Obama on Bergdahl deal: ‘Regardless of the circumstances… we still get an American soldier back’
The President also acknowledged that the Taliban fighters who were freed from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for Bergdahl could once again engage in efforts that are detrimental to U.S. security.
President Obama on Tuesday defended his decision to swap five terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to free an American soldier — despite claims he was a deserter who abandoned his unit.
Obama acknowledged that the Taliban fighters released in the swap for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could reengage in war against the United States again, but he said he feels confident that if that were the case, the terrorists would be captured.
« Is there a possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely, » Obama said during a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. « That’s been true of all the prisoners that were released from Guantanamo. There’s a certain recidivism rate that takes place. »
But Obama said he still trusts his decision to free the Islam extremists.
« I wouldn’t be doing it if I thought it would be contrary to American national security, » Obama said.
« This is what happens at the end of wars. That was true for George Washington. That was true for Abraham Lincoln. That was true for FDR. That’s been true in every combat situation — at some point you try to get your folks back. »
And he added that he wasn’t concerned with why Bergdahl was captured, only with bringing the soldier home.
Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity,” Obama said. « We don’t condition that. »
But Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said the U.S. Army may still pursue desertion charges against Berdgahl.
Obama’s comments came on the heels of political leaders’ outrage over the White House’s decision to release the terrorists in exchange for Bergdahl.
The prisoner of war was accused of abandoning his post in Afghanistan to communicate with the enemy when he disappeared in June 2009.
Six soldiers died during the search for Bergdahl.
« He’s not a great person or great example of a soldier, » said Sgt. Evan Buetow, who was among a small team assigned to search for the missing soldier after he was captured.