Obama: US Government “Not Seeking to Punish Bergdahl as a Deserter”
Barack Obama told reporters in Poland today that the US government is not seeking to punish Bowe Bergdahl as a deserter.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Taliban Saturday in a prisoner swap.
Bergdahl was the only living POW held by the Taliban. He was captured by the Taliban in 2009 in Afghanistan.
Private Bowe Bergdahl left behind a note in his tent in 2009 saying he had become disillusioned with the Army, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was leaving to start a new life.
The US lost as many as 14 soldiers looking for deserter Bowe Bergdahl.
Bergdahl was promoted to sergeant a year after he reportedly joined the Taliban and was teaching bomb-making techniques to terrorists.
Today in Poland Barack Obama said the US government was not seeking to punish Bowe Bergdahl as a deserter.
Yahoo AP reported:
President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his decision to release five Afghan detainees from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for an American soldier’s freedom, saying his administration had consulted with Congress “for some time” about that possibility.
Obama also brushed aside questions about the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s capture by insurgents in 2009. The United States, he said, has a “sacred” obligation to not leave men and women in uniform behind.
“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,” Obama said during a news conference in Poland as he opened a three-country European visit. “We don’t condition that.”
There have long been questions about how Bergdahl disappeared from his unit nearly five years ago. The Pentagon concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl walked away, and the military curbed any high-risk rescue plans after an initial flurry of searching.
Despite the Pentagon’s conclusions, Obama said the government was not currently seeking to punish Bergdahl as a deserter.
“Our main priority is making sure the transition that he’s undergoing after five years in captivity is successful,” he said.