(Ron Clifford is a Cork native. On 9/11 he narrowly escaped when he was in the Twin Towers when the attacks happened. Later he discovered his sister Ruth McCourt and niece Julianne were on the United Airlines flight that struck one of the buildings he had just escaped from.)
The Taliban held only one American prisoner, Sgt. Bergdahl, and US forces needed to bring him home. Admirable, I agree, but the execution of the rescue operation was deceitful and illuminates the continued dysfunction in our government.
The growing controversy regarding how Sgt. Bergdahl went missing is without a doubt a sad state of affairs. In time we will all know whether he is a hero or will be punished as a deserter. As a father myself, I am glad to see Sgt. Bergdahl reunited with his family and am appalled that what should be a joyous personal moment for his family is so controversial.
Every year on June 4 my brothers and I remember our sister Ruth, who with her daughter was on United Airlines flight 175 on 9/11.
Her birthday this year was no exception. However, the announcement in the press that no fewer than “FIVE TERRORISTS” were released in exchange for “ONE US SOLDIER” clouded our day of remembrance.
My brothers and I do not understand why these prisoners were released without a trial. Is this part of President Obama’s obsession to close Guantanamo? What don’t we understand about this situation? These “FIVE TERRORISTS,” who are part of the organization that still keeps us captive every time we go through an airport or attend an event in our own country, were just let out of prison this week without a trial. These “FIVE TERRORISTS” who are part of the ongoing plot to hurt more innocent Americans are free to try and hurt us again.
I felt the shudder of the planes on 9/11 through me, since I was there that day. I survived only by helping others out of the building.
Since 9/11 I have been waiting month by month for the Guantanamo trials to begin. Every time we seem to get the trials on track there is a delay caused by new legal arguments or raised objections. How many more years and US presidential terms is it going to take? Ruth’s husband David died this past year without seeing any justice carried out for the deaths of his family.
I am DISGUSTED by President Obama’s decision to exchange these prisoners and am confident that most 9/11 victims share my feelings. There is obviously dysfunction in the current leadership at every level to reach consensus for a proper solution to have been crafted. One would assume the educated and seasoned advisors surrounding Obama could have constructed a better plan for Sgt. Bergdahl’s release. I am hoping that this dysfunction does not prompt the release of the other violent terrorists being held at Guantanamo and that we finally get our day in court.
This week on June 4th was Ruth’s birthday; I felt another shudder of fear as real as 9/11 as well as a loss of some respect for the Commander-in-Chief of the USA.