Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Army soldier who was held captive by the Taliban for five years, has been charged for desertion, and reactions to Bergdahl's charges have been mixed. As of Wednesday night, the White House did not comment on the news. A request for comment made by Breitbart was referred to the Department of Defense, which handles the investigation, but no public statement was made.
From U.S. Army Veterans
Michael D. Helm, national commander of the veterans advocacy group American Legion and a Vietnam War veteran, expressed his concerns over the prisoner exchange that led to Bergdahl's release. In a statement, he said:
From the beginning, The American Legion has expressed its strong concerns about negotiating deals with terrorists. While we do not believe in leaving any U.S. military personnel behind, we also don’t want to recklessly endanger Americans by creating incentives for future kidnappings and other terrorist acts.
Anthony Anderson, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant who mans the blog Guardians of Valor, told the International Business Times that Bergdahl should face death if he is found to have shared sensitive information to the Taliban.
I knew from the beginning that he was a deserter. If it was just desertion and he didn’t give up any information that caused other soldiers to get killed, then I think life in prison will be just punishment. But if it’s found out that he did give vital information that ended up getting other soldiers killed, then he should lose his life.”
From Bergdahl's Hometown Of Hailey, Idaho
Lance Stephensen told the The Idaho Statesman that Bergdahl will be held accountable if he broke military rules, but those charges would have to be proven. Stephensen's father, Air Force Col. Mark Stephensen, was listed as missing in action after he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. His remains were returned to the United States in 1988.
Every American soldier needs to come home. A lot of people put their heart and soul into getting him home.
From Idaho Officials
Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle toldThe Idaho Statesman that residents have continued with their normal lives:
We trust that those charges will be fairly evaluated. ... We haven't spent the last nine months kvetching about Bowe Bergdahl. There are no yellow ribbons up and down our main street.
Sen. Mike Crapo said in a statement:
The judgment of Bowe Bergdahl's actions is where it should be — in the U.S. military justice system. The Department of Defense is proceeding with Bergdahl, as a U.S. citizen, retaining the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.