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Bowe Bergdahl Back In The U.S.

Bowe Bergdahl

After more than a week in Germany, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been moved to a military hospital to continue his recovery:

WASHINGTON — Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant who has been recovering in Germany after five years as a Taliban captive, returned to the United States early Friday to continue his medical treatment.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Bergdahl flew to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio from Ramstein Air Base.

While at the Texas Army base, Bergdahl “will continue the next phase of his reintegration process,” Kirby said, adding there was no timeline for the process.

“Our focus remains on his health and well-being,” he said. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “is confident that the Army will continue to ensure that Sgt. Bergdahl receives the care, time and space he needs to complete his recovery and reintegration,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The Idaho native was expected to be reunited with his family in San Antonio. He was captured in Afghanistan in June 2009 and released by the Taliban on May 31 in a deal struck by the Obama administration in which five senior Taliban officials were released from detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Before his departure from Germany on Thursday, officials in Washington said Bergdahl will not receive the automatic Army promotion that would have taken effect this month if he were still in captivity. Now that he is back in U.S. military control, any future promotions would depend on his performance and achievement of certain training and education milestones.

Officials previously had said the intention was for Bergdahl to be reunited with his family at Brooke and to spend an undetermined period there in further recuperation.

Officials have kept a lid on details of Bergdahl’s condition out of concern that he not be rushed back into the public spotlight after a lengthy period in captivity and amid a public uproar over the circumstances of his capture and release.

Officials also said Thursday that the Army has not yet formally begun a new review into the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture and whether he walked away without leave or was deserting the Army when he was found and taken by insurgents.

The answers to those questions will be key to whether Bergdahl will receive more than $300,000 in back pay owed to him since he disappeared. If he was determined to have been a prisoner of war, he also could receive roughly another $300,000 or more, if recommended and approved by Army leaders.

When Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel appeared before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this week to discuss the Bergdahl deal, one Member accused the Administration of basically hiding Bergdahl in Germany:

In another heated moment that left Hagel visibly angry, Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida badgered him about why it was taking the military so long to interview Bergdahl, who is being treated under a post-captivity regimen at the Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany.

When Hagel started explaining that doctors treating Bergdahl will decide when he is ready to talk, Miller cut him off.

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Why hasn’t he been returned to the United States?” Miller asked, noting that wounded soldiers from battle zones get flown back for treatment within days. “You’re trying to tell me that he’s being held at Landstuhl, Germany, because of his medical condition?”

Hagel responded: “Congressman, I hope you’re not implying anything other than that,” and the two continued to talk over each other.

“I don’t like the implication of the question,” Hagel said at one point, and when Miller persisted about injured combat troops coming back to the United States quickly, Hagel raised his voice.

“This isn’t just about a physical situation,” he said. “This guy was held for almost five years in God knows what kind of conditions. … This is not just about can he get on his feet and walk and get to a plane.”

Shortly afterward, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California looked over at the Republican side of the committee room and asked for everyone “to think for a moment how we would be responding if Bowe Bergdahl was our son.”

“I really fear for his return to this country with the kind of rhetoric that is being spewed in this very room,” she said.

Given rhetoric like that from Congressman Miller, one wonders how long it will be before some Republican Congressman will be demanding that Bergdahl be brought before Congress to answer questions.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    It’s now come out that Bergdahl signed up for the Coast Guard in 2006, but was let go after 26 days for, apparently, mental health issues.

    This changes everything. With that on his record, there is no way he should have been accepted into the Army, let alone deployed to Afghanistan. I’m still unsure about the wisdom of the deal that won his freedom, but now it’s a bit more plausible that this wasn’t a case of “getting back a deserter” to “recovering a sick guy who we should never have accepted into the Army.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  2. beth says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Well isn’t that just lovely. Perhaps you could tell that to all the people making death threats against him and his family Miss Litella. Nevermind, indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oh goody, let the lynchings begin!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Barry says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    “This changes everything. With that on his record, there is no way he should have been accepted into the Army, let alone deployed to Afghanistan. I’m still unsure about the wisdom of the deal that won his freedom, but now it’s a bit more plausible that this wasn’t a case of “getting back a deserter” to “recovering a sick guy who we should never have accepted into the Army.” ”

    History is made – I agree with Jenos.

    From what I’ve heard, the Army (and Marines) were accepting just about anybody at the peak of the war. They waived all sorts of things, including gang tattoos.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  5. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    This changes everything.

