Hero or Villain? More Questions over Bergdahl Swap
There will be no hero's welcome in Hailey, Idaho, for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier who was freed in exchange for five Taliban leaders.
The town has been swamped with hate mail and angry calls, labeling Bergdahl a traitor. The Taliban captured him in 2009 after he walked away from his unit unarmed.
Now Army officials are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the sergeant's capture, saying they will make no judgments until they have the facts.
"I think it a bit unfair to Sergeant Bergdahl's family and to him to presume anything," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.
But many are raising questions based on the facts available so far.
In video released by the Taliban of the swap, it's clear that the U.S. Special Forces that retrieved Bergdahl took extraordinary precautions, patting him down to check for explosives. Their straight arms indicated their weapons were concealed.
***Is the criticism about the circumstances of the U.S.-Taliban prisoner swap legitimate or a rush to judgment? David French, senior counsel with the American Center for Law and Justice, addressed that question and more on CBN Newswatch, June 5.
Meanwhile, a Washington Post article reveals that many friends of Bergdahl's father, Robert, wondered over the years whether his study of his son's captors and the world of Islam led him to sympathize.
The Post reports that Robert Bergdahl maintained he was just trying to ensure his son's release.
But CBN News contributor and Middle East expert Raymond Ibrahim believes that both father and son converted to Islam, citing one telling sign: their beards.
"The prophet of Islam, Mohammed, counseled Muslims to grow their beards and clip their mustaches short so they don't look like Christians or Jews," Ibrahim explained.
"So if they're doing and following these mundane teachings, you can rest assured that other more important teachings, such as hostility, even if it's just internal, hostility for the infidel and non-Muslim, is also being upheld because that's just logic," he said.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration met privately with senators late Wednesday regarding the five high-risk Taliban detainees released in exchange for Bergdahl.
The administration made the swap without giving Congress the required 30 days' notice. Lawmakers are threatening impeachment if the president releases any more prisoners without congressional approval.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., sounded that warning, saying "I believe the decision to release these prisoners put our country in jeopardy."
Graham is among many Republicans who worry President Barack Obama may try to shut down Guantanamo Bay in the face of repeated congressional opposition.
Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin also raised concerns about the five Taliban leaders.
"These are all high level people. These are people who basically have the ability to go back and hit the ground running, and we're concerned about that," he told reporters.
Bergdahl, meanwhile, continues to recuperate at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. He has yet to make a phone call to his family in Idaho or speak in public.