Soldier's Release Brings Mixed Reactions - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Soldier's Release Brings Mixed Reactions

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U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only known remaining prisoner of war in Afghanistan, was released Saturday, after being held captive by terrorists for five years. In exchange for Bergdahl's freedom, the U.S. agreed to release five Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the country of Qatar. It's a decision that leaves some with mixed emotions.

"My main concern is the five Talibans, the five very dangerous Talibans that were released," said Shirlee Grimaldi. "Are they gonna come back again and try to get us, try to get other people?"

"As far as the trade for the other prisoners, I'm kind of in the middle," said Joe Hammer. Those people might come back and be a problem."

Edinboro University professor Dr. Gerry Gendlin-an expert on international politics, says while not negotiating with hostage takers or terrorists is an essential policy to have in place, in his view this situation is a "worthwhile exception."

"He was the only prisoner that they had, the only American that was being held, he'd been there for five years, we are leaving afghanistan anyway, so it's not like this is going to set a precedent in the future," said Gendlin.

As part of the exchange, the five prisoners cannot leave the country of Qatar for at least a year. 

"By which time we will have wound down our presence in Afghanistan," Gendlin explained. "So I think the Obama Administration is saying, by the time they get back there, we will not be subject to whatever it is they plan to do."

While it's clear the decision to negotiate draws criticism from some, there's no doubt that Bergdahl will receive a warm welcome home. 

"Anyway we can get our soldiers home that are protecting our country, it's great. Super job," said Ray Beese.

"I'm very happy with the government at this point for what they have done and they did what they had to do to get him back home here," explained, Tracey Toy. "And I'm glad he's back and now comes the recovery and peace for the whole family."

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