September 2, 2014

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By Don Chipman
For the Star-Gazette
Hero or Deserter?
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a captive of the Taliban for five years, has created a storm that continues to reach a crescendo even as we write this article across this broad land.
It all began innocently enough when it was announced that an American soldier held captive by the Taliban for five years was being released and set free.
Then the other shoe dropped. Sgt. Bergdahl was released after the administration allowed the five most dangerous captives at Gitmo to be included in the exchange.

Fact or Fiction?
First–What ever happened to “We never will negotiate with terrorists.” Period. Sound familiar? Fact or Fiction?
Second–It later became a sensational story about his release when it was disclosed that Sgt. Bergdahl walked away “under the wire” on his own volition, leaving behind his weapon and flak jacket. Fact or Fiction?
Third–Simply “walking away” from your post is more than being AWOL. In a combat zone this will be (and should be) treated as desertion. The Department of Defense should act accordingly after a full investigation. Fact or Fiction?
Fourth–Susan Rice did it again–when she stated this was an extraordinary day with the release of an American soldier who served his country with “Honor and Dignity.” Well it turned out to be an extraordinary day indeed. Fact or Fiction?
Fifth–The President took the release upon himself without notifying Congress (which according to law needs to be given a 30 day notice) before acting. He excluded even the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence including Sen. Diane Feinstein (D), chairman, and Vice Chairman Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R). Fact or Fiction?
Sixth–The Administration reasoning is that someone in Congress might leak that negotiations were going on with the Taliban who stated they in turn would kill Sgt. Bergdahl if the negotiations were made public. Doesn’t speak very highly of those “On the Hill” does it? Fact or Fiction?
Seventh–Six members of Sgt. Bergdahl’s own platoon appeared on a national newscast and all six soldiers stated that in their opinion Sgt. Bergdahl was a deserter and left his post and should be court-martialed. Fact or Fiction?
Eighth–The announcement by the administration coming from the Rose Garden proved to be a disaster when Bergdahl’s parents appeared on TV and the Sgt’s. Father even spoke in the Pashto language and praised Allah. Fact or Fiction?
Ninth–Sgt. Bergdahl wrote his parents saying, “he was ashamed to be an American,” and “that he was helping fools with their ideas that are wrong.” Is this a Hero? Fact or Fiction?
Tenth–Sgt. Bergdahl went as far as mailing his books and his uniform home. Is this an act of a rational man or one who is so disillusioned with the American way of life to act so foolishly? Fact or Fiction?
Eleventh–Most of the national polls taken find that that Sgt. Bergdahl acted cowardly and is a deserter. However he is also innocent until proven guilty and has the right to defend himself in a court of justice. Rightfully so. Fact or Fiction?
Twelfth–What kind of a snarky remark was that by spokesperson Marie Harf when questioned that the six platoon members should know more about what happened than what the government is saying when she answered curtly “Not the Case?” Fact or Fiction?
Thirteen– President Obama stated, “The opportunity was there, and we acted accordingly. I make no apology for that.” President Obama was speaking on the release of Sgt. Bergdahl and the trading of the five Gitmo detainees. Is this beginning by the administration to release all enemy combatants and to close Gitmo? Fact or Fiction?
Fourteen–What do you think? Send your vote Hero or Deserter to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will tabulate the count and report it next week.