The release of America’s lone prisoner of the Afghan War was met with relief and tears of joy from Bowe Bergdahl’s family, friends, and fellow veterans. (Via U.S. Army)
But in the days following several soldiers have come forward calling Bergdahl not a hero, but a traitor. They say Bergdahl left the base of his own volition, and in doing so, ultimately put U.S. troops at risk.
In an op-ed for The Daily Beast, a soldier who served in Bergdahl’s unit expressed his anger: “Make no mistake … 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.”
“Release me, please!”
Critics say Bergdahl became disillusioned with the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. (Via KOIN)
They point to this 2012 Rolling Stone interview with Bergdahl's father. Bob Bergdahl said his son emailed him three days before his capture, writing “I am sorry for everything … The horror that is America is disgusting.”
A soldier who claimed to have served with Bergdahl back in 2009 recently tweeted: “While searching for him, ambushes and IEDs picked up tremendously. Enemy knew we would be coming.”
CNN reports at least six US soldiers died while searching for Bergdahl. One member of his platoon says Bergdahl should face military trial for desertion.
If Bergdahl had wandered off his base without permission, that could result in two charges — desertion or being absent without leave, known as AWOL. (Via U.S. Department of Defense)
But according to Time, military offiicals have said privately it’s unlikely Bergdahl will be charged with anything —“believing that five years in Taliban custody was punishment enough.”
On Sunday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was in Bagram, Afghanistan. He declined to talk with reporters about possible punitive actions against Bergdahl.