President Barack Obama’s decision to release five detainees from Guantanamo in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has provoked much opposition and criticism. The military, however, has an over-arching obligation to ensure the safe return of all personnel.
The criticism about the “price paid” is misplaced. The only way to ensure Bergdahl’s safe return was to release some detainees. The crucial questions are: Who to release? What terrorist acts were they involved in? What potential danger do they pose moving forward?
It is clear is that the freeing of a soldier exacts a price. The point is: What price?
Determining the criteria for a Guantanamo detainee’s release is complicated and multi-faceted. It involves sophisticated geo-strategic considerations and gut-level emotion. This action not only effects national security and foreign policy; it involves releasing prisoners with “blood on their hands.”