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Mon Jun 2, 2014, 04:46 PM

 

There are some less-than-savory stories being peddled about released-POW Bergdahl...

...("he was a deserter and troops died trying to find him", which I will take with several grains of salt for now. In the meantime, remember when President Nixon exchanged a number of North Vietnamese POWs to secure the release of now-Senator John McCain?

Yeah, me too.

History is for everyone.



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Reply There are some less-than-savory stories being peddled about released-POW Bergdahl... (Original post)
WilliamPitt Jun 2014 OP
DonViejo Jun 2014 #1
hlthe2b Jun 2014 #2
TwilightGardener Jun 2014 #5
OnlinePoker Jun 2014 #18
TwilightGardener Jun 2014 #19
Name removed Jun 2014 #33
DisgustipatedinCA Jun 2014 #3
Indydem Jun 2014 #4
bigtree Jun 2014 #8
Egnever Jun 2014 #6
bigtree Jun 2014 #7
Zen Democrat Jun 2014 #12
GusBob Jun 2014 #9
bigtree Jun 2014 #11
Demeter Jun 2014 #10
geardaddy Jun 2014 #13
Blanks Jun 2014 #14
JDPriestly Jun 2014 #15
IkeRepublican Jun 2014 #16
eShirl Jun 2014 #17
progressivebydesign Jun 2014 #27
wheniwasincongress Jun 2014 #31
Separation Jun 2014 #20
Rhinodawg Jun 2014 #21
MADem Jun 2014 #22
progressoid Jun 2014 #23
Mr.Bill Jun 2014 #24
sawdust Jun 2014 #25
progressivebydesign Jun 2014 #26
joe_sixpack Jun 2014 #28
politicat Jun 2014 #29
Shankapotomus Jun 2014 #30
R B Garr Jun 2014 #32

Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 04:48 PM

1. "he was a deserter and troops died trying to find him"

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025037496

Palin Bashes Bergdahl For His 'Horrid Anti-American Beliefs'
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025038567

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 04:52 PM

2. the hypocrisy is flowing (and overflowing), that's for sure

I had never heard of this soldier before, so I have intentionally taken a step back on this story. But, I do have to believe that the Obama administration had the facts and acted appropriately. We don't intentionally leave soldiers behind.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 04:58 PM

5. It's been assumed for a long time in the military that he went AWOL, but

I don't believe there were eyewitnesses to his departure and I don't believe they've had the evidence to charge him, especially without his being able to offer a defense while in captivity (anything he says could be the product of an unsound mind or coercion). They have a duty to bring him home regardless.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 06:37 PM

18. Why would there be an eye witness to his departure?

Presumably, when one goes AWOL, they don't let anybody know they are doing it and try to slip away unseen.

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Response to OnlinePoker (Reply #18)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 06:44 PM

19. I think there are standard measures for determining AWOL.

For whatever reason, Bergdahl was not declared such--maybe you have to be gone from your unit for a certain amount of time, and he was taken captive shortly after leaving--so they suspect, but don't know for sure, what the circumstances were.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #19)


Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 04:56 PM

3. Whatever he did or didn't do, you never leave someone behind if you can help it. Never.

 

I read the Michael Hastings Rolling Stone piece, and while I don't pretend to know the mind of Bergdahl, I don't think he was trying to join the Taliban--I'm given to understand that everyone on the ground there knows better than to attempt such a thing. In any event, I'd glad the President made this swap, but then again, I've considered Guantanamo Bay to be a complete travesty of justice since we began sending some terrorists and some goat farmers there.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 04:56 PM

4. Well if we are talking history

 

Then it should be noted that McSame was 1 of 108 hostages released, after the Paris Peace accord was signed.

There was no "trade" there was an end to hostilities.

All POWs on both sides were released.

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Response to Indydem (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 05:14 PM

8. McCain benefited from a prisoner exchange

 

. . . negotiated as we were bugging out. to pretend that there was some cleaner end to that conflict is just sophistry.

The ONLY difference in the Bergdahl exchange was that he was the LAST known POW left in Afghanistan. The 'war' in Afghanistan is all but over, with the President announcing the end of combat operations later this year. Most of their duty right now is in shipping equipment home.

Trying to make a distinction between the two prisoner exchanges based on whether the conflict in Afghanistan has ended is curiously irrelevant.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 04:59 PM

6. Then we shouldnt ignore the details.

 

Mccain was released as part of a ceasefire agreement that released 108 of our troops. Trying to pretend the two are the same is not paying attention to history.

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Response to Egnever (Reply #6)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 05:07 PM

7. how is that fundamentally different? This exchange was also part of an agreement

 

. . . completed after the President announced that combat operations have all but ended and would cease completely later this year.

The lengths you've gone to claim there's some major difference in those exchanges are as unconvincing as they are irrelevant. The last known POW in Afghanistan was released as part of a negotiated prisoner swap. It was as lopsided a trade as McCain benefited from when a deal was negotiated with the Vietnamese to effect his and others' release.

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Response to Egnever (Reply #6)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 05:41 PM

12. The only difference is that the Taliban were only holding one POW, Hanoi had 108.

Both wars coming to a close. And there was talk that McCain gave up information in captivity. No matter what, we weren't leaving Bergdahl behind in Afghanistan.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 05:24 PM

9. could be the robert garwood of this war

The last known VN POW who was later charged with desertion

Wait and see I guess

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Response to GusBob (Reply #9)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 05:36 PM

11. remarkably similar in the narrative that surrounded his disappearance and the aftermath

 

. . . it may well turn out that the charges or innuendo in Bergdahl's case can be better defended against by the Sgt. than Garwood was able.

Interesting that he was a republican cause-celeb on missing troops in later years.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 05:36 PM

10. I can't think there are ANY savory stories about war

 

candy-dispensing WW2 GIs, the Monuments Men, the Liberators of the Death Camps being exceptions, from a far different kind of war, fought less for imperial reasons and more for humanitarian ones.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 05:47 PM

13. Didn't St. Gipturd Raygun

do the same by giving arms to our "enemies" the Iranians?

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 05:49 PM

14. A lot of the outrage stems from trading the gitmo prisoners...

What are we gonna do with these guys now anyway?

In the Rolling Stones article (mentioned above) - there was a statement from the White House something like "we don't give a shit if he's a deserter".

If he's a deserter - why would we leave him there (we can't give him his day in court over there), and what are we saving the gitmo prisoners for? Are we saving them up for a rainy day?

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 06:01 PM

15. Besides, even if he was a deserter and troops died to try to find him,

he may have a lot of useful and interesting information, so Obama may have been quite right in obtaining his release at great cost.

And the cost that Republicans calculate may or may not be all that high. We could even obtain advantages from releasing prisoners that we know very well. Certainly we know what they look like, sound like, etc. We may have their DNA and know a lot about them. They too may provide us with a lot of useful information.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 06:36 PM

16. Republicans will say anything to screw Obama

That's what this all boils down to.

And, for all we know, the Bergdahl family could have very well been advised to "embrace Islam" as a trinket to those weirdos in Afghan. But, the Repukes won't see it that way. They'll just keep giving their marching orders to their mouth-foaming cult followers and the complicit media.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 06:36 PM

17. preemptive swiftboating

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Response to eShirl (Reply #17)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 08:21 PM

27. the GOP is also pissed because his parents don't appear to be Christian.

That is the 2nd biggest outrage in GOP circles right now. That his parents had the audacity not to be christians. Amazing how the small minds don't remember the Jessica Lynch production, and the horrible coverup of Pat Tillman's death (who turned out to also be questioning our role overseas at the time of his death.)

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Response to progressivebydesign (Reply #27)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 11:07 PM

31. What are they?

Dare they be...godless?

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 07:08 PM

20. I'll leave it to the guys who served with him.

"At best he is a deserter, at worst a traitor."

Until an official report comes out that is were I stand. I also stand that we leave no man behind. So kudos to President Obama for bringing him home.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 07:20 PM

21. He was 21 year old when this happened.

 

Adult?...legally yes....but not everyone who is 21 in war is an adult and I doubt all react the same way.

He lived in a remote area and may have had little world knowledge.

Apparently he left his uniform and gun and left at 4 in the morning.

Not exactly clear thinking.


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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 07:27 PM

22. The facts of his departure aren't in dispute. The fact that some people died in operations

that included trying to find him isn't in dispute.

The point is, none of that matters. No one in their right mind takes off all their gear, leaves it in a neat little stack, and goes "over the wire" in the middle of frigging nowhere. It doesn't take any special jolt of Fristian genius to figure out that this soldier had mental health issues, that included either emotional or intellectual impairment--or maybe both. He thought he could walk to India. He wanted to go out and make friends.

We're not talking about Einstein coming to a conclusion here.

I agree with the assessment of the soldier who wrote the article for the DB on this issue. He acknowledges the mixed feelings, to include the hurt of the soldiers in the guy's unit, the loss of those who died, the relief at the ordeal being over. He points out that there's no percentage in courts-martialing him. He's been through enough. Bowe, as he comes back home after five years in captivity and reintegrates into society, has to live with his actions and their repercussions.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/02/we-lost-soldiers-in-the-hunt-for-bergdahl-a-guy-who-walked-off-in-the-dead-of-night.html

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.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 07:35 PM

23. Well, that's clearly pre- 9/11 thinking.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 07:48 PM

24. Guilty deserter or not,

anyone who has spent five years in the company of the enemy and speaks their language could have information valuable to our military intelligence, couldn't he? Wouldn't that alone be a good reason to want to bring him back here? We can worry about his legal status after we get whatever information he may have, then let the legal cards fall where they may.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 07:51 PM

25. I have a hunch

 

Something very good will come from this. If folks haven't noticed President Obama is very very stealthy, remember the raid of bin laden.
These five may be implanted with tracking device's to lead us right to what we wanna find.
Our President isn't a checker player...he plays chess.
Faux news will once again taste their own words!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 08:17 PM

26. So if he was a "traitor and deserter" ....

then why did they risk his fellow troops trying to "save" him? They supposedly knew that he was AWOL, but the command chose to try and find and rescue him?? So exactly what's the issue with swapping prisoners to get him back? Not like American hasn't done this before! At least we didn't give them 1,500 missiles ffs.

