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Letters: Swapping prisoners for Bergdahl

I was amazed at your rush to judgment in praising President Barack Obama for making a deal with the Taliban to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl ["President's first duty was to bring U.S. POW home," Editorial, June 3].

I thought that our country's policy was to never negotiate with terrorists. Using Qatar as a buffer does not excuse the fact that the five detainees released from Guantánamo are top-ranking Taliban officials.

And there is also the question of whether Bergdahl deserted the Army. If he did, then shame on us for dealing with the devil. I hope the Army investigates to discover the truth of what happened to him.

Mike Semple, Rockville Centre

Releasing five terrorists for one American was a good trade. It will be better for the United States to have the five in charge because we know who they are.

We would not know who their replacements were for some time. They could cause lots of trouble, likely leading to unnecessary American deaths.

Henry Ozga, Oyster Bay

In the op-ed "Jarring new reality in Bergdahl swap" [Opinion, June 8], Charles Krauthammer states that the American people are "asking themselves what kind of man they have twice chosen to lead them."

In sending Americans to fight wars, we expect this country to honor the code that we do not leave anyone behind. I applaud President Barack Obama for obtaining Bergdahl's release, no matter what the inquiry into the circumstances of his capture reveals.

I'm thankful that we have chosen a president who has ended the Iraq War, plans to wind down the war in Afghanistan, refused to involve this country in the civil war in Syria and is trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement to Iran's nuclear program.

Jack Pepitone, West Hempstead

Cop nabbed making quite a salary

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that an East Hampton Village police officer who was caught in a "compromising position" with a female companion earned $117,025 a year ["Village cop caught in tryst resigns," News, June 11].

I guess this kind of compensation for the local police is just pocket change to the rich folk living in the Hamptons. Clearly they are not getting their money's worth.

Paul Jacobs, Huntington

'Secured' gun claim hard to believe

As reported in Newsday, the 15-year-old boy accused of shooting a fellow student in Oregon was "heavily armed with an assault rifle, nine magazines of ammunition, handgun and knife that police said yesterday had been taken from a secured area at his family home" ["Police: Suspect in school shooting heavily armed," News, June 12].

For all those who stand tall and continue to remind families of the innocent victims of your constitutional rights to possess weapons, I for one stand equally as tall and suggest that with such rights come responsibilities.

If you choose to exercise these rights, then you have an obligation to the rest of society to make sure the weapons can't possibly fall into the hands of anyone, much less a child. I have to seriously question the definition of "secured area" in this article.

Ed Clampitt, Huntington

Mixed messages by Hempstead leaders

The discussion of a new grading policy in Hempstead is just the most recent example of how deep a hole teachers and students are in ["Schools run, amid dispute," News column, June 8].

Reports indicate that Hempstead administrators have been fixing grades for years. Last year they brought back a respected retired principal to clean up the grade-fixing mess in an attempt to instill integrity in the operation of the high school. In less that a year, he was deemed incapable of handling the grade-reporting process, so that important function was delegated to other administrators. One wonders whether these are the same administrators who were fixing grades for the past few years. Isn't the superintendent ultimately responsible for this consistent dereliction of duty?

The students of Hempstead are being robbed by their school administration and school board. How convenient to be able to blame student failures on poverty. This is shameful.

The column relates an incident in which board president Betty Cross left a board meeting to tend to "a report of trouble in the middle school." Interference in the day-to-day operation of a school district by a board member is plain wrong. It tells every district employee, including the superintendent, that decisions are being made by people with no training or experience in public education. It is not unreasonable to wonder whether any board members weighed in on recording grades at the high school.

Chris Marzuk, Greenlawn

Editor's note: The writer is a former assistant superintendent for a Long Island school district.