    **sigh** No it won’t but cheers for the optimism. The narrative is set and far too many people have staked their claim on Bergdahl-as-criminal. They would have to admit they were wrong and were viciously attacking an mentally ill POW for political points. They would have to concede fault and that the vitrol and threats against him were by constituents they deliberately riled up. That “support the troops” is a slogan, not a way of life for them. Stiff-necked pride and big paychecks demand it. The average person who’s been hating won’t admit they were duped and will still carry a tainted opinion on him at best, active negativity at worst.

    They can’t admit to being wrong as its perceived as weakness. There will be no apologies, only more attacks with a slight different tune. The last POW snatched from his captors will not know peace in this country because politics will have its blood, one way or another.

    Depressing. Truly depressing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    now it’s a bit more plausible that this wasn’t a case of “getting back a deserter” to “recovering a sick guy who we should never have accepted into the Army.”

    I have it on good authority that he was a “Taliban-sympathizing deserter” and “he hated America, hated his chosen role, and sympathized more with the Taliban than the US.

    No if I could only remember who so authoritatively said that…oh right!

    Jenos Idanian #13 says:
    Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 17:08

    Why don’t you go argue with that guy?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  7. Mikey says:

    @KM: Dunno…several of my conservative friends, who a few days ago were pretty much in the “string him up” crowd, have become a great deal more sympathetic since it was revealed Bergdahl had a record of mental health issues. They see it as a very significant mitigating factor and believe the Army is at fault for allowing him to enlist in the first place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. Tillman says:

    The famous soundbite is “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Since that’s something of an impossibility (Christ is famous for his hyperbole, what with the whole “looking at a woman in lust means you’ve already committed adultery” thing), I go with Robert Wuhl’s “judge slowly.”

    Man, is that paying off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  9. Tyrell says:

    @mantis: It is certainly a strong possibility that maybe this person might just have a lot of valuable information about the identities, locations, networks, materials, plans, and financing of different terrorist groups. Because of this, he will remain in the custody and protection of the government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Todd says:

    I have a few friends who are very “Conservative” and also still active duty Army. There’s no way, no how that they are going to forgive Bergdahl for what they’ve been told by “reliable source” he did. In a way, I’m almost going to sort of agree with one of Doug’s previous posts … about the Rose Garden announcement. The moment President Obama stood up in front of the cameras with the parents, anything negative said about Bergdahl became absolutely believable to a certain segment of our population. I’m not saying it’s the President’s fault that 1/3 of the people in our country are predisposed to assholishness … but after 5 1/2 years you’d think the White House would be a little better at recognizing in advance that today’s political environment in no way resembles what they might have seen on an episode of The West Wing. In other words, there’s no rational reason that they shouldn’t have been able to do the Rose Garden news conference, but there’s also no rational reason they should have been surprised that it didn’t go over as well as they’d hoped.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. KM says:

    @Todd:

    I have a few friends who are very “Conservative” and also still active duty Army. There’s no way, no how that they are going to forgive Bergdahl for what they’ve been told by “reliable source” he did.

    I’ve been hearing the same. My friend’s fiancé is Air Force and he’s still screaming for Bergdahl neck in a noose, literally. My Navy uncles want his ass in Leavenworth since he was still AWOL at least, regardless of his mental state. People forgot just how serious a thing desertion is to the military mindset and were tossing it around like a slur when really its a death sentence. That label sticks.

    Ask anyone whose by falsely accused and cleared if anyone truly forgets. Ask anyone who’s been smeared if it ever really goes away. Bergdahl (and his family) is going to be dealing with this for the rest of his life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  12. gVOR08 says:

    If even Jenos came over from the dark side on this one, I have to think the negative political impact on Obama will be small. And he’s not running for anything anyway. This will be another example of Republican crazy for those people willing to see it. I think Obama knew the facts when he did the Rose Garden thing. The GOPs largely ignorant of the facts, lept in with both feet and made fools of themselves. Again. They’re never going to learn this Brer Rabbit lesson, are they?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. stonetools says:

    @Todd:

    The moment President Obama stood up in front of the cameras with the parents, anything negative said about Bergdahl became absolutely believable to a certain segment of our population

    I’ve gotten to the situation now where I’m through with the policy that we shouldn’t do anything because “What will be a$$holes say? ” Screw the a$$holes. They’re going to be angry with the President whatever the heck he does.
    Bergdahl’s parents didn’t do anything wrong. They deserve their moment of celebration and their meeting with the President, just like other parents of other POWS in the past.
    If other Presidents hold Rose garden ceremonies for POW releases, then I see no reason why President Obama can’t do it too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  14. @Barry:

    From what I’ve heard, the Army (and Marines) were accepting just about anybody at the peak of the war. They waived all sorts of things, including gang tattoos.

    Per a reliable source, the Marines were willing to take convicted felons (if they managed to pass the ASVAB eligibility test), as long as the felonies were not against people. E.g., burglary or grand larceny were okay, but robbery or aggravated assault weren’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. Todd says:

    @gVOR08: I think you might have missed my point. This isn’t about how the “politics” works out for Obama or the Republicans. This about a real person (Bergdahl) being used a pawn in the political bullshit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. Todd says:

    @stonetools:

    I’ve gotten to the situation now where I’m through with the policy that we shouldn’t do anything because “What will be a$$holes say? ” Screw the a$$holes.

    Generally speaking, I’m on the same page … and realistically, it’s probably naive of me to expect the White House political team to have considered the potential personal consequences to Bergdahl (they had to have known the circumstances of his capture) by playing this up as some sort of a “win” for the Administration. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still find it a little disappointing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. Matt Bernius says:

    @Todd:

    it’s probably naive of me to expect the White House political team to have considered the potential personal consequences to Bergdahl (they had to have known the circumstances of his capture) by playing this up as some sort of a “win” for the Administration.

    That’s a good point.

    But to your broader issue, I think it’s far for the White House political team to have seriously considered the political fallout of the rollout of the release in the first place. Again, it really doesn’t seem like they did, and the results were that they ended up on their heels again for a while.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. al-Ameda says:

    The American Taliban at work:

    When Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel appeared before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this week to discuss the Bergdahl deal, one Member accused the Administration of basically hiding Bergdahl in Germany:

    There are sensible people in the room:

    Shortly afterward, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California looked over at the Republican side of the committee room and asked for everyone “to think for a moment how we would be responding if Bowe Bergdahl was our son.”

    “I really fear for his return to this country with the kind of rhetoric that is being spewed in this very room,” she said.

    The Republican Party has calculated that Bergdahl can be used in the 2014 mid-term elections.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  19. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It’s now come out that Bergdahl signed up for the Coast Guard in 2006, but was let go after 26 days for, apparently, mental health issues.

    This changes everything. With that on his record, there is no way he should have been accepted into the Army

    It sure seems that Bergdahl should not have been accepted into the Army.

    However, I wonder, why did John McCain think that getting Bergdahl home was a good idea? Was he alone in not knowing Bergdahl’s history?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. Todd says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I’m a supporter of the administration, and do somewhat buy into the argument that many times the way the politics of something plays out is a little beyond their control. That said, this administration, and Democrats in general, sometimes really do seem fairly inept at playing the “game” of politics … as it exists in the real world .. .not how it “should” be.

    p.s. when I say the “administration”, I mainly mean the press and political teams. The President himself is actually pretty good at playing the “long game”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  21. rudderpedals says:

    @KM:

    Ask anyone whose by falsely accused and cleared if anyone truly forgets. Ask anyone who’s been smeared if it ever really goes away. Bergdahl (and his family) is going to be dealing with this for the rest of his life.

    Indeed. It happens frequently enough it even has a meme: Cokie’s Rule

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  22. rudderpedals says:

    “It’s out there” — Cokie’s Rule

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  23. Matt Bernius says:

    @Todd:

    p.s. when I say the “administration”, I mainly mean the press and political teams. The President himself is actually pretty good at playing the “long game”.

    This is something that continually astounds me — that Team Obama can be so good at politics while campaigning and so bad when in office. Seriously, one has to wonder what happens to Axelrod the day after the election.

    I feel like Rove had a much more active role in the Bush Whitehouse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    People forgot just how serious a thing desertion is to the military mindset and were tossing it around like a slur when really its a death sentence. That label sticks.

    I generally agree with your comment, but not this “people forgot” business.

    They didn’t forget. They just didn’t give a shit. I mean, we don’t have to pretend that there’s a lot of good faith here. They’re ready to call this guy a deserter based on hearsay evidence and then have me respond as if they’re being reasonable and fair?

    No.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  25. stonetools says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Yeah. I think it goes back to Obama. I think he just can’t believe the depths to which the Republicans can sink, and he surrounds himself with folk who think like him.
    He just needs oneMachiavellian fixer type guy whose job is to “protect the Prince”- but then he would think of that as the “old politics” and not have such a guy as his trusted advisor.
    Hey, if you like Obama the idealistic reformer, you’ll have to accept Obama the guy who doesn’t understand how to play cut throat, Game of Thrones type politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I’d like to thank everyone who played along with my little experiment here.

    Yesterday, there was a discussion on the lack of civil discourse on politics. And then I read the news about Bergdahl, and I saw an opportunity.

    I introduced the new developments on Bergdahl — information that no one else had here (or had said they had, or have said that they had above). This information was directly contrary to my prior stated opinions (which I still hold are valid, given the information we had at the time), and I acknowledged that and revised (if not reversed) my prior statements.

