THE COASTER asked these Shore-area residents, “What do you think of the American soldier being traded for 5 Gitmo prisoners?” Here are their replies:
Ellen Zanetti & Jim Wagner, Morristown – We think it stinks. It was underhanded and deceptive. Anything that’s done under the cover of darkness, it sets a bad precedent for our troops over there. Now they think they can grab a U.S. soldiers and get 5 of their own back. It puts our troops in danger.
Lori Finley w/Ashlyn & Kayle, Ocean – I think it was an abomination. I believe in No Soldier left behind, but there should have been more investing. Did he desert? I think it’s a travesty that Obama didn’t consult Congress first. We elected them to represent us, they should have had some input. And now there are 5 terrorists back, and what do you think they’re going to do. I feel like we’re not the America I used to know, anymore. The president should follow the law. I think it was wrong. This guy very well may be court marshalled.
Wayne Johnson, Neptune – Well, I don’t think it was a negative. Let’s wait until all the information comes out, and let’s hope he’s not a deserter. On the positive side, the war is coming to an end and we’re bringing home our last known P.O.W. I’m not worried about the prisoners too much. I’m 100% certain they will keep tabs on those guys and they won’t cause any harm.
Paul Miller, Boston & Estelle Miller, Tinton Falls – Paul: I think there should have been more transparency with Congress before the deal was made, as the law requires. Estelle: I think I would like to hear all the facts before I make a decision. It certainly hasn’t been discussed enough as far as I’m concerned.
Margie Parrillo, Bradley Beach – It’s a national disgrace. I believe, from what I’ve seem and read, he was a deserter. And, while his life is valuable, I feel the exchange for these Taliban leaders puts Americans at greater risk. It’s just a disgrace that he’s being treated like a hero, and he’s not a hero.
Marlene & Jim Stoever – We think it was wrong. We think it was an abuse of power. Obama should have consulted Congress before hand. We’ll see what happens.
Tiffany & John Suarez, Ocean – We don’t like it. We support the military. We appreciate those who serve, but we don’t like the way this went down. Everyone who signs up understands the risk. If he was a prisoner of war, that’s one thing, but he walked away. He’s AWOL.
Dwight Taylor, Asbury Park – I think the decision to exchange the prisoners for Bergdahl was worthwhile. Our policy not to leave any soldier behind was followed. The circumstances can be worked out later. The thing is, we’re only told a certain amount of information from the government as to what the deal was, but it was up to us to get him back.
Tom Viggiano, West Long Branch – I don’t think we should have made that deal. I think we set a bad precedent. We’re still at conflict with them. We’re dealing with terrorists. I think it opens up a new scenerio where soldiers or even civilians could be captured. I’d be very leery about traveling to Europe now. I was considering a trip to Europe before this.