On Monday, in the wake of the news that President Obama agreed to release five detainees of Guantanamo Bay in order to secure the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held captive by the Taliban since 2009, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sent a strongly worded letter to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. In his letter, Graham demanded a hearing into the circumstances surrounding the release of the five detainees, whom Graham describes as “the hardest of the hard-core.” Graham also criticized the President over his decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by 2016.
Below is Graham’s letter in its entirety.
Dear Chairman Levin and Ranking Member Inhofe:
I write today requesting an immediate hearing on the exchange of five high-ranking Taliban leaders for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. While I appreciate an American was released from captivity, the decision by the Obama Administration has serious implications for our future national security.
The five terrorists released were the hardest of the hard-core. They held positions of great importance within the hard-core anti-American Taliban, including the Chief of Staff of the Taliban Army and the Taliban Deputy Minister of Intelligence. They have American blood on their hands and surely as night follows day they will return to the fight. In effect, we released the “Taliban Dream Team.” The United States is less safe because of these actions.
I fear President Obama’s decision will inevitably lead to more Americans being kidnapped and held hostage around the world.
There are also questions about why the Administration failed to comply with the law. We need a thorough review of this decision and I urge you to hold a hearing on this matter as it has profound implications for our national security.
With President Obama’s announcement of a total withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2016 — basically canceling and insurance policy to protect our homeland — and now releasing five Taliban leaders, it’s safe to say that last week was a great week for the Taliban.
Thank you for your consideration on this most important matter.
I have a few observations. First, you can picture Graham getting the vapors at least a couple times while writing this letter, feeling the need to step away from his mahogany writing desk and walk out onto the balcony, where he was able to gather his wits by breathing in the fresh Southern air and taking a sip of some sweet iced tea. It probably took all of his intestinal fortitude to get through such an emotionally charged letter, considering how hard-core those hard-core bad hard-core people are, and that they’re part of a hard-core organization and will now be able to do some hard-core damage to Americans.
All joking aside, this is typical from Graham. He holds the same exact viewpoint on foreign policy of his bestest buddy, John McCain. So, it was natural for him to send a letter complaining about the release of detainees from Gitmo, all while whining about the end of the War in Afghanistan. It doesn’t matter to him that the five detainees were scheduled to be released over two years ago, or that Americans are completely over being involved in any wars, whether it is the War in Afghanistan or the supposed War on Terrorism. Nope, Graham, like McCain and other neo-con relics, feel that we should be in a perpetual state of war and Gitmo is a necessary part of that philosophy.
It seems like some Republicans are hoping to find some kind of scandal out of this to hammer the President with. While there are legitimate questions surrounding Bergdahl’s military service, his state of mind at that time and how he found himself captured by the Taliban, there really is nothing scandalous behind the President’s actions. He made sure that no American was left behind in this war, something you’d expect from any President for any of our soldiers, regardless of your opinion of a soldier’s level of commitment to his service or country. When it comes to our soldiers, we shouldn’t leave any of them behind and make our best attempts to return them home. That is what this President did.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).