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The Basic Thing about the Bergdahl Swap that Bothers me

Sgt Bowe BergdahlI do not know if the deal that the Obama administration struck to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a good one or not.  I understand that there are accusations that he deserted and that his father may have tweeted some odd comments.  I do know that an American soldier has been freed after years of captivity (which strikes me as a positive thing in and of itself, yes?).

It may yet prove to be the case, however, that the trade was not a good policy move.  This is a fact that any dispassionate observer would have to allow, what with all the lack of knowledge about the future that we are constantly plagued with.

However, what bothers me about the situation is the immediate move to turn the situation into a scandal by a raft of conservative commentators.  The announcement of the swap was on Saturday (IIRC) and by that afternoon and into Sunday I was already seeing charges of lawlessness against the administration, accusations against Bergdahl, and theories spun about the father based on a tweet.

I understand that commentators need things about which to comment, and hence there should be no surprise about that.  Still, it is disquieting  as to the degree to which otherwise intelligent common citizens start jumping onto the narrative bandwagons that the commentators generate. (I would argue that the default position for most conservatives, who consider themselves especially patriotic and pro-military would tend to be jubilation at the return of a solider, and yet very quickly the conservative response of this event seems to have been negative).

At times like this (that is to say all the time) that I have to remember that this is the way partisan politics works:  the need to believe the worst about those not on my team(I would say that this is new, but I remember that Clinton years rather specifically).

I have no problem with assessing this move as a bad one, but it seems to me that perhaps information and evidence collected over a bit more than a 12 hour period might be needed.

Also, this reminds me of a lesson I learned quite a while ago:  people on TV who speak with great certitude as though they are experts almost certainly are not.  They are, rather, cheerleaders for a specific team or perspective willing to go on screen at a moment’s notice (or have already been scheduled to speak about whatever needs to be spoken about).  I note this because there is no way that such a large number of people could have had such a clear and unequivocal opinion of these events in time for the Sunday shows (if not before).  They didn’t need facts about the event, all they needed was knowledge of which political party is currently occupying the White House.

Such, of course, is politics.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    They are, rather, cheerleaders for a specific team or perspective willing to go on screen at a moment’s notice (or have already been scheduled to speak about whatever needs to be spoken about).

    James, I would substitute the word team for tribe. The congress has been so dysfunctional that I approve of the President making decisions even when I disagree with them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  2. @Ron Beasley: Tribe works. But then again, when I speak in terms of sports team analogies I thinking in ways that are quite parallel to tribes (said the guy who lives in the middle of the Auburn-Alabama interplay).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    I suspect that the right is going after Bergdahl and his father because they both are from their side. I mean, if you’re religious and home-schooled and grew up in Idaho you should be ready to crush any desire to learn foreign languages or imagine what it might like to grow an Islamic fundamentalist. As far as the desertion goes, normal people probably understand why it happened. They might even sympathize, or place the blame on the institutions responsible for dropping really young men into horrifying conditions for reasons that no one can articulate.

    All of this is poison for the right-wing idiots, who crave fear and stupidity. Jesus is supposed to shut your questions down, not open up avenues to explore them. And war is great fun, especially from the sidelines. You can run your mouth, 24/7, with no consequences, because your base is too callous to care. When someone isn’t callous, you have to make an example out of them. Treating people and ideas as if they are not worthy of any human respect is how the tribe comes together.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  4. Liberal capitalist says:

    Yet imagine this scenario:

    “President Obama announces that with the US pulling out of Afghanistan, the US MIlitary will abandon Bergdahl to his fate.”

    What would be the loyal opposition’s position then?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  5. beth says:

    The second his parents appeared with President Obama the narrative was sealed. For five years I’ve been seeing Newsmax headlines about how the President was letting this guy rot in a Taliban jail and how he wasn’t doing anything to help save him (I guess for the same reason he let those people in Benghazi die on purpose). Now he’s the scum of the earth and so are his parents. It’s worse than bothersome; it’s disgusting and vile.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 1

  6. Tillman says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    The congress has been so dysfunctional that I approve of the President making decisions even when I disagree with them.

    I fall victim to this more often than I want to admit. Given the last decade, the last five years especially, it’s almost reflexive now. It’s great that I write down things here instead of saying them in real-time, and so I can reflect on what I’ve written and realize when I’m being too reflexive in “defending” the president or attacking Congress. (Even greater when the Edit function works.)

