On Bergdahl UPDATED

I don’t know if SGT Bergdahl voluntarily walked off his camp and surrendered to the enemy or not.  Just because a few fellow Soldiers in his unit say that doesn’t make it so.  The most powerful communication system in an Infantry company is what we used to call “S-5–rumor control.”  I’ve never been in a unit that wasn’t essentially a knitting circle with automatic weapons.  Young Soldiers, for whom boredom is an almost constant companion (punctuated by moments of sheer terror) can give the most catty junior high school girls’ clique a run for their money.  That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong, but I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it without some corroboration.  So I’ll hold off judgment on that.  It’s also been brought up that he supposedly sent some emails to one or more people expressing doubts about US military actions.  So did I.  So have a lot of guys who then went out and did the very best they could do for their buddies and their country.  It’s irrelevant anyway.

We’re getting out of Afghanistan, and the treaties to which this nation has repeatedly pledged itself require that we release Prisoners of War and repatriate them home.  Taliban are distinct from Al Qaeda in this respect because Taliban could be considered the government forces of Afghanistan (whether legitimate, loved, respected, or not) while AQ isn’t anything but a bunch of thugs under international law.  So this idea that we gave up valuable prisoners for one guy and that makes it a bad deal is bullshit on its face.  We were going to release them.  We were REQUIRED to release them under international law that we largely wrote.  Whatever intelligence value they had was long since wrung out of them, in some cases literally.  One of them had laid down his arms and pledged to work with the new government of Afghanistan prior to the Pakistani government taking him prisoner more as a propaganda tool and removing a potential political problem than anything else, I am given to understand.  So we got something we wanted for doing something now that we would have done in a few months for nothing anyway.  That’s not exactly brilliant poker, but it was pretty well played.

We don’t leave our people behind.  That’s an Army value.  The people ranting about this whole thing either don’t understand or don’t care about that simple concept.  Whatever SGT Bergdahl may have done or not done, we don’t leave our people behind.  If it hasn’t already, the Army will shortly start a 15-6 investigation, so called in reference to the Army Regulation that describes such things.  You’ve probably heard the term “Board of Inquiry.”  They are essentially the same thing.  When the Army has concluded what the circumstances of SGT Bergdahl’s capture and captivity were, then they’ll make some decisions, but I’ll just note for the record that US POWs have rarely been punished for their actions or inactions while in enemy hands.  Many, many of the POWs in Viet Nam, including John McCain signed documents created by their captors confessing to war crimes and indicting their fellow POWs and the US.  Former CW4 Michael Durant, taken prisoner by a Somali warlord after being shot down in the battle of Mogadishu (Blackhawk Down) made problematic statements to a TV camera that were subsequently shown around the world.  None of these men were ever subjected to disciplinary action upon repatriation to my knowledge.

So I’m glad that SGT Bergdahl will be reunited with his family, at long last.

UPDATE: For another take by somebody who was there, read this from a blogger whom I’ve read and generally respect.

UPDATE 2: You should all read this level-headed handling of the situation in Gawker.

UPDATE 3: Rolling Stone article from 2012.

On a side note, a wedding in New Orleans is more fun than any human being should be allowed to have, the National WWII museum and the Audubon Aquarium there are both amazing, and fried unbreaded fried catfish, boiled crawfish, shrimp bisque with andouille sausage, cornbread, saute’ed vegetables and fresh salad with bourbon and soda on the rocks is the perfect meal.

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141 replies
  1. 1
    japa21 says:

    Thank you for probably the clearest explanation of the whole incident I have seen from anyone on either side of this issue.

  2. 2
    EJ says:

    Was hoping you’d weigh in. You usually do a great job of explaining military matters to us civilians.

  3. 3
    lamh36 says:

    Glad you had a great time in my city.

    I swear I’ve gained like 30,000lbs already since I moved back in March.

    also very glad to hear your take on the situation. I agree with the first commenter this is the clearest reading if the situation I’ve read anywhere yer

  4. 4
    Joel says:

    are these guys trying to claim a “Homeland” scenario?

  5. 5
    Ben Cisco says:

    I thank you as well, for this and your statements on Twitter this morning as well.

  6. 6
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Thanks. I always look forward to your posts and this one was a great explanation and answered questions I had. Thanks for taking the time, now go have fun.

  7. 7
    YellowJournalism says:

    I wish the 24-hour news channels would take a deep breath and examine the facts like this instead of speculating on the President “crumbling and negotiating with terrorists” like life is an episode of “24.”

    I also wish to win the lottery. Neither will happen.

  8. 8
    Hunter Gathers says:

    The Usual Suspects would have found any reason to trash Bergdahl’s release. The desertion rumor was just low hanging fruit. They would have come up with something else (gay, not Christian, Iiberal) in order to voice their displeasure of the Black man in their White House. If POTUS John McCain would have secured his release, they’d put him on Mt. Rushmore. Since it’s Obama. with his Unforgivable Blackness, it’s an impeachable offense.

    The White Tribe is going to get us all killed.

  9. 9
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    I also wish to win the lottery.

    Step 1: purchase lottery ticket.

  10. 10
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    Sooner, did MC take her latest Twitter account down? I hope she didn’t get driven out by people giving her a hard time in her new cyberhome.

  11. 11
    sherifffruitfly says:

    “two which”?

    but as far as the gist goes, yah.

  12. 12
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): I never followed her back so I don’t know.

  13. 13
    GRANDPA john says:

    The thing that needs to be pushed is that all this bullshit is being created by a god damn bunch of chicken hawks and traitors who never once had their fucking asses near any place that was that would have exhibited the slightest danger to them.

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    thank you for this post.

  15. 15
    Sly says:

    What’s truly disturbing is the intimation (or explicit recommendation) that Bergdahl should be executed for desertion.

    In the last 150 years, the United States has executed one person for desertion/AWOL, out of who the fuck knows how many, and, in hindsight, it probably wasn’t the high watermark of U.S. military justice. Prior to that, about 300 soldiers were executed for desertion during the Civil War (out of tens of thousands of cases). Mostly on the Confederate side after the tide turned against them, and a large number of sentences dished out as summary executions by the commander of the Army of Tennessee, and noted asshole, General Braxton Bragg.

