June 17, 2014

In his June 10 op-ed column, “The Bergdahl mess,” Michael Gerson echoed the concerns of critics that the release of five former Taliban leaders is a serious threat to the security of the United States. Almost always overlooked is that more than 1,000 detainees, many regarded as dangerous, have been forcibly freed by insurgents or escaped from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past year or so. Also, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has released scores of prisoners regarded as dangerous by U.S. authorities. More than 500 detainees were released from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison during the George W. Bush administration.

Should the five eventually decide to join one of the splinter extremist groups, their marginal impact would be insignificant or minimal.

Robert G. Gard Jr., Pebble Beach, Calif.

The writer, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, was a military adviser to Human Rights First, working on closing Guantanamo Bay prison.

Continue reading