Tonawanda News

Local News

June 11, 2014

Ortt chimes in on soldier swap

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt called on two local congressmen to investigate the recent release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive in Afghanistan for nearly five years by members of the Taliban. 

Ortt, who also served in Afghanistan, said he has asked Congressmen Brian Higgins and Chris Collins to launch a probe into the the soldier’s release in exchange for five Taliban prisoners, who were held at Guantanamo Bay without trial for more than a decade. 

Ortt stance follows a widely held conservative viewpoint that President Barack Obama violated the law when he agreed to release the prisoners, stating that the president should have informed Congress 30 days prior to the exchange.  

Both sides of the political aisle have criticized Obama for acting unilaterally on the swap, though the president has countered that it was necessary to bring home the American soldier. 

“I believe Congress has a responsibility and duty to the American public, to our veterans, and the families of those who fought and in some cases died honorably, to investigate this exchange, as well as the impacts it will certainly have on our national security and on the security of our military men and women still serving in harm’s way,” he said, in a statement released this week. 

Since his release last week Bergdahl has told military officials that he was tortured and held in a cage after attempting to escape his captors. Bergdahl is currently being observed at a U.S. military base in Germany.

Ortt, however, called Bergdahl a deserter and questioned his release for what he said were high level Taliban officials. 

“For those who think this doesn’t matter, or this is just politics, let me tell you: it does matter. It matters to the hundreds of thousands of men and women who served in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said. “It matters to the families of the men and women who died in Afghanistan and Iraq. It matters to the future security of Americans who now have a price on their head. This is just the latest misstep by a commander in chief who clearly doesn’t understand the U.S. military or how to properly use it. He traded five senior Taliban leaders, without the knowledge of Congress, who conspired with al-Qaida to kill innocent Americans on 9/11, for a soldier who left his post and by almost every account, deserted his unit.”

1
Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success