News / USA

Obama: We Don't Leave Soldiers Behind

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks as he and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland hold a news conference after their meeting at Belweder Palace in Warsaw, June 3, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks as he and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland hold a news conference after their meeting at Belweder Palace in Warsaw, June 3, 2014.
VOA News
President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended the deal to get U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl out of Taliban captivity, saying questions that have emerged about the circumstances of the soldier's capture did not negate the need to bring him home.

As Bergdahl emerges from five years of captivity, former comrades have accused him of walking away from his unit, prompting a manhunt that they say cost the lives of at least six fellow soldiers.

“We don't leave soldiers behind. ... Whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he's held in captivity. Period. Full stop,” Obama said at a news conference in Poland.
 
This video frame grab taken from a Taliban propaganda video released Saturday, July 18, 2009 shows Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared June 30, 2009.This video frame grab taken from a Taliban propaganda video released Saturday, July 18, 2009 shows Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared June 30, 2009.
x
This video frame grab taken from a Taliban propaganda video released Saturday, July 18, 2009 shows Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared June 30, 2009.
This video frame grab taken from a Taliban propaganda video released Saturday, July 18, 2009 shows Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared June 30, 2009.

The United States is committed to freeing its prisoners of war regardless of how they were captured, Obama said.

"That's what every mom and dad who sends a son or daughter [to war] should expect from the United States," he added.

U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday that the Army “will not look away from misconduct if it occurred” although other military officials have indicated Bergdahl would not face any charges after his five-year ordeal.

The New York Times cited a former military official as saying Bergdahl slipped away from his base near the Afghan border with Pakistan, leaving a note saying he had become disillusioned with the army and the war and was going to start a new life.

Dempsey stressed that Bergdahl, who was taken as a private and promoted while in captivity, is innocent until proven guilty, and that the military would continue to care for him and his family.

"The questions about this particular soldier's conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity," Dempsey wrote in a statement.

"This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him. As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we'll learn the facts,” Dempsey added.
 
Reintegration of recovered military personnel

The process used by the military to help recovered personnel return to normal life
involves medical care, psychological support, debriefings and family support.

It is carried out in three phases:

- Phase 1: Initial Recovery - The returnee is given medical triage, psychological support and a tactical debriefing

- Phase 2: Decompression Location - The returnee is moved to a regional hospital for at least 72 hours for more medical exams and debriefings

- Phase 3: United States Base - The returnee is reunited with family and receives more medical care and final debriefings

Source: U.S. Army
Bergdahl undergoing tests

Bergdahl, who was flown to a military hospital in Germany over the weekend to undergo physical and mental assessments, was not being interrogated and had not yet seen his family, Obama said.

The president, who has drawn criticism for not notifying Congress ahead of the transfer of five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar in return for Bergdahl's release, said his administration had told lawmakers earlier about a possible swap.

“We have consulted with Congress for quite some time about the possibility that we might need to execute a prisoner exchange in order to recover Sgt. Bergdahl. We saw an opportunity. We were concerned about Sgt. Bergdahl's health,” Obama said.

“We seized that opportunity. And the process was truncated because we wanted to make sure that we did not miss that window.”

Obama acknowledged that the freed Taliban fighters could potentially act against U.S. security but said the United States could go after them if they did.

"The Qataris will be keeping eyes on them. We will be keeping eyes on them. Is there the possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? Absolutely,” Obama said.

“I wouldn't be doing it if I thought that it was contrary to American national security and we have confidence that we will be in a position to go after them if in fact they are engaging in activities that threaten our defenses.”  

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Steve S from: Cupertino, CA
June 04, 2014 5:53 PM
"We don't leave soldiers behind. ... Whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he's held in captivity. Period. Full stop"

I don't believe that's true. The president is obligated to reflect the will of the American people, most of whom are disgusted with a deserter.


by: Ronald Wayne Savoy from: United States
June 03, 2014 4:47 PM
What a bald faced lie by Obama.He states "We leave no soldiers behind" .Then why do we have a soldier languishing in a Mexican prison.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid