via Bowe Bergdahl ‘deserter’ investigation is complete – but verdict will not be determined until after November’s elections | Daily Mail Online.
The Army completed its investigation last week into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance from a base in Afghanistan five years ago, but the Pentagon said Tuesday that it doesn’t know when the report will be released.
‘The investigating officer has done his work, but now that work is moving through the Army system, and at each stop … there will … be questions, requirements for clarification,’ Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters.
‘So it’s working its way through the system as would any other investigation.’
The results of the Army’s probe into whether Bergdahl deserted his post will most certainly be withheld from the public until after November’s elections, if it discloses its findings at all.
The Pentagon’s announcement has Republicans and former platoon mates of Bergdahl’s wondering what’s taking so long, as the facts of the case appear fairly cut and dried on the surface.
According to soldiers who served with Bergdahl, the 28-year-old willingly abandoned his base several days before he was kidnapped by the Taliban and taken hostage in June of 2009.
If cleared of wrong doing, Sgt. Bergdahl stands to receive $200,000 in back pay and $150,000 compensation for his troubles.
The Army said on Friday that it had received Dahl’s report and its ‘reviewing it,’ but it has no timeline for the completion of its audit.
But members of Bergdahl’s unit say they don’t understand why the Army’s assessment is taking so long.
Bergdahl’s former platoon leader, Sgt. Evan Buetow, has said on numerous occasions that after Bergdahl, then a private in the army, went missing, soldiers in his unit learned from locals they were observing over the radio that an American was wandering around town, looking for someone who spoke English so that he could communicate with the Taliban.
‘We’ve come out when he first got released, and we explained exactly what happened. He deserted his post, all on his own, and we’re now still sitting here waiting for answers,’ Buetow told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday evening.
Buetow said he was interviewed Gen. Dahl and had a ‘lengthy’ conversation with him about the details of Bergdahl’s disappearance, including the chatter the platoon heard over the radio.
‘I have a list of the people that the general spoke to during this investigation,’ Buetow told Hannity. ‘It’s everyone from the platoon, and I know exactly what they said.
‘There’s no way that they can conclude this investigation without the truth.’
The truth, Buetow said, is that Bergdahl deserted.
‘There’s not one person [from his platoon] who disagrees,’ Buetow said.
Another former platoon mate of Bergdahl’s, Sgt. Jordan Vaughn, said Wednesday on Fox and Friends that he’s also suspicious of delay, given that the military had ‘five years to investigate this, talk to everyone who was there, who was involved, talk to the family, check the emails, look at the facts.’
‘The only thing that was missing here, the only piece, is Bergdahl himself talking to him,’ he said.
Vaughn suggested that part of the problem is that Dahl is not qualified to conduct the probe.
‘I really want to see the line of questioning presented by Major General Dahl given that he is not an army investigator,’ Vaughn said.
He later referred to Dahl as a ‘general that has no experience’ leading ‘a line of questioning in a criminal investigation.’
‘What are Gen. Dahl’s credentials?’ he asked.
Vaughn said if the Army doesn’t release its finished review to the public, he and other members of Bergdahl’s platoon would ‘look into filing a Freedom of Information Act’ to obtain the report.
Fox’s Kimberly Guilfoyle, who was filling in this morning for regular Fox and Friends host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, commented that it seemed ‘very politically expedient’ that the Army is delaying the release of its report until after the election.
On Tuesday night, Hannity noted that ‘the Army says politics has nothing to do with’ the protracted wait.
‘I’m not sold,’ he said.
Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, a frequent Fox guest, told Hannity later in the show that he, too, believes the Obama administration may have asked the Army to sit on the verdict of its investigation until after Nov. 4.
‘When it comes to why it’s being withheld, it’s obvious. It’s gotta be withheld until after the election because no matter which way the report goes, Obama loses,’ he said.
‘If the White House was able to exert sufficient pressure on the chain of command in the Pentagon to whitewash Bergdahl’s actions, then there’s gonna be this huge outcry from those serving in uniform, from veterans from conservatives,’ he noted.
On the other hand, he said, ‘if it turns out that the Army got some backbone and really looked at what Bergdahl did, listened to people like Sgt. Buetow and his platoon mates, and finds that, yes, he should be charged with desertion, well then the Rose Garden ceremony looks like an even greater debacle.’
‘So Obama has dug himself into a very deep hole, and he can’t stop digging,’ he said, referring to a news conference the president held at the White House on the day of Bergdahl’s release with the sergeant’s parents.
Peters claimed that he has ‘nothing personal’ against Sgt. Bergdahl and that he’s never met him.
‘This is about a much greater issue than one individual who appears to have deserted from his post and left his comrades behind in war time,’ he explained.
‘The principle is this: the Obama administration really despises our military, in my view. And they understand why Bergdahl would desert, they just don’t understand why anybody would join the military.
Returning back to the topic at hand, Peters said that ‘if there’s a whitewash, and Bergdahl walks with all his back pay and stuff, the travesty, the precedent it sets for all future wars is that, “Hey dude, it’s OK, man. You don’t like what’s going on, walk away, we’ll cover for you.”
‘That’s profoundly wrong,’ he concluded.
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