Bergdahl Roommate: Bergdahl a Deserter Who Should Be Prosecuted

‘Desertion was premeditated’

Bowe Bergdahl
Bowe Bergdahl / AP
June 18, 2014

The roommate of released U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl testified Wednesday about the freed soldier’s questionable mental state and demanded that Bergdahl be prosecuted as a deserter for the "ultimate betrayal" of allegedly leaving his post in Afghanistan and endangering fellow U.S. troops.

Retired Spc. Cody Full, who served with Berdgahl in the Blackfoot Company and was his roommate, declared that Bergdahl’s "desertion was premeditated" and that the released U.S. soldier "should not be characterized as serving with honor and distinction," as Obama administration officials have maintained.

"The facts tell me that Bergdahl’s desertion was premeditated," Full told lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "It is clear to me that he had a plan and executed it."

Full outlined a litany of charges that he said should be leveled on Bergdahl and also described the soldier as having a questionable mental state, which included expressing a desire to "kill as many Taliban as he could."

Full claimed that Berdgahl’s disappearance was a premeditated act of desertion.

"The only thing you can count on in combat is commitment of your fellow Americans, knowing that someone you needed to trust deserted you in war and did so on his own free will is the ultimate betrayal," Full said. "You should not be able to desert your fellow Americans without consequences."

"Bowe Bergdahl should not be characterized as serving with honor and distinction," he said. "If Bergdahl hadn't deserted us, he would never have been held in captivity. In my opinion, Bowe Bergdahl needs to be charged with desertion, missing movement, [and] disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer," among other charges.

Now that Bergdahl has been returned the U.S. government should release to the public all documents pertaining to the original investigation into Bergdahl’s disappearance, Full said.

Full also outlined in his testimony a pattern of deception by Bergdahl in which he told his platoon-mates and family widely disparate stories.

During his deployment in 2009, Bergdahl began "voicing his disagreements with the way our missions were being led," Full claimed in his written testimony. "He didn’t understand why we were doing more humanitarian aid drops, setting up clinics, and helping the populous instead of hunting the Taliban."

At one point, Full recalled Bergdahl as saying: "Why can’t we dress like the locals and ambush the Taliban."

"In my opinion," Full continued, "Bergdahl wanted to do the exact opposite of what we were instructed to do. He wanted to hunt and kill. He was clearly frustrated that we were instructed to win the hearts and minds of the local populous."

"Bergdahl ... was not happy about not getting to shoot and kill," Full said.

These statements run counter to emails that Bergdahl reportedly sent to his family expressing anti-American sentiments and claiming that the platoon cared little for helping local Afghans.

"What Bergdahl was telling his platoon members and what he was telling his parents were polar opposites," Full said.

Mike Waltz, a former special forces commander who conducted searches for Bergdahl, said that the Taliban knew about the search for Bergdahl and used it to attack U.S. forces.

"We were ordered to devote all resources and energy to the search for Bergdahl," said Waltz, who now serves as a senior national security fellow at the New America Foundation.

"It soon became apparent, however, that the Taliban knew we were conducting an all-out search for him and they began feeding false information into our informant network in order to lure our forces into a trap," Waltz said. "On several occasions, my men were lured into ambushes, including an afghan home rigged with explosives, a car bomb that was primed to explode, and other types of deadly traps."

Waltz said that he and his men "were absolutely furious and resentful, frankly, that a fellow American soldier had put us into this position. It violated the most fundamental and basic ethos of being a soldier and a soldier's creed."

Lawmakers also lashed out at the Obama administration for pursuing the Bergdahl swap without first consulting Congress, as U.S. law mandates.

Rep. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), a former captain in the U.S. Army, said he finds it insulting that the president would use the principle of no man left behind as a reason to do this."

Cotton slammed anonymous Obama administration officials who took aim in recent days at the soldiers publicly criticizing the Berdgahl deal.

"Show yourself, speak in your own name," he said. "Have the courage of your convictions. If you don't, shut up, stand back, and thank these men for their service."