Now That Wasn’t So Hard, Was It, Wingnuts

This is how the system is supposed to work:

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by enemy forces in Afghanistan for five years, will be charged with desertion, a senior defense officials tell NBC News. The officials say the charges could be referred within a week.

According to the officials, the desertion charges would be based on allegations that Bergdahl abandoned his remote outpost in June 2009 to avoid hazardous duty or important service, which are grounds for charges of desertion under the Uniform Military Code of Justice, or UCMJ. According to one senior official, Bergdahl’s actions in Afghanistan go well beyond the lesser offense of AWOL, absent without leave, because he allegedly abandoned his post “in the middle of a combat zone, potentially putting the lives of his fellows soldiers at risk.”

The charges will apparently not allege that Bergdahl left with the intent never to return. Bergdahl was reportedly captured by the Haqqani terrorist network in Pakistan. He was released in a prisoner swap for five Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo Bay in May.

While a court martial could lead to imprisonment, defense and military officials tell NBC News it is likely Bergdahl would be given consideration for the 5 years he spent in captivity and be permitted to leave the Army with a “less than honorable discharge.” If accepted, Bergdahl would be denied as much as $300 thousand in back pay and bonuses, and reduced in rank to at least Private First Class, the rank he held when he disappeared from his outpost in Afghanistan.

If you’ll remember, wingnuts were furious that he was brought home, saying he should have just been left there based on their anecdotal evidence. But that is not how things are supposed to work. He is one of ours. You bring him home, and then you trust the military to investigate, and if it is determined he did something wrong, then he will face the charges in our justice system, not one run by a bunch of neanderthals who stone women for adultery and throw homosexuals off the roof of a building.

It’s really that simple. He’s one of ours. I don’t know how Soonergrunt or Adam Silverman feel about the issue, but I would be surprised to learn that overall they feel any different than I do.

*** Update ***

According to the ARMY Times, no decision has been made. Weird.






79 replies
  1. 1
    elmo says:

    I think your last line is too specific. I fix:

    I don’t know how Soonergrunt or Adam Silverman the vast majority of other decent human beings feel about the issue, but I would be surprised to learn that overall they feel any different than I do.

    Much better.

  2. 2
    jl says:

    Thanks for the news. Seems like the charges are reasonable from what I read about the history of his situation when he was brought back to the US.

  3. 3
    Belafon says:

    But wingers like the part about being able to throw homosexuals off buildings and beating their women.

  4. 4
    sharl says:

    It looks like the sourcing is trustworthy for the most part, and I suspect this will play out as reported from ‘senior defense official(s),’ but just for the record, from a little over an hour ago:

    Rear Adm. John Kirby ‏@PentagonPresSec

    Contrary to media reporting, no decision made by Army leadership with respect to Sgt. Bergdahl’s case. The process will be respected.

    12:41 PM – 27 Jan 2015

    ETA: just went back to look at the responses to the spokesman’s tweet; the wingnuts are all over his shit, y’know, “Obama stooge”, stuff like that. Fun for him, no doubt!

  5. 5
    Citizen_X says:

    he will face the charges in our justice system, not one run by a bunch of neanderthals who stone women for adultery and throw homosexuals off the roof of a building.

    Could you be a little more specific? Their neanderthals, or ours?

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Without having the Art 32 evidence in hand, it’s pretty difficult to judge what the heck is the thinking behind possible charges.

    The fact that Army Times indicates that no decision has been made means the remanding authority is still mulling it over…or someone leaked something to create some ruckus, an attempt to force the remanding authority’s hand.

    There is probably a diversity of opinion within the Army itself, particularly among those closest to the case, to determine how to proceed in Bergdahl’s case.

    The wingnuts, being bears of little brains and no redeeming other qualities, have been all over the fucking map on this one…at first demanding that someone (looking at you, “spoiled little boy”) do something about freeing him, then demanding he be shot before hanging for desertion based on the sputterings of some of his fellow soldiers to wingtard media outlets.

    Meanwhile, an authentic deserter who held a motherfucking commission is still at large somewhere in Texas.

