According to a report in the San Antonio News Express the US Army has completed but is refusing to release its investigation into the suspected desertion of Army PFC Bowe Bergdahl who walked off his base in Afghanistan in 2009. He subsequently fell into the hands of Taliban forces who held him captive for five years. His release, which was orchestrated and executed by the Obama Administration without the consent of Congress, swapped Bergdahl for the five most senior Taliban commanders held in captivity has arguably become the most controversial prisoner exchange in the history of the country.
Bergdahl, who was released in May of this year, is currently stationed at Fort Sam Houston U.S. Army North in San Antonio, TX. The army report was authored by Brigadier General Kenneth Dahl and, according to a US army spokesman, is now being “reviewed by commanders.” There are no plans, said Army Spokesman Wayne Hall, to make public the findings of the investigation.
Fox News is reporting however that the findings will be released to the public, but only after the November 4 midterm elections.
The Bergdahl-Taliban exchange unleashed a firestorm of criticism that continues to this day. Never before had the United States military knowingly released a senior commander of an active enemy force in war time. Even senior Defense Department officials were forced to concede that the “Taliban Five,” as they subsequently became known, were all expected to resume direct command of enemy forces at war with the United States.
Every one of the men who served with the Idaho native and has spoken out publicly claims Bergdahl clearly deserted his unit in 2009 before he was captured by the Taliban. Bergdahl’s release, announced by President Obama while surrounded by Bergdahl’s parents in the Rose Garden, remains one of the most devastating public relations disasters experienced by this White House. With the President at his side, Bergdahl’s father, speaking in Arabic thanked Allah for his son’s release and praised his son for seeking out the Taliban.
The White House, seemingly unprepared for the blowback, bungled its way through an ever changing list of reasons why the trade was necessary. Initially, the White House claimed that Bergdahl’s physical condition was so grave it necessitated an immediate, no-notice-to-Congress trade. US National Security Advisor Susan Rice compounded the debacle by appearing on national TV to proclaim Bergdahl a hero. “He served with honor and distinction,” she unforgettably declared.
So flat footed did the mainstream media find itself at the American people’s disgust with the trade and rejection of the administration’s belief that Bergdahl served with “honor and distincition” it even took the New York Times nearly a week to develop a counter-narrative to defend the President.
Before openly questioning the veracity of the men who served with Bergdahl, many of whom strongly stated their belief that Bergdahl was unquestionably a deserter, the best the Times could come up with to discredit the ongoing threat of the released Taliban detainees, each of whom served in the highest echelon of Taliban command, was referring to them as “aging.”
After the Taliban released its widely viewed propaganda video of their hand off of Bergdahl to US forces that showed him in apparent good health, the Times dedicated significant reportorial resources trying to buttress Obama administration claims that Bergdahl’s medical condition was thought to be dire.
The Times prominently featured interviews with what it said were “more than a dozen American and Foreign officials”, none of whom were named, each claiming to have seen a classified video of Bergdahl purportedly taken in late 2013 showing the suspected deserter in accute physical decline. To this day, the White House, Pentagon, and State Department have all refused repeated requests that the alleged initial video be released. To this day, the White House has likewise not attempted to answer why it waited more than six months to complete the exchange of five senior Taliban commanders for Bergdahl if it thought his condition was so ominous
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank went so far as to accuse Republicans of creating the scandal by attempting to use the Bergdahl-Taliban trade scandal for political advantage.
Unlike the New York Times however, Milbank’s paper, the Washington Post ferociously criticized the trade and has forcefully rebutted the President’s third new narrative that the US has always viewed to safe return of all those left behind “no matter the circumstances” of how or why they were left behind as a “sacred obligation” by pointing out several recent cases which proved that assertion also to be false. “Charles Robert Jenkins spent four decades in North Korea after abandoning his post in the demilitarized zone,” the Post wrote. “When he returned to the United States in 2004, he served nearly a month in the brig and failed to receive a welcome-home call from President Bush. Pvt. Eddie Slovik — who left combat duty in France in 1944 — was shot by a firing squad after Gen. Dwight Eisenhower declined to grant him leniency.”