  16. 16
    satby says:

    I shared this on FB for one of the wingers I know who was all “Obama broke the law! Released Terrorists!! For a deserter!!!”
    Doubt that it will matter, as the facts outlined above have not and will not be broadcast by Fox or headlined on World Nut Daily.

    It’s so convenient that contrary facts reported by anyone not in the NoiseMax bubble can be ignored.

  17. 17
    piratedan says:

    ty Sooner, this whole “issue” is simply an extension of Cleek’s Law, we have McCain’s patootie repatriated from the godless commies and that’s perfectly okay and this guy gets returned and somehow it’s a national tragedy. I can’t speak for the Sergeant, wasn’t there, won’t judge. Happy for his family and happy to have an adult in charge of the preschool that masquerades as our political system. Just wish the GOP’s parents would let us put them in timeout but apparently they’re busy buying yachts or additional air time for the anti-ACA ads.

  18. 18
    aimai says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Yup. It really would have/could have been anything. And if the rumors didn’t exist they’d make them up. Settle in for a long season of stupid Homeland crossed with 24 references by people who get their information from TV and people magazine and think they are experts in politics, warfare, and psychology.

  19. 19
    mtiffany says:

    He walked off the base in the middle of the night? I didn’t know the US Armed Forces handed out Ambien so easily…

  20. 20
    Jacel says:

    Excellent post! I hadn’t seen those details about release of POWs pointed out before.

    Also, I nominate your phrase “essentially a knitting circle with automatic weapons” to be one of the rotating sublines in the Balloon Juice masthead.

  21. 21
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    This is the kind of shit that makes me depressed when you have ostensibly liberal folks taking the crazy at face value and saying ‘maybe you’re right, he was a deserter, and maybe we shouldn’t have organized an exchange until we knew for sure he didn’t’. Just that taking of the right wing crazy at face value while anything on the other side has to be verified three times over along with a note from the doctor and his mother. Just…the absurdity of how seductive conservative thought is as to be taken so easily as gospel truth until proven otherwise.

    Just absurd character assassination all to snipe at Obama and find another thing to try and impeach him over. They’re literally using a POW as a political cudgel, for fuck’s sake, and people are either swallowing it or giving the wobbly ‘maybe you have a point, we should have investigated this better’ both sides same thing shit. You’d think the calls for execution should’ve put paid to this shit as a serious position, but apparently not.

  22. 22
    scav says:

    Among many other things, even the Confederates and Unionists would call time out and swap coffee, tobacco and prisoners..

    In Vicksburg, Miss., according to a New York Times correspondent writing on April 19, 1863, though “the principal occurrence of the last week or so has been the daily exchange of courtesies, under the name of flag of truce, between the Unionists and rebels” regarding the business of exchanging prisoners, “the real object amounts to little more than an exchange of newspapers, and an endeavor on the part of thirsty rebel officers to obtain a supply of National whiskey.” Amid reports of pillage and rape, the correspondent noted: “Each [Union] boat that goes down takes a demijohn of Bourbon, which is freely dispensed to the gray-coated deputation that meets us at the Point.”

  23. 23
    StringOnAStick says:

    @aimai: The longer it has been since I quit watching TV dramas, the less I understand about the national zeitgeist. It really strikes me sometimes that national TV is just so much propaganda, and it isn’t just the “news” channels I’m talking about here.

    What I’ve read about Bergdahl reminds me so much of the book by Kraukauer about Pat Tillman; both are/were people with serious ethical concerns about their mission and the war in general. The difference is that the rethugs did their best to do use Tillman’s death to push the war meme, but Berdahl is not presenting such an easy interpretation so the flying monkeys have come out to burn this witch before he ever sets foot back in the US. I can’t imagine the psychological damage this young man suffered as a prisoner for so long, and to have these bastards add their tribal hate of all things not-rethug to his already deep well of misery is subhuman, period.

  24. 24
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joel:

    are these guys trying to claim a “Homeland” scenario?

    Pretty much, yeah. These are people who have a hard time distinguishing between reality and fiction, so they think of “Homeland” as that documentary I saw about a guy who was a sleeper agent.

    And, regarding the link in the update, I can understand that the guy who wrote it is upset that other soldiers died trying to find Bergdahl, but what was the other option? Leave him there? Not look for him? Frankly, he sounded a little disappointed that they didn’t receive a video with Bergdahl getting his head sawed off.

    Plus, don’t they need some actual proof of intent to claim desertion over AWOL?

  25. 25
    Shakezula says:

    The conservatives have so many new lows that following them is a bit like being on that plane with Bugs Bunny, but suggesting we should have left a member of the U.S. armed forces and a U.S. citizen in the hands of terrorists because he allegedly didn’t live up to whatever jacked up well-oiled GI Joe/Rambo ideal some cowardly jackass has set for soldiers is a new fucking low.

    I am not, however, surprised by the hypocrisy involved in claiming we should abandon supposed fuck ups to their fate.

  26. 26
    🌷 Martin says:

    At this point I don’t give a shit about the circumstances by which he ended up with the Taliban. We wanted him home, he wanted home, that’s done. The military has a process they’ll go through and maybe he’ll be brought up on charges. Plenty of time to see the process out.

    But attacking his parents and telling them he should be executed? That’s just cold hearted shit right there. What’s the point of doing that?

  27. 27

    open thread?
    I spent the weekend with a visiting chem-trailer trash family. The subject came up approximately every 10 minutes or so. It was NOT a good choice to take them to the pool by the airport. Their mantra is “Make up your own mind” but they get real upset if you don’t buy their explanations.

  28. 28
    Mandalay says:

    Your post is by far the best article I have read on Bergdahl.

    The piece you linked to had some very powerful writing as well….

    I forgave Bergdahl because it was the only way to move on. I wouldn’t wish his fate on anyone. I hope that, in time, my comrades can make peace with him, too. That peace will look different for every person. We may have all come home, but learning to leave the war behind is not a quick or easy thing. Some will struggle with it for the rest of their lives. Some will never have the opportunity.

    And Bergdahl, all I can say is this: Welcome back. I’m glad it’s over. There was a spot reserved for you on the return flight, but we had to leave without you, man. You’re probably going to have to find your own way home.

  29. 29
    mtiffany says:

    Read Bethea’s piece and I’m left thinking “How the fuck can Bethea ‘know’ what he knows with such certainty?” He relays many things in his piece based on his firsthand experiences, but unless he was there to personally witness Bergdahl’s capture, he doesn’t know anything about that particular event with any certainty — he’s just giving us more speculation.

  30. 30
    mouse tolliver says:

    Also worth pointing out that one of Bergdahl’s biggest detracters, “Cody,” is a reactionary wingnut who seems to be a Cliven Bundy supporter.

    https://twitter.com/CodyFNfootball/status/455722415067103232

    Remember the Scott Beauchamp controversy where the main source for all those NRO hit pieces was this fuckin’ guy?

  31. 31
    OGLiberal says:

    Just got back from New Orleans. Wife is from there and we were visiting her best friend. We’ve done the aquarium several times and told my son we’ll do the WWII museum next time we’re done there – he’s only 7 but he’s into it, as was I was I was young. We stayed on the West Bank the entire time – the locals aren’t big about going to the Quarter. Barbecued plenty and we came home with a cooler full of crawfish, fresh caught fish and alligator meat. I’m a vegetarian so won’t be enjoying any of it but my wife is very happy. (kids, not so much – they aren’t daring when it comes to food) By chance we his\t the Fanboy Comic Con in Knoxville on our way home (it’s our halfway stopover – we drive to NO) – my sons been dying to go to one so we delayed our departure for a day. Knoxville is a great little city and I got to see Napoleon Dynamite AND Pedro, Margot Kidder, Tippi Hendren, and Marina Sirtis. (missed Frakes, Sean Astin, and the live Skype Q&A with Nimoy) Was my first comic con and had a ball, even though I know nothing about comics.

    Speaking of Tennessee and aquariums, the Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg is fantastic, better than the Audobon.

  32. 32
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    I am not impressed by the claims that Bergdahl deserted. Seems to me that the guy could easily have gone a little ways off base, been jumped by the Taliban (and the Afghan hill tribes have been famous for their stealth for centuries) and whisked away into the blue beyond before anyone knew what was happening. The fact that Bergdahl had a compass with him means nothing. Maybe the guy just had it in his pocket as usual, maybe he was planning to watch the stars that night and was going to use the compass to orient himself. I don’t know anything about Bethea, but he does seem rather sure of what happened when you consider how minimal the evidence is.

  33. 33
    Tinare says:

    I attended a fantastic wedding in New Orleans last June. A great week was had by all. I was very impressed by the WW II Museum. And we generally ate (and drank) our way around town. The only down side is that it is too damn hot there! A friend declared it “preparation for hell hot.”

  34. 34
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful, calm and insightful take on this situation, Soonergrunt. I worked all weekend, so only able to grab snippets of news regarding Bergdahl’s return. It’s all pretty confusing–he’s a prisoner of war one minute and a deserter the next. I must say the image of this guy with his Nicholas Brody-style beard standing next to Obama was quite freaky–what the hell?

    But thanks to you the story now makes total sense.

  35. 35
    Citizen_X says:

    @Jacel:

    I nominate your phrase “essentially a knitting circle with automatic weapons” to be one of the rotating sublines in the Balloon Juice masthead.

    Seconded.

  36. 36
    RaflW says:

    We don’t leave our people behind. That’s an Army value. The people ranting about this whole thing either don’t understand or don’t care about that simple concept.

    Well, these are the same people who rant about VA problems while strangling their funding, so I’m not the least surprised that they don’t care about this U.S. POW but only care about domestic political point-scoring.

  37. 37
    Mandalay says:

    @mtiffany:

    Read Bethea’s piece and I’m left thinking “How the fuck can Bethea ‘know’ what he knows with such certainty?”

    Well TBF he explained that:

    I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents.

    Now that doesn’t make Bethea right, but his opinion has some solid grounding.

  38. 38
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:
    The man with the long beard is Sgt Bergdahl’s father Bob.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    I must say the image of this guy with his Nicholas Brody-style beard standing next to Obama was quite freaky–what the hell?

    That was Bergdahl’s dad.

  40. 40
    Hunter Gathers says:

    There has been a disturbance in the Dumb Side of the Force

    No, Mr. President, a soldier expressing horrid anti-American beliefs – even boldly putting them in writing and unabashedly firing off his messages while in uniform, just three days before he left his unit on foot – is not “honorable service.” Unless that is your standard.

    With all due respect, Senator John McCain can go fuck himself for elevating the willfully ignorant dipshit who calls herself Sarah Palin.

  41. 41
    Mike Toreno says:

    John McCain served in Vietnam? He was a POW? How did you find that out? He’s so reticent about his past; has he ever talked about his military service?

  42. 42
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mandalay:
    Did Bergdahl’s platoon buddies witness his departure from base? What do those relevant documents say? Bethea doesn’t enlighten us.

  43. 43
    pete says:

    Thanks for this clarifying post; and I think the Update fundamentally reinforces what you originally wrote.

    The willingness to risk losing soldiers in a vague attempt to recover one lost (possibly crazed, possibly stoned, possibly even deserting) soldier is superficially inefficient (to a bean counter) but clearly vital for morale. The message is: We won’t forget YOU. Then the dude comes back and has to face an inquiry. Makes sense to me. It would also make sense to me (even in the worst-case scenario) if the inquiry then concluded that he had spent five years in a living hell and called it time served.

  44. 44
    Cacti says:

    Desertion is a criminal offense in the armed forces, and the right wing slime machine is hanging it around the neck of man who hasn’t even been charged.

    Their framing is reckless at best, and libelous at worst.

  45. 45
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Mandalay:

    Except that the solid grounding is just more opinions and conjectures, plus some nice writing about what Afghanistan is like, and apparently starts from the fact that Bergdahl had talked about walking from Afghanistan to India. There’s no solid ground to be had in all these conversations and opinions, because they aren’t based on any evidence about how things actually happened. Bergdahl vanished sometime between guard duty and rollcall. He had a compass with him. He had at one time talked about walking to India. And therefore the conclusion is that Bergdahl must have deserted . What stops him coming off duty, putting his weapons and armor down, wanting to be alone and clear his head before going to sleep, stepping just a little way off base – and being grabbed by the Taliban? There’s at least as much evidence for that proposition as there is for the desertion story.