    Heh, well, attacking Congress is a reflex I don’t have to block, but you see what I mean.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. gVOR08 says:

    @Modulo Myself: I suspect that most conservative critics are unaware that the Bergdahls are religious or that the kid was home-schooled in Idaho. It’s sufficient that Obama was involved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  8. Gustopher says:

    @Tillman: it’s gotten to the point that even if the Republicans have a legitimate point, I ignore them because it is mixed in with so much reflexive anti-Obama nonsense that it is completely disguised.

    It will be Benghazi!, warrantless killing of American by drone!, arrogant wallpaper!

    In the abstract, I might care that we actually have safeguards to prevent Americans from being killed by their government with no due process, but I will almost never hear the actual arguments between the nonsense of Benghazi and arrogant wallpaper (or whatever).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  9. C. Clavin says:

    He abandoned the diplomats in Benghazi.
    He should have abandoned this guy to the Taliban.
    There is no consistency of thought to anything the Republicanists say anymore.
    When Cheney was running the country a strong executive was a good thing. Now Obama is breaking the law and overstepping and destroying the Constitution. Only he’s weak and feckless and leads from behind.
    Clowns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  10. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Basically, you’re upset that Obama didn’t get to have his moment on this. That’s because you’re a partisan hack. It’s ok, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 28

  11. @Gavrilo: And from what in the above could you possibly draw that conclusion?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Basically, you’re upset that Obama didn’t get to have his moment on this. That’s because you’re a partisan hack. It’s ok, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

    Actually, the first step is admitting that the Republican Party is the problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  13. Scott F. says:

    Steven – you say…

    I understand that commentators need things about which to comment, and hence there should be no surprise about that.

    This is, sadly, the crux of it. There’s a market for the bile and there is no lack of suppliers wanting to cash in by meeting the demand. The more hyperbolic the better and if you’re the fastest, you might be able to capture a larger share of the market.

    I’ve come to think it’s not so much politics as profit that drives this behavior.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  14. An Interested Party says:

    That’s because you’re a partisan hack.

    What an idiotic thing to write…actually, we could use more nuanced sober thinking like Steven’s, particularly among those in Congress…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I think it’s always been pretty clear that Gavrillos conclusions are not based on anything at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  16. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Because the title of your post is “The Basic Thing about the Bergdahl Swap that Bothers me” and the only complaint you register (at least specific to the Bergdahl Swap) is that conservatives were too quick in their criticism. Yet, you wrote your post 3 days after the news initially broke and, in that time, conservative criticism of this deal has only been bolstered by the facts. Obama almost certainly broke the law, and Bergdahl is not the hero that the Obama administration claimed when they trumpeted his release.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 13

  17. Mike says:

    It looks like the Bergdahl affair is now settled. I believe the president has now said that Bergdahl will not be prosecuted for desertion. So, it isn’t only Republicans who are quick to make judgment on this matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  18. Matt Bernius says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Because the title of your post is “The Basic Thing about the Bergdahl Swap that Bothers me” and the only complaint you register (at least specific to the Bergdahl Swap) is that conservatives were too quick in their criticism.

    Steven’s point is that 3 days is still too brief a period to sort through the facts.

    The fact that in his post, he doesn’t take a particular side or attack/defend any set of facts strikes me as internally consistent. Note he doesn’t say that this trade was categorically “a good thing.” In fact, he writes quite the opposite:

    It may yet prove to be the case, however, that the trade was not a good policy move. This is a fact that any dispassionate observer would have to allow, what with all the lack of knowledge about the future that we are constantly plagued with.

    What, for example, happens if — as more facts emerge — the Conservative criticisms/critiques turn out not to have as strong a basis?

    I think it says more about your need to immediate categorize anything written into “liberal hack/conservative good” that you read more into Steven’s posting than he clearly wrote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  19. C. Clavin says:

    @Mike:

    I believe the president has now said that Bergdahl will not be prosecuted for desertion.

    Link please.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:

    conservative criticism of this deal has only been bolstered by the facts.

    What facts? That Sarah Palin and Bill “I have not ever been right about anything” Kristol says he has anti-american leanings?
    And Obama broke a law that he said he would break in just such a circumstance?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  21. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:
    I suggest that Republicans immediately move to Impeach.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  22. James Joyner says:

    I’ve got a longish piece on this, written yesterday afternoon, awaiting publication at The National Interest. I largely eschew the politics but agree with your basic complaint.

    There are some legitimate criticisms to be made about the president’s move, although from what I know now I agree with it. I do think he likely broke the law and that the “exigent circumstances” argument holds little water given how much time was spent negotiating. The deal itself was almost certainly a net negative, in that the five guys being let lose could well do harm. I nonetheless think a prisoner swap was what the situation called for; it’s just what we’ve historically done as we’re winding down wars.

    The initial rumblings that the deserter charges didn’t matter, in that he’d already paid a high price in five years of captivity, worried me. But today’s statements make me much more confident that the right thing will be done there.

    As Dave Schuler noted at his place, these are all complicated questions and the president is in a now win situation. I’m inclined to think he did what any president would have done under the circumstances: weigh the alternatives and make the best decision he could.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  23. Matt Bernius says:

    @James Joyner:
    Clearly sir, you are a liberal hack — what with your attempt to use realpolitik, facts, and a sense of historical perspective to drive your analysis. This is exactly why no one who matters reads OTB anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @James Joyner:

    I do think he likely broke the law and that the “exigent circumstances” argument holds little water given how much time was spent negotiating.

    According to both Rice and Obama Congress was aware of the negotiations…so I don’t know why you say this.
    Hell…it was on the Fox News website back in February.
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/18/us-reportedly-weighing-prisoner-swap-with-taliban-to-free-american-pow/
    I understand why they would play dumb…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m inclined to think he did what any president would have done under the circumstances: weigh the alternatives and make the best decision he could.

    Keep this up James and you will go from RINO to TRAITOR!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  26. C. Clavin says:

    @James Joyner:
    And here is Fred Kaplan:

    First, while Obama and his diplomats made the deal on their own (in line with his powers as commander-in-chief), it’s not true that he left Congress out of the picture. He briefed a small group of senators in January 2012, when a deal first seemed in the offing. Sen. John McCain reportedly threw a fit, objecting that the detainees to be released had killed American soldiers, but after talking with John Kerry (at the time, still a senator and a friend), came around to the idea. (This may be why McCain, though displeased with the detainees’ release, is not raising his usual hell in public appearances now.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  27. C. Clavin says:

    So essentially I’m being down voted here
    @C. Clavin:
    and here
    @C. Clavin:
    because the facts don’t fit the wing-nut narrative?
    You know what…I’m OK with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  28. beth says:

    @C. Clavin: I didn’t do the downvoting but sometimes when I read on my phone, I accidentally hit the up/downvote buttons when I scroll. So it may have been accidental.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. James Joyner says:

    @C. Clavin: The law required more than notification that the administration was thinking about holding talks. Rather, they were required to give Congress 30 days to veto the deal. See Ilya Somin here and here.

    That said, my knee-jerk reaction to the complaint when Doug posted about it Saturday afternoon is that presidents fairly routinely thumb their nose at Congress when they believe national security considerations trump legal niceties. After careful consideration, that’s still where I stand. I don’t like it but it’s the way it’s always been and Congress won’t do a damned thing about it because the president’s actions are likely to be politically popular.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  30. C. Clavin says:

    Certainly 2012 is more than 30 days.
    As is February 2013.
    As I said…if they think the argument you’re making…essentially one of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s…is sound then Republicans should move for impeachment immediately.
    Andrew McCarthy is on their side.
    http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2014/06/02/higher-and-higher-crimes/
    As is Bill Maher.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MtZd7mhWzo
    So it’s bi-partisan.
    Good luck with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. beth says:

    @James Joyner: The way I look at it, the President did Congress a favor. Now they get to bitch about the release of the prisoners, try Bergdahl in the press and posture for the camera without actually having to cast a public vote against bringing home an American soldier being held captive. They should be sending Obama a thank you note.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  32. Gavrilo says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I appreciate you stepping up to defend Taylor. While I’m not a religious reader of this blog, I have been a regular for a few years, yet I can’t remember a time when Taylor posted anything critical of Obama or Democrats in general. That’s fine, he can write about whatever he wants, but he should be honest about what he is. Mataconis and Joyner view most issues from the left, but will occasionally call out Democrats or liberals (to the howls of the regular commenters).

    Taylor’s post in this instance is nothing but a lame whine. He links to nothing. No examples of the misguided criticism coming from conservatives that he’s upset about. This is an interesting, nuanced story (as Joyner sums up nicely in his comment) which Republicans or conservatives played zero part in, yet for Taylor, the only thing he has to offer is, conveniently, criticism of conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  33. Eric Florack says:

    . (I would argue that the default position for most conservatives, who consider themselves especially patriotic and pro-military would tend to be jubilation at the return of a solider, and yet very quickly the conservative response of this event seems to have been negative).

    HELL, BY THOSE lights, you apparently think conservatives should have been annoyed by the arrest of Hadal Nasan. Clearly your reasoning is missing an element.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  34. al-Ameda says:

    @C. Clavin:

    He abandoned the diplomats in Benghazi.
    He should have abandoned this guy to the Taliban.
    There is no consistency of thought to anything the Republicanists say anymore.
    When Cheney was running the country a strong executive was a good thing. Now Obama is breaking the law and overstepping and destroying the Constitution. Only he’s weak and feckless and leads from behind.
    Clowns.

    How could you have overlooked the killing of Bin Laden? I don’t recall that he ever got Republican permission for this, do you?
    This is the most lawless president of the past 5 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  35. stonetools says:

    @Gavrilo:

    These are the first two paragraphs of the article:

    I do not know if the deal that the Obama administration struck to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a good one or not. I understand that there are accusations that he deserted and that his father may have tweeted some odd comments. I do know that an American soldier has been freed after years of captivity (which strikes me as a positive thing in and of itself, yes?).

    It may yet prove to be the case, however, that the trade was not a good policy move. This is a fact that any dispassionate observer would have to allow, what with all the lack of knowledge about the future that we are constantly plagued with

    I’m quoting and bolding because it’s obvious you didn’t read it. If you did read it, then I’m sorry for your lack of reading comprehension skills. You should get help.

    Mataconis and Joyner view most issues from the left,

    OK, maybe you are beyond help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  36. Rob Prather says:

    @Gavrilo:

    That’s because you’re a partisan hack.

    Speaking only for myself, I have been reading Steven for more than a decade and this makes me laugh. Hard.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  37. Ken says:

    @Gavrilo: Mataconis and Joyner view most issues from the left

    What is this I don;t even
    furthermore comma

    I think this comment broke my brain

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  38. C. Clavin says:

    @al-Ameda:
    Not only didn’t he ask for their permission….while Seal Team 6 was busy taking OBL out…Obama was making a Republican Presidential Candidate look like a fool.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIkxoq0agNo

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. @stonetools: Thanks–I was out running errands and had not had time to respond–but I was going to point out the first line of the piece, if anything, to @Gavrilo who appears to have only read the title of the post (although even then I am not sure how that resulted in his conclusions).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. @Rob Prather: I appreciate the comment ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  41. @Scott F.:

    I’ve come to think it’s not so much politics as profit that drives this behavior.

    There is a lot to this notion. I used to think that the profit motive would generate more information, but that was when I mistakenly thought that people want more and better information. On balance, however, they want to be entertained and have their views confirmed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  42. @James Joyner:

    As Dave Schuler noted at his place, these are all complicated questions and the president is in a now win situation. I’m inclined to think he did what any president would have done under the circumstances: weigh the alternatives and make the best decision he could.

    This is pretty much where I am at the moment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  43. Rob Prather says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: You’ve earned it, my friend. Even if we only know each other in an online sense. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  44. @Rob Prather: It has been a remarkably long time at this point!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. Matt Bernius says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Mataconis and Joyner view most issues from the left, but will occasionally call out Democrats or liberals (to the howls of the regular commenters).

    [Emphasis mine]

    For those of us who actually read this blog regularly, I think this “analysis” speaks worlds about how you, personally, draw up your political boundaries. Further, I would argue that it tells us far more about your understanding/calculation/barometer of “left” and “right” than your ability to objectively analyze the substantive content of this or any other post on OTB.

    Without a doubt, Steven is the most “liberal” of the regular contributors. But not necessarily for the reasons you think.

    Not to mention, it seems to me that the fact that you’re willing to throw around pejoratives like “liberal hack” also tells us a lot more about your interest in debate than the contents of Steven’s writings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  46. Rob Prather says:

    Another commenter mentioned this, but isn’t it standard to get your POWs when you’re winding down a war? If this guy deserted and there are legal issues, then take care of them. I don’t get the controversy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  47. Rob Prather says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Hey man, we’re dealing with internet time here!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. However, what bothers me about the situation is the immediate move to turn the situation into a scandal by a raft of conservative commentators. The announcement of the swap was on Saturday (IIRC) and by that afternoon and into Sunday I was already seeing charges of lawlessness against the administration, accusations against Bergdahl, and theories spun about the father based on a tweet.

