. . . Cowering politicians now even seem to regret their initial burst of joy that a prisoner was coming home. “A grateful nation welcomes him home,” said Representative Lee Terry, Republican of Nebraska, in a Twitter message on Sunday. The statement on his website was deleted a short time later. “Warmest regards to his family with gratitude for his/their service and sacrifice,” wrote Representative Stephen Lynch, Democrat of Massachusetts, in another quickly deleted tweet.
This duck-and-cover response is the result of the outrageous demonization of Sergeant Bergdahl in the absence of actual facts.Republican operatives have arranged for soldiers in his unit to tell reporters that he was a deserter who cost the lives of several soldiers searching for him. In fact, a review of casualty reports by Charlie Savage and Andrew Lehren of The Times showed there is no clear link between any military deaths and the search.
And a classified military report shows that Sergeant Bergdahl had walked away from assigned areas at least twice before and had returned, according to a report in The Times on Thursday. It describes him as a free-spirited young man who asked many questions but gave no indication of being a deserter, let alone the turncoat that Mr. Obama’s opponents are now trying to create.
If anything, the report suggests that the army unit’s lack of security and discipline was as much to blame for the disappearance, given the sergeant’s history.