News & Politics

Analyst: Time to Send the Taliban Five Back to Gitmo Now that Bergdahl's Pleaded Guilty

In this Jan. 12, 2016, file photo, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (AP Photo/Ted Richardson, File)

The soldier who former national security adviser Susan Rice once claimed “served with honor and distinction” today pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bowe Bergdahl is now facing a maximum penalty of life in prison.

After Bergdahl abandoned his remote post in Afghanistan in 2009, six American soldiers were killed looking for him. A number of others were maimed during search and recovery missions. “I understand that leaving was against the law,” Bergdahl told the judge. “At the time, I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations.”

The Obama administration in 2014 portrayed Bergdahl as a long-suffering hero who had served his country well.

President Barack Obama released five top Taliban commanders – some of whom had committed war crimes; all of whom were deemed to be a risk to Americans — to Qatar in exchange for the deserter, bringing him home on May 31, 2014. In doing so, Obama broke a law that requires congressional notification of such a trade.

It was probably the worst prisoner swap in American history, breaking the United States’ longstanding position of never negotiating with terrorists. Now a respected military analyst is suggesting that the deal be rescinded.

After the swap, Obama held a celebratory press conference in the White House Rose Garden with Bergdahl’s parents.  The nation’s smiles turned to puzzled frowns as soon as Papa Bergdahl — sporting a Taliban-style beard — started speaking. “Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim,” said Bob Bergdahl, citing the Koran.  That’s Arabic for “in the name of Allah the most gracious, the most merciful.”

It got more awkward for the Obama administration when Bergdahl’s former troopmates got the news.

They immediately took to Twitter and spilled the beans about the “returning hero.” Bergdahl was no hero, they tweeted. He was a traitor who caused the deaths of six of their brothers in arms.

Two soldiers from Bergdahl’s unit, Cody Full and Gerald Sutton, appeared on Fox News with Megyn Kelly on June 2 to talk about Bergdahl’s treachery. “I don’t want him hailed as a hero,” said Sutton. “I want him to face consequences for his own actions and possibly face a court martial for desertion.”

But the Obama administration was intent on “hailing Bergdahl as a hero.” After saying he served with honor and distinction during an interview on ABC’s This Week, Susan Rice said Bergdahl “was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield.”

When a reporter asked State Depart spokeswoman Jen Psaki point blank if the administration would “categorize Sgt. Bergdahl as a deserter,” she answered: “We would characterize him as a member of the military who was detained while in combat.”

In a desperate and transparent attempt to rally their left-wing base, White House aides started accusing the vets who served with Bergdahl of trying to “swiftboat” the deserter.

The term was thrown out there to evoke an emotional response from Democrats, who remember how the men who served with John Kerry capsized his campaign in 2004.

Swiftboating has a very negative connotation to people on the left. To them, it means “unfairly smearing someone on our team.”

On the right, we understand it to mean “telling the truth about a Democrat” – more specifically, in the Kerry and Bergdahl cases, men who served with honor telling inconvenient truths about a guy who didn’t and who was helpful to the Democrats.

Seven months later, retired lt. col. Tony Shaffer said during an appearance on Fox News that the Army had decided to charge Bergdahl with desertion months before, but the White House was stonewalling the announcement because his decision to trade five dangerous terrorists for one weaselly American deserter made Obama look weak and foolish.  Then-assistant national security adviser Ben Rhodes was said to be behind the stonewall.

“This is shaping up to be a titanic struggle behind the scenes,” Shaffer said on The O’Reilly Factor on January 27, 2015. “Believe me, the Army here wants to do the right thing. … And the White House, because of the political narrative, President Obama cozying up to the parents and because he, President Obama, releasing the five Taliban. … The narrative is what the White House does not want to have come out.”

The next day, the Pentagon vigorously denied the claim that Bergdahl had been charged with desertion, which both Fox News and NBC were reporting at that point.

Shaffer went on The O’Reilly Factor again to double down on the assertion.

“I stand by all of those facts,” Shaffer said. “Plus, Bill, if you look at what Adm. Kirby said in the written statements from the Pentagon, they don’t deny the material findings of the report – or what I said was in the report. They’re being very careful about how they parse their words and I think there’s reasons why.”

“A decision was made,” he insisted.

Two months later, the Army announced its decision to charge Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Fast-forward to October 16, 2017: Bergdahl’s guilty plea “means vindication not only for me but for those men and women who first off served with him and saw him walk away,” Shaffer said on Fox News.

“At least six Americans, three British members of the coalition died looking for him,” Shaffer said, adding that individuals who were maimed from the search testified at the hearing Monday about “the damage done to their lives.”

“Fox went on the limb a couple of years ago when I first forecast  he would be charged, rightfully so,” Shaffer pointed out. “I feel everybody is finally getting some level of justice.”

He went on somewhat of a limb again, saying that the next thing that needs to be looked at is the fate of the five Taliban generals.

“President Trump ought to rethink the deal that was made with the Taliban on his release,” he said. “We all received back damaged goods.It makes the deal for Bergdahl look even worse now with the pleading guilty. Those five Taliban are still in Qatar as far as we know. They need to be returnd to Gitmo for purposes of the fact that it was a bad deal, the Taliban has never stopped fighting us.  Like President Trump called out … the Iran deal. This is another deal we should question.”