Tags: America's Forum | Derek Harvey | Scott Neil | Bowe Bergdahl | desertion

Col. Derek Harvey: Regardless of Desertion, Bergdahl Swap a Mistake

By    |   Thursday, 26 March 2015 11:27 AM

Long before he was charged with desertion, it was "common knowledge" that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl voluntarily walked away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009, according to retired Col. Derek Harvey, who appeared on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" Thursday with former Green Beret Scott Neil to discuss the Obama administration's decision to swap Bergdahl for five senior members of the Taliban.

"The only way (the Obama administration) would not understand that is if they decided to just deny the facts that were presented to them," Harvey said of the understanding inside the military that Bergdahl was a deserter.

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Harvey criticized the White House's decision to make the prisoner exchange and its continued decision to defend it.

"I was leading the intelligence effort at the Afghan-Pakistan Center during the four years of 2009 to 2012, '13," he said. "We understood what occurred with the Bergdahl situation. We also understood that we had loss of life and casualties trying to find him and recover him.

"Trying to trade five highly capable, very important Taliban leaders who are irreconcilable, who we knew would return to the fight for a soldier who deserted and put others at risk was a decision made naively by this administration and they've tried to obfuscate this by saying we don't leave soldiers in enemy hands at the end of a war.

"The war was not over, it is not over, and it's going to go on for some time. That is just a false argument put forward by the administration."

On Wednesday, the military formally charged Bergdahl, 28, with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He faces life in prison.

Even if Bergdahl had not walked away from his post, the decision to swap an American soldier for five terrorists was a "bad deal," he added.

"We do not trade high value, extremely competent leaders that are going to bring others into the fight until the war is over," according to Harvey. "This was premature and ill-conceived."

Neil explained the process of military justice, which has both similarities and differences compared to the civilian system.

"They're going to present the facts, they'll probably have some sessions of intelligence, his own reports when he got back himself, all of the information surrounding that is what's going to be at play," he said. "What they're not necessarily looking at is the five years of captivity and the swap. That's irrelevant to some of the charges, which is what happened when he left his post."

The facts will remain the facts, regardless of politics, Neil added.

"(Bergdahl) wasn't captured, he wasn't drug off base by some rogue element. He left intentionally and wandered around and was actually picked up by the enemy. That enemy used him as leverage at a strategic level and now he has to be culpable for it. Just like a bank robber who crashes his car after the getaway and injures himself. He still robbed the bank."

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Long before he was charged with desertion, it was "common knowledge" that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl voluntarily walked away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009, according to retired Col. Derek Harvey told Newsmax TV.
Derek Harvey, Scott Neil, Bowe Bergdahl, desertion
Thursday, 26 March 2015 11:27 AM
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