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Obama's Bowe Bergdahl powder keg

| Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

U.S. Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl was described as a hero by President Obama in a White House Rose Garden ceremony this past summer. This was nothing more than a dishonest stage-managed public relations stunt featuring the president and Bergdahl's grateful parents.

Against strong objections from some U.S. military advisers, the president released five dangerous senior Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl.

Paul Sperry of the Hoover Institution recently wrote an authoritative article on Bergdahl in the New York Post. This has “become a political powder keg for President Obama,” he said. The headline of his piece — “Is Obama whitewashing a traitor?”

The day after the Rose Garden spectacle, Susan Rice, Obama's incompetent national security adviser, said Bergdahl had “served the United States with honor and distinction.”

This was untrue. One wonders if there is any issue involving America's interests that is not made political by Obama or his toadies. Is everything a manipulated con-job? Do they ever speak truthfully, except occasionally by coincidence?

Sgt. Evan Buetow, Bergdahl's Army team leader, came forward despite a Pentagon gag order. Buetow was present when Bergdahl disappeared and knew him well. “Bergdahl is a deserter, not a hero,” he said. “He needs to answer for what he did.”

Other fellow soldiers in Bergdahl's platoon also said he deserted his post, first shipping most of his belongings home to his parents, then leaving his weapon and body armor. Taking only a compass, he went to surrender to the Taliban.

According to secret documents compiled by a high-ranking former CIA officer, acting as a contractor to the Pentagon, at various times during his five years with the Taliban, Bergdahl fraternized with his captors, converted to Islam, declared himself a “mujahid” and, at times, even carried a loaded AK-47 they had given him.

In June 2014, the Military Times cited a classified Army report saying that Bergdahl “had a history” of being AWOL from his post and had walked away “of his own free will.”

Media interest in Bergdahl has now waned. Last we knew he had been promoted to Sergeant E-5 while in captivity.

If the Army declares Bergdahl to have been a POW, he will receive generous lifetime benefits, including $2,500-$3,500 every month, tax free, as well as medical care (without a co-pay) less costly than the men and women who served honorably.

An Army investigation into Bergdahl's disappearance and conduct was to be conducted by Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, described by critics as “a yes-man.” It was to be completed by Aug. 15. It has not been. Dahl is dragging his feet for reasons unknown.

His interview with Bergdahl at Fort Sam Houston in Texas last month was described by Bergdahl's lawyers as “entirely non-confrontational.”

Sperry says he was told by a Pentagon source that a court-martial of Bergdahl, surely called for under the military's own rules, is unlikely because it would “make President Obama look bad.”

None of the loved ones of the six young paratroopers who were killed searching for Bergdahl in Paktika Province, Afghanistan — sons, brothers, husbands and fathers — was invited to a White House ceremony or received any expression of gratitude from Barack Obama or Susan Rice.

Richard W. Carlson is a former U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles and the former director of the Voice of America.

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