Illinois’ two U.S. senators disagree about the decision to swap Taliban prisoners held by the U.S. for an American soldier. U.S. Sens. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) were among the lawmakers who were shown a video of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in captivity. That was enough to convince Durbin that a quick rescue had been the right choice. “He looked very bad,” Durbin said, “and I can’t tell you whether he was drugged or sick, but if you looked at this young man, you thought there’s something seriously wrong here.”
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But Kirk believes the exchange will put other Americans serving abroad at risk of being captured. “They will now think ‘We’ll just drive down the road and pick up a couple of State Department guys (and) get our top commanders out of any kind of American jail.’ It was a terrible precedent,” Kirk said. Durbin’s Republican challenger in this year’s Senate race, State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), also disagreed with the swap, saying the president needed approval from Congress. While Congress is supposed to be notified 30 days before any transfer of Guantanamo Bay prisoners—which did not occur in this case—no approval from Congress is required.