The U.S. Army announced Tuesday that it will investigate the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s 2009 capture in Afghanistan, although it did not announce a timeline for the probe.
“As an Army, we are grateful that an American soldier is back in American hands. The warrior ethos is more than words, and we should never leave a comrade behind,” Army Secretary John McHugh said in a statement. “Our first priority is ensuring Sgt. Bergdahl’s health and beginning his reintegration process. There is no timeline for this, and we will take as long as medically necessary to aid his recovery.”
“As Chairman Dempsey indicated, the Army will then review this in a comprehensive, coordinated effort that will include speaking with Sgt. Bergdahl to better learn from him the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity,” McHugh continued. “All other decisions will be made thereafter, and in accordance with appropriate regulations, policies and practices.”
Some of the soldiers who served in Bergdahl’s unit painted him as a deserter, a characterization which has led some to question the deal executed by the Obama administration to trade him for five Afghan detainees from the Guantanamo Bay facility. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said earlier Tuesday in a statement that Bergdahl is “innocent until proven guilty.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.