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ERICKSON: Why Bowe Bergdahl matters

President Barack Obama traded five Taliban soldiers for Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl had been stationed in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban. Despite State Department assertions to the contrary, we now know that at least one of the Taliban soldiers exchanged for Bergdahl returned to fighting the United States and engaging in terrorism.

When Bergdahl was released, President Obama had a news conference at the White House surrounded by Bergdahl’s parents. Away from the White House, former colleagues of Bergdahl’s starting raising questions about the situation. There had been a rescue attempt for Bergdahl. Others had been placed in harm’s way to try to retrieve him.

More troubling, however, were reports surfacing that Bergdahl had deserted his colleagues and gone looking for the Taliban himself. The suggestion from his fellow soldiers was that Bergdahl wanted to join the bad guys.

The Bergdahl exchange matters because the White House, when confronted by who Bergdahl was, sought to smear the people who pointed out he was a deserter instead of dealing with reality. The smears included attacking honorable American soldiers who dared to point out their colleague was a deserter.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly had Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers, Evan Buetow, Cody Full, Gerald Sutton and others, on her television show shortly after the news of the Bergdahl trade. Kelly and the soldiers came under withering attacks from the left and people inside the Obama administration.

Brandon Friedman, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, suggested the soldiers were psychopaths. Yes, a former soldier and Veterans Affairs official, the sitting Deputy Secretary of HUD referred to Bergdahl’s colleagues as “psychopaths.”

Obama himself used Bergdahl’s return as a photo op to suggest he was acting as a great commander in chief. Vice President Biden and other officials heralded the return of Bergdahl as a major foreign policy success. The president’s adviser Susan Rice praised Bergdahl’s service and return.

Left-wing activists and even some journalists took to their various media platforms to attack conservatives for daring to challenge the prevailing media narrative about Bergdahl’s release being some sort of great triumph. They attacked the soldiers who suggested there was more to Bergdahl’s capture than the White House was letting on.

On Wednesday, came word that, as Bergdahl’s colleagues suggested, he had deserted. The United States military is going to take Bowe Bergdahl to trial on charges of desertion. Were we in a declared war in Afghanistan, a guilty plea could result in the death sentence. Luckily for Bergdahl we are not in a declared war.

Even now friends of the White House are spinning rapidly to claim it would have been irresponsible to leave a man behind and that, somehow, no one knew he was a deserter. They are rewriting history and obfuscating, again to protect President Obama from reality.

And that’s just it. This is why Bowe Bergdahl matters. It was known at the time from his fellow soldiers and others what had happened. Instead of dealing with the reality, the White House and its defenders chose to attack the character of American soldiers, members of the media who challenged their narrative and conservatives.

This is another example of the left being so invested in Obama that they’d deny reality and let terrorists loose rather than admit this should never have happened in the first place. And the punch line is this: The same president who let loose five Taliban for one deserter and possible would-be Taliban is telling us to trust him negotiating with Iran.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.