  46. 46
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Cacti:

    Long as it sticks in the mind of the Court of Public Opinion, that’s all they care about.

    It’s sadly effective political calculus.

  47. 47
    sharl says:

    Well this post hoses away a lot of the bullshit! Thanks for taking the time to write it up SG.

    And glad you had a good time in NOLA; it’s been many years since I’ve been, and I need to get down there again.

  48. 48
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Her kind of patriotism really does lead to ovens full of bodies, staffed by otherwise decent townfolk.

  49. 49
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Sarah Palin who palled around with and even slept with some of the horridly anti-American members of the Alaska Independence Party? The terrorist’s side-piece Sarah Palin? That Sarah Palin?

  50. 50
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: The reason for the beard is that dad promised to not shave his beard until his son was home:

    I must say the image of this guy with his Nicholas Brody-style beard standing next to Obama was quite freaky–what the hell?

    eta: I meant to say, this is such a tight, really cogent summary of the situation that I don’t know what I could possibly add to the discussion. Thanks so much, Soonergrunt.

  51. 51
    Someguy says:

    Boy, everybody is so goddamn certain they know what went down based on what some right wingers write about this – hey, if they write it, it’s wrong. I’m not so sure the guy isn’t a pretty vile sort of deserter, or a simple nut. My jury is still out.

    Holy fuck. You people had better hope that the wingers never start spouting a talking point of “don’t step in front of moving buses.” Going to be enough dented buses that day to drop the GDP by 10%.

  52. 52
    Mandalay says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    they aren’t based on any evidence about how things actually happened.

    I give far more credibility to a person who actually spoke to members of Bergdhal’s platoon than to an armchair pundit.

    Believe whatever you want.

  53. 53
    scav says:

    Oh yes, please, pretty please let’s take lessons from paling around with secessionists & Bundy-loving govt-agent-aiming True <wink!> Patriots on who in the military merits having commitments made to them honored him or not.

    Free speech, free thought, these are apparently only to be protected, not used.

  54. 54
    Mandalay says:

    @Kay (not the front-pager):

    The reason for the beard is that dad promised to not shave his beard until his son was home

    For all the hatred that’s surfacing out there, it doesn’t come close to matching the love Bergdahl’s parents have displayed. Whatever Bergdahl’s problems may face in the future, he sure got lucky in the mom and dad lottery.

  55. 55
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Someguy:

    1) Most people on here are saying that it’s impossible to be sure what happened, so why don’t we hold off on the rush to judgment

    2) You’ve got right-wingers rushing to judgment as a means of playing politics with this, not because of any evidence either way

    3) The typical knee-jerk reaction people these days are heavily teabaggerized. Better take your potentially dented bus concerns up with them.

    4) You have noticed that the right wing has been pretty consistently wrong about everything from WMD to gay marriage over the last decade or so? You can bet on that horse if you want, but it’s your funeral.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mandalay:

    Yes, but it’s not like the members of his platoon are saying he told them he was deserting that night. They’re working on assumptions and conjecture, too. You can argue that they knew him better because he worked with them, but as far as I know, there isn’t anyone in his platoon claiming that Bergdahl told them that he was planning to desert.

  57. 57
    Belafon says:

    Eh. Get him home and let the Army sort it out. It’s not the job of the Afghans to try him for desertion any more than it was for the Vietnamese to try McCain for his poor flying skills.

  58. 58
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Mandalay:

    Did you bother to read what those platoon members said? They’ve got no more evidence than you have from the depths of your own armchair. It’s all assertion without a fact or eye-witness to be found.

    Please, for once, think about these things before you yap.

  59. 59
    Jewish Steel says:

    I was looking forward to hearing what you had to say too. Thank you.

  60. 60
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @Mandalay: Amen.

    Whatever Bergdahl’s problems may face in the future, he sure got lucky in the mom and dad lottery.

  61. 61
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): Palling around with anti-Americans is OK. As long as those anti-Americans belong to the White Tribe. Nothing White people do is ever wrong. On the flip side of that, nothing non-White people do is ever, ever right.

    What’s maddening is the fact no matter what bullshit flows out of her pie hole, microphones will still be put in front of her, because Both Sides Do It. And since Both Sides Do It, every utterance by every Conservative ex-Pol (Palin, Allen West, Gingrich, the dickless Ken doll known as Mitt Romney) must be covered and elevated to a national story with breathless coverage on the cable nets. Because Both Sides Do It.

  62. 62
    mtiffany says:

    @Mandalay:Exactly my point. He has no first-hand knowledge. Bethea basing his judgments on what other people told him is one thing. Bethea then proferring his conclusions based upon what other people said absent an opportunity to hear from these people by way of attributable direct quotataion isn’t journalism but would be in a court of law “hearsay.”

  63. 63
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Allen West who was booted out of the army in disgrace? That heroic conservative warrior? That Allen West?

  64. 64
    Seanly says:

    Thanks for this post, Soonergrunt.

    I’m glad SGT Bergdahl was released from his captivity. Good for him, good for his parents & friends.

    I remember when this was a country where the accused was innocent until proven guilty. I’ve no military experience, but I’d assume that the UCMJ has similar provisions.

    Regardless of what crime or dereliction of duty he may have committed (if any!), the man deserves to be brought home. Life is too damn short, brutal & nasty without people piling on for their grotesque amusement & partisan BS. No service members should be left behind. And our veterans shouldn’t be forgotten when they get home.

  65. 65
    Mandalay says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    Please, for once, think about these things before you yap.

    Riiiight …I should completely ignore the opinions of someone who actually spoke to the members of platoon because you can conjure up some alternative scenario from your armchair.

    Well your armchair scenarios may exactly reflect what happened, and Bethea may be lying through his teeth. But I don’t think so.

  66. 66
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @mtiffany:

    And it isn’t even as if these people are saying anything fact-based about Bergdahl’s actual disappearance. Not one single solitary fact about how it happened is ever mentioned. From the “facts” those soldiers offer, you could just as easily conclude that he was abducted by aliens as he deserted, or, for that matter, was nabbed by the Taliban.

  67. 67
    shawn says:

    @Tinare: It’s really only that hot here for about 7 months out of the year. The rest of the time it’s wonderful. Except for November-February when it’s too cold for southerners. But October sure is nice.

  68. 68
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Mandalay:

    Lets take this slowly, so we can get the key points into that lump of wood atop your saggy neck:

    1) Bethea never reports any facts about how the actual disappearance happened
    2) The soldiers he talked to never report any facts about how the actual disappearance happened
    3) They cite no evidence to support their conclusion that Bergdahl did, in fact, desert.

    I realize you love to play the witless contrarian from your own armchair, but even you ought to be able to grasp the simple reality that Bethea isn’t reporting facts about how Bergdahl went missing. He’s reporting opinions about it – which isn’t the same thing at all.

    Think, Mandalay, think, rather than lazily repeating opinions as facts. Is that really so hard for you to do?

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    What stops him coming off duty, putting his weapons and armor down, wanting to be alone and clear his head before going to sleep, stepping just a little way off base – and being grabbed by the Taliban? There’s at least as much evidence for that proposition as there is for the desertion story.

    To me as a civilian, I’d think the presence of his weapon and body armor back at base seem like evidence in his favor. If I were planning on deserting in a place as hostile as Afghanistan, I’d want to be armed.

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    Also, as I understand it, “desertion” has a very specific meaning under the UCMJ. Wandering away from his post is not necessarily desertion — it’s AWOL. From what people were saying in another thread, a court-martial would have to prove that he sought out Taliban to surrender to for it to legally be desertion.

  71. 71
    mtiffany says:

    Marine Corp vet Goldie Taylor on the Reid Report on MSNBC just a few seconds ago: “We don’t know the circumstances of his [Bergdahl’s] capture but we do know he is one of ours.”

  72. 72
    Jay C says:

    Yes, thank you Soonergrunt – your analysis of the Bergdahl situation is clear, concise and well-thought-out: it’s a shame that we’re so unlikely to get commentary like this from more “mainstream” outlets.

    But speaking of “shame” – I am the only one who is appalled by the virtually instant, knee-jerk spontaneous Swiftboating of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl? I mean, here is the one and only “POW” from the Afghanistan conflict, and when he is finally released (whatever else the issues over the appropriateness of the negotiations), his homecoming is marred by an outpouring of angry spittle-flecked rage from a nontrivial segment of the “public”, apparently undeterred in tossing around unsubstantiated accusations of “deserter” or “traitor” – and, seemingly, being rewarded for their vileness by being given numerous media outlets to vent their bile without any particular pushback.

    “Shame” doesn’t begin to cover it: whatever the actual circumstances of Bowe Bergdahl’s capture in 2009 (and I’m sure the Army will be carefully looking into them, as they always do), the guy has been a POW in Afghanistan for five years (scarcely a spa vacation) – he certainly deserves a hell of a lot better than the deranged hatemongering so many on the Right seem to think is his due. And for what? Daring to be set free on Barack Obama’s watch?

    One thought: Bowe Bergdahl was captured in 2009: he’s likely never to have seen an episode of “Homeland“: I wonder if he has any idea who “Nicholas Brody”, or why being compared to him is relevant in any way?

  73. 73
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): I’m surprised that he hasn’t legally changed his name to Benghazi!, considering that everything that happens on a day to day basis is covering up what happened in Benghazi! The breakfast I ate this morning? A Benghazi! cover-up. The massive dump my 3 year old took this morning? Nothing but a distraction so we won’t ask about what happened in Benghazi! The nap my dog is taking right now? Nothing but a clever ruse in order to distract us from Benghazi! The mortgage payment I made 5 minutes ago? An attempt to take the focus off of Benghazi! Everything and everyone is a distraction so we won’t ask questions about what really happened that night in Benghazi!

  74. 74
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yeah, it does seem likely that a man who had been serving in a particularly hostile environment might just possibly want to have a bit more in the way of weaponry than a compass and a can-do attitude as he set off to walk to India (with what rations? what supplies of water? what means of hunting game? what maps?). I still think that, given the legendary ability of the Pathans as masters of stealth and infiltration, it’s at least worth considering whether he went a little off-base and was grabbed by a small raiding party.

  75. 75
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Someguy:

    One side is already declaring him publicly as a deserter, no question, cut the guy’s head off because he’s guilty. Another side is saying let the right people decide this rather than lynch him in the court of public opinion.

    And we’re the assholes in this equation?

  76. 76
    Citizen_X says:

    @mtiffany:

    we do know he is one of ours.

    “Nuh-uh! He wrote anti-‘Murican stuff!”
    –Sarah Palin

  77. 77
    Gorgon Zola says:

    “…can give the most catty junior high school girls’ clique a run for their money.”

    Gratuitous sexist remark. #NotAllGirls

  78. 78
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @Mandalay: I think you are misunderstanding the situation here. Bethea is not reporting facts, he is reporting opinions. Granted, they are the opinions of people closer to the situation than we are, but they are still just that – opinions. None of his fellow soldiers were present when Bergdahl disappeared.

    I think we’ve all been in situations where things that would normally be un-remarked-upon seem prophetic after the fact. “I saw all those birds on the lawn this morning. I knew it meant we were going to have a thunderstorm!” This may be (and to some extent almost certainly is) the same sort of thing.

  79. 79
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Gorgon Zola:

    #NotAllCats, also too.

  80. 80
    mtiffany says:

    @Citizen_X: “I can see Alaska from my house.” — 1/2-term Gov. Sarah “Nice Rack” Palin, Alaska.

  81. 81
    Calouste says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    We’ll soon find out, after all those years, that there is truth behind the story that there are Americans that spit on returning soldiers.

  82. 82
    Belafon says:

    @Gorgon Zola: I’m pretty sure the circle for “the most catty junior high school girls’ clique” is inside the circle for talkative girls in a Venn diagram.

  83. 83
    mtiffany says:

    @Gorgon Zola: Are you fucking kidding me? Have you ever encountered a pack of teenage girls? A pack of wolves would turn tail and run.

  84. 84
    Shakezula says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): Since this has become their latest attempt to prove Obama is an evil weak communist ineffective Islamist bogey man, he could have had “I <3 This War" tattooed across his ass and been dragged off after killing 500 Talibangers with his bare hands and they'd still insist he should have been left with his captors.

    I just hope people leave him and his family the fuck alone, but I'd also like a unicorn that shits gold nuggets.

  85. 85
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @mtiffany:

    the fires of Hell are glaciers compared to my hate for the American Government, and I won’t be buried under their damn flag; I’ll be buried in Dawson and when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones back to Alaska, back to my country.
    Joe Vogler, founder of the Alaska Independence Party

    Todd Palin was a member of the AIP and Sarah Palin attended their conventions. Sounds mighty like palling around with anti-American people to me. Some might even think that Sarah Palin was sleeping with an enemy of America. After all, she married one.

  86. 86
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Shakezula:

    At this point, I’d believe more in that unicorn than I would decency out of this shit storm.

  87. 87
    mtiffany says:

    @Belafon: With some overlap from the tolerable theater fags.

  88. 88
    D58826 says:

    Thee world acclaimed military strategist – the Donald – has weighted in. All Americans are now at risk. I guess I should get my hands on the photos of the 5 Taliban so if I see them walking in front of my house I can go hide.

    When did we as nation become such bloody cowards??????

  89. 89
    Trollhattan says:

    The California Capitol flies three flags: U.S., California and POW/MIA. How is getting this young man home, alive, not the right thing to do? What kind of pretzel brain can twist it into something not good?

  90. 90
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @mtiffany:

    Wasn’t that a scene in one of the Twilight movies?

  91. 91
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Amir Khalid: @Mnemosyne:

    That was Bergdahls dad.

    OMG I feel dumb…but then like I said, I’ve been working all weekend and only got snippets of info gleaned off the TV’s in my patient’s rooms. I guess that’s what you get for watching the news on the sly while there’s a code going down…you miss key details. ;-)

    But I must say, his Dad’s beard is truly a nasty, “Homeland”-worthy mess. :-p

  92. 92
    rea says:

    I don’t know enough about what happend 5 years ago to say whether Bergdahl i saccurately characterized as a deserter, but I do know something about the concept of proximate cause, and all those deaths Bethea tries to blame on the search for Bergdahl are too remotely connected to qualify. For most of them, casualties were suffered looking for enemies who might be affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors–well, weren’t they trying to catch those people anyway? And a base elsewhere was attacked, and the attack was repulsed–but might have been repulsed more thoroughly with more resources. Very tenuous . . .

  93. 93
    Roger Moore says:

    @Trollhattan:

    How is getting this young man home, alive, not the right thing to do?

    It’s not what’s happening, it’s who’s getting credit for it.

  94. 94
    scav says:

    @Citizen_X: Palin’s mothering in a nutshell. “You lip off to me Teatray what.so.ever and I so will not run to you and apply first aid if I see you lost and wounded in the street, bleeding. Worship all my actions or STFU Family Values™”

  95. 95
    Cervantes says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It’s not what’s happening, it’s who’s getting credit for it.

    Speaking of which, here’s a detail: the Haqqani group, which kept Bergdahl prisoner for years, was funded by the CIA prior to 2001.09.11.

  96. 96
    gelfling545 says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): Or even having an emotional break where he just wanted to get somewhere that was not there. It doesn’t appear that this was a very experienced young man & may have not had the least idea of what the reality of the war he engaged to fight would be like. Others have certainly been overwhelmed by the experience to the point of suicide. That he had no realistic hope of actually going anywhere would not have been an issue. This occurs to me because I know of a couple of Vets residing at our local Vets’ housing organization who have to, occasionally, have their apartments “saved” for them when they become overwhelmed & just have to go off and wander.

  97. 97
    Trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Guess they should have sent President McCain to pick him up.

  98. 98
    gelfling545 says:

    @mtiffany: I often said I would have happily taught in an all boys’ school. I raised 2 daughters & mightily enjoyed the experience but in large groups? Sweet sufferin’ Jaysus!

  99. 99
    Suffern ACE says:

    @D58826: We became cowards after 9-11 when a building full of bankers was attacked and many lost their lives.

  100. 100
    Chickamin Slam says:

    @Hunter Gathers: In a few days the narrative will shift. “Why of course the president should negotiate to get our people back. But was Bergdahl deserving of such a trade?” Then they may air a long old picture Bergdahl posted online of “Bush or a chimp?” and they’ll sigh and say “See he just isn’t deserving. Why can’t our POWS be more like McCain?”

    Of course it’s all mean spirited bullshit but they get to wring their hands on TV with whathisname and give glum faces to the camera all while the host nods not unlike one of those bobbleheads you used to get for being one of 2500 to attend some event.

  101. 101
    mtiffany says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): No, that’s just the reaction most people have when they come around a corner and look into the dead, soulless eyes of Kristin Stewart.

  102. 102
    Suffern ACE says:

    I guess the outrage makes sense. The military should have left him behind as a deserter without a hearing to determine if that were true rather than releasing 5 taliban held indefinitely for being terrorists without trial. The important thing here is that the most coercive parts of our government be allowed to continue to convict folks without trial. As the founders would have wanted it.

  103. 103
    Keith G says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    What stops him coming off duty, putting his weapons and armor down, wanting to be alone and clear his head before going to sleep, stepping just a little way off base – and being grabbed by the Taliban? There’s at least as much evidence for that proposition as there is for the desertion story

    In a war zone? Maybe so but wow.

    Okay, I don’t think he is a villain, but I do not think he is anymore a victim than all the other men and women who went face to face with the inhumanity of combat over there. I am very happy he is “home”, but I will refrain form considering him a hero until I hear more.

    I do not think either side should use him as a totem to express their inner id about the war, the military, or our leadership. Not unlike the Elliot Rodgers case, it would be better if all could take a couple weeks (months?) off and let the collection of verifiables build up. Maybe we will find out that he is an emotionally fragile guy who never should have been given a uniform or that he was a careless twit who rashly did something very stupid.

