Barack Obama traded five seasoned, battle-hardened jihadis back to the Taliban in exchange for Bergdahl.
Former infantry officer Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served with Bergdahl in Afghanistan, wrote in the Daily Beast that Bergdahl was “a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.” Refuting reports that Bergdahl got separated from his unit while on patrol, Bethea declared: “Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not ‘lag behind on a patrol,’ as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.”
Bethea’s account is in full accord with the Taliban’s 2010 claim that Bergdahl had converted to Islam and was teaching bomb-making to its jihadists. There is no reason to take anything that Taliban spokesmen say at face value, but secret documents revealed in June 2014 corroborate the claim. According to one of these documents, dated August 23, 2012, “conditions for Bergdahl have greatly relaxed since the time of the escape. Bergdahl has converted to Islam and now describes himself as a mujahid. Bergdahl enjoys a modicum of freedom, and engages in target practice with the local mujahedeen, firing AK47s. Bergdahl is even allowed to carry a loaded gun on occasion. Bergdahl plays soccer with his guards and bounds around the pitch like a mad man. He appears to be well and happy, and has a noticeable habit of laughing frequently and saying ‘Salaam’ repeatedly.”
Fox News reported in June 2014 that Bergdahl — “both in his final stretch of active duty in Afghanistan and then, too, during his time when he lived among the Taliban — has been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. intelligence community and is the subject of ‘a major classified file.’ In conveying as much, the Defense Department source confirmed to Fox News that many within the intelligence community harbor serious outstanding concerns not only that Bergdahl may have been a deserter but that he may have been an active collaborator with the enemy.”
Former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow, who served with Bergdahl and was present the night he disappeared, recounted that days after Bergdahl vanished from the U.S. base, there were reports that he was in a nearby village looking for someone who spoke English, so that he could establish communications with the Taliban. Soon afterward, Buetow recalled, “IEDs started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical.”
Bergdahl knew where the trucks would be going and when; said Buetow: “We were incredibly worried” that the Taliban’s “prisoner of war” was passing this information on to his captors in order to help them place their bombs most effectively.
Fox News also reported that according to “sources who had debriefed two former members of Bergdahl’s unit,” the deserter “left behind a note the night he left base in which he expressed disillusionment with the Army and being an American and suggested that he wanted to renounce his American citizenship and go find the Taliban.” According to Colonel David Hunt, Bergdahl even “called his unit the day after he deserted to tell his unit he deserted.”
Barack Obama must have known all or some of this, or should have known it, when he announced the exchange of five Guantanamo detainees for Bergdahl.
The guilty plea to the desertion charge is a positive step, but there needs to be one more charge as well: treason.
“Bowe Bergdhal [sic] pleads GUILTY to desertion as first ever TV interview emerges with Taliban captive saying he’s ‘insulted’ people think he’s a traitor,” by Ashley Collman, Dailymail.com, October 16, 2017 (thanks to Blazing Cat Fur):
Bowe Bergdahl has pleaded guilty to desertion charges.
The Army sergeant appeared in military court Monday morning at Fort Bragg to face charges for fleeing his Afghanistan post in 2009.
The Taliban captured Bergdahl after he went AWOL and held him captive for five years, before President Obama secured his release in exchange for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in 2014.
Earlier in the morning, ABC News aired an interview with Bergdahl – his first televised interview since returning to the U.S.
In the interview, which was filmed last year by British filmmaker Sean Langan, Bergdahl said it was ‘insulting’ that he’s been portrayed as a traitor.
The 31-year-old Idaho native offered no explanation for why he abandoned his Afghanistan outpost in 2009. But he says the narrative that he deserted his company to join the Taliban is false.
‘You know, it’s just insulting frankly,’ Bergdahl said. ‘It’s very insulting, the idea that they would think I did that.’
While he didn’t speak about his reasons with Langan, he has tried to explain his actions before.
In taped conversations with filmmaker Mark Boal, which aired on the second season of the podcast Serial, Bergdahl claimed he left his post so that he could report his ‘unfit’ platoon commander to senior officers.
In the more recent interview, Bergdahl said he doubted he could get a fair trial due to the negative comments made by now-President Trump on the campaign trail last year.
‘We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs that got what they wanted,’ Bergdahl said. ‘The people who want to hang me, you’re never going to convince those people.’
Trump has been outspoken in his belief that it was a bad idea to release five Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl in 2014, who he thinks should have been executed.
Far from living it up as a Taliban recruit, Bergdahl went into detail about his five years in captivity, many of which were spent in a cage….
While there have been rumors that Bergdahl went AWOL trying to join the Taliban, he has never been charged with a crime related to aiding the enemy….