Thursday, June 12, 2014

Close Examination of the Case of Sgt Bergdahl

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When I first reported about the situation with POW SGT Bowe Bergdahl and the plea to the federal government to bring him home, I was aware of allocations and indications that he had deserted his post. In the military, as in civilian life, wrongdoing must be proven before judgment (innocent until proven guilty).
Of course, now that he has been freed, at the cost of letting loose five of the Taliban's top officers; we can now turn to the matter as to how he got captured. Most military, active and retired, would agree that it is important to bring everyone home – dead or alive.

Hard evidence shows that in 2009, Bergdahl, then a PFC, abandoned his post in a time of war. It is not AWOL (Absent Without Leave), but clearly a case of desertion; which must be established in a military court of law. Desertion, especially during time of war, is punishable by death via firing squad or hanging. Although there have been other cases of deserters, a serious offense along with looting, murder, et cetera under the UCMJ; few have been put to death for deserting.
In World War II alone, there were from 1941 to 1945 a about 2,100 cases of desertion/AWOL. After D-Day, the US high command decided to make one deserter an example and was executed: Eddie Slovik. [1920-1945]
Private Slovak was the first American soldier to receive a death sentence for desertion and carried out since the American Civil War. Out of 49 death sentences, the High Command decided that enough was enough and Slovik was chosen. Actually in Slovik's case, he had been warned about his intent to desert and even given a chance by his superior officers to rejoin his unit, but still he insisted a court martial trial thinking he would just be serving jail time and dishonorable discharge. After the court martial decided to give a death sentence and General Eisenhower signed the execution order on December 23rd, 1945 – even after Slovik wrote a letter to him pleading for clemency. General Eisenhower wanted to discourage further desertions; yet there were still deserters found guilty incarcerated like Private Slovik. He had stated before being executed that he was only an example and they chose him because as a teenager he had gotten in trouble with the law and did jail time. Twelve soldiers were picked for the firing squad with M1 rifles with one of the rifles (unknown to any of them which one) loaded with a blank cartridge. Slovik was buried with 95 American soldiers who were executed for rape and/or murder in a French cemetery. In 1981, a petition was formed to return Pvt Slovak's remains back to the United States, a Polish-American war veteran raised $8,000 to transfer his body to Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit. In 1987, President Reagan was convinced that the body of Slovak be returned and signed the order, since it would not cost the government anything. Antoinette Slovak and others petitioned seven presidents to give Slovik a pardon – none was ever granted.
As a footnote, up to recently, rape was a capital crime (still is) with death sentence most likely. Today, prison time is served with dishonorable discharge. Looting and murder are also a sentence of death. In 1974, Martin Sheen, portrayed Pvt Slovak in a TV movie called The Execution of Private Slovik.
There has been no military executions since 1961. From 1942 to 1961, 160 members of the US armed forces have been executed (does not include POWs, war criminals, spies, and saboteurs). The US Navy has not executed anyone since 1849. Of the total, 106 were executed for murder (21 involving rape), 53 for rape, and one for desertion (Slovik).
Any military must uphold order and discipline and severely punished for desertion/AWOL in war-time conditions or acts like rape/murder against civilians they are supposed to protect.
What rubbed me raw with all of this media reporting about Bergdahl is that Harris Faulkner at Fox News described Bergdahl as a hero. Allen West, retired US Army officer, agrees that he is definitely no hero. He caused his own capture, directly or indirectly. Obama playing political games again.
When Senator Dianne Feinstein, (Democrat) infamous for her crusade to ban firearms, (Senate Intelligence Committee) announces that the decision of President Obama to allow five high-level Taliban members go free in exchange for SGT Bergdahl without consent of Congress – there is something seriously afoot here. Senator Saxby Chambliss (Republican) agreed and stated that there was not talk of an exchange for at least 18 months. Obama violated constitutional law again. Judge Napolitano agreed …
CBS, Houston reported that a soldier's mother who died looking for Bergdahl said My son died looking for a traitor.
Allen West asks, at his website, if the President requires the definition of war.
Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, provides another reason for him not to be reelected this election year: According to Newsmax, Reid says he's happy they've been freed and sent to Qatar because:
Guantanamo has been there far too long, and I think that we should get them out of there as quickly as we can.
Apparently, the infamous, unethical senator also requires a definition of war and a definition of a prisoner of war. In reality, all five should have been tried in a tribunal for crimes against humanity, like Saddam Hussein, and receive the same punishment. POWs charged and convicted for such crimes receive a death sentence under the UCMJ as well as the Geneva Convention concerning POWs and saboteurs. That would not be agreed upon by Senator Reid and those like him – setting Islamic Jihadists guilty of mass murder he does agree with.
The big question by many, like myself, is why did Bergdahl desert?
At best, SGT Bergdahl is a deserter, at worst – both a deserter and traitor. He not only deserted, but evidence will be presented at his court martial (assuming they are going to conduct one) will also be whether he aided the enemy during time of war while a prisoner of war.
I believe that above all he should have been rescued and returned as a matter of principle; despite that I personally feel guilt in being worried about a deserter and possible traitor. The US armed forces have an unwritten code that we do not leave our people to rot or become abandoned; unlike the executive branch and Congress has done in the past.
Values are still important, despite that political correctness has infiltrated our military infrastructure.
I do agree with Rhino-Den article the punishment deserved of SGT Bergdahl as far as prison time was spent the last five years as a prisoner of the Islamic Jihadists. I think there was a case of prisoner swap during the Cold War, but certainly not during a real war and with criminals being set free to continue their crimes against humanity. However, I do NOT agree with the author of the article in terms of method of trial. Obviously, he is ignorant of military law and talks about a criminal civilian trial; odd because he proclaims he was in a unit that searched for Bergdahl. Desertion falls under the UCMJ, not the criminal court system. It is the same argument about putting terrorists on trial within criminal court system instead of a military tribunal for prisoners of war.
SGT Bergdahl should not be executed for desertion, even if he committed traitorous actions; because American spies were never given the death sentence since the Rosenberg couple during the Cold War. If I were the judge, after conviction was determined, I would demote him to private, forfeit all pay due during his prisoner of war status, and send him walking with a dishonorable discharge. I do not foresee much of that sentencing to be reality, the way things are operated within the judicial system – civilian or military.
I do agree with Rhino Den, when stating:
It’s not that I suddenly think Bergdahl is innocent and doesn’t deserve to be punished; based on the evidence available to all of us through open sources, I think it’s logical to assume that Bowe Bergdahl is a bad soldier. In fact, he may even be a bad person. But until he is back in the US, we don’t know for sure. And until he is back in the US, he will continue to be used and exploited in a way that is against our values and is contrary to our national interests. Given all of this, we need to put real pressure on the terrorist proxy groups holding Bergdahl and on their state sponsor, Pakistan. We should start by completely cut off the $1.6 billion dollars in extortion money… sorry, I mean “foreign aid” that we’re bribing Pakistan with until they convince the group responsible for holding Bergdahl to let him go. We should also step up kinetic strikes against the groups holding Bergdahl. “But what about the peace negotiations?” Newsflash: the people holding Bergdahl are utter irreconcilables. They don’t want to be part of the peace process; peace takes away their raison d’etre. Besides, they know they can wait us out, which means they win. So why should they negotiate?
Soldiers serving with Bergdahl feel that because of his desertion, some of his comrades were killed or injured – he failed to uphold his oath of enlistment, not to mention the Soldier and NCO Creed. I am glad he is no longer a POW for the sake of his mother (his father tweeted something incriminating about collaboration with the enemy); however, he must answer to the charges brought before him and accept the consequences of his action. If he had developed some negative thoughts as to why he was in Afghanistan or had evidence that those in his command, in this case officers, were not conducting themselves according to the UCMJ or Geneva Convention – he should have addressed it through command. In today's military, it is not hard to get an early dismissal from the military because of those reasons. Instead, after his turn at guard watch, he left his rifle and all his military gear, grabbed a compass and took off.
Yet, if Bergdahl is charged and given a courts martial trial, so then should President Obama be charged by the US Congress; which hearings and briefings are underway as I write this.
White House staff members (not President Obama himself) called key members of Congress and apologized for not notifying Congress. I do not know what excuse, if any were given.
Troops were certainly not enthralled of the news that Bergdahl was on his way back to the United States as those present remained silent with no emotion when Defense Secretary Hagel announced his release. Soldiers had performed their duty even if they knew they were looking for a deserter, not just a captured fellow soldier.
According to JRN, National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, the one that insisted that the Benghazi attack was a protest over a video that went violent, stated that:
...there were extensive consultations with lawmakers in Congress in the past and that they knew the idea of trading detainees was on the table. Obama violated the law by not informing Congress, at least the National Intelligence (Security) Committee 30 days in advance.
It is obvious that our national security and the principles that made our US military and government the best anywhere is broken and going bankrupt – and so is our society, which the problems intertwine.
Case in point right here from Wisconsin, where two young girls decided to hold a classmate down and stab her multiple times. They will be charged as adults in the murder case. John Kass wrote:
We won't know for some time what really drove the girls to grab that knife and hold their friend down and stab her, if indeed that's what happened. But we do know about the culture they live in. It is a culture that has fallen in love with magic and fantasy. It is a culture that takes fantasy symbols of evil -- the vampire, the witch -- and transforms them into heroes of great virtue. It is a culture where dark magic is celebrated, but religion is considered bothersome. We reap what we sow. Before any of you get riled up thinking I'm about to burn "The Brothers Grimm" or "Russian Fairy Tales," don't worry. I won't. They were valuable to me. They remain so. But such literature is historical, written back when evil sought your soul. Now evil wants to be your friend, marry you and hang out on "Twilight." … If you've been following this story, you know that police say the girls stabbed their friend in order to pay tribute to Slender Man. Slender Man isn't a person, at least not considered a living being by those who can distinguish between fantasy and reality. It is a character created on a website. Slender Man is tall and thin. He wears a suit. He has no face. The girls, police said, were devoted to him. They wanted to kill their classmate so Slender Man would accept them.
What does this have to do with Bergdahl, you might inquire?
It has to do with our society, the culture it has become. Youth do not seem to know the difference between fantasy and reality. They also are turning away from morality (religious or not) and sense of values. Young girls and sergeants can be held responsible for their actions – but the foundation of fault lies in how parents raise their children. Do not get me wrong, I have seen good parents have children who have decided to “join the crowd” or choose the wrong path despite their parents pointing them in the right direction. But that is a minority.
The parents of those two girls that stabbed their classmate probably did not have a clue how an Internet imaginary mysterious and evil character was influencing them. Too often we do not take the time to ensure we have good communication with our children for a myriad of reasons.
In the case of Bergdahl, it is obvious by the attitude and remarks made by his father that he was not taught that if you sign up to serve in the military – you do your duty. There is no draft, so there is no excuse. Bergdahl could not distinguish between honor and desertion, just as those two girls did not distinguish what is reality.
As the Milwaukee Journal states in its article: More questions than answers emerge after preteen stabbing. At this writing, the stabbing victim has been upgraded from critical condition to fair condition; thanks to a fellow who was riding his bike on that trail and stopped to assist and call 911 to get aid. She will have to deal with a traumatic experience, but she is alive; which I am sure her parents are grateful.
I certainly know that Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl are grateful to get their son back. However, since they were getting email that pointed toward his act of desertion, one would think at least the father would have provided sound advice – like talk to his command or even a chaplain.
And that brings up the matter of what happens when a society loses its values and morality; they vote for people with those dysfunctions or because of popularity, instead of the kind of person that believes in constitutional law and integrity.
Too many of our youth today have heroes that are not the good guys. Too many get wrapped up in fantasies and begin to believe that it is real. Too many do not think of others, but only what is in it for them or self-gratification.
As John Ransom wrote at Townhall:
As much as we on the right like to bash the press, the truth is that the press writes stories that resonate with their audience. And until we find a porn video of Kim Kardashian doing unspeakable things in a coal mine-- which is highly probable-- the American public won’t care about coal mines or coal miners at all.
Where are all the anti-Second Amendment gun banners at?
Do they not know because two news stories reported knives being used to injure and kill that we should immediately write and pass legislation that bans knives? After the Boston Bombing, how come the people who believe that by taking away guns from lawful citizens to use as protection, hunting, or sport – haven't banned pressure cookers. The problems is not guns, knives or pressure cookers – it's our society's culture and the economy, stupid.
While White House staff called key Congress officials to apologize, Obama was quoted to saying he is making no apologies for arranging the release of SGT Bergdahl and freeing five bloodthirsty Taliban jihadists. I guess when one gets away with unethical behavior over the course of two terms – he is getting bolder.
And while researching the news concerning both subjects mentioned, Reuters reported that Michelle Obama is going to pull a Hillary and possibly run as Senator for Illinois after leaving the White House in 2016. [actually 2017]
Good grief.
I also suggest what Keith Koffler stated in his article  ... I am sure many Americans have mixed feelings. All this trouble would not have occurred, soldiers would not have been killed or injured and sent into dangerous missions to extract him from the enemy's capture if he had not walked away from his post, his duty, and finished his tour like others have and are doing. Desertion is inexcusable in a time when there is no draft and anyone in the military is there because they volunteered. If the reality of war is too much for them, if they joined with Hollywood films and video games in mind - too bad. Everyone in combat throughout our nation's history who were able to walk away and come home after it was done carries a burden; but it is a burden that may not show scars, but the wounds are there in one's mind. Most deal with it, because that is part of being a soldier (airman, Marine, sailor). What makes any of us who have served any more special that what is asked, especially if one volunteered for duty.
Good footage of exchange pickup ...

UPDATE  6/09/2014: Allen West provides three clues that the Bergdahl Exchange incident requires covering up. Why the White House would belittle soldiers in Bergdahl unit that affirm that he deserted? Did the US also pay a ransom without knowledge of Congress (or the People)? It is getting to the point that people are going to believe this president is capable of anything and incompetent to do anything.

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