I can’t stop thinking about Bowe Bergdahl. Not since CNN’s recent report that one of the “Taliban Five” freed from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the undeserving Army sergeant may very well have re-engaged in “terrorist or insurgent activities.”
It brings to mind the White House Rose Garden celebration President Obama hosted in May for Bob and Jani Bergdahl, Bowe’s parents.
Said Obama: “Bob and Jani, today families across America share in the joy that I know you feel. As a parent, I can’t imagine the hardship that you guys have gone through. As president, I know I speak for all Americans when I say we cannot wait for the moment when you are reunited and your son, Bowe, is back in your arms.”
As to those who would question the wisdom of releasing five “high-value” Taliban detainees from Gitmo (and flying them off to Qatar, where they are free to roam the country), Obama stated: “The Qatar government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security.”
Well, we see how that has worked out.
Meanwhile, not long after very publicly feting Bob and Jani at the White House, Obama decided he should put some distance between himself and the Bergdahls.
That’s because of the growing suspicion that Bowe – the only U.S. solider to be held captive in Afghanistan – did not somehow fall into the hands of the enemy, but intentionally sought out the Taliban.
Indeed, that was the conclusion of a 2010 Pentagon investigation that found the evidence “incontrovertible” that, in June 2009, then-PFC Bergdahl walked away from his platoon at Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Afghanistan’s Paktika Province.
That Bergdahl did so knowingly and willfully is suggested by the fact that, days before his disappearance, he mailed his personal belongings back to his folks in Idaho – letters, photos, laptop, etc.
There were also the incriminating emails he sent to Mom and Dad, saying, among other things, he was “ashamed to even be American” and that “the title of U.S. solider is just a lie.”
Perhaps the biggest indictment of Bergdahl’s conduct are the first-hand accounts of members of his former platoon. Those who know Bowe best – like him least.
That includes Evan Buetow and Cody Full, who co-authored an article published this week in USA Today. “We know he deserted because we were there when he did it,” they stated.
Beutow and Full were debriefed last year by Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, who led the Army’s investigation concerning the suspicious circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture by the Taliban. Bergdahl’s former platoon mates assert that Dahl’s report is being “held hostage.”
In fact, the two-star general completed his investigatory report in October. Yet the findings remain to be released (at least publicly), which suggests that Dahl concluded Bergdahl is guilty of desertion and should face court-martial.
That’s the last thing the White House wants. Not the least because it would revive the highly contentious issue of Obama’s executive actions bypassing Congress.
Indeed, the nonpartisan General Accounting Office concluded in August that Obama broke the law when he freed the Taliban Five in exchange for Bergdahl by not notifying Congress at least 30 days beforehand.
And there is yet another reason Obama wouldn’t want Dahl’s report in the open if it’s damning to Bergdahl – because it would remind the American people that the suspected deserter’s freedom was purchased at the price of releasing from Gitmo five sworn enemies of the U.S.
That includes Mullah Mohammed Fazi, senior commander of the Taliban Army, accused of complicity in the genocide of thousands of religious minorities; Mullah Norullah Noori, who commanded Taliban forces that fought (and killed) U.S. and Coalition forces in Zabul Province; and Abdul Haq Wasiq, accused by Human Rights watch of mass killings and torture.
Obama’s goal is to empty out Gitmo altogether. And as the Bergdahl case demonstrated, he’ll use any and every pretext to achieve his goal.