The top American general who was in command of forces in Afghanistan at the time Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was captured says we shouldn’t judge the soldier just yet, telling Yahoo News unequivocally that we do not leave Americans behind.
“We did a huge number of operations to try to stop the Taliban from being able to move him across the border into Pakistan,” said Gen. Stanley McChrystal in a Yahoo News interview. “And we made a great effort and put a lot of people at risk in doing that, but that’s what you should do. That’s what soldiers do for each other.”
The now-retired four-star Army general commanded all NATO troops in Afghanistan at the time of Bergdahl’s disappearance in 2009.
“We’re going to have to wait and talk to Sgt. Bergdahl now and get his side of the story,” he said. “One of the great things about America is we should not judge until we know the facts. And after we know the facts, then we should make a mature judgment on how we should handle it.”
His statements echo other high-ranking military leaders’ opinions of his release, amidst allegations the young soldier freely wandered off his base to seek out the Taliban. While many fellow soldiers have called Bergdahl a “deserter” in recent days, the Army has not yet officially confirmed that was the case.
“As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, in a statement that highlighted the treasured hallmark of American justice. “Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred.”
The story has become extremely politicized in recent days, with many politicians now angered at the prisoner swap they advocated for in the past, but top military officials continue to ask for patience, as the Army promises and investigation and punishment if necessary.
“It was always a high priority that every soldier deployed to Afghanistan would return home. We will never leave a fallen comrade behind,” said Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s Chief of Staff, in a statement Wednesday. “Now that Sgt. Bergdahl is back and under our control, first and foremost we must ensure his health is taken care of and he is properly reintegrated.”
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