  7. 7
    Professor says:

    @Belafon: What about torturing the innocent abducted in their own country and feeding them through their ANUS? That is AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM.

  8. 8
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    According to the ARMY Times, no decision has been made. Weird.

    That is weird. I was in the car about 30-40 minutes ago, scrolling through radio stations to try to find something other than Blizzardgateghazipocalypse coverage, and heard just a quick headline about this saying the Pentagon was going to hold a news conference to make the announcement “within the hour.” I don’t recall now whether it was CNN, MSNBC or NPR, but whoever it was sounded pretty definite. So the ARMY Times piece is interesting.

  9. 9

    @Citizen_X:
    I think he’s saying that he’ll be tried by a military court, not by a bunch of wingnuts.

  10. 10
    prufrock says:

    The charges will apparently not allege that Bergdahl left with the intent never to return.

    Actually, I’m surprised that they would try anything more than unauthorized absence. Desertion is extremely hard to prove. I once knew of a guy who was gone from my battalion for over a decade and they didn’t charge him with desertion.

  11. 11
    Tommy says:

    I am always stunned how sane people are here. It seems desertion happened. No way around it. I want the penalty to be as small as possible but I have to understand there will be one.

  12. 12
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tommy:

    We are a surprisingly sane group taken all in all, aren’t we? Especially when you consider all the provocation we have not to be.

  13. 13
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Losing $300,000 plus bonuses is a pretty rough punishment. I wonder if a mental breakdown led to him abandoning his post. He’s been punished enough already, in my opinion.

    T’Baggers are evil to argue that he deserved to be left behind in Taliban hands.They wanted him to be killed over there. But they love the troops or so they say.

  14. 14

    @prufrock:

    Actually, I’m surprised that they would try anything more than unauthorized absence.

    If you look at the quote, they’re saying that it counts as more serious than just AWOL because he was deployed in a combat zone at the time he went absent. I don’t know all the rules, but that seems like a reasonable distinction to make.

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Speak for yourself. I embrace and celebrate my insanity.

  16. 16

    @Patricia Kayden:

    They wanted him to be killed over there.

    They were busy complaining about us not doing enough to get him back until they changed their minds and decided he deserved to rot over there. I think Cleek’s Law (ETA: or maybe the corollary that whatever Obama does is always wrong) applies in this case; they wanted whatever Obama wasn’t doing.

  17. 17
    jl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: But you are Ozarkian, which here at this blog I think is considered an honorary West By God Virginian. You have some kind of hall pass or something.

  18. 18
    trollhattan says:

    Wingers haven’t been too active attacking Bergdahl and his too-odd-for-them family, I suspect because 1. they’re following too many shiny things to keep track of him and 2. Mexico released the ex-Marine gun runner. Because Mexico is worser than the Taliban.

  19. 19
    Laertes says:

    Due process shows weakness! Some other people are really bad, I hear. If we don’t abandon our humanity, we’ll lose. “Reason” and “fairness” and “acting like a civilized fucking human being” are luxuries we can’t afford in this imperfect world.

  20. 20
    jl says:

    @trollhattan: Thanks for the link. I’m glad I read to the end to see this;

    ” Sergeant Tahmoressi, his family and supporters are undoubtedly pleased that he is back in Florida. Nevertheless, this case has brought to light both how easily international affairs can be politicized in the U.S. ”

    Not sure that the US is unique in politicization, but I think we are among a special group of countries where the politicization is usually wielded by one vary powerful segment of the population (the GOP base) and it is extra noisy.

  21. 21
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I think the mulling means that there is something there (as I thought, if the timeline of his leaving was correct) and they are figuring out exactly what to charge him with.

  22. 22
    Paul in KY says:

    @trollhattan: The story said he was a ‘retired’ Marine. No one retires as a 3 stripe sergeant, unless they got busted down or were a complete fuckup (I don’t even think the fuckup could last that long).

  23. 23
    different-church-lady says:

    If you’ll remember, wingnuts were furious that he was brought home…

    They were furious Obama brought him home. If McCain had brought him home, Bergdahl would be a war hero in their eyes.

  24. 24
    kindness says:

    There is only one response possible from the Reichtwingnutz crowd.

    It’s Obama’s fault.

    Of course it is.

  25. 25
    Tree With Water says:

    Soldiers since time immemorial have deserted their posts of duty. “Branded, marked as the man who ran..”. In that sense, this is a dog bites man story.

  26. 26
    mai naem mobile says:

    Who knows what kind of mental shape hes in but if hes in decent mental shape i would hope they would use him. I’m guessing hes got to have learned quite a bit being around the Taliban for 5 years.
    I hope he doesn’t get charged with time. I don’t see the point of doing time. Something on his record would be okay.

  27. 27
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Is “thank you for your service” loving the troops? I find there to be something deeply weird about that.

    It seems to be popular in the South and embarrasses the recipient usually. The person saying it is either doing this obsequious pro-forma thing because they’re afraid they will get called on insufficient support of the troops (what is this, North Korea? clap harder!) or they’ve got this emotional, weepy, insecure-masculinity patriot-face on that to me just sets off these spree-killer alarm bells. What’re’you gonna do next, suck his cock to get that vital man-seed within you to heal your broken essence? It’s weird.

    And it does seem to come from this subconscious guilt. You know what, fuck stick? Why don’t you vote for pols who will take care of the vets when they come home, why don’t you do something for the homeless and for people with mental illness, a lot of whom are vets, instead of logging on facebook and calling people with ptsd “p*ssies”, why don’t you sell your guns and donate the money to the local foodbank and donate the hour you would have spent bullshitting with your friends about high tech hunting gear volunteering for the local disabled vets org?

    Assholes.

  28. 28
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Tree With Water: Carmen.

  29. 29
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @jl: All in all, I think Mexico handled it pretty well.

    It was incredible to me how invested some people were in believing his cockamamie, easily disproved story.

  30. 30
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @jl: Honorary because it’s common to transpose every ugly stereotype about Appalachian white folk to Ozarks white folk?

    So my grandmother, the one who survived the hell house growing up, apparently would remark that at least she wasn’t from the Ozarks.

    Kind of gives you an insight into the wingnut mind.

    She never broke ties with the family. Just with reality.

  31. 31
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    It’s hard to figure out what some of the haters really want. Maybe there isn’t anything except the hate.

  32. 32
    trollhattan says:

    @Paul in KY:
    Didn’t know that bit. I’m still in awe of the “didn’t realize I was crossing the [practically militarized] border and BTW, whoopsie about the guns and mountains of ammo.” defense. What the hell did he learn on those tours? He’s a better wanderer than Bergdahl could have ever hoped to be.

  33. 33
    Archon says:

    When your in the military as a foreign occupier in the middle of a local insurgency, leaving your military post and “wondering out” usually ends with capture and a quick execution, if your lucky.

    In other words what Bergdahl did was not rational and to me at least suggests serious mental illness.

  34. 34
    raven says:

    @Archon: spell much?

  35. 35
    Couldn't Stand the Weather says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The wingnuts, being bears of little brains and no redeeming other qualities, have been all over the fucking map on this one…at first demanding that someone (looking at you, “spoiled little boy”) do something about freeing him, then demanding he be shot before hanging for desertion based on the sputterings of some of his fellow soldiers to wingtard media outlets.

    Meanwhile, an authentic deserter who held a motherfucking commission is still at large somewhere in Texas.

    I heard that.

  36. 36
    Mike J says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    It was incredible to me how invested some people were in believing his cockamamie, easily disproved story.

    Even if his story were true, it’s not legal to accidentally take guns into Mexico either. I doubt any prosecutor in the US would care if it were an accident when you were caught with 5 keys of coke coming over the border.

  37. 37
    Pogonip says:

    @prufrock: Maybe they were glad he was gone?

  38. 38

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    It’s hard to figure out what some of the haters really want.

    It isn’t that hard. They want their country back from all Those People.

  39. 39
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Mike J: No shit. But when we’re talking about mass narcissism, the hypocrisy is the point.