    I am a bit weary of armchair investigators here casting aspersions on Bethea’s account of the disappearance. He was there and knows the physical events that unfolded, but even he should take a pause from any interpretation of what Bergdahl was thinking. This is something that we will be able to suss out in a little while.

  104. 104
    Someguy says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): ) You have noticed that the right wing has been pretty consistently wrong about everything from WMD to gay marriage over the last decade or so? You can bet on that horse if you want, but it’s your funeral.

    That’s not what I said, oh Morzer, Minister of Tendentious Interpretations.

    My point is that taking the winger position and assuming the equal and opposite is always true, really isn’t a great idea here. Rolling Stone was reporting on this guy being a deserter 2-3 years ago, his family seem to be some whacko fundamentalist homeschoolers and Randians (of the Paulnut variety) and soldiers from this guy’s squad are saying bad things about him. I’ve been seeing re-tweets from Bergdahl’s father cropping up in my Twitter feed forever, and I don’t like the smell of his jib…

    Just because the wingers hate the guy, doesn’t make him one of the good guys. The odds are looking pretty good, in fact, that Bergdahl is just a different flavor of nutty ass Randian winger. I wouldn’t embrace him just yet or craft too elaborate of a story about how he was captured. In fact, at this point, I’m giving even odds that when he was crying on the helicopter, it’s because either (1) he thought he’d been captured, not rescued; or, (2) he’s a profoundly mentally ill winger, and well, it just seemed like time for a good cry. Y’know, like on the night after a Democrat carries his home district, instead of the Libertarian Party candidate. My jury remains out and unless it turns out this guy was rescuing orphans after changing into his Superman suit in Afghan phoneboxes, I will dislike the odor of his story, no matter what his story is. There is something off about the whole thing.

  105. 105
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    Unless Bergdahl flat out confesses to deserting, there is no way he could ever be convicted of it. The most that I see as a remote possibility is that he violated an order by being outside the perimeter without authorization or something similar. It appears that he is the only person other than his captors who was there, and, I sincerely doubt that he is going to say anything remotely incriminating.

  106. 106
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Keith G:

    No-one is casting aspersions on Bethea’s account of the disappearance – for the very good reason that Bethea doesn’t provide one. There’s an outline of some events around the disappearance, plus some gossip from members of his unit, but that’s all. There isn’t a single fact related to the actual disappearance in the whole of Bethea’s piece. No eye-witnesses, no note from Bergdahl, nothing. That’s the key point here – that opinions aren’t facts, no matter what Bethea or his defenders may think.

  107. 107
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Keith G: Who is calling Bergdahl a hero?

  108. 108
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Someguy:

    Glad you like pie, but don’t forget to take some exercise.

  109. 109
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Mostly people who want to bash those who they accuse of calling him a hero.

  110. 110

    At least some wingnuts were in favor of rescuing Bowe Bergdahl before they were against it. This is from the 2011 memory hole.

  111. 111
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Someguy:

    There is something off about the whole thing.

    It happened in a war zone during an ugly war. Of course there is something off about the whole thing. As far as the rest of it goes, Bergdahl is a US soldier who was taken prisoner in a combat zone. Getting him back was the right thing to do. I don’t care if he was a hero, a zero, or something in between like most soldiers. I don’t have to like him or think anything good about him to think that getting him back is a good thing.

  112. 112
    Shakezula says:

    @Someguy:

    This has bugger all to do with his status as a POW/MIA and whether the US should have made an effort to get him back. Dragging his politics (or his dad’s politics) into it is just plain pathetic.

  113. 113
    Chris says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    What Palin calls the “horrid anti-American beliefs,” near as I can tell, consisted of complaining about how American troops treated Afghan civilians – a description rather at odds with the popular “American troops handing out candy to children and playing soccer with them, all part of the liberation of these grateful people who greeted us as liberators.”

    Don’t know whether it’s accurate or not, but this is the textbook right wing reaction to anyone who challenges official Good War narratives, no matter how true those challenges turn out to be later. Kerry was hated for going to protests and telling it like it is about Vietnam. Hugh Thompson had various people try to shut him down, and received death threats and dead animals on his doorstep for the rest of his life. I expect we’ll be seeing the same thing with him. “Swift-boating” is exactly right.

    And yes, foisting Sarah Palin on America may well be the worst thing McCain ever did in his life.

  114. 114
    dmbeaster says:

    I guess the GOP is now spitting on veterans being brought back from war.

  115. 115
    DAVE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): This; I actually thought I couldn’t be shocked in to rage anymore by the so-called opinion of the rigth wingers and the mendacious, vapid reporting of the media but this issue has me actively enraged. So much so that I need to actively avoid reporting and mentions of this because I will probably look like a maniac….. I don’t care if he was the most useless soldier that ever uselessed (doubtful given the competition) you get him home and you help him get a life back it’s a commitment we made to him his family and every service member at least the President remembers this (and I have no idea how he deals with this crap every day I would be hulk smashing by now and I have a fairly high tolerance for bs). That’s how it works….. I actually can’t even finish I am so pissed off about everything surronding this.

  116. 116
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    God, for fucks sake.

    Just looking at commentary and response elsewhere, 90% of it is all, this guy is already guilty of the worst treason ever and Obama is the most mega-America hating terrorist loving Super Tyrant in the history of fucking ever to the point that, again, ostensibly liberal folks are hopping hard on the bandwagon of ‘EXECUTE HIM NOW!’

    I give up. You’d think that folks like Todd Kincannon would be outliers, not the fucking bellwethers. But nope, apparently not believing that this guy should at least be investigated first and that maybe Obama didn’t have super secret terrorist loving ulterior motives brands you as the most super-crazy America-hatey psycho-libby-lib in the history of fucking ever.

    This is why I’ve given up talking politics in real life now. I’m afraid if someone catches on to me being a liberal I’ll be hit with a brick and left to die.

