It appears the close relationship displayed by newly released captive Sergeant Bowe Berghdahl's parents at a White House Rose Garden ceremony with President Obama may be frigid at this time. Apparently Bergdahl has refused to take their calls as he recovers at a U.S. military hospital in Germany, according to The Wall Street Journal Monday.
The always “unnamed U.S. official” was quoted as saying doctors are moving cautiously with Bergdahl due to the rising national furor he will face when he returns home. The sergeant was held almost five years by the Taliban-connected Haqqani network. Whether he was captured or deserted his post to join them is in question.
The controversy began when President Barack Obama announced Bergdahl's secret release in a Rose Garden ceremony May 31. Bergdahl's parents were present and White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice made the now infamous remark the next day that the sergeant had served with "honor and distinction." His former squad members interviewed later all said he had deserted.
What is known is Bergdahl walked away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009. He was quickly seized and taken into captivity. It is now known he had walked off base on at least one prior occasion, but returned. A 2012 Rolling Stone article quoted Bergdahl as telling his parents in emails that he was “ashamed to be an American.”
Since his release, the political fallout has been overwhelming. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have bitterly criticized Obama for releasing five high-level Taliban officials from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He never consulted them, including the senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Diane Feinstein, which the president is legally obligated to do.
The weak excuse from the White House is Bergdahl's "health and safety was at risk," making 30 days’ notice impossible. To make things worse for Obama, Bergdahl’s own father spoke to his son’s captors in Arabic at the Rose Garden ceremony touting a haircut and beard that made him look like a Taliban fighter.
Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, Idaho, were forced the cancellation of a planned welcome-home celebration later this month. Doctors fear this is all playing into his psychological recovery.
Stories are now surfacing that Bergdahl was locked up in a shark cage, tried unsuccessfully to escape, etc. None of the stories have been verified. Even accounts of torture are leaking out. The question is, where are the leaks coming from?
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The Associated Press on Friday that Bergdahl was kept under "good conditions." That is not good news for a man now under siege from both the left, right and the military.
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