  40. 40
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Eons ago in history class, junior high? Elementary school? Damned if I remember. We had a segment in The Book about American Imperialism and how people like Shaw argued against the ambition to take over all of the former Spanish territories and make an American naval empire and, well, that side lost.

    I was kind of stunned that they lost, I mean the whole imperialist ambition seemed like a betrayal of the Revolution. How could they do this? I filed it away as an aberration.

    It seems that those who have access to unequal power inevitably will use it. They can’t help themselves. And woe to those who wield it.

  41. 41
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    @Roger Moore: And so now it’s time for right-wing shouters to pivot back to “Why is Obama persecuting an American serviceman?”

  42. 42
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Mike J: Another thought on that, if it was true I would still have felt some pity. I mean there’s this whole thing in English common law about state of mind for a reason.

    With this guy, the more you go down the rabbit hole the more it becomes clear that he planned this. He was back and forth across the border. I find it quite believable that he was going to do a deal … and got caught.

  43. 43
    Mike in NC says:

    neanderthals who stone women for adultery

    Or more likely, for going to school

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike in NC: Or driving a car.

  45. 45
    Wapiti says:

    My dad asked me about this several months ago. My first guess was that he was going to the vil’ for drugs/alcohol or sex when he got grabbed. Stupid soldiers (and leaders) have existed as long as war itself.

  46. 46
    jl says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I think the Ozarks and West Virginia have some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen and the nicest people I’ve ever met. (Edit: disclosure, I have family connections at the intersection of MD, WV and VA, though I think that has become DC suburbs now. And up through that confusing part where everything squished up next to PA).

    You want me to rant based on my white person’s ugly stereotypes of other white people, ask me about west Texas, and the Pecos Valley in particular. And ‘cowboys’ from the Sierra foothills. The Sierra hillbillies are much nicer.

  47. 47
    Pogonip says:

    UNCLASSIFIED
    TO: SGT Cole
    THROUGH: BALLJUCOM HQ
    SUBJECT: Pupdate

    It has come to the attention of the Command that your unit’s Pupdate is overdue. Please provide ASAP as indigenous Juicerian personnel are becoming noticeably restless.

  48. 48
    jl says:

    @Pogonip: Can we bring this Cole guy up on charges? Malingering. That is plausible

  49. 49
    Cacti says:

    I’m guessing that NBC must think their source for this is pretty solid.

    Otherwise, they’ve commited libel per se.

  50. 50
    jl says:

    On to the next scandal and existential threat to America: drunken drone driving.

    Report: Man Who Crashed Drone On White House Grounds Had Been Drinking

    ” A man who caused a brief stir outside the White House early Monday morning by crashing a drone on the grounds was reportedly drinking when he lost control of the device. ”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....rone-crash

    Let’s just hope it was not an all-American beverage, like Coors, so that this scandal does not become politicized.

  51. 51
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Roger Moore: Yes, I suppose the fear of difference is widespread in the human species. And then people fan the fear for their own gains. Once that genie is out of the bottle, it’s hard to put back.

  52. 52
    Pogonip says:

    @jl: Heck, no. The last time we tried that, he fell over a table on his way to the Article 15 hearing, landing on a guard dog. By the time we finished the accident paperwork on him and the dog, everybody else in Cole’s MOS had retired so we thought it best to just re-up him and say nothing.

  53. 53
    trollhattan says:

    @Mike in NC:
    Stoning for adultery, shooting for going to school. It’s all right there in the instruction manual.

  54. 54
    Amir Khalid says:

    @trollhattan:
    No, it isn’t.

  55. 55
    burnspbesq says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Ready for extra time?

    ETA: OMG. Mario, are you kidding me?

  56. 56
    trollhattan says:

    @Amir Khalid: Well, it is according to the people using the instruction manual to justify their “justice.” We have quite a bit of that here, ourselves.

  57. 57
    Amir Khalid says:

    @burnspbesq:
    It is ever thus with these problem-child strikers that Liverpool keeps signing. At least Hannibal Suarez left before he went off the boil.
    ETA: Fuck.

  58. 58
    Amir Khalid says:

    This is what comes of using a striker to defend a set-piece.

