Everything the White House told us about Bergdahl was wrong
Interesting article in the Daily Beast about how the White House Bowe Bergdahl narrative completely collapsed now that he has been identified as a deserter and the war in Afghanistan has not ended.
Nancy Youssef writes that Bergdahl's "capture, release and now charge became a parable of how narratives about the war in Afghanistan did not pan out." Bergdahl's release was supposed to put a triumphant explanation point on the war in Afghanistan. Instead, it has highlighted the administration's incompetence.
But the political benefits and the timing of the war both proved incorrect. The president faced immediate backlash for heralding a soldier suspected of abandoning his post. That was only further fueled when, in a June 2014 interview with CNN, Rice said Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction.”
Rice’s comments could work in Bergdahl’s favor, should the convening authority looking at his case recommend a court martial, military officials conceded. It could counter the suggestion that he “is guilty of cowardly conduct,” a clause in the misbehavior-before-the-enemy charge.
And just this week, the president announced that the U.S. military would delay its drawdown to 9,800 troops for another five months at the request of newly elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. U.S. forces are seeking to train 352,000 Afghan security forces before leaving and now are about 20,000 shy of that figure.
"At the heart of this whole situation, there’s still the decision to trade five Taliban detainees for a deserter, when there were in fact other options on the table. We’re aware of those options and frankly, the White House made a big mistake,” Representative Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, told The Daily Beast. “And tying Bergdahl to an end-of-war effort was no less an error in judgment. The Army’s going to continue its process, which has taken way too long already, but it’s evident the administration screwed this up and nothing exists to justify the swap.”
White House spin on the Bergdahl swap had little to do with reality and everything to do with the talking points the administration wanted to advance. The press dutifully carried out their role, echoing the administration's spin and denigrating anyone who raised questions about it.
Reality has finally caught up with that spin, and the administration has been exposed as a bunch of incompetents and liars. Their insistence that the narrative still holds – Psaki saying it was "worth it" – flies in the face of the truth. Perhaps if Bergdahl is convicted of "cowardice in the face of the enemy," the administration will change their tune.