Six former platoon mates of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have hit roadblocks in shopping proposals for their book, because some publishers are reportedly afraid it will discredit President Obama.
After five years in the Taliban’s capture, Sgt. Bergdahl was released in May as part of a U.S. prison exchange for five Guantanamo detainees. Some of the soldier’s platoon mates have come forward alleging that Sgt. Bergdahl intentionally deserted his post in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, putting other soldiers in danger.
A draft of their book proposal depicts Sgt. Bergdahl as a “premeditated” deserter who possibly aided the Taliban, but agents for the soldiers say the controversy over the prisoner swap has complicated the book’s chances at publication, Yahoo News reported.
“I’m not sure we can publish this book without the Right using it to their ends,” Sarah Durand, a senior editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, wrote in an email to one of the soldiers’ agents, Yahoo News reported.
“[T]he Conservatives are all over Bergdahl and using it against Obama,” she wrote, also comparing the book to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a veterans group that raised questions over John Kerry’s Vietnam record during his run for president in 2004.
Sgt. Bergdahl was questioned in two closed-door sessions last week with Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, who is leading the Army’s investigation into his 2009 disappearance.
Two of the proposed book’s would-be authors, retired Sgts. Evan Buetow and Cody Full, are potential key witnesses and were recently questioned as part of the investigation.
The platoon mates insisted the book will set the record straight on Sgt. Bergdahl.
“There was no way we were going to sit down and be quiet while Obama was calling him a war hero,” said Mr. Buetow, his former team leader, Yahoo News reported. “We’re just trying to tell the truth. It’s not my fault this would make Obama look bad.”
“We didn’t politicize this,” said Spc. Full, Sgt. Bergdahl’s former roommate. “They brought his parents out at a White House Rose Garden ceremony and presented him as a hero. … Why wouldn’t you just have a quiet press release? Why do you have to have a big parade? You don’t do that for the parents who have kids who have died in Afghanistan.”