If he did go AWOL, which is not really clear at this point... then he was just a dumb kid who found out firsthand the horrors of war, and couldn't deal with it. Some people find out that they are not cut out for killing people, or they have emotional issues.

He was still a soldier, and he was left as a prisoner. Better to get him out now, instead of using him as a pawn later on by the Taliban. And IF the President had left him behind, and they beheaded him or paraded him around, then it'd be "IMPEACH OBUMMER!" because he was left behind. And I'm having a hard time believing that Chuck Hagel is suddenly a terrorist-loving hippie. There is way more to this than meets the eye.

The worst thing to the GOP is that his father appears to be a Muslim? Palin and others are squawking that his father said "praise Allah" at the news conference. Because apparently, there are people in America that believe it's against the law to be anything but Christian, Christian-friendly Jewish, or Mormon, in America. The way they've written about his father, is just sick. They have a right to their own religion. That is not a crime. They're confusing it with China.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 08:47 PM

28. McCain was offered an early release, but refused

Last edited Tue Jun 3, 2014, 06:01 PM - Edit history (1)

Pretty sure I read somewhere that McCain was offered a release due to the position his father held, but he turned it down because he didn't want special treatment, or to come home before the rest of his comrades.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 09:38 PM

29. According to my father (retired base commander who survived Vietnam)...

He recognized that probably most of those who were captured in Vietnam were in some way or shape "off the reservation" -- i.e. could probably have been charged with doing something they shouldn't have been doing which led to capture. That's a reality of war. My father isn't a good or forgiving man, but his stance was always that we bring everyone home, and after capture and being held, any potential punishment has been handled, so call it even.

The difference here is that despite 13 years of war, we've only had one POW, so there's no dilution of attention, the press and the DoD are not shielding this poor man from criticism (This would have been seen as entirely unseemly in, say, 1973), political opportunism and 15 minuteism is at an all-time high, and despite this being a horrific war, fatalities have been proportionately low. We should mourn for everyone lost, but the difference is that when we lose so few, we don't get as numb. It's an unfortunately Perfect Shitstorm.

I am reminded of a passage from Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation, where she is discussing Fort Jefferson, in the Florida Keys, and Abraham Lincoln's attitude towards desertion. We have made significant progress in terms of how we treat people in stress situations like war, but I think Lincoln's attitude of relative mercy is an important guidepost for our own attitudes. (Emphasis added by me.)

Just as technology was compromising Fort Jefferson's usefulness, the Civil War redeemed it. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln designated the fort as a federal prison for Union soldiers, most of them deserters. Lincoln had a soft spot for deserters, whom he called is "legs cases." Though many of his military commanders grumbled about Lincoln's leniency -- traditionally, runaways were shot -- the president preferred incarceration to execution, asking, "If Almighty God gives a man a cowardly pair of legs, how can he help their running away with him?"


I disagree with Lincoln on his use of cowardly -- being "other than where assigned" is often complex and complicated, and we don't know for certain that any intentional desertion happened, and won't for a while* -- but I agree with his sentiment.

I'm also reading a hell of a lot of victim blaming in today's press. I keep hearing deep parallel grooves to "she was drunk and wearing a short skirt. What did she expect?" It's quite annoying, really. (And by that, I mean I spent my afternoon NPR time swearing loudly and mightily at whatever bozo was saying it.) In the military in which I grew up, despite being a harsh and somewhat unbalanced legal system, there was usually a benefit of doubt for prisoners and survivors. That it seems to be gone right now tells me the degree of damage these wars wrought was worse than even I realized.

I'm going to be simple on this. The war is winding down. Prisoner exchanges happen. We got ours back. I'm happy about that. The circumstances are not for me to judge, and they are for the UCMJ to handle. Long wars cause trauma, and trauma makes people react in unpredictable ways. It's time to heal what can be healed, mend what can be mended.


*because sad to say, units in the field have been known to CYA when shit goes down, and shift blame away from themselves.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 09:45 PM

30. Do his own stories count for nothing?

Stories about laughing at Afghani children getting run over by America soldiers. Sounds like Bergdahl was surrounded by a bunch of sickos.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Mon Jun 2, 2014, 11:27 PM

32. Excellent reminder! Stuff like this makes this site really worthwhile.

That is a perfect analogy and response.

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