Wamp: Bergdahl swap deserves scrutiny

Wamp: Bergdahl swap deserves scrutiny

June 7th, 2014 By Weston Wamp in Opinion Columns

Weston Wamp

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

The highly controversial swap of five Taliban "enemy combatants" held at Guantanamo Bay for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserves tremendous scrutiny in the days ahead.

For generations, issues of national security have risen above partisan politics in our republic. While my focus as a candidate for Congress is the need to work together as Americans to solve problems and fix our broken government, we must be very clear about the role of Congress and the executive branch in matters of war and peace.

The optics of this unilateral decision by the president to "exchange" Sgt. Bergdahl for these dangerous prisoners raise many questions that should be answered honestly to the American people. Did the White House fully vet the intelligence on Sgt. Bergdahl's emails, tweets and text messages and validate their authenticity? Did Ambassador Susan Rice really believe he was "taken from the battlefield" and served honorably or were these just talking points like she has used in the past? Does the fact that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are launching a full investigation seem to validate that Sgt. Bergdahl walked away from his post? Why was this swap carried out at this time, five years after his capture? And why was Congress, the people's only representation in the federal government, not notified in accordance with current law?

Most importantly, it has been reported that six American soldiers died trying to find and free Sgt. Bergdahl in the 90 days following his departure from his post. These true American heroes gave their "last full measure of devotion" for this soldier; yet, Sgt. Bergdahl's true allegiance to his country, his mission and loyalty to our cause are very much in question.

His fellow comrades seem to have strong and similar feelings based on their history with Sgt. Bergdahl. As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said, taking hostages is the most common means for terrorists to raise money around the world.

Unfortunately, this ordeal will likely make this more commonplace, which puts our troops and civilians around the world more at risk in the days ahead. Our enemies now know the price we might pay if they take more hostages. Geopolitically, we are living through very dangerous times.

The Obama Administration has not been consistent or transparent with many national security and foreign policy issues. Our nation deserves better, and in the next two years it is imperative that members of Congress willing to work across the aisle will hold this administration accountable on behalf of the American people.

Weston Wamp is a Republican primary candidate in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District.