Tag: Bowe Bergdahl

David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer House Republicans for listening to the backlash and reinstating the adoption tax credit into their tax reform bill.  They also discuss the allegations of sexual misconduct reported by the Washington Post about GOP Alabama U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore, and while debate over the veracity of the accusations continues, they are appalled at the number of Republican officials in Alabama who don’t see a problem even if the stories are true.  And they groan as Bowe Bergdahl may end up getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay from his time in captivity after deserting his unit and misbehaving before the enemy.

Bowe Bergdahl: A Traitor


Remember Bowe Bergdahl? The deserter whom Susan Rice lauded as an American hero? On Monday, Bergdahl pleaded guilty in an Army court to two crimes, desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The desertion charge carries a potential five-year sentence, while the other charge carries a potential life sentence.

Also, remember that strange Rose Garden photo-op with Bergdahl’s parents? President Obama embraced Bergdahl’s father, who by the way, looked like he just crawled out of a cave with Mullah Omar. The senior Bergdahl also invoked Allah at that Rose Garden ceremony and vowed retribution for dead Afghani children on a few other occasions as well.

Question of the Day: Bowe Bergdahl to the Stockade


On Monday, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He is looking at up to five years for desertion and possibly life in prison for misbehavior before the enemy.

The Question of the Day: How much time should Bergdahl face for his crimes and why?

The Ricochet Question of the Day poses a question about the news, then at the end of the day, we’ll post the best comments. Join the conversation!

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to Bowe Bergdahl pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, glad that justice is being done and not being swept under the rug in the case of the soldier who left his unit in Afghanistan and was returned by the Obama administration in exchange for five top level Taliban detainees. They also groan as Iraqi forces are now fighting with the Kurds over territory in northern Iraq when they’re supposed to be finishing off ISIS. And they unload on Newsweek for its reckless reporting, including such gems as interviewing pedophile and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about politics and declaring the Family Research Council a hate group.

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It seems today that Justice is an idea as malleable in some people’s eyes as gender has become to the very same people. We are obviously witnessing a rise of people who consider themselves ‘Justice queer’. This week we have a convicted terrorist, Oscar Lopez Rivera, going to the scene of his crimes to join […]

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Evaluating Bowe Bergdahl


USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedThe second season of Serial — the NPR podcast that investigated the murder of Hae Min Lee last year and turned its attention to the circumstances following Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s abandonment of his post in rural Afghanistan — ended last week.

And while this season may have lacked the suspense and mystery of the first, it made up for it through some impressive reporting regarding a matter of genuine public interest. We’ll undoubtedly learn more through Bergdahl’s court-martial this summer, but Serial’s investigation makes a strong case for the following:

  • Bergdahl was poorly suited to service in the US Army, a fact that should have been apparent to none more than Bergdahl himself. Besides being distrustful of authority, aloof, and prideful, Bergdahl had been kicked out of Coast Guard training years earlier, apparently after intentionally injuring himself during a panic attack. This doesn’t make him a bad guy — and his desire to try again is actually rather commendable in a naive sort of way — but it likely made him an unsuitable soldier. Some of his close friends saw that and tried to warn him off.
  • Even under the most generous interpretation of events — i.e., that he intended to showcase his commanders’ disregard for their soldiers’ safety by exposing security weaknesses — Bergdhal’s decision to leave his post was extraordinarily reckless and stupid.
  • There is, however, very little evidence to suggest that Bergdahl intended to harm his comrades, let alone that he is the “dirty rotten traitor” Donald Trump describes at nearly every rally. The SERE team that debriefed Bergdahl after his release has spoken highly of his conduct while caged by the Taliban and maintains that he’s been extremely helpful since.
  • While there’s little evidence to support the oft-stated claim that anyone was killed as a direct consequence of Bergdahl’s disappearance, several soldiers were seriously injured while searching for him. Moreover, Bergdahl is almost certainly indirectly responsible for a number of casualties — including fatalities — due to how resources and units were re-deployed in the effort to find him.
  • The Obama Administration utterly botched how to play the prisoner exchange, failed to vet whether Bergdahl’s parents were ready for prime time (they were a disaster), and ignored the mountains of evidence that Bergdahl was held in contempt by many of his former comrades. Susan Rice deserves particular scorn for doubling-down on these problems on subsequent Sunday talk shows.(Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so, too.)