  59. 59
    Pogonip says:

    Well, we tried Officer language, let’s speak Drill Sergeant:

    Cole! Get that Pupdate up NOW! The IP’s are getting angry and I’m not far behind them. What, you joined the Army to rest? Not this man’s Army, soldier! Move move move move move move!!!!!

  60. 60
  61. 61
    Pogonip says:

    Oh, stewardess, I speak Army…

  62. 62
    Anne Laurie says:

    Possibly relevant:

  63. 63
    pluege says:

    It’s really that simple. He’s one of ours.

    yea but that sounds like “collectivism” and big daddy warbucks koch no likey no stinkin’ collectivism.

  64. 64
    trollhattan says:

    @Pogonip:
    If it’s a drill sergeant, wouldn’t Cole have a nickname?

    “Mop-ass, drop and give me twenty!!!”

  65. 65
    SWMBO says:

    @trollhattan: “Mustard Loser! Where are the piglet pics? I want them now or else you’ll be mopping the latrine naked!

  66. 66
    Pogonip says:

    @SWMBO: So THAT’S where he picked up that habit! The Army!

  67. 67
    Pogonip says:

    @trollhattan: Sounds like PTMD (Post Traumatic Mopping Disorder) to me.

  68. 68
    Pogonip says:

    @trollhattan: My father simplified matters by referring to any and all of his trainees as “Bonehead.”

  69. 69

    The storm did not live up to its hype here in western Mass. We did not even get a foot of snow. It is windy still and cold.

    BTW why not even a single thread for Obama’s India trip?

  70. 70
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Pogonip: And it was a remarkably appropriate appellation for them, too.

  71. 71
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @trollhattan: For example, black men having consensual sex with white women: totally a crime against God. White man having coerced sex with black women? The way God intended things to be.

    See how easy it is?

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    John,

    Complete agreement! If we have people alive we can get with a high likelihood of success – as in risk for additional losses is low and controllable or the terms of the swap aren’t wacked – we do it. No matter what is going on with the 15-6 investigation, there is always the events/what happened and the context for the,. My guess is that part of what they’re trying to figure out now is the actual chain of events and their context, as well as who’s recounting of them is credible and who’s isn’t.

    The reasons for taking prisoners during war is to 1) remove them from the conflict/reduce the enemies forces, 2) be able to exploit them, according to the Rules of Engagement, the Laws of War, and other binding rules such as the Geneva Conventions, if/when possible for verifiable, useful operational information and intelligence, and 3) to have something worth trading for our own or our allies who have been taken prisoner. At the end of every war prisoners are exchanged. The only ones who aren’t are the ones that are being held for war crimes, atrocity, and/or crimes against humanity charges.

  73. 73
    Howard Beale IV says:

    So why wasn’t Petraeus brought up under the UCMJ for Espionage what way Manning was?

  74. 74
    Randy Khan says:

    @Cacti: It’s not libel to report someone is going to be charged; it would be libel to report that he was a deserter if it weren’t true. (Similarly, you’re not libeling President Obama if you report that some doofus has said he’s a communist; that person may have committed defamation, but that’s not your problem.)

  75. 75
    Pogonip says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Were you a DI too? If so, when and what service? Dad was a DI from the mid- thru late ’50’s, back when the Army wanted its drill sergeants to instill a hatred for all mankind so they wouldn’t mind having to kill people quite so much. I think nowadays the trend is for (relatively) nice DIs. He’d have preferred that; it’s no fun spending your days yelling at people.

  76. 76

    […] unit.  Nothing I’ve seen so far has changed what I wrote here and I agree with John from earlier today.  If I had to bet today, 5 gets you 10 that Bergdahl will plead guilty to AWOL, […]

  77. 77
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Pogonip: Please. I did not work for a living while in the Army. I did have former DIs who worked for me, though, so I picked up on the vibes :)

  78. 78
    Paul in KY says:

    @trollhattan: It was probably just a bad choice of words made by someone who doesn’t know that ‘retired’ has a specific connotation.

  79. 79
    Paul in KY says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I think the whole thing was about making the US a power that couldn’t easily be bullied (as Great Britain was doing to us in War of 1812).

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