A group of eight Senate Republicans have written a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid him for the release of American POW Bowe Bergdahl.
The Hill has the details of a letter Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
In a letter led by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the senators rebuke Reid for not allowing Republicans to vote on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2014 that would have expressly barred Obama from transferring prisoners from the Guantánamo Bay detention center.
“Because of your actions, members were not able to get a straightforward, focused vote on barring the transfer of Guantanamo detainees,” the senators wrote. “The end result was that the bill only contained a reporting provision (which the president broke) and not a strict prohibition on transfer of detainees as was previous law.”
Republican Sens. John Cornyn (Texas), Ted Cruz (Texas), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Mike Lee (Utah), John Thune (S.D.), Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Mike Enzi (Wyo.) also signed the letter.
The political motivations behind the letter reveal that some Republicans think that they can gain politically from opposing the negotiated release of a prisoner of war. Republicans claim that they are opposing the release of the five prisoners from GITMO, but without the release of the prisoners, Bergdahl would still be held captive by the Taliban. Outside of some delusional Republican Rambo fantasies, the only way to bring Bergdahl home was to negotiate his release.
Just to make the point perfectly clear, Republicans are arguing that bringing American POWs home is a bad thing. The idea that they can both support the release of Bergdahl and oppose giving up anything in return is the type of negotiating tactic that the nation has witnessed congressional Republicans try to pull domestically during the government shutdown and debt ceiling negotiations. Congressional Republicans are all about getting something for nothing, so of course, opposing the return of a POW makes perfect sense to them.
The underlying hypocrisy of Republicans saying nothing while President George W. Bush released or transferred 500 detainees remains undiscussed by both the media and the GOP. The letter’s author, Sen. David Vitter, repeatedly voted against ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This so called fiscal conservative also voted against putting war spending on the books. Senate Republicans voted to keep soldiers like Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan and Iraq, and are now irate because an American POW has been brought home.
Republicans are about to find out that there is no political advantage to be had in “blaming” the Democratic Senate Majority Leader for bringing a POW home. With each smear of Bowe Bergdahl, Republicans are confirming that behind all the flag waving is a cynical political party that doesn’t care about the troops.