Bergdahl To Be Charged

Well, knock me over with a feather:

On Wednesday, the Army announced that it was charging Sergeant Bergdahl with misbehavior before the enemy and desertion, raising the possibility that he could be imprisoned again, this time for life.

In announcing the charges against Sergeant Bergdahl, the military reignited the political firestorm that took place last summer after the sergeant was released in a swap for five Taliban detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

For President Obama, it reopens the contentious political question of whether the United States should have agreed to the exchange. Administration officials have steadfastly maintained that even if Sergeant Berdahl did voluntarily walk off his remote base in Afghanistan, it was the duty of the United States to take all appropriate steps to free him.

The president’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, was harshly criticized when she said last summer that Sergeant Bergdahl had served “with honor and distinction” at the same time that his former platoon members were appearing on television accusing him of deliberately leaving the base, an act that they said put in danger the lives of the American military members who searched for him.

Sergeant Bergdahl is charged with misbehavior before the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of up to life in prison, and with desertion, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He could also face a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank and forfeiture of the pay he was owed while in captivity if he is tried and convicted, Army officials said during a news conference in Fort Bragg, N.C.

A few things to unpack here:

First, getting Bergdahl back was justified. We don’t leave men behind and the idea, currently promulgating in liberal circles, that Republicans would rather he have been left to rot, is garbage. The criticism that Obama faced was for the way this went down — releasing five Taliban detainees in exchange for Bergdahl, not informing Congress of the deal, trying to pretend that Bergdahl served with honor and, in the case of one Administration official, branding his accusers as psychopaths.

Second, it’s amazing to watch the pretzels the sufferers of Obama Defense Derangement Syndrome are twisting themselves into. When Bergdahl was first released and the criticisms of his conduct emerged, the Left took the “how dare you!” narrative. When he was returned to active duty, they pilloried Republicans for having had the temerity to have questioned his honor. Republican criticism of the deal was labelled as placing party above country (even though many Democrats agreed that Obama broke the law in brokering the deal). Now that he’s been charged, we’re back to, “we don’t leave a man behind.”

Berdahl is innocent until proven guilty, obviously. But let’s not pretend the Republicans are the only ones who used his release as a political football. And let’s not pretend that this was a great deal. As David Burge noted on Twitter the other day, it’s becoming clear that this Administration couldn’t negotiate a 99-cent deal with a dollar store.

Comments are closed.

  1. richtaylor365

    getting Bergdahl back was justified.

    We don’t leave men behind 

    Not dumping on you, Hal, since this is the prevailing wisdom among certain circles, but both of these statements need to be exposed for the fallacies they promulgate.

    This particular deal was NOT justified, given the price, no way to sugar coat it. There were other options on the table, options that would not have put our Country at risk. They were not explored because Obama had an agenda, namely to close Gitmo, and getting rid of the 5 worst of the worst was a good start, damn the consequences.

    Re: We don’t leave men behind, or, put another way, we always bring our people home. Since he willingly deserted to join up with the Taliban, would it not be grammatically appropriate to say that when he finally found them he was home?


    Here’s another question, would we have left him behind if the price was too steep? What if the Taliban said ,”Close Gitmo immediately and free everyone, better yet, provide each one with a first class ticket to their homeland”, Or if it was just money ,”You can have this infidel back for $1 trillion dollars in gold, diamonds and other assorted hard currency, nothing else will get him back”. How about ,”You want him back, fine we will trade you, a life for a life, Obama must kill himself on national TV. He does this then we free Bergdahl”? All pretty outrageous, right? Yet, if that was the price then you would admit that, yes, we would leave him behind.


    I’m glad that you mentioned them breaking the law, that was the GAO finding, circumventing Congress in the deal, and yet, they are still doing it. This administration is so corrupt and lawless, it is nauseating.


    Bergdahl painted a pretty grizzly picture of his captivity. Naturally he has no proof to back up his claims, claims designed to garner sympathy and compassion. First he says he was kept either in a cage or handcuffed to a bed. And yet, he managed to escape 12 times. Those Talibaners really suck at guarding people.


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  2. repmom

    I almost mentioned this story in my comment last night requesting a post on Cruz. Pleased to see this one..

    It disgusts me every time I see the video of our president standing next to this man during a press conference. Screw innocent until proven guilty. This man is a traitor, a deserter, and our leader honored him, traded important Taliban leaders for him, not to mention how it was handled. Makes me sick. How did President Obama honor Chris Kyle, the American Sniper? Right.

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    Rich and Repmom, AFAIK he was not working with the Taliban. He was captured after he deserted. He attempted to escape at least once. Deserting, of course, was bad enough. It led to six soldiers getting killed, regardless of the crap deal Obama made for his release.

    We should remember those soldiers, incidentally.  Their names were Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews, PFC Matthew Martinek and Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey.

    Here’s another question, would we have left him behind if the price was too steep? 

    No. As I tried to make clear in my post, I think this was  a rotten deal. The principal is correct; the specifics were not. Obama made a bad deal and then his defenders tried to post facto justify it by praising Bergdahl and slagging his fellow soldiers.

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  4. richtaylor365

    Hal, I’m sure you have read the emails about him being ashamed to be an American. After sending all his possessions home, and leaving a note renouncing his American citizneship, he deserted, actively seeking out the Taliban;

    Despite the conflicting claims, sources who had debriefed two former members of Bergdahl’s unit told Fox News Bergdahl left behind a note the night he left base in which he expressed disillusionment with the Army and being an American and suggested that he wanted to renounce his American citizenship and go find the Taliban.

    This wasn’t some disillusioned GI who went to Canada, he was smack tab in the middle of a foreign country, one in which he did not look local or speak the language. What, you think he went out to go find a local gal and raise sheep? Why else would he leave his base? Why else were all his base mates sworn to secrecy, unable to even talk about what they know? Where is that note now? You think it will ever see the light of day? What would he have to offer the Taliban to persuade them to accept him and not kill him on the spot?


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  5. repmom

    Correction to my comment – President stood with his parents, not him.

    Good to mention and name the soldiers who lost their lives because of Bergdahl, Hal.

    We don’t leave men behind, but at what price to bring home one who deserted his fellow soldiers, and his country? Seems like the price was way too high for this man.

    This administration is so corrupt and lawless, it is nauseating.


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  6. Hal_10000 *

    This administration is so corrupt and lawless, it is nauseating.

    It’s really gotten astonishing. Everyone agrees they broke the law in this circumstances.  I mean everyone.  DiFi called him out on it.  Liberals law professors have called him out on it.  This isn’t even a question.  And yet he doesn’t give a shit nor do his supporters.  A lot of them are saying, “Well, if he’d told Congress, they might have scotched the deal”.  Yeah, genius, that’s the point.

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