As some lawmakers consider impeachment for President Obama over the trade of five Guantanamo Bay detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the president has refused to apologize for his actions.
Controversy has surrounded the president’s decision to go ahead with the prisoner trade for various reasons. One reason is the president sidestepped discussing the trade with Congress in an effort to reduce the prisoner population in Guantanamo Bay to force its closer, while others say the president gave too much in terms of hostage “value” for Sgt. Bergdahl.
The five Taliban soldiers traded for Sgt. Bergdahl have been reported to be high ranking individuals in the Taliban. Rob Williams of the Senate Intelligence Committee said four of the people released are expected to resume attacks with the Taliban.
Johnathan Turley, a law professor from George Washington University, told CNN anchor Carol Costello Monday he did not think there was much debate whether or not President Obama had broken the law with the trade. When asked if the White House had broken any laws, Turley responded, “They did… this is a long series of violations of federal law that the president’s been accused of.”
“We saw an opportunity and we seized it,” said President Obama to the BBC. “As commander-in-chief I am responsible for those kids…and I make no apologies for that.”
The White House previously claimed they were moved to act towards negotiating the release of Sgt. Bergdahl after viewing a Taliban video showing the sergeant in “poor health and faltering over his words.” This same video was shown in a private screening to skeptical lawmakers, but the showing failed to change their views of the event.
Amidst the controversy surrounding the president’s decision, Sgt. Bergdahl’s hometown has cancelled any upcoming celebrations to welcome the sergeant back home.
Organizers of the homecoming event in Hailey, Idaho told Al-Jazeera America they did not have the resources to manage the influx of supporters and protestors of Sgt. Bergdahl who would meet in the small town.
The local Police Chief talked with the Idaho Statesman about the groups meeting in Hailey for the cancelled event. “I received one call today from a (veterans group in California) that wanted to bring up 2,000 protestors.”
Hailey has also received angry phone calls and hate mail over the celebrations. The president of the Hailey Chamber of Commerce, Jane Drussel has said, “It’s like a modern-day lynching… The joy has all of a sudden become not so joyful.”