A book proposal drafted by Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon mates has one publisher worried it would subject President Barack Obama to criticism, Yahoo! News reports.
The proposal insinuates that Bergdahl was a “‘premeditated’ deserter who ‘put all our lives in danger,'” and that he was an “oddball” and a “loner” who quickly shifted from excitement over killing a Taliban leader to dreaming of getting lost in the mountains and sending his personal items home. The proposal also claims that the Taliban had improved their IED attacks against American vehicles since his desertion, and that Bergdahl was training Taliban forces, although the latter claim is unsubstantiated.
But to this senior editor of Atria Books, which is a part of Simon and Schuster, what these soldiers have to say about Bergdahl isn’t as important as protecting Obama from criticism for swapping five Taliban leaders for Bergdahl.
“I’m not sure we can publish this book without the Right using it to their ends,” Sarah Durand wrote in an e-mail to one of the soldier’s agents, obtained by Yahoo! “[T]he Conservatives are all over Bergdahl and using it against Obama, and my concern is that this book will have to become a kind of ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.'”
“Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry” was a book that was critical of then-2004 Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry’s Vietnam War record.
Another complication is that the soldiers could potentially be key witnesses in the Army’s investigation in Bergdahl’s 2009 disappearance.
Two of the authors of the proposal claim they’re not trying to politicize the issue — they just want to get the truth out.
“There was no way we were going to sit down and be quiet while Obama was calling him a war hero,” Evan Buteow, Bergdahl’s former team leader, told Yahoo! “We’re just trying to tell the truth. It’s not my fault this would make Obama look bad.”
Buteow believes that Bergdahl should face a court-martial.
Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, refused to comment on the book proposal, saying he hasn’t seen it.