Quantcast

Obama defends swap with Taliban for Sgt. Bergdahl - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Obama defends swap with Taliban for Sgt. Bergdahl

Posted: Updated:
BRUSSELLS -

President Barack Obama said Thursday he "absolutely makes no apologies" for seeking the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a prisoner swap with the Taliban, vigorously defending an exchange that has caused a furor in the United States and has dogged the president on his European trip this week.

When it comes to getting soldiers back from war, Obama said, "We don't condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back."

He also said Bergdahl's health had been deteriorating and "We were deeply concerned about it.

"We saw an opportunity and we seized it. And I make no apologies for that," Obama said during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Bergdahl was released following a deal between the U.S. and the Taliban that was brokered by Qatar. Five Taliban detainees held in Guantanamo were released as part of the exchange. Republicans and Democrats have objected to the swap.

Obama said his administration had discussed the possibility of such an exchange with members of Congress in the past. But he did not notify lawmakers in advance that he planned to release Guantanamo detainees. He is required to provide such notice 30 days ahead of a release.

"Because of the nature of the folks that we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations, we felt it was important go ahead and do what we did," he said.

He also defended his announcement of the release, which he did Saturday at the White House with Bergdahl's parents at his side.

"It was important for people to understand that this is not some abstraction, this is not a political football," he said. "You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land, who they hadn't seen in five years and weren't sure whether they'd ever see again."

He said that as commander in chief of U.S. military forces, he has a responsibility for those soldiers.

"I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody's child and that we don't condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back," he said.

  • U.S.More>>

  • Jury awards Ventura $1.8M in defamation case

    Jury awards Ventura $1.8M in defamation case

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:20 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:20:16 GMT
    A jury awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million on Tuesday in his lawsuit against the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.
    Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura won $1.8 million Tuesday in his two-year fight to prove he was defamed by a military sniper and best-selling author who claimed to have punched out Ventura at a bar for bad-mouthing the...
  • Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia

    Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:34:51 GMT
    The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima has died in Georgia.
    The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima has died in Georgia.
  • Obama to announce US sanctions on Russia

    Obama to announce US sanctions on Russia

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:44 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:44:47 GMT
    President Barack Obama is expected to announce a new round of U.S. sanctions against Russia Tuesday.
    President Barack Obama is to announce a new round of U.S. sanctions against Russian banks and a shipbuilding company Tuesday.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.