Prisoner Swap

Dear Editor:

As the firestorm rages over the exchange of five Afghanistan prisoners for Sargent Bowe Bergdahl, I am struck by how unfair the criticism over this exchange has been.

First, the absolute vitriol about Bowe’s release is sickening. Even if he left the battle field with no intention of ever returning and did condemn America’s actions in the war– he is one of ours.

I can’t help but think of all the men and women who have suffered from PTSD (shell shock) in this war, in all wars actually. Recently an American soldier was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for leaving his post in Afghanistan and went and murdered sixteen villagers, including children, while in a blackout.

Before we condemn Bowe, we should think of the thousands of suicides of our returning veterans from this endless war, not to mention the alcoholism, spousal abuse, and homelessness for far too many of these returning soldiers.

Perhaps Bowe didn’t crack like many others did. Maybe he just was overcome with moral outrage against war. Don’t we honor Jesus Christ as “The Prince of Peace”.

(By the way, our military will release anyone from further service because of religious or philosophical conscienous objection.)

Second, where do people get off attacking Bowe’s parents? My son served with UNICEF in the Sudan in Africa inoculating children against diseases that would often wipe out a complete village of kids. If my son had been captured by some terrorist group, like Bowe’s dad I also would have moved heaven and earth to get him back, even identifying with his captors.

Third, what about these five prisoners that seem to scare us so much? What balderdash! After twelve years in captivity we don’t even have enough evidence to file charges against them. The war will end in a few months and we would certainly release them then. All wars, fortunately, end and prisoners are exchanged.

Fourth, why are so many (mainly hypocritical Republicans that supported the exact exchange President Obama made before he made it) blasting our President? President Obama is enforcing our core value of never leaving any of our soldiers behind.

Remember President Bush paid the Sunni’s hundreds of millions to stop fighting us in Iraq, and until these payments were made, by General Patraeus, these Sunni’s had killed hundreds of Americans. President Bush also released 562 prisoners from Gitmo.

Israel recently released 1,000 prisoners to get back one soldier. And don’t forget President Carter pardoned all those that went to Canada to avoid the Vietnam war.

Finally, I must say “welcome home Bowe”. I am so happy our President got you out.

Bill Bryant

St. Clairsville