In the White House Rose Garden, President Obama portrayed the swap of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders as a good deal for America that was based on the principle of leaving no American soldier behind.
But many of the soldiers who served with Bergdahl, whose departure from his unit now is under investigation by the Army, say he should be put on trial for desertion and receive the fair adjudication offered to any American citizen.
And then he should be punished, they say.
One, retired U.S. Army Pfc. Jose Baggett, scolded those who have called Bergdahl a hero, asserting it is clear he deserted his post.
Bergdahl was released Saturday and now is in a U.S. military hospital in Germany while the five Taliban commanders have been released to Qatar.
While Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, has said Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction,” Baggett contends his true legacy will be that he got “real heroes” who were assigned to rescue him killed.
WND has reported that some soldiers posting anonymously on a Facebook page called “Bowe Bergdahl is a Traitor” believe Bergdahl was cooperating with the Taliban and they were told to “kill on contact.”
They later were forced to sign nondisclosure agreements that were binding while Bergdahl was in the captivity of the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network.
One commented, “All I know is that our orders were kill on contact and then we came back and it was covered up.”
What Bergdahl really did, Baggett said, was to “leave his guard post and get real heroes killed.”
Another former soldier, Josh Korder, told reporters: “At best he’s a deserter. At worst, a traitor.”
“As soon as he is able and as soon as he is fit, I do believe he needs to be questioned and basically tried,” he said.
As WND reported, Cody Full and Gerald Sutton, who also served with Bergdahl, said late Monday that the soldier needs to answer for his actions.
“I do believe he deserted, without a doubt in my mind,” Full said, citing reports that Bergdahl mailed his possessions home shortly before his disappearance and other factors.
Gerald Sutton agreed, “I’d like him to face the consequences of his own actions and possibly face court martial for desertion.”
Yet another, Mathew Vierkant, said Bergdahl simply fled the camp “to either join the Taliban or something else.”
Only he can answer that question,” he said. “I don’t believe he had any intention of coming back.”
Another relative of a soldier killed during the hunt for Bergdahl also was calling for a resolution.
WND has reported that Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., says there is one group that assuredly will pay a price for the exchange: Americans.
“They’ve already killed Americans. They’re going to kill more,” he said bluntly in a Fox News interview with Megyn Kelly Monday night, referring to the five terrorist commanders.