So much for “Support Our Troops”…
“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Berghdal’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)[pictured, right] and Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the Senate Armed Services ranking member and House Armed Services chairman, respectively, in a joint statement.Earlier Saturday, White House officials announced that the Taliban released Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for nearly five years. Then came multiple reports that U.S. officials released five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay. Those members are: Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Nori, Abdul Haq Wasiq and Mohammad Nabi Omari, according to multiple reports.
According to CNN: Khairkhwa was believed to be “directly associated” with Osama Bin Laden, as well as a “drug lord” and a friend of former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai; Fazi, Normi and Wasiq were top Taliban military officials, while Omari is the Taliban’s former chief of communications.
Inhofe and McKeon said that Obama “clearly violated laws which require him to notify Congress thirty days before any transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.”
“Our joy at Sergeant Berghdal’s release is tempered by the fact that President Obama chose to ignore the law — not to mention sound policy — to achieve it,” they said in their statement.
No More Mister Nice Blog notes that Republicans threatened to use the release of Bowe Bergdahl against him if he negotiated to release those held at Gitmo in return. From a 2012 Rolling Stone piece by Micahel Hastings:
According to White House sources, Marc Grossman, who replaced Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, was given a direct warning by the president’s opponents in Congress about trading Bowe for five Taliban prisoners during an election year. “They keep telling me it’s going to be Obama’s Willie Horton moment,” Grossman warned the White House. The threat was as ugly as it was clear: The president’s political enemies were prepared to use the release of violent prisoners to paint Obama as a Dukakis-like appeaser, just as Republicans did to the former Massachusetts governor during the 1988 campaign….