Hagel: Critics Should Wait for Facts before Condemning Bergdahl

Image: Hagel: Critics Should Wait for Facts before Condemning Bergdahl

Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 11:13 AM


  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Critics should wait for the facts before rushing to judge released Taliban detainee Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday.

Bergdahl, held for nearly five years in Afghanistan, was freed last week in a controversial prisoner-swap deal with the Taliban brokered by the Qatari government. Five Taliban militants were released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and flown to Qatar.

Some former comrades have accused Bergdahl, who was captured in unknown circumstances on June 30, 2009, of walking away from his unit and prompting a massive manhunt they say cost the lives of at least six fellow soldiers.

"I do not know of specific circumstances or details of U.S. solders dying as a result of efforts to find and rescue Sergeant Bergdahl," Hagel told a news conference after a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

The army had announced it would review all the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's disappearance, he said.

"Until we get the facts, until we have ... a review of all the circumstances, it is not in the interest of anyone and certainly I think a bit unfair to Sergeant Bergdahl's family and to him to presume anything. We don't do that in the United States. We rely on facts," Hagel said.

Republican members of the U.S. Congress have said President Barack Obama set a dangerous precedent with the swap for Bergdahl - who is undergoing physical and mental assessments at a military hospital in Germany - and might have broken the law.

Hagel, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, was asked if he thought Bergdahl still deserved to be a sergeant.

"It's not my place as a former sergeant in the United States Army, which I am very proud of, to decide who is worthy of being a sergeant and who isn't and I think any further talk of that is irresponsible," Hagel replied.

"Let's get the facts, but let's first focus on getting Sergeant Bergdahl well, getting his health back, getting him reunified with his family," Hagel said.

"Let's not forget Sergeant Bergdahl is a member of the United States armed forces ... The United States of America has, and always will have, responsibility for getting its soldiers back. Other questions and facts regarding Sergeant Bergdahl will be dealt with at a later time," he added.

Obama defended on Tuesday the operation to rescue Bergdahl, saying the United States was committed to freeing its prisoners of war regardless of how they were captured.

A video released by the Taliban showed a dazed Bergdahl being led by two militants, one carrying a makeshift white flag on a stick, to a Blackhawk helicopter in eastern Afghanistan ending his captivity.

The Pentagon says Bergdahl is in a stable condition at the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Officials have indicated there is little desire to pursue any disciplinary action against him given what he has been through. (Reporting by Adrian Croft, David Brunnstrom; editing by David Stamp)

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Former Member: Oklahoma Mosque Taught Radical Islam

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 22:43 PM

A former member of an Oklahoma mosque attended by the suspect in a recent beheading said members and leaders taught radi . . .

Rand Paul: 'I Am Not Opposed to Birth Control'

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 11:30 AM

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., widely believed to be seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2016, cautiously tiptoed . . .

Dick Morris: Obama Went Out of Way to Miss Intelligence Briefings

Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 11:15 AM

President Barack Obama has missed 58 percent of the national security intelligence briefings during each of his terms in . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved