SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

June 23, 2014

A look at what others are saying

The following are excerpts of editorials from other newspapers across New England:

Controversy continues to swirl around the Obama administration’s swap of five dangerous Taliban Guantanamo detainees for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. According to the administration, Bergdahl was a hero who served with honor, but members of his unit in Afghanistan and others say that he deserted his post and went over to the enemy. They insist that he face a court martial on his return to the United States.

A story in The New York Times describes a disillusioned soldier who slipped away from a remote outpost on the Pakistan border in June 2009, leaving a note on his bunk explaining that he did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and had left to start a new life. Soon after Bergdahl vanished, radio chatter picked up talk about an American in a village 2 miles away, his team leader that night, former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow, told CNN. “He’s looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban,” was one message reportedly picked up.

For three months, his platoon and another scoured the region looking for him. Two soldiers were killed in an ambush during one such mission. The Defense Department maintains that it is unclear whether the men died because of the search. In 2010, news reports said that Bergdahl was working with his captors, making bombs and teaching ambush skills.

There also seems to be a renewal of the pattern of the administration initially misleading Americans, as in the case of the 2012 killings of a U.S. ambassador and three others in Benghazi. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who famously claimed the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous demonstration in response to an obscure Internet video, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday and categorically declared that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction.” That now seems to be open to debate.

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