The five men President Obama swapped for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl may soon join their brethren on the battlefield. Following the release of the Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay, they were placed under the scrutiny of Qatar officials and limited by a travel ban that would keep them in the country. However, those limitations were only in place for a year. The agreement with Qatar is going to expire on the first of June, and that’s making many in Congress deeply concerned about what they will do next.
The administration is reportedly negotiating with Qatari officials about expanding the initial deadline, but there’s no indication that the talks have proven fruitful. For all anyone in the Obama camp can say, these dangerous terrorists will be free to rejoin their compatriots next week. That means they could put American servicemen in danger.
“It’s impossible for me to see how they don’t rejoin the fight in short order,” said Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire echoed his concerns. “Our troops should never have to confront a former Gitmo detainee on the battlefield,” she said, asking the administration to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The U.S. may not have much to say about it. If we can’t work out a deal with Qatar that extends the scrutiny of these terrorists, it could be very plausible that they return to the Taliban. According to some insiders, three of the five former prisoners have made specific attempts to get in touch with their old terror cells.
If they do go back to the battlefield, it will only heat up the criticism Obama has faced regarding the initial trade. Bergdahl is facing desertion charges, and there have been several reports that the administration knew he walked off the base when they made the deal. Just this week, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the president had a “special responsibility” to make sure that no men were left behind. That’s all well and good, but why should we endanger American lives to rescue a man who intentionally went AWOL? Why would we negotiate with terrorists over such a man?
When all is said and done, Bergdahl will be in prison and the terrorists will be free. If that doesn’t seem quite right, then maybe it’s time to ask whether or not this president is handling his “special responsibility” with the kind of competence we need in that position.