Speed Reads

National Security

Did Bowe Bergdahl really serve with 'honor and distinction'?

US Army/Wikimedia Commons

No stranger to Sunday morning controversies, National Security Adviser Susan Rice appeared on ABC's This Week on Sunday and — in response to a question about whether or not ex-POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been a deserter — declared that he "served the United States with honor and distinction."

Now comes this from The New York Times, "provided by a former senior military officer briefed on the investigation into the private's disappearance":

Sometime after midnight on June 30, 2009, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl left behind a note in his tent saying he had become disillusioned with the Army, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was leaving to start a new life. He slipped off the remote military outpost in Paktika Province on the border with Pakistan and took with him a soft backpack, water, knives, a notebook and writing materials, but left behind his body armor and weapons — startling, given the hostile environment around his outpost. [The New York Times]

It's hard to square Rice's comments with this report. More and more, it's looking like we traded five potentially dangerous Taliban leaders for one deserter. What's more, it seems likely his desertion may have cost the lives of other Americans.

This is starting to look like the most lopsided trade since Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas.