- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Amid growing questions surrounding the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the chamber floor Wednesday to offer a vigorous defense of the Obama administration’s actions and ask rhetorically whether critics of the prisoner exchange would rather see the Taliban mete out justice than the U.S. military.

“This past weekend, our military refused to abandon its duty — instead fulfilling its obligation to never, ever leave a soldier behind,” Mr. Reid said, calling the release of Sgt. Bergdahl was “a culmination of heroic efforts by our military, our government, and our president.”

In order to secure Sgt. Bergdahl’s release, five Guantanamo Bay prison detainees were transferred to Qatar, and some members of Congress say the Obama administration violated the law by not giving them 30 days notice about the transfers. The Obama administration has said extraordinary circumstances and Sgt. Bergdahl’s deteriorating health made it necessary to act when they did.

“The safe return of an American soldier should not be used for political points,” said Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat. “When a man or woman puts on the uniform as a United States serviceman, they have America’s uncompromising support.”

Mr. Reid went on to quote some Republicans’ prior statements about the necessity of bringing Sgt. Bergdahl home.

“It’s not a victory for President Obama; it’s a victory for our soldiers, [their] families, and our great country,” he said.

Some of Sgt. Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers have said in recent days that the sergeant simply abandoned his post when he disappeared in 2009.

Mr. Reid said there are questions about Sgt. Bergdahl’s disappearance that will by solved by the United States Army, and not “Monday morning quarterbacks on Capitol Hill.”

“I will choose the justice system of the United States Army — American justice — every time,” he said. “What was the alternative? Would any American honestly prefer that a U.S. soldier remain in captivity until all the questions have been answered? Of course not. In the United States, we rescue our soldiers first and ask questions later.”

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