America prides itself on many things, but at the vanguard is its pledge to the military, "No soldier left behind."
Presidents are called upon to make tough decisions -- life or death in many cases. And when it comes to public safety, military engagements and leadership, we give those reins to our elected chief executive. We even give the President something called 'executive powers' which allow him or (someday) her to make split second decisions on our national best interests. It could be war, it could be a national disaster or it could be something else. Sometimes there just isn't time to sit back and cogitate.
Friday was one of those rare, but important moments. Our one remaining prisoner of war in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, of Hailey, Idaho, was handed over to U.S. special operations forces by the Taliban. This didn't come without a concession on our side. We had to release five prisoners we were holding in Guantanamo Bay Prison.
Time was of importance according to the White House. The window to take advantage of this opportunity was closing fast. Our commander-in-chief, duly elected to make these decisions, decisively acted. And today Sgt. Bergdahl is a free man.
So why are the Republicans so angry with our president? According to them, he broke the law to free this prisoner. And you know what, they're partially right. U.S. law requires the president to notify Congress 30 days before any terrorists are transferred from the U.S. facility. But what if the window of opportunity didn't allow for 30 days to make this move? Should we have just left one of our own brave soldiers behind to face torture or death? A few Republicans are saying so.
What was the real cost here? Millions of dollars for one. And that cost was to the American taxpayer, but no more. According to Reuters:
(Reuters) - Democratic lawmakers pushing to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay said on Wednesday that its cost has skyrocketed to $2.7 million per inmate this year and argued it is too expensive to keep open while the country is fighting budget deficits.
So we let five prisoners go. None of them were posing a threat to us. And probably none will pose a threat to us in the future. We saved $13.5 million dollars, found a country to take these prisoners off of our hands (Qatar) and we're that much closer to closing down Gitmo at 454 million taxpayer dollars a year and rising.
How dare Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of California and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who should know better, publicly shun the return of one of our soldiers? McKeon is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Inhofe is the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
These two buffoons, masquerading as our representatives, have the gall to criticize this presidential action. It would be cowardly not to have taken advantage of the opportunity to peacefully and safely manipulate the return of a captured hero.
When will the Republicans learn and accept that their candidate lost the election and Obama won? And with that comes the responsibilities of executive decision making. Yes, there is a law that says there should be a 30 day period before this action takes place. But there's also a law that grants presidents executive orders. And Obama did what the weak-kneed GOP can't stand. Obama saw an opportunity to do what's right and he seized it.
Now all the whining Republicans have for bluster is a technicality. Certainly that's not going to go too far. Just ask America whether they want a freed American prisoner brought home, or an opportunity lost because the Republican cry babies didn't get a chance to weigh in.