    I didn’t put on the sackcloth and ashes and beg for forgiveness, I simply pointed out that the new information required that I reassess my position and correct it. Which I did. Just the sort of thing that most people here like to say is how one conducts civil discourse.

    Then I went away for a few hours or so to see how it would play out.

    Barry, KM, gVOR08, Al-Ameda were civil in return, to various degrees.

    Beth and mantis… not so much.

    Going by the uptwinkles/downtwinkles:

    Me: 7+/0-
    Beth: 11+/1-
    Barry: 7+/0-
    KM: 7+/0-
    mantis: 9+/1-
    gVOR08: 5+/0-
    Al-Ameda: +2/-0

    I dunno how to interpret those results.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @KM: People forgot just how serious a thing desertion is to the military mindset and were tossing it around like a slur when really its a death sentence. That label sticks.

    Let’s stress that: Desertion can be a death sentence. It’s not a slur. And it certainly looks like Bergdahl’s conduct meets the legal definition of “desertion.”

    His apparent mental issues are mitigating factors, but they don’t change the facts.

    I’m still curious why he was promoted twice during his captivity. As others are often eager to point out, I’ve never served and while I know a bit more than the average person about the military, I have huge blind spots. Is it normal for prisoners to get regular promotions while they’re being held? Wouldn’t it be a bit more practical to wait until they’re no longer captives, and then — if appropriate — give the promotions and backdate them (along with appropriate back pay)?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  28. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    This information was directly contrary to my prior stated opinions (which I still hold are valid, given the information we had at the time)

    The lesson here is maybe you should be a bit skeptical of hearsay and other less than reliable information that comes out during events that are just developing, rather than rushing out of the gate with knee jerk conclusions. That’s why I suggested you talk to yourself from a few days ago.

    But you aren’t interested in learning anything. You’d rather play another round of you’re favorite game: Look at me, I’m always right! Even when you situate yourself on both sides of a debate. Tomorrow if you read some other unsupported “facts” about Bergdahl, you’ll change course again and decide he’s a traitor, come back here and dance around squealing “See, I was right all along!”

    I for one still don’t know what the deal is with Bergdahl, because so many details remain unknown. I know he was a soldier held prisoner by our enemies for five years, and it’s a good thing we got him back. Beyond that, I withhold judgment. If he did anything wrong, justice should come from the US, not the Taliban.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  29. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: The lesson here is maybe you should be a bit skeptical of hearsay and other less than reliable information that comes out during events that are just developing, rather than rushing out of the gate with knee jerk conclusions. That’s why I suggested you talk to yourself from a few days ago.

    Feel free to lead by example. Did you ever reconsider your opinions on the Zimmerman case when all those lies — I’m sorry, “misinformation” — about the case kept falling apart? Or when he was acquitted?

    I never said he was innocent or a hero, just that it looked like there was a hell of a lot of people making up and repeating lies about the case against him, and pointed those out.

    And I’m still standing by my opinion on Bergdahl’s conduct — it really looks like he committed desertion. It’s just now there are mitigating circumstances of which I was not aware of prior to now, and I’m taking them into account.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  30. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Feel free to lead by example. Did you ever reconsider your opinions on the Zimmerman case when all those lies — I’m sorry, “misinformation” — about the case kept falling apart? Or when he was acquitted?

    You make a lot of implied assumptions about my opinions there. Which ones specifically might I have changed?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  31. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And it certainly looks like Bergdahl’s conduct meets the legal definition of “desertion.”

    And I’m still standing by my opinion on Bergdahl’s conduct — it really looks like he committed desertion.

    You really have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?

    Where’s Donald Sensing when you need him?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    And it certainly looks like Bergdahl’s conduct meets the legal definition of “desertion.”

    I would dispute this, sir. He definitely meets the legal criteria of AWOL (Absent Without Leave). One is AWOL like Bergdahl was when they leave their assigned area when on duty or when they are not within proscribed boundaries when off without official leave. For instance, if he went for a jog off base without telling anyone – AWOL. You just can’t leave a base to go grab a snack or see a sunset. I contest desertion because desertion is the abandonment of a duty or post without permission (a pass, liberty or leave) and is done with the intention of not returning (Wiki). The motive is the key to the charge and that’s where we lack in facts.

    Bergdahl was 100% AWOL if he was off-base without permission, no contest. Whether he is a deserter is yet to be determined.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: has confirmed that he is a troll. Please don’t feed the troll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. Munchbox says:

    He mailed his belongings home. Took water and a compass, folded his sleeping bag, and disappeared….and you think he is awol?? …like going out for a jog?! Liberals are so so stupid. Soldiers in Bergdahl’s platoon have claimed they were forced to sign a highly unusual nondisclosure agreement covering his disappearance in an apparent attempt to cover up what happened.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  35. Munchbox says:

    “In the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful…”

    God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, amen

    @ daqeqa Agrree! “democracy” is a cult in the west. I think most of afgs see law in terms of sharia not secular democracy, man centric laws

    BB

    The words he spoke are “something Muslims would say throughout the 1,400 year history of Islam every time they conquered a location”

    No wonder people are a bit ticked off about this. When obama says things like “i will stand with the muslims…and my muslim faith” And and so a deserter is venerated at the White House and hailed for his “service” by the National Security Advisor and the distinguished Senator from Connecticut. Now Iraq burns because of the current commander in chief …those guys are just heading south to pick up their five “friends” in Qatar

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  36. Tillman says:

    The Blaze Radio’s news summary while I drove to get groceries repeated the verifiably false contention that Bergdahl was traded for five “al-Qaida terrorists.”

    The bubble strikes again!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  37. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: It’s not a well-constructed experiment unless you had a hypothesis at the beginning to test. That’d help with interpretation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tillman: I’m no sociologist, and this wasn’t a scientifically-designed experiment. It was entirely opportunistic: the circumstances arose just right for me to try it.

    And I don’t think anyone else could have done it here; I had quite staunchly taken the “anti-Bergdahl” side (defined quite loosely), and I was the first to mention here the new information about his prior very short stint in the Coast Guard — and his alleged mental incompatibility with military service. (It’s still tough for me to think of the Coast Guard as part of the military; for most of my life, it wasn’t.)

    I phrased my comment as neutrally as I could, neither groveling nor defiant. I gave people the opportunity to respond however they felt inclined. Some were, to various degrees, positive to my non-confrontational tone and very relevant new information; others chose to continue to work out old grudges.

    @gVOR08: If you define “trolling” as “posting a comment in as non-provocative a manner as possible, with the deliberate intent of trying to improve the level of discourse,” then you have the exact opposite definition of what most people think of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  39. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    This changes everything.

    Thus the calls for you to calm down and wait for the evidence rather than rushing to judgement that he was a deserter.
    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And I’m still standing by my opinion on Bergdahl’s conduct — it really looks like he committed desertion.

    Bullsh!t. Desertion, as opposed to AWOL, requires proof of intent to never return. Staying away for over 30 days can cause you to be dropped from your unit’s rolls and desertion charges are more likely to stick. There is no reliable information out there that would stand up in court as intent to never return, so charges of desertion do not have legs. It is simply a smear used by political opportunists and cowards to attack a political enemy. No thought beyond how to hurt the administration and how to benefit in the mid terms went into this.
    Honestly, you smeared a mentally fragile man who MAY have gone AWOL as a deserter. You should be ashamed of yourself and you should be ‘cheerfully admitting you are wrong and apologizing’ as you said you would do if exculpatory evidence surfaced. I am all but certain that your initial comment is as close to that as we will ever see and it was part of a BS gotcha experiment.
    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    and I was the first to mention here the new information about his prior very short stint in the Coast Guard

    The news about Bergdahl’s history in the coast guard came out a couple of days ago while you were still calling him a deserter and I believe it was mentioned in comments on this site, so wrong again. Why not just fess up to leaping to judgement and apologize?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  40. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “If you define “trolling” as “posting a comment in as non-provocative a manner as possible”

    Jenos, if it’s any consolation, I vehemently disagree with gVOR08 that you are a troll. You are not.

    You’re a rather conventional right-winger, reliably predictable. Truth of the matter is that this country needs people like you. There, I said it. Our nation and democracy needs reliable, conventional right-wingers. I dare anyone to dispute it.

    Only problem is that we need you guys to do something useful. Spitting on POWs isn’t really useful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  41. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Desertion, as opposed to AWOL, requires proof of intent to never return. Staying away for over 30 days can cause you to be dropped from your unit’s rolls and desertion charges are more likely to stick. There is no reliable information out there that would stand up in court as intent to never return, so charges of desertion do not have legs.

    From the New York Times:

    Sometime after midnight on June 30, 2009, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl left behind a note in his tent saying he had become disillusioned with the Army, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was leaving to start a new life. He slipped off the remote military outpost in Paktika Province on the border with Pakistan and took with him a soft backpack, water, knives, a notebook and writing materials, but left behind his body armor and weapons — startling, given the hostile environment around his outpost.

    Yeah, that is pretty ambiguous, I guess. I should probably follow the example of all the people here who held their opinions on the Zimmerman case until the trial…

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  42. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    From the New York Times:

    Maybe you just skimmed for a liberal-acceptable source, or maybe you read the second paragraph:

    That account, provided by a former senior military officer briefed on the investigation into the private’s disappearance, is part of a more complicated picture emerging of the capture of

    So you’ve established the New York Times has anonymous sources….

    Is there more?

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  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @James Pearce: God knows it’s not enough to convict anyone. But it’s certainly enough to justify speculation and opining.

    Or is it only allowed to speculate and discuss things in ways that the vocal majority of the commentariat here approves?

    I’ve enjoyed the discussions about politicians and the timelines of their public stances on gay marriage. It seems that all Democrats have been in favor of gay marriage forever, but had to lie until they could safely “come out.” On the other hand, all Republicans are, in their heart of hearts, hate all gays and only come to their senses when someone close to them comes out as gay — but even then, they aren’t to be ever forgiven for previously opposing it.

    Which relies heavily on speculating and assuming things that haven’t been proven, of course.

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  44. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    God knows it’s not enough to convict anyone. But it’s certainly enough to justify speculation and opining.

    and apparently enough to trash him and his parents in the court of public opinion before knowing more than hearsay.

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  45. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Missed you during the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin imbroglio. Could have used that kind of attitude then…

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  46. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    When you so strongly feel the disservice you saw there done by people who rushed to judgement based on hearsay why are you so quick to leap to judgement based on hearsay in this case?

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  47. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Who’s leaping to judgment? I’m leaping to speculations. And if that wasn’t tolerated, we’d have very, very dull conversations.

    If you are interested, go back and read some of the Zimmerman/Martin threads. A whole bunch of people leaped to the judgment that Martin was guilty of murder, then spent about a year rationalizing that leap despite so many of their arguments falling apart in the face of developing facts. And even today, they insist that Zimmerman committed murder.

    I’ll repeat my points on Bergdahl: certainly looks like his conduct before his absence meets the standard of “desertion,” and most certainly deserves further investigation. But it also seems that Bergdahl was fundamentally unfit for military service, and the Army was very wrong in accepting him. Whether or nor the latter is enough to mitigate the former is something that has to be determined.

    And to tie this into another discussion around here, it also raises the question of whether the actions of the Obama administration — such as Susan Rice declaring on national television that Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction” — would constitute “unlawful command influence” on any potential military proceedings in regards to Bergdahl. While Rice isn’t in the chain of command, it is clear that she was speaking on behalf of the president and addressing a matter of military personnel on that occasion.

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  48. steve says:

    To answer your question about promotions, yes that is standard. Per the UCMJ there needs to be a hearing to declare him a deserter and that is not usually done without the accused in custody. (The guy walked out into Afghanistan with just some knives and water (what about food?) and people are just now beginning to think maybe he had mental health issues?)

    Steve

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  49. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @steve: The promotions seem a bit odd to me — I thought there was a certain performance aspect, not merely time in rank, but you seem to know what you’re talking about, so I’ll accept that for now.

    and people are just now beginning to think maybe he had mental health issues?

    No, the “just now” part is that it was apparently officially documented by the Coast Guard, and the Army took him anyway. It’s the difference between “we should have known” and “gee, I guess we did know.”

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  50. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    God knows it’s not enough to convict anyone. But it’s certainly enough to justify speculation and opining.

    Or is it only allowed to speculate and discuss things in ways that the vocal majority of the commentariat here approves?

    Total BS. You’re not just “speculating” or “opining.” If so, other explanations might occur to you.

    Let’s not pretend you’re looking at the night sky and wondering what makes the stars twinkle. You’ve already figured out what happened. Now it’s just a matter of making the facts fit.

    Also, RE gay marriage. I know you think that’s a big gotcha, but consider this: the Democrats’ “evolution” on gay marriage came after the Republicans’ political mobilization against it. Those evil Democrats….serving a constituency the GOP explicitly rejected. How dare they?

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  51. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Who’s leaping to judgment? I’m leaping to speculations.

    Weak tea. In previous threads you leapt to judgement as much as anyone in the Zimmerman threads. If you are leaping to speculations then that’s what they were doing as well. You need to start looking at that rod in your own eye rather than the specks in everyone else’s.

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  52. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: So it’s not speculating that you don’t like, it’s my speculations. Or it’s that I’m the one doing the speculating. Other speculations and/or speculators you’re fine with. That about right?

    I’d ask about the criteria you use, but I think I can guess it: it boils down to either “you don’t like my speculations” or “you don’t like me.” Oh, you’ll wrap it up in some rather entertaining rationalizations, and you’ll get nice pats on the head, but that’ll be it in a nutshell.

    Here are two things that you probably won’t want to factor into your possible responses:

    1) On Zimmerman, I said all along that the case against him was lousy, that a lot of the stuff being said about him here and elsewhere was provably wrong, and the jury would most likely acquit him.

    2) On this thread, I introduced the new information in the first comment and explained how it had caused me to revisit my earlier speculations.

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  53. stonetools says:

    Jenos’ evolution is following the a familiar process the right wing goes through every time they try pin a “scandal” on Obama. At first there is an out burst of righteous outrage and a great leaping to conclusions at the outset, followed by a gradual retreat as the facts come out refuting the original conclusions. The right wing narrative has moved from “Bergdahl the intentional deserter and traitor with the Muslim-loving parents, who caused the deaths of six American soldiers who looked for him after his desertion and who was traded for five al-Qaeda supervillians” to something a lot more ambiguous. As the facts have come out, just about every part of that narrative has been challenged, and we now have a decorated war hero and Republican owning the Administration’s decision and defending it against the right wing BS Machine’s keyboard kommandos. No wonder Jenos is re-assessing. That’s a good thing, BTW. Welcome to fact-based thinking, Jenos.

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  54. stonetools says:

    Please free my comment for moderation. Dunno what I did wrong there.

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  55. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Probably too many links or used a word that triggered the autocensor. Sometimes it’s a profanity, sometimes it’s a word used in spams a lot (or very close to it).

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  56. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: You mean I took new information that directly affected my previous statements, took that into account, and revised my position based on that new information? And I shared that new information freely with others, knowing full well that it could be used to attack me?

    You’re right, I’m a total bastard and fraud.

    One final point: the “discharged from the Coast Guard for mental health issues” is also, at this point, hearsay. Unless you have a link that proves it…

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  57. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    One final point: the “discharged from the Coast Guard for mental health issues” is also, at this point, hearsay.

    Pretty much everything we’ve heard about Bergdahl is hearsay.

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  58. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    This changes everything.

    Actually, it changes nothing. The correct course of action was always to avoid a rush to judgement, treat Bergdahl like we would any other returning POW, and leave any judgement of his conduct to the military justice system, which consists of people who are competent and have earned the right to stand in judgment, if judgment is indeed warranted.

    But no, you and your friends on the right saw an opportunity to damage Obama, and as always, that trumps everything. You yourself were dangling the possibility of a death sentence for Bergdahl rather triumphantly just a few days ago, and taking part in the trashing of Bergdahl with considerable zest.

    Now you want to talk about George Zimmermann, who is definitely not a US solider in a war zone who was put in a cage by the Taliban.

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  59. anjin-san says:

    Not surprisingly, Bergdahl is suddenly very hard to find on the Fox News homepage. If you look hard enough, you will find this:

    Sources: Bergdahl kept in metal box for 2 years

    A story about a Kim Kardashian “Tiny Bikini Selfie” is given more weight.

    Way to support the troops guys.

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  60. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: The correct course of action was always to avoid a rush to judgement, treat Bergdahl like we would any other returning POW, and leave any judgement of his conduct to the military justice system, which consists of people who are competent and have earned the right to stand in judgment, if judgment is indeed warranted.

    Too late for that. Obama had the parents in the Rose Garden for a spiking-the-football moment. Susan Rice declared to all and sundry that Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction.” And, as I noted above, sound an awful lot like what I’ve heard described as “unlawful command influence.”

    You don’t like that I speculated, you don’t like that I contradicted the Obama Party Line.

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  61. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Regarding the Zimmerman ‘speculation’ and the Bergdahl ‘speculation’ I was calling you out of your opportunistic hypocrisy. You spent weeks condemning others for rushing to judgement on Zimmerman (leaving aside your rush to judgement on the dead teenage boy), now you have rushed to judgement on Bergdahl. You are hiding behind misconduct you perceive in others to justify your own misconduct.

    I’d ask about the criteria you use, but I think I can guess it: it boils down to either “you don’t like my speculations” or “you don’t like me.”

    I don’t know you well enough to like or dislike you, I generally find your commentary riddled with fallacies and misinformation and find you unwilling to admit to error despite how clearly it is shown that you are dead wrong. I do not like speculative trashing of anyone and find your speculative trashing of Bergdahl odious and the overall trashing of Bergdahl and his family nauseating. You are a part of that.
    As to your bringing in the Coast Guard info, it had already been mentioned and was in the news when you were still speculatively trashing Bergdahl. Additionally you already copped to that being an experiment to test teh liberal commenters, so that rather vitiates any attempt by you to serve as mitigation for your earlier poor behavior.

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  62. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Why not just cop to the real reason for supporting Zimmerman and trashing Bergdahl, you saw Obama or liberals on one side of the looming fight and that sent you looking for rationalizations to be on the other side.

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  63. anjin-san says:

    You don’t like that I speculated, you don’t like that I contradicted the Obama Party Line.

    No, I don’t like that you trashed a member of the US Armed Forces that has been through crap you cannot imagine in pursuit of a perceived political advantage. I don’t like that you are congratulating yourself for walking back your attacks on Bergdahl, attacks that should have not happened in the first place.

    If you have a problem with Susan Rice, go after Susan Rice. That’s not what you did. You labeled Bergdahl a deserter, even though you admitted the facts were not in. You even suggested that an execution might be in order.

    Well, does a weasel know that he is a weasel? Certainly not in your case.

    And for those that are history challenged, there is ample precedent for having a POW and/or his family at the White House.

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  64. anjin-san says:

    You don’t like that I speculated, you don’t like that I contradicted the Obama Party Line.

    Do you even read the crap you write? If the White House announced that the sun came up this morning, you would post 17 comments telling us that that is a contemptible lie, and that it is further proof that Obama is a tyrant who admires jihadists, despises the rule of law, and is mean to small children.

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  65. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Why not just cop to the real reason for supporting Zimmerman and trashing Bergdahl, you saw Obama or liberals on one side of the looming fight and that sent you looking for rationalizations to be on the other side.

    With Zimmerman, I heard all the stuff being said and done about him, and who was most invested in destroying him. I have found that a lot of those are usually not to be trusted, so I kept an eye on things. And lo and behold, so much of the stuff they were saying turned out to be complete lies.

    And yeah, I’m saying “lies.” Because they couldn’t be honest mistakes. Even after the specific accusations were proven false, repeatedly, they kept repeating them. One example: Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin against police instructions.

    And if Obama didn’t keep making so many bad decisions, I wouldn’t criticize them.

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  66. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: If you have a problem with Susan Rice, go after Susan Rice. That’s not what you did.

    Rice is Obama’s hand-picked representative. He is responsible for her holding her current position, and he promoted her from her previous position. And she’s proven, repeatedly, that she’s literally a tool of the administration.

    I don’t blame the tool for being used as a tool. If I try to put together a piece of furniture and mess it up, I don’t blame the screwdriver for the mistake.

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  67. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Because they couldn’t be honest mistakes. Even after the specific accusations were proven false, repeatedly, they kept repeating them. One example: Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin against police instructions.

    George Zimmerman is completely responsible for the tragic incident by which Trayvon Martin was killed. The cause was the result of his (Zimmerman’s) “pretend-cop protects the neighborhood” fantasy. Zimmerman is a most fortunate man: (1) because he lives in Florida where the state’s SYG laws mean that if there are no witnesses to the the crime, your account stands, and (2) he had an OJ Jury.

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  68. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And yeah, I’m saying “lies.” Because they couldn’t be honest mistakes. Even after the specific accusations were proven false, repeatedly, they kept repeating them. One example: Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin against police instructions.

    Who am I to believe, you or my lyin ears
    You can skip ahead to about 4 min and hear Zimmerman leaving his truck and breathing heavy as he follows Martin. The dispatcher asks if Zimmerman is following Martin, he responds yes and the dispatcher says, “yeah, we don’t need you to do that.” He is again informed that police are on the way. What is your interpretation of that exchange?

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  69. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Attack Obama and Rice all you like, but you shouldn’t have rushed to judgement over hearsay and attack the returning POW. I allow you some small credit for posting the previously mentioned Coast Guard story and walking back your attacks a bit, but you lose points for it being a stunt and for showing not one ounce of contrition for your initial leap to judgement. If you had shown that contrition by simply saying something like, “This new evidence has changed how I see things. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so quick to condemn Bergdahl,” you would have gotten a different reception (at least from me). Instead you set your little trap and waited to gloat and you wonder why people think you’re a troll.

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  70. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    With Zimmerman, I heard all the stuff being said and done about him, and who was most invested in destroying him. I have found that a lot of those are usually not to be trusted, so I kept an eye on things. And lo and behold, so much of the stuff they were saying turned out to be complete lies.

    Ah, so you have added a new layer of fantasy to go along with the fantasy Zimmermann narrative you ran with for so long.

    At any rate, Zimmermann has show his true colors by way of subsequent events. That you remain a fanboy is telling.

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  71. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Why don’t you dispense with all the Zimmermann smoke and mirrors and explain why you went after Bergdahl with such zeal? Why not just say, “this guy has been to hell and back, let’s wait for the facts to come in?”

    Of course we know why. Because you thought you could damage Obama. Follow the Prime Directive.

    According to you, Treyvon Martin’s supporters did Zimmermann a vast disservice. What you did to Bergdahl was much, much worse.

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