian lives?  I mean, that is why we sent our soldiers there (to Afghanistan),” said Cruz.
 
The Obama administration’s justification rests on a view that Sergeant Bergdahl was a prisoner of war, not a hostage.  National Security Advisor Susan Rice said that the U.S. has a special responsibility to freeing those captured in battle.

“We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women who were taken in battle.  And we did that in this instance.  If for some reason we took a position now in the 21st century, when some of our adversaries are not state actors, that we would not do our utmost to bring our prisoners of war home, that would break faith with the American people and with the men and women who serve in uniforms,” said Rice, also speaking on ABC’s This Week.
 
On a visit to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel echoed Rice's argument, and did not rule out the possibility of other breakthroughs with militants.

Last week, President Obama announced a small residual U.S. force will remain in Afghanistan next year if the country signs a bilateral security agreement with the United States.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid