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02 June 2014

Was Bowe Bergdahl A 'POW' Or A 'Deserter'? Does It Matter? Should It?

‘He walked off. He left his guard post. Nobody knows if he defected or he’s a traitor or he was kidnapped.  What I do know is he was there to protect us and instead he decided to defect from America and go and do his own thing.  I don’t know why he decided to do that, but we spend so much of our resources and some of those resources were soldiers’ lives.’

- Former Private First Class Jose Baggett

Q: Is a deserter, who is taken prisoner after he deserts, still considered to be a POW? Should he or she be?

Assuming that Bergdahl did desert (When Bergdahl ‘walked away’ from his post, he took his cellphone. The next day, he used it to call his commanders and to tell them that he was not going to return.  Further, he sent some highly questionable emails to his parents that could demonstrate his intent), should he really be considered to be a POW? How many American soldiers died looking for him? How many more people were put in danger searching for him? How many resources were diverted? In the event that one or more of the Taliban 5 commit crimes in the future, especially before the US completely leaves Afghanistan and especially if Americans are injured or killed, should he be considered an accessory, complicit, or to have contributed to the illegality?

I don’t know, but I do wonder what we should do to or for someone, who has deserted during a time of war – an action for which he could be sentenced to death. If we had Goring and Himmler – both war criminals – like Mullah Mohammad Fazl and Mullah Norullah Noori – in detention during WWII would we have negotiated with Hitler via Switzerland to exchange them for an American deserter, who was in the custody of the Nazis?

Again, I don’t know and I’m not presuming Bergdahl to be guilty of anything right now, but I am seriously interested because the questions raised are important.

Would you have exchanged Himmler and Goring, both wanted for war crimes, for one deserter, who had fallen into the hands of the Nazis, during WWII?

What about an American, who deserted and aligned himself with the Nazis?

If a soldier deserted during a mission in Japan and blended into the population of Tokyo, should we have exchanged prisoners for him and/or delayed any bombing?

How far do we go to secure the release of someone who went ‘over the wall’?

Do we put American soldiers, who are upholding their oaths and performing their duty, at risk to secure one that did not?

If one or more of the Taliban 5 is responsible for the next 9/11 or Benghazi, especially before we are totally out of the Afghan theater, should Bergdahl bear any responsibility?

Now, some on the Left say:

'Everyone should try and not to go off the rails here.  Maybe a good time to try and let patriotism trump judgment.'  

- verbaluce on June 2, 2014 at 12:15 PM

How do you define ‘patriotism'?  Is this 'patriotism'?

‘The title of US soldier is just the lie of fools’…

- Bowe Bergdahl

‘I'm sorry for everything...The horror that is America is disgusting’…  

- Bowe Bergdahl

'The future is too good to waste on lies.  And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong.'

- Bowe Bergdahl

'I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.'

- Bowe Bergdahl

'I am ashamed to be an American.’ 

- Bowe Bergdahl

If Bergdahl was ashamed to be an American, why should we have expended American blood and treasure trying to find him and then given up 5 hardened terrorists for him?

I guess ‘patriotism’ is now defined as someone, who is ashamed to be an American, costing the lives of soldiers doing their duty and being exchanged for 5 hardened, top-level jihadists, two of whom are wanted by The Hague for war crimes, including the slaughter of 6,000 Shi’ite men and boys in Mazar-i-Sharif. And, I suppose, for me to be considered ‘patriotic,’ I must wholeheartedly support all of this.

'But most of all, I’m proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people, and what you were willing to do to go to that length. I’ll say it again: I’m so proud of how far you were willing to go to help the Afghan people. And I think you have succeeded.' 

– Bob Bergdahl said, ‘fighting back tears’ during a press conference in Boise


Second since his son’s release...

Not even Jimmy Carter negotiated with terrorists and the 52 Americans that he wanted back didn't abandon their posts before being taken captive…

'The Iran hostage crisis, referred to in Persian as تسخیر لانه جاسوسی امریکا (literally “Conquest of the American Spy Den,”), was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States. Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days (November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981), after a group of Iranian students, belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, who were supporting the Iranian Revolution took over the US Embassy in Tehran.  President Jimmy Carter called the hostages “victims of terrorism and anarchy,” adding that “the United States will not yield to blackmail.”

What did the terrorists want?

The Shah.

That’s right. Jimmy Carter could have returned the Shah to Iran and the Iranian terrorists would have released our 52 Americans…

…But, unlike Barack Obama, Carter refused to negotiate with terrorists and yield to their blackmail because he knew that it would have only resulted in more hostage-taking.

Let’s look at the ‘math’ here:

We lost 6 American heroes...

Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, (left) and Private First Class Morris Walker, 23, (right) were killed in an IED explosion on August 18, 2009. They were looking for Bergdahl when they died.

Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, (left) a 27-year-old father of two, who died in a firefighter on 26 August 2009. Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, (right) was killed in an IED blast on 5 September 2009.

Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, (left) and Private First Class Matthew Michael Martinek, 20, (right) died after a rocket-propelled grenade ambush on 4 September 2009. 

We gave up 5 top-level Taliban jihadists, including 2 wanted by the UN for war crimes.

We got back 1 possible deserter, who was ashamed of being an American, and returned him to his Taliban-sympathising, ‘democracy is a cult’ father, who has argued that the death of every Afghan killed by the United States must be avenged.

In Obama’s Amerika, is this is the definition of #Winning?

Eddie Slovik, 24, the last American soldier executed for military-related crime, 31 January 1945


'it seems bergdahls only crime was having a conscience.'

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on June 2, 2014 at 12:45 PM 

There is a specific process to claim conscientious objector status in the military.

If he went AWOL or deserted, his crime is more than one of conscience.

On the upside, you do appear to be supporting the position that he did, indeed, go either AWOL or desert...

'Cuz, like, um, ya know, a POW captured on the battlefield isn't in his predicament because of his 'conscience.'

'Stories from the soldiers in Bergdahl's unit have begun to emerge of a young man whose mind had begun to wander.

Mr Leatherman said Bergdahl 'always looked at the mountains in the distance and talked of "seeing what's on the other side."'

One Twitter user who calls himself only Cody and offers a detailed description of Bergdahl's disappearance said Bergdahl had begun behaving strangely before his disappearance.

He said Bergdahl told him: 'If deployment is lame, I'm going to get lost in the Mountains and make my way to China.'


“In a way it really does. It’s very frustrating to me to turn on the TV and to see Bergdahl’s family on the TV being shown to everyone and then these soldiers, although they had very beautiful and extravagant ceremonies after they died, were pretty much only recognized in the local news, local newspapers. They were never nationally televised for their sacrifices in the way that he is and he pretty much voluntarily walked away and in turn caused the actions that killed them,” Korder said.

The former Army soldier added he understands Bergdahl may need time to reacclimatize after his time in captivity, but he believes [Bergdahl] needs to be questioned and basically tried, if necessary.” 

“For leaving the observation post and for deserting the unit?” Tapper asked.

“Yes,” Korder replied. 

“Any of us would have died for him while he was with us and then for him to just leave us like that, it was a very big betrayal.”


“Guys are dead because of him,” says one soldier involved in recovery operations. “Several KIA and others severely wounded.”

“The amount of pain he’s caused,” says one of Bergdahl’s platoon mates, his voice trailing off. After a long pause, he resumes. “The time he was DUSTWUN was the most miserable time of my life. It was absolute hell. A bunch of us had a pact if we found him. We’d each get him in a room for five minutes and short of killing him we could do what we want.” 

“There were times—there are still times—when I turn on the TV and I wish they’d just beheaded him on TV and gotten it over with.”

UPDATE 2:  Taliban Leaders Released By Obama Given Hero’s Welcome After Arriving In Qatar…


UPDATE 3:   Former Montana Dem Gov. Brian Schweitzer Defends Obama Releasing Taliban Leaders Because They’re “Freedom Fighters” Or Something…

UPDATE 4:  Susan Rice Claim That U.S. Did Not Talk to Taliban Directly Is Contradicted by a Senior Administration Official

UPDATE 5:  EXCLUSIVE – ‘A cover up just like Benghazi’: Outraged parents of officer who died hunting for ‘deserter’ POW Bergdahl lash out at Obama over ‘LIES’ they were told about how their hero son died


WASHINGTON (AP)A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his unit, and after an initial flurry of searching the military decided not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue him, according to a former senior defense official who was involved in the matter.

Instead, the U.S. government pursued negotiations to get him back over the following five years of his captivity — a track that led to his release over the weekend.

Bergdahl was being checked and treated Monday at a U.S. military hospital in Germany as questions mounted at home over the swap that resulted in his freedom in exchange for the release of five detainees who were sent to Qatar from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, Cuba.

Even in the first hours of Bergdahl’s handoff to U.S. special forces in eastern Afghanistan, it was clear this would not be an uncomplicated yellow-ribbon celebration. Five terrorist suspects also walked free, stirring a debate over whether the exchange would heighten the risk of other Americans being snatched as bargaining chips and whether the released detainees — several senior Taliban figures among them — would find their way back to the fight. [...]

Questions persisted, too, about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s 2009 capture. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declined to comment on earlier reports that the sergeant had walked away from his unit, disillusioned with the war. Such matters “will be dealt with later,” Hagel said. 

But the former Pentagon official said it was “incontrovertible” that he walked away from his unit. 

The military investigation was broader than a criminal inquiry, this official said, and it didn’t formally accuse Bergdahl of desertion. In interviews, members of his unit portrayed him as a naive, “delusional” person who thought he could help the Afghan people by leaving his army post, the official said.


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