Remember him? The man who either deserted or was captured and held captive in Afghanistan for nearly five years and was released last spring? Richard Benedetto wonders why the U.S. news media have completely dropped the Bowe Bergdahl story, and so do I because I want to see how the story ends! Regular readers will recall that I wrote about him here twice last summer because of the intriguing possible links between his experience and the experience of former child captives I’ve written about in both my first and second books.
Media interest in the Bergdahl affair dried up once he ceased to be a political football in Washington. Benedetto explains that “Bergdahl, who after extensive medical and psychiatric testing quietly returned in July to active duty at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, has pretty much disappeared from the mainstream media radar screen. Few seem interested in following up.” “Few” seems to be an understatement. After noting that it’s only the right-wing media who have continued to pursue the story, and only in a half-hearted fashion, Benedetto writes:
The only other recent news story on the matter came Nov. 6 in The Hill, not considered a conservative news source. It reported that Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, said unnamed sources told him the U.S. military unsuccessfully tried to pay a ransom for Bergdahl’s release.
In a Nov. 5 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, The Hill said that Hunter wrote, “It has been brought to my attention that a payment was made to an Afghan intermediary who ‘disappeared’ with the money and failed to facilitate Bergdahl’s release in return.”
“Hunter said ‘according to sources’ that the payment was made between January and February 2014 through Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), whose activities are mostly classified.”
That story also disappeared into the ether with little to no news media follow-up. Hotshot investigative reporters who once might have jumped at the chance to sink their teeth into this kind of story mostly sat back and yawned.
(N.B. Fox news reports that the Pentagon has denied that they tried to pay ransom for Bergdahl, but “[Rear Admiral John] Kirby [the Pentagon spokesperson] was less adamant, however, on whether money was provided to an alleged informant who claimed to have knowledge of where the soldier was being held.” That happens, I guess!) Continue Reading »