Breitbart News had the opportunity to speak with Bill Roggio, managing editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ The Long War Journal, about the ongoing debacle over the exchange of five senior Taliban commanders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Roggio has been praised for being “the best-in-class on situation awareness, especially of the Af-Pak theater.” He was embedded within the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army as a reporter in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and he also served in the Army from 1991 to 1997.
He provided Breitbart News with valuable feedback:
Breitbart News: What is your interpretation of the events that unfolded that led to Bowe Bergdahl”s capture by Taliban forces.
Bill Roggio: You may notice that the U.S. military has been completely silent on that; they haven’t released any details. People in the theater I’ve spoken to have said that at the very best, he walked off the base on his own. I have heard that he believed he could live off the land in Afghanistan and had changed into local clothes in an attempt to blend in. I’ve also heard that he may have been coaxed off the base by talking to local Afghan soldiers who were on the base. Nobody in theater has been enthusiastic about Bergdahl’s actions. Nobody believes that he was on a patrol, as he claims. Because he was cooperative in issuing Taliban propaganda tapes, there’s not a lot of love for the guy. There are soldiers who have gone out and tried to save him. Some lost their lives doing so.
The military needs to tell us what actually happened that day. I doubt they will get to the bottom of it because it’s going to contradict the hero narrative that’s being put forward by our administration. They are trying to tell us that he’s this heroic captured soldier who survived Taliban custody.
Breitbart News: Did the Obama administration make the prisoner swap without legal authority?
Bill Roggio: My understanding is that they were required to give 30 days notification to Congress prior to releasing any detainees from Guantánamo Bay. From everything I can tell, they failed to provide that 30 days notice.
Breitbart News: Do you believe, as the Obama administration stated, that Bowe Bergdahl’s life was in immediate danger?
Bill Roggio: There is no evidence that I’ve seen or heard that indicates his life was in jeopardy. If his life was in immediate danger, then why would they sit there and conduct negotiations? Officials have publicly said that these negotiations have been in the works for months. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t tell me his life was in danger and we were conducting long-term negotiations at the same time. Show us the evidence that his life was in danger. This information should not be classified anymore. He’s free, so it’s not going to harm him. Tell us what the indications were. Was it intelligence? Was it a rumor? Did the Taliban issue a threat? What was it?
Breitbart News: What’s your take on Robert Bergdahl (Bowe’s father)?
Bill Roggio: He promoted the Taliban propaganda. He did the bidding of the group that held his son hostage for five years. It’s abhorrent behavior, and it’s a disgrace to those who gave their lives attempting to free his son. Either way, his actions can’t be rationalized. Just because he’s trying to free his son, it doesn’t also mean that he has to actively promote the narrative of our enemies. No matter what his intent or his beliefs were, it’s flat out wrong. It’s an affront to those who sacrificed to try and save his son.
Breitbart News: Should Bowe Bergdahl face charges in a military tribunal?
Bill Roggio: Absolutely. His actions had consequences. People were killed and wounded because of the actions of Bowe Bergdahl. If anyone goes AWOL (absent without official leave) while in garrison, they’re going to charge you for going AWOL. It happens all the time. He did it in a combat zone, and people get killed and wounded because of it. He should be charged without question.
Breitbart News: Why was Bowe promoted to the rank of sergeant?
Bill Roggio: Simply put, it seems like a public relations move to hold him up as being a hero, when evidence suggests that isn’t the case at all.
Breitbart News: What should Congress do to bring justice to this matter?
Bill Roggio: Congress should press the military to honestly investigate the case and determine if he should be charged under the uniform code of military justice. Congress needs to conduct their oversight responsibilities.