SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

June 18, 2014

Armerding: Don't listen to those who knew Bergdahl best, Obama says

(Continued)

The judgment of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers is similar. After a number of them — who unlike everybody in the administration actually have firsthand knowledge of the situation — said Bergdahl deserted, a flack for the Department of Housing and Urban Development suggesting in a tweet that the unit was “long on psychopaths and short on leadership.” Gee, could that smear be a “rush to judgment” before all the facts are known?

It’s the same about Bergdahl’s condition. Immediately after his release, when critics contended that he was anything but a hero and that exchanging him for a Taliban “dream team” was not in the interest of U.S. security, the president’s team insisted that Bergdahl’s condition was so fragile that he might not have survived had he not been rescued.

Really? Apparently the administration didn’t plan on the Taliban releasing a video of the exchange. If Bergdahl was at any physical risk, he hid it well.

At which point, the narrative suddenly shifted. The risk was not to his medical condition but that his Taliban captors might injure or kill him. They had to make the deal quickly and not tell Congress, as the law requires, or the Taliban might have cut his throat.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who didn’t hesitate to further his own political career more than 40 years ago by accusing his fellow soldiers in Vietnam of war crimes, said it would have been “offensive and incomprehensible” to leave Bergdahl in the hands of the Taliban when they might torture him or “cut off his head.”

This about a POW who had been in enemy hands for the better part of five years. All of a sudden, he was at risk of torture or having his head cut off? Did the moderate Taliban just import a crew of hard-liners a couple of months ago to guard Bergdahl?

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