HAILEY • People should stop attacking Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, his family and the people of Hailey for standing by him, Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen said Wednesday.

At a news conference outside the Old County Courthouse on South First Avenue, Schoen said Hailey residents never touted Bergdahl as a hero, but they want to see him reunited with his parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl.

“We only have wanted to support his family and to see Bowe returned safely to U.S. soil,” he said.

Bergdahl was freed May 31 after spending five years as a prisoner of a Taliban group in Afghanistan.

His release has prompted a major controversy, with some members of Congress criticizing the Obama administration for swapping five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl’s release and not informing them beforehand.

Some of Bergdahl’s former comrades say he had deserted his post before his capture.

Bergdahl now is recovering at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

Hailey canceled a welcome-home celebration planned for June 28 after a wave of hate mail and phone calls from protesters. The Bergdahl family and other community members have been threatened, Schoen said, declining to disclose details.

He asked people not to direct their “misguided rage” at the Bergdahl family and the people of Hailey.

People in Hailey are sick of the attention, of being stopped on the street and questioned by reporters, Schoen said.

“They’ve been answering questions politely and honestly and hoping for the sake of the family you all go away,” he said.

Now residents will get on with their lives.

People in Hailey have the same questions about Bergdahl’s capture that other Americans do, Schoen said, but everyone should wait for the facts.

“Don’t rush to judgment,” he said. “Be patient and allow the military justice process to work.”

(3) comments

Real American Soldier
Real American Soldier

Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen sounds like a reasonable gentleman, but, let us be honest about the matter. While we will let the military justice system do it's duty, please, do not call him Sgt. and just use his name of Pvt. Bergdahl as he did not earn that promotion to Sgt. As a potential deserter he should just be called Bergdahl. There have reportedly been lives lost and real soldiers maimed in his absence and actions, and frankly, as a military veteran myself Bergdahl left his post and abandoned this great country. We paid, in my opinion, far too high a price for his release. Thank you


Brilliant Message to the Nation, Larry. "Go away and leave us alone while we play the Victim and Heal ourselves". Bergdahl's friends and family have every right to feel that way but they were responsible for bringing media attention to Bergdahl's plight in the first place in order to lobby politicians for his release. Unfortunately, Media scrutiny has revealed plenty of evidence that Bergdahl is a military misfit who deserted his post and caused his own capture. How should Local Politicians respond? Backpedal and Pander like crazy in order to stay in the Voters good graces. Mick Garcia, Vietnam Vet


To the veterans who have turned their backs on Bergdahl ,you are not a hero to a great many of us who see your allegiance to immoral and imperialist wars as being as repugnant as you see Bergdahl. That this man developed a conscience and refused to participate any longer in the scam war where he was told to win hearts and minds and then actually ordered to do nothing of the sort, is a sign of health as far as I'm concerned. That you decided to stay involved in this immoral war will get no flag waving from many of us. Sometimes your commands are dead wrong and illegitimate. If you choose to give up your conscience to do the bidding of those interested in solving things only at the point of the gun, so be it. But there is nothing heroic or noble about it.
Stay strong people of Hailey. The decency of a family like the Bergdahl's is something to be proud of. To all those interested in seeing our wars in a different light then gun-ho warriors give you, look for groups like IVAW and VVAW. These winter soldiers have great truths to tell you.

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