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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid