Almost as soon as hearty congratulations were issued by lawmakers last week over Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release from captivity in Afghanistan, some were just as swiftly withdrawn.
"A grateful America thanks you for your service," Sen.
As the Obama administration's swap of Bergdahl for five
In North Carolina, Republican
With partisan tempers flaring in anticipation of the midterm election, there's a temptation for lawmakers to deliver swift commentary on the Bergdahl controversy to position themselves as leaders on national security matters.
But experts warn that a slip could be politically perilous and lawmakers run political risks if they make quick conclusions about what appears to be a highly complicated case with many details still unknown.
"It is very dangerous for politicians to make statements about this in real time," said Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University who writes extensively about American politics.
"Some politicians who immediately praised the deal backtracked as more information emerged about how [Bergdahl] had left his platoon," Zelizer said.
"At the same time, some politicians raising questions about his service might find themselves in a difficult situation should the criticism prove to be unfounded or off target," he said. "Then they will be legislators who were not supportive of bringing a soldier back home with full enthusiasm and without qualification."
Some lawmakers have wondered aloud whether the trade for Bergdahl was worth it.
"Most people in America now have said he's somewhere between treason and insubordination," Inhofe said about the soldier, who was held in captivity for five years.
"This is not some abstraction, this is not some political football," Obama said last week during a news conference at the G-7 summit in Brussels.
"This is somebody's child," the president continued, and "we don't condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back."
The president's remarks appeared to stoke further backlash, as lawmakers returned to work Monday with new criticism of the deal that was a surprise even to those with high levels of security clearance, including top members of the intelligence committees.
"How many Americans are at risk of being killed, directly or indirectly, by these terrorist leaders we have just let go?" asked Cruz from the Senate floor Monday, as he criticized the administration for having "suggested that anyone raising these questions is simply failing to stand by the men and women of our military."
Two members of Congress who were prisoners of war in Vietnam, Sen.
"The president failed us miserably," Johnson wrote Monday.
Ultimately, the question over the details of the prisoner swap - how dangerous are the Taliban Five and why wasn't Congress notified as required by law - narrows to a more simplistic one that lawmakers will want to answer correctly: Does the U.S. have a responsibility to bring every soldier home?