Bergdahl was severely punished for his decision to walk off that night in 2009; five years in a Taliban cage isn’t anything I’d wish on anyone. The question of whether — and to what degree — he should be held accountable for his actions is quite another matter. Serial has done a commendable job in bringing light to the case for the public; let’s hope the court-martial does an equally good investigation and applies the law with the justice that both Bergdahl and his comrades deserve.

Have You Been Listening to Serial Season 2?


logo-2Last year, NPR’s Serial podcast explored the case of Adnan Syed, a Baltimore high school student convicted of first degree murder following the 1999 disappearance and death of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. The series was so successful that it not only spawned countless parodies, but also a new subgenera of podcasts riffing off of host Sarah Koenig’s earnest-but-oh-so-NPR style. Many people wondered how they’d follow-up this year: would season two cover another murder, or would they apply the same treatment to an entirely different subject, as they intimated numerous times?

Last month, we found out: Koenig and crew are spending this season investigating the story of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the US Army soldier who left his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and spent five years as a prisoner of the Taliban and the Haqqani Network before being released in exchange for a number of Taliban members in 2014. That exchange was immediately controversial and became more so as the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture began to trickle out, as well as the costs of the attempts to rescue him (six soldiers died during operations to find him). Indeed, since the series premiered, the US Army has launched a court-martial against Bergdahl, charging him with desertion and endangering his fellow troops. More recently, his case has been cited by some of the Republican presidential candidates — including Donald Trump, who’s referred to him as “a dirty, rotten traitor” since at least August — as a textbook example of the Obama Administration’s fecklessness and America’s decline in general.

So far, the backbone of the season has been a series of interviews with Bergdahl conducted by author Mark Boal, in which Bergdahl details his motivations, actions, and experiences. That such interviews exist at all is rather amazing, but the show weaves them together with a great many other material, including interviews with some of the soldiers from his unit (who almost universally have contempt for him), other Westerners held by the same Jihadi networks, and even some members of the Taliban. The podcast’s website has a host of other information and media, as well.

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The more I think about leaving those four hostages behind in Iran the angrier I get. Obama gave up five terrorists from Guantanamo for that traitor Bowe Bergdahl and after the $150 billion, path to Nukes, and everything else we just gave Iran, he couldn’t ask for those four hostages?  He had the audacity to […]

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The Enduring Problem of GITMO


imageWriting in the Washington Examiner, Byron York suggests that the prosecution of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is likely to rekindle debate over the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. President Obama is apparently embarrassed that he has not been able to close the prison as promised six years ago and — given his penchant for taking questionable executive action over congressional objections — it’s reasonable to expect him to do something about it in the next few years. There’s no way that ends well.

But while it’d be best for Obama not to get his way on this matter, GITMO’s use as a detention facility — and the political maneuvering around it — should not continue past the next presidents’ term. The prison’s location was clearly chosen less for its geographic advantages — members are welcome to correct me if I’ve missed something, but Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia has long struck me as a superior location in almost every regard that way — than for its unique political situation, being situated on the only spot on earth from which the United States military cannot be evicted that is also not subject to US civilian law. It’s humiliating for the United States military to feel it has to hide its prisoners from civilian courts (though I leave it to readers to decide on their own whether this speaks worse about our military or our courts). Comparisons to a gulag are offensive on many levels, but that’s hardly an endorsement of the situation.

Adding to the circus has been our nation’s inability to prosecute the prisoners, even under the relatively easy standards of evidence and proof afforded by the military tribunals set-up nearly a decade ago. Indeed, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s military trial is yet to even start. Unless something changes the situation — which, again, I doubt will be a good thing under President Obama — it’s likely that his detention will span at least three presidencies without resolution.

Re: Legal Questions on the Bergdahl Case


ObamaBerghdalPeter had a couple of questions yesterday in response to my post about the legality of the process by which President Obama brough Bowe Bergdahl back to the United States. First he asks:

If Congress required the President to report on any release of prisoners, and if, as appears to be the case, the President made no effort to do so, didn’t the President, um, break the law?

Yes, I think he violated a statute. And he did not have the Constitution on his side. The law here requires 30 days advance notice. If an operation requires stealth and speed, I think the President can have recourse to his Commander-in-Chief power. Even then, though, I would expect him to at least notify congressional leadership or the gang of eight, who have privileged access on intelligence matters. It doesn’t look like he did either here.