Above the debate churning around the Bowe Bergdahl saga seems to be the notion that the U.S. should always seek to bring every service member home. Not so fast, says one former commandant.
In an appearance this weekend on Fox News, retired Gen. James T. Conway talked about the recently recovered soldier and all the context surrounding his return to the U.S. Bergdahl had been in the hands of the Haqqani network of the Taliban ever since he had wandered off base five years ago. Reports and evidence suggest he left of his own will, investigations have yet to determine if or to what degree he potentially sought out and cooperated with the Taliban.
Conway told Fox’s Neil Cavuto that it was pretty clear Bergdahl had deserted his unit, and as such, should not have received such a concerted effort on behalf of Washington.
“He broke his oath to his nation. He broke his loyalty to his fellow soldiers and walked off a post that was undermanned in very serious bad guy country,” said Conway. “When a man is a deserter, I think that puts him in a special status, and it’s just not the same as soldier or a Marine that’s perhaps been captured on a patrol or taken during an ambush. I think the value is simply less … Frankly I think there is too high a value on getting him back at all costs.”
Of the five Taliban officers released in the Bergdahl deal, Conway said, “I think you’re probably going to hear from them again.”
His sentiment was later echoed by NBC’s Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, who, citing military sources, called the chances of the released Taliban officers stirring up trouble again “inevitable.”