WASHINGTON -- Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's roommate at a U.S. Army outpost in Afghanistan got a congressional hearing Wednesday for his campaign to portray the rescued soldier as a deserter unworthy of the sacrifices made to get him back.
"If Bergdahl hadn't deserted us, then he would have never been held in captivity," former Spec. Cody Full said in a statement submitted to two House Foreign Affairs subcommittees.
The hearing provided a forum for former servicemen who say Bergdahl should face desertion charges for walking off his base in 2009, leading to his capture by militants in eastern Afghanistan. It provided a new line of attack for Republican lawmakers critical of President Barack Obama's deal to trade five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl's freedom.
"He was not left behind, he left his fellow soldiers behind," Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade subcommittee, said later. "It's the responsibility of the United States to get all of our warfighters back home eventually. Including him. Now he needs to let the military deal with the accusations against him."
Bergdahl, from Idaho, is undergoing treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
Obama has said how Bergdahl came to be captured has no bearing on whether he should have been rescued.
Also testifying was Andy Andrews, whose son, 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews, was awarded a Silver Star for pushing two soldiers out of the way of a grenade that killed him. Andy Andrews said he was told by soldiers that his son was killed while searching for Bergdahl.
Military officials have questioned the assertion that the search for Bergdahl led to the death of any soldiers.
-- Bloomberg News