President Obama, like many second term presidents before him, can’t seem to catch a break as he’s once again on the hot seat for what he and his administration say was a game time decision: Securing the release of U.S. soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban.
Meanwhile, many others, including veterans, and those that served with Bergdahl, scoff at the notion of Bergdahl’s release being such a pressing game time decision that Obama would make such a game changing decision; that is, trading five purported terrorists for Bergdahl.
CNN reports that in response to this latest firestorm, and his critics, President Obama defended the decision, telling a news conference in Poland, “We don’t leave men and women in uniform behind.”
Bergdahl is reportedly recuperating in Germany after his release from years of imprisonment by the Taliban, and that’s where he’ll be until he’s done with his treatment, a US official told CNN. From there, Bergdahl will return to a US military base in San Antonio, according to the official.
“This is what happens at the end of wars,” said Obama regarding his decision to swap the five terrorists for Bergdahl’ release. “Regardless of the circumstances, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period.”
The Washington Post reports that while President Obama acknowledges that the released terrorists could attempt to hurt the US in the future, the window of opportunity to retrieve Bergdahl was potentially fleeting:
“We have consulted with Congress for quite some time about the possibility that we might need to execute a prisoner exchange in order to recover Bergdahl,” said President Obama. “We saw an opportunity, and we were concerned about Bergdahl’s health. We had the cooperation of the Qataris to execute an exchange and we seized that opportunity… The process was truncated because we wanted to make sure we would not miss that window.”
But Obama’s seemingly bold and heroic decision to secure lost soldier Bergdahl’s release is ringing disingenuously hollow for many, and the motives questionable.
Several of Bergdahl’s fellow fighters emphasize that he was a deserter that committed a “selfish act” that resulted in the death of others.
Those fellow fighters include members of his platoon who contend Bergdahl abandoned guard duty at his observation post and simply walked off, leaving his weapons behind.
The search for Bergdahl that followed left six of his colleagues dead, and many from his platoon assert that attacks against them seemed to increase after his disappearance.
And while it appears President Obama and his administration assumed that Bergdahl’s release would garner celebration and praise, particularly from the military community, Bergdahl’s questionable actions leading to his capture, and the death of fellow soldiers, may leave President Obama’s decision one to be debated for a long time to come.
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