The loudest critics of the prisoner swap to free an Army sergeant held captive in Afghanistan since 2009 in exchange for five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay just happen to be from the party that started the war, opened the ethically challenged prison and are the biggest barrier to closing the facility. ("Republicans criticize prisoner swap that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl," June 1)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wonders what this tells other terrorists. Perhaps he should be asking what this tells troops still stationed around the world. Might they get the impression that we appreciate their service to our country and will never desert them if it is within our power to save them?

If Republican political critics listen instead of engaging in knee-jerk criticism of the president, might they hear the message that so many Americans want to close Guantanamo?

Marcy Bregman

Agoura Hills

Though I am thrilled for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and his family, I fear that the Obama administration has set a disastrous precedent in swapping prisoners with our enemies. This will be perceived by the world that you can now ransom a U.S. citizen or soldier.

Plus, we are naive if we think we will not see these Taliban fighters return to do damage to our country.

Rick Kern

Incline Village, Nev.

Cruz said the message this swap sends is "that if you capture a U.S. soldier, that you can trade that soldier for five terrorists."

On any number of occasions over the years, Israel has exchanged prisoners for captive soldiers and soldiers' bodies. In 2008, Israel and Hezbollah exchanged five living Lebanese and 199 bodies for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. In October 2011, Israel exchanged more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the living Gilad Shalit.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry's peace initiative required that Israel free Palestinian prisoners. Currently, no Israeli soldiers are being held captive.

Cruz should examine the facts before shooting off his mouth, because when all he does is criticize the president without offering viable alternatives, he appears foolish.

Arch Miller

Arcadia

Bergdahl was released from Taliban captivity in exchange for five detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

What's next, Charles Manson being let out on parole?

Ken Johnson

Pinon Hills