SGT. BOWE BERGDAHL WAS A DESERTER, FELLOW SOLDIERS SAY | WASHINGTON TIMES | In the wake of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s being transferred to U.S. custody after nearly five years of being held captive in Afghanistan, questions are being raised about the circumstances under which he left the battlefield in 2009 — with some of his fellow soldiers labeling him a deserter.
“I was pissed off then, and I am even more so now with everything going on,” former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009, told CNN. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”
Obama administration officials have declined since the news of Sgt. Bergdahl’s release broke on Saturday to address in detail the circumstances surrounding his departure, saying the focus should be on the good news of his release. He was captured under unknown circumstances in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, about two months after arriving in the country.
MIXED REACTION TO BERGDAHL’S RECOVERY BY SERVICE MEMBERS WHO CONSIDER HIM A DESERTER | WASHINGTON POST | Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s recovery after five years in captivity has rekindled anger among some of his military peers over how he came to fall into enemy hands and the price the United States has paid to get him back.
Bergdahl, 28, is believed to have slipped away from his platoon’s small outpost in Afghanistan’s Paktika province on June 30, 2009, after growing disillusioned with the U.S. military’s war effort. He was captured shortly afterward by enemy forces and held captive in Pakistan by insurgents affiliated with the Taliban. At the time, an entire U.S. military division and thousands of Afghan soldiers and police officers devoted weeks to searching for him, and some soldiers resented risking their lives for someone they considered a deserter.
SOLDIER ALLEGEDLY ABANDONED HIS POST AFTER GROWING DISILLUSIONED WITH WAR | DAILY MAIL (UK) | “To those of us in Hailey, Bowe is certainly a hero,” said Sue Martin, the owner of Zaney’s and Sgt Bergdahl’s former boss.
But behind the scenes of small town celebration is a darker and more complicated story about a young soldier who allegedly abandoned his post after growing disillusioned with America’s wars and the potentially illegal deal struck by the White House to free him.
DID OBAMA TRADE 5 TERRORISTS FOR A TALIBAN SYMPATHIZER? | BREITBART | In 2010, The Taliban claimed U.S. soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had converted to Islam and had taught them bomb-making techniques. Bergdahl had also changed his name to Abdullah, the Taliban claimed, though the mainstream media largely ignored the story, seeing it as comparable to the tale of Sgt. Brody in the fictional Homeland television series on Showtime.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) also dismissed the claims, insinuating that it was jihadist propaganda. But in the aftermath of Sgt. Bergdahl’s release yesterday, more information has come to light, raising further questions as to whether the Taliban had in fact been telling the truth about Sgt. Bergdahl.
The circumstances behind the sergeant’s disappearance and kidnapping remains suspect. Why he seemingly walked off of his forward operating base in 2009, an infringement upon basic standard operating procedures, has not been explained.
SUSAN RICE DISREGARDS QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER BERGDAHL DESERTED ARMY — ‘THAT’S NOT THE POINT’ | TOWNHALL | Initial reactions to news of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release this weekend in exchange for five Taliban commanders were mixed, as it came at a very high price to national security. But there are other wrinkles to the story as Guy noted in his post yesterday, including allegations that Bergdahl deserted his unit.
According to National Security Adviser Susan Rice, however, that’s not the point.
THE BIZARRE TALE OF AMERICA’S LAST KNOWN POW | NY POST |Bergdahl’s mysterious disappearance from the small military outpost there and the subsequent revelation that he was in enemy hands prompted questions that still linger.
Soon after the capture, Taliban commander Mulvi Sangeen claimed a drunken Bergdahl was snatched while he stumbled to his car in the Yousaf Khel district of Paktika.
The US military called that a lie, and in one of the videos taken during his captivity, Bergdahl himself said he was captured while lagging behind a patrol.
But in the weeks before his capture, Bergdahl had made murky statements that suggested he was gravitating away from the soldiers in his unit and toward desertion, a member of his platoon told Rolling Stone.
TOP OFFICIALS DODGE DESERTER QUESTIONS | THE HILL | Top Obama administration officials on Sunday avoided question about whether Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was released by the Taliban in exchange for five detainees on Saturday, deserted the Army.
ABC News “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos asked National Security Adviser Rice whether such allegations would be “investigated.”
“If it is found that he did, will he be disciplined or has he already paid the price?” he asked.
“Certainly, anybody who has been held in those conditions in captivity for five years has paid an extraordinary price, but that is really not the point,” Rice said. “The point is he’s back. He’s going to be safely reunited with his family. He served the United States with honor and distinction.”
“We’ll have the opportunity to learn eventually what happened in the past years,” she added. “But what’s most important now is his health and well-being and that he have the opportunity to recover in peace and security and be reunited with his family which is why this is such a joyous day.”
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