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Legion: Sgt. Bergdahl release is good, Gitmo releases are bad

Companies mentioned in this article: The American Legion

INDIANAPOLIS, June 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leader of the nation's largest veterans service organization raised some concerns about the circumstances surrounding the recent release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban.

"First, to Sgt. Bergdahl, I say, 'welcome home,'" American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger said today. "Your family has waited far too long to see you and we are happy that your five- year nightmare has ended. To the administration, I say The American Legion has some very serious concerns."

Dellinger, who is visiting troops in Europe this week, asked, "Has the United States changed its longheld policy of not negotiating with terrorists? Will this provide incentives for terrorists to kidnap other Americans? What assurances do we have that the five dangerous detainees being released from Guantanamo will not return to the battlefield?

"While Qatar will institute a travel ban on the released detainees for 12 months, our troops won't be leaving Afghanistan until 2016," Dellinger added. "There are many troubling aspects about this deal and the American people deserve some answers. Moreover, we hope the Department of Defense does a complete investigation of the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bergdahl's initial disappearance and take whatever steps are warranted by the findings of that investigation."

With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 14,000 posts across the nation.

Media contact: Joe March, (317) 630-1253/ (317) 748-1926; John Raughter, (317) 630-1350 / (317) 441-8847; Marty Callaghan, (202) 263-5758/ (202) 341-8900. A high resolution photo of the National Commander is available at www.legion.org.

SOURCE The American Legion