  117. 117
    Chris says:

    @DAVE:

    I don’t care if he was the most useless soldier that ever uselessed (doubtful given the competition) you get him home and you help him get a life back it’s a commitment we made to him his family and every service member at least the President remembers this (and I have no idea how he deals with this crap every day I would be hulk smashing by now and I have a fairly high tolerance for bs).

    Their ability to mark anyone for death that they’ve decided is “unworthy” of being in their club really is amazing.

    I fucking hate John McCain, but even at this point I’d never say that he should have been abandoned to the North Vietnamese. Ditto Sarah Palin if she’d ever had the intestinal fortitude to put on a uniform and put her money where he mouth was. Heck, even Allen West I wouldn’t have wanted left in the hands of the enemy.

    Of course, I also think just because X or Y demographics are right wing doesn’t mean they should be denied the federal funds, or the voting rights, or the health care that they so loudly want to deny to everyone else. I suppose, when all’s said and done, both sides really don’t do it.

  118. 118
    Patrick says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    That’s funny. When I think of anti-American, I think of Palin. Her husband was a member of AIP, just as an example. Hell, she should know better. McCain was a POW.

  119. 119
    Jamey says:

    Is it too soon to dub the GOP’s crusade against the release of Sgt. Bergdahl as “Berghdaziiii!!!1!”?

  120. 120
    Elizabelle says:

    Thank you, Soonergrunt, Sir.

    Superlative.

  121. 121
    lawguy says:

    Back when I was in the service one of my first sergeants gave me the following advice which has served me well these 30+ years: “Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.” I’d suggest that might be a good attitude to have concerning this matter.

  122. 122
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @lawguy: Yup. Confusion reigns even in what seem to be normal times.

    On 9/11/2001 there were people inside the Pentagon that didn’t know the building had been hit by an airplane until much later in the day. I recall early NPR reports about it…

    Witnesses are often confused about what they saw or heard, also too.

    I’m beginning to think that the only sensible thing is to not read any “news” about what did or didn’t happen to him 5 years ago and simply be happy that he’ll soon be with his family.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  123. 123
    g says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Private email communication with his own family is not Sarah Palin’s business.

    Funny, she supported Jeremy Morlock, though.

  124. 124
    g says:

    @Chris:

    What Palin calls the “horrid anti-American beliefs,” near as I can tell, consisted of complaining about how American troops treated Afghan civilians

    And she supported a guy who was tried for murdering some of those civilians and desecrating their corpses.

  125. 125
    g says:

    @Chris:

    What Palin calls the “horrid anti-American beliefs,” near as I can tell, consisted of complaining about how American troops treated Afghan civilians

    And she supported a guy who was tried for murdering some of those civilians and desecrating their corpses.

  126. 126
    Skippy-san says:

    What most of these morons forget is that a Court Martial is not about right or wrong-but what you can prove. And in this case I think it will be very little. There’s going to be an investigation, I’m sure, but do I expect to see a court-martial? No. A prosecution would be especially difficult because Bergdahl could raise questions about his mental health when he disappeared or as a result of his captivity. And the fact that its been a significant amount of time since 2009. As I said-good defense attorneys could have a field day with this case-and on the government side I am sure there is not a willingness to drag itself through the mud only to lose. But that is what makes us better-due process.

  127. 127
    chopper says:

    there’s only one person who actually knows for sure whether the dude deserted, and that’s Bergdahl. that’s it. full stop.

    the military may decide for themselves that he deserted, but that requires an investigation and debriefing which couldn’t be done while he’s still captive.

    as to the taliban, as pointed out these guys are supposed to be released anyways under international law. might as well get something for it.

  128. 128
    chopper says:

    @Skippy-san:

    right. if the dude says ‘no, i didn’t desert’ i can’t see any court martial even being convened. what would they do, bring in the members of his platoon who weren’t there when he left and only ‘think’ he deserted? lol, no.

  129. 129
    D58826 says:

    Just speculation but this could be the visible portion of back channel diplomacy. Remember the Ping-Pong game that was the public opening to China. Who knows maybe there is an unofficial truce being worked out. The drone war in Pakistan seems to have been shutdown so maybe as long as the American’s stay in basecamps the Taliban won’t attack.

    As I say speculation but wouldn’t be the first time something like that happened.

  130. 130
    sm*t cl*de says:

    The Unified Theory of Republican Projection leads me to predict a resurgence of “Libruls spat on returned veterans!” anecdotage.

    UPDATE: I see I am echoing dmbeaster @114.

  131. 131
    Gorgon Zola says:

    @mtiffany: It’s called a murder, honey. A group of teenage girls is called a murder.

  132. 132
    mtiffany says:

    @Gorgon Zola: Bonus points for quoting Homer J Simpson in your answer.

  133. 133
    opiejeanne says:

    My husband and I are driving north on I-5, and just north of Weed we saw a road sponsor sign: Friends of Bowe Bergdahl.

    This is in weird, red county California, part of the State of Jefferson silliness. We shouted when we saw it.

  134. 134
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris:

    Their ability to mark anyone for death that they’ve decided is “unworthy” of being in their club really is amazing.

    They’re onto his father now. I guess your family members’ beliefs can infect you with unworthiness as well.

  135. 135
    LT says:

    Thank you for a very good post, Soonergrunt.

  136. 136
    J R in WV says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    Bless your heart, honey, what a sweet thing for you to say about one of our soldier’s parents!

    Thanks ever so much for being such a sweet girl! You take care now. Bless your Heart!

  137. 137
  138. 138
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @The Raven on the Hill: Thanks for the pointer. It’s a good rant with lots of great points. I especially liked this:

    This madness, this crippling unreasoning fear, must be dragged into the heat of the sun and cauterized, before it kills us all.

    Yes.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  139. 139
    Paul in KY says:

    @lamh36: Hope you get to go to this year’s Voodoofest. It will be 31 Oct – 2 Nov. Tics will go on sale on 27 June.

  140. 140
    Someguy says:

    @Shakezula: This has bugger all to do with his status as a POW/MIA

    Actually, it does. If he deserted he didn’t have POW status.

  141. 141

    […] those of us critical of the deal simply wanted a man to be left behind. Not so fast New York Times. Not so fast lefties. If a man jumps overboard you do turn around and look for him, but what you don’t do is […]

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