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Keith Maupin Gives Unique Perspective on Release of Bowe Bergdahl
CINCINNATI -- What would ordinarily be an extremely happy occasion is mired in controversy. There are many updates on the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held for nearly five years in Afghanistan.
Bergdahl's release is part of what is essentially a prisoner exchange. In Qatar on Monday, the U.S. released five Taliban fighters who were being held and plenty of people in Congress and elsewhere are raising questions about whether it was a mistake.
One reporter asked White House spokesperson, Jay Carney, "Have you put a price on the heads of other Americans with the way this deal went down?"
Carney responded, "I think this goes back to the general proposition that has been true throughout our history. There is a long history of prisoner exchanges in previous armed conflicts and this action that was taken to recover Sgt. Berdahl was entirely consistent with this past practice."
Coupled with those questions are the questions about Bergdahl himself. Some in his unit say he had left his post when he was captured. Some even question whether he was ever actually a prisoner.
Yet National Security Adviser Susan Rice says he served with "honor and distinction."
It's the controversy that's leading to mixed emotions for a local man with a unique perspective on the issue. Keith Maupin's son was captured in Iraq in 2004, held prisoner and then executed.
Keith Maupin wanted nothing more than a safe return for his son, Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin. He was very candid about his thoughts on another soldier's homecoming. At the Yellow Ribbon Support Center, Keith Maupin has helped to place 8,000 stickers with the face of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
So the first thing he told Local 12 News was, "I'm glad Bowe's home, I really am." But that's hardly the end of the story. He spoke to what he sees as two controversies. How Bergdahl even came to be in the hands of the Taliban just walking away from his post.
"And if that is what he did he's no less than a deserter," Maupin said. "I'm not saying that's what he did. If that is he's a deserter and don't need to be treated as a hero. I'm sorry."
Maupin says Bergdahl deserves his chance to explain and his day in court.
As for the prisoner exchange he says one soldier for five of the baddest guys in the world isn't a good deal.
"Not only is that not a good deal, it opened a door that probably can't be closed. Now the Taliban knows we have a President who is weak," said Maupin.
But what would he have wanted for his own son? He says not a trade.
"As much as I truly wanted Matt to come home, he understood that they don't trade and we're not going to trade," he said.
Maupin says it never entered into talks he had with political leaders. "I don't recall that ever being done and I understood that. It was weird but I understood that Matt's chances of coming home were slim to none."
Maupin says he's been flooded with comments on social media from those who agree with him.
Maupin says he's happy Bergdahl will be coming home, and another soldier will live to fight another day. However, he wonders if Bergdahl's fight will be in a military court.
Keith Maupin says he's not going to Bergdahl's homecoming. He's going to wait to see what happens when the dust settles and he learns more about the circumstances of his captivity.
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