Where do you stand in terms of the prisoner exchange? Do you agree with the Obama administration’s decision to turn over the Guantanamo Bay residents?
PC: I completely disagree with the administration’s decision to turn over the prisoners because the United States does not negotiate with terrorists.
BW: My understanding is that we’re heading to a real dead end with the so-called Gitmo “residences” since the War is officially coming to an end in 2016. They’d eitehr have to go on trial or be released. Clearly, our government doesn’t have an interest in trying them and we had to do something. Why not get our guy back, seeing as how there is historical precedence for it.
AP: I agree with Obama’s decision to release the prisoners and make the exchange. It is unfortunate that the administration is catching so much flack for prisoners that were in Gitmo since I was in high school.
Do you feel that Bergdahl’s alleged desertion should have warranted his continued imprisonment and exile?
PC: Absolutely not. In the United States we are innocent until proven guilty and the U.S. military leaves no man behind. Any comments or statements regarding his guilt prior to trial are purely speculation.
BW: No. Innocent until proven guilty. We don’t just assume a guy is guilty and give up on him without him even getting a chance to explain himself. Until he’s had that chance, he should be treated like any other soldier.
AP: I think we all agree that his alleged crime should have no bearing on the issue at hand. As Brian and Paul so eloquently put it, guilt needs to be proven.
What is your opinion of the Taliban “Dream Team”? Do you feel that their release will have a significant impact on international relations?
PC: Several of the prisoners are wanted by the U.N. on charges of mass murder. Senior Taliban commander Noorullah Noori has already stated that he will return to Afghanistan to take up fighting Americans. Terrorist organizations worldwide now see the U.S. will negotiate and meet their demands. Expect to see an increase in kidnappings, detentions and ransoming of American citizens in the near future.
BW: This is the perfect example of Republicans crying wolf. They would have called anyone released “the most dangerous of the dangerous.” They’re fear mongers and have about as much credibility with anything national security related as they do with anything science related, which is to say, NONE.
AP: I think that their “Dream Team” status has been highly exaggerated, or “Dream Team” doesn’t mean what I think it means. These guys have been in Gitmo since 2001 – 2002. To put that in perspective, the first ever iPhone was released in 2007. Yes, they have a history. No, they are not good men, but are they a threat? Highly doubtful. For argument’s sake, if we assume that everything we’ve heard so far is true and Bergdahl is indeed a scumbag deserter who directly caused the deaths of 6 of his unit as a result of desertion, no president, Obama, Bush or otherwise would have traded him for 5 of the most deadly terrorists in the world. Like I said, 2001.
Has your opinion of the Obama administration changed since the Bergdahl exchange?
PC: No. Obama is an unfit leader and his administration has been fraught with scandal. Obama violated the law he himself signed off on requiring consultation of Congress 30 days prior to any prisoner release. Obama recognizes this yet publicly states he would do it again. These are the actions of a dictator. This is a high crime and an impeachable offense.
BW: No. I think he made a prudent and calculated move, and I’ve come to expect that from him in foreign policy matters.
AP: No. He is just like every other politician, Republican, Democrat or otherwise.
AP’s Wrap Up: Clearly, there are a variety of varied opinions on the matter. However, what we seem to see here is a great reflection of what we have seen in the general public. While there are individuals that voice their opposition and disapproval, individual opinions of the administration have not largely changed based on the exchange. This is a significant indicator of general sentiment shaping our perspective on events, and not the other way around. Is this healthy? Probably not for a constitutional democracy, but are we really a democracy in the strictest sense? That’s probably a discussion for another day. In any case, we do appreciate the full spectrum of varied voices in our readership so if you have any thoughts, feel free to comment below!