Obama Defends Bergdahl ‘Recovery’
Comparing himself to presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and FDR, U.S. president Barack Obama defended his deal to “recover” Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Tuesday, which freed five high-ranking Taliban members from Gitmo.
Speaking at a news conference in Warsaw alongside Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, President Obama said he “seized an opportunity” to bring home the only American POW from the Afghan conflict.
In addition to breaking the rule of not negotiating with terrorists, many have pointed to the circumstances that led to Sgt. Bergdahl’s capture.
Military officials have said Sgt. Bergdahl was captured after he voluntarily walked off his post in eastern Afghanistan. According to first-hand accounts from soldiers in his platoon, Bergdahl, while on guard duty, shed his weapons and walked off the observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera and a diary.
E-mails reported by the late Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone in 2012 reveal Bergdahl no longer supported the war effort. “The future is too good to waste on lies,” one e-mail read. “And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong … I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”
The Washington Times reports that on multiple occasions, the Pentagon knew where Sgt. Bergdahl was being held but scrapped rescue missions because they were unwilling to risk casualties for a man they believed to be a “deserter.”
President Obama said any member of the U.S. military held in captivity, no matter how they ended up there, should be brought home.
“Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity, period. Full stop. We don’t condition that,” the president said. “That’s what every mom and dad who sees a son or daughter sent over to the war theater should expect, not just from their commander in chief but from the United States of America.”
President Obama conceded there was a possibility the five released Taliban members could return to the battlefield, but they would not affect American national security.