Bergdahl a Whistleblower?! Ex-Platoon Mate Calls Defense's Claim 'Laughable'
Details have emerged in recent days about how attorneys may defend Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl against the charge that he deserted his Army unit in eastern Afghanistan.
According to a CNN report, Bergdahl has claimed that he was trying to go back to the nearest American forward operating base (FOB) to report wrongdoing by his platoon mates.
The report states:
Bergdahl was planning to report what he believed to be problems with "order and discipline" in his unit, a senior Defense official tells CNN. A second official says Bergdahl had "concerns about leadership issues at his base."
This information is part of the report presented to General Mark Milley who this week decided to charge Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. This information outlines what could be a key part of Bergdahl's defense, which the army is already aware of.
The new information indicates Bergdahl's attorney may attempt to portray the sergeant as a whistleblower.
Bergdahl was captured in the Taliban-infested area shortly after he walked off the U.S. military outpost. He was held by a Taliban-linked group for five years until last spring, when President Obama traded five senior Taliban members for his freedom.
Sgt. Evan Buetow, the team leader of the platoon, reacted to the new reports this morning, telling Martha MacCallum that Bergdahl's claims don't add up.
Buetow said that there's "so much more to this story" and he would need a lot more time to explain it all to viewers. But he summarized why he believes Bergdahl's claim is "laughable."
Buetow said Berghdahl went missing on the fourth day of a five-day mission.
"We were, within hours, going to be packing up our trucks and driving back to FOB Sharana, which was the closest [forward operating base] to where we were at. If he would have waiting literally five to ten hours, he was going back to FOB Sharana anyway. He could have reported any wrongdoing that he thought was going on," said Buetow.
MacCallum asked what sort of behavior Bergdahl may have been trying to report to commanders.
Buetow answered that anyone who has served in the military knows that problems or leadership issues within a unit are commonplace.
"There was [issues] in our unit. But by unit, I don't mean our platoon specifically or company or battalion or brigade, but just anywhere. But the problem is, you would not walk away in the middle of the front lines. It's hard to even comprehend that thought," said Buetow.
He then was asked about an opinion piece from the New York Times Editorial Board, which argued that the military's prosecution of Bergdahl "stands to accomplish little at this point."
The piece argued that "a conviction would most likely deprive a traumatized veteran of benefits, including medical care, which he will probably need for years."
Buetow questioned whether the authors of the article ever served in the military or understand the "honor" between those who serve.
"I don't wish upon anybody to have to go through the things he may have gone through. However, he put himself in that situation. Him putting himself into that situation put our lives in extreme danger, far more than just the everyday life of being in Afghanistan on the front lines anyway. He has to answer for that. And if he gets dishonorably discharged and has no benefits, I do not feel sorry for him. ... He was incredibly dishonorable. He doesn't deserve the benefits that honorable soldiers receive when they get out of the military," he said.
Watch the interview above.