When Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was reunited with his family after five years in Taliban captivity last weekend, the nation joined in the celebration. Almost immediately, however, concerns regarding the circumstances of his release began to spread.
The Obama administration agreed to release five suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the American, a move Republicans say could embolden Islamic militants.
“What does this tell the terrorists?” Sen. Ted Cruz asked. “That if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for tive terrorists.”
GOP leaders also complained that Obama did not provide Congress with a required 30-day notice before approving such a transfer.
As Sen. John McCain – himself a former prisoner of war – suggested, the five released prisoners were “the hardest of the hard core” terrorists, suggesting they could have been “responsible for the deaths of thousands.”
After the initial issues emerged, even darker allegations against Bergdahl himself began to surface. Just days before he was reported missing, he sent an email to his father, Bob, indicating he felt he was fighting for the wrong side.
“I am sorry for everything here,” he wrote. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.”
His commander was a “conceited old fool,” Bergdahl continued, noting his disgust at being associated with the U.S. military – and even the nation in general.
“I am ashamed to be an American,” he wrote. “And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”
Reports indicate he subsequently deserted his fellow soldiers, leading to the deaths of multiple individuals involved in a rescue and recovery mission. Once in Taliban custody, the terrorist organization used him in propaganda videos in which he criticized the American government.
Capping off the saga surrounding his release, reports this week indicate Bergdahl – a man who made it clear he wants nothing to do with the U.S. Army – is now on the fast track to a military promotion.
Sr defense official tells @barbarastarrcnn that Bergdahl is scheduled to be promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant later this month
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 2, 2014
While individuals across the nation justifiably celebrate the reunion of this family, many contend it is foolish to ignore the other aspects of this soldier’s story.