    Well, let’s see: Obama ignored the law. He traded 5 hardcore, murderous Taliban nutjobs for a deserter. So you saw charges of lawlessness? Perhaps that’s because Obama ignored the law. Duh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  49. @Rob Prather: Indeed!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  50. PT says:

    I don’t get the controversy either. These soldiers we send over to fight our wars may not be our best and brightest, but we sure sent them anyway. The least we can do is bring them back home.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  51. @PT: This is my basic reaction. Indeed, it is my reaction even if it ends up that he deserted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  52. Mike says:

    @Mike: Please disregard my comment that President Obama has decided not to prosecute Bergdahl for desertion. I believe my comment was in error.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  53. Rob Prather says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Indeed. As someone who has never worn the uniform, it still strikes me as correct to bring people home.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  54. CB says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Mataconis and Joyner view most issues from the left, but will occasionally call out Democrats or liberals (to the howls of the regular commenters).

    This is a really, really awesome sentence.

    EDIT: I see everyone beat me to the dog pile. But come on. COME ON!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  55. stonetools says:

    @William Teach:

    Well, now, are you saying clearly and on the record that this was a bad deal and that the Sergeant should have been left to rot in a Taliban dungeon, maybe forever? Because that is what you are implying when you say the deal shouldn’t have been made. So, Mr. Pirate, put your money where your mouth is. Would you have left the sergeant behind?

    BTW, did you agree with right wing blogger PJ Tatler when in January , he endorsed a petition that asked the Obama administration to “take action to secure the release, or rescue, or Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, using all means available, including force.”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  56. C. Clavin says:

    @William Teach:
    Can you provide a link to the posts you wrote condemning Bush and Cheney breaking the law when they instituted a torture regime and outed a covert CIA operative?
    Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  57. An Interested Party says:

    Mataconis and Joyner view most issues from the left, but will occasionally call out Democrats or liberals (to the howls of the regular commenters).

    Forget goalposts…the entire stadium has been moved…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  58. Mike says:

    @Mike: This is what Julie Pace, AP White House Correspondent wrote: “Obama said the government is not currently seeking to punish Bergdahl as a deserter.”

    So, I guess I was right to begin with.

    What I do not understand is why Bergdahl’s records were not flagged when he disappeared under the circumstances that he did. This is how we referred to suspension of all favorable personnel actions. In my days it was as common as dirt. Among other things, you cannot be promoted while flagged.Bergdahl was promoted to E4, E5, and soon to be E6, it seems. This tells me that the Army never had any intention to treat Bergdahl as anything other than a POW captured by the enemy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  59. dennis says:

    @beth:

    beth, you have the patience of the saints. I quit reading NewsMax and Townhall years ago. I just have no stomach for it any longer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. mantis says:

    @Mike:

    This is what Julie Pace, AP White House Correspondent wrote: “Obama said the government is not currently seeking to punish Bergdahl as a deserter.”
    So, I guess I was right to begin with.

    No, the Army will investigate, as they have publicly stated. You do not seek punishment until guilt is established. The president did not say the Army won’t investigate, he just said they are focused on bringing him home.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  61. dennis says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Mataconis and Joyner view most issues from the left, but will occasionally call out Democrats or liberals (to the howls of the regular commenters).

    That is a patently untrue statement and exposes your inherent and blind bias. You’re not interested in honest debate of issues; you just want to throw bombs at the not-your-tribe.

    As much as Doug gets smoked on this blog for his positions, which definitely are not left of anything, as far as I have read, we still give him the respect due because, after all, it’s his house. You have exposed yourself as a troll. I don’t mean an internet troll; I mean a real troll of the ugliest kind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  62. wr says:

    @Mike: “Please disregard my comment that President Obama has decided not to prosecute Bergdahl for desertion. ”

    Since I disregard all the nonsense you post here, adding this to the list is no problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  63. Grewgills says:

    @wr:
    When someone is being contrite and admitting an error doesn’t seem the best time to pile on the scorn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  64. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Take it easy on wr. He sucks at everything, but he sucks slightly less at attacking, so he plays to his strength least weak weakness.

    See here for an explanation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  65. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Hello pot, er cast iron skillet, meet kettle.

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  66. Barry says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “And from what in the above could you possibly draw that conclusion? ”

    The voices in his head.

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  67. al-Ameda says:

    The most interesting thing about this deal to release Bergdahl is how quickly the Right moved to ‘Swift Boat’ Bergdahl simply because of their animus toward Obama.

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  68. Barry says:

    @Gustopher: “In the abstract, I might care that we actually have safeguards to prevent Americans from being killed by their government with no due process, but I will almost never hear the actual arguments between the nonsense of Benghazi and arrogant wallpaper (or whatever). ”

    That’s because the right doesn’t want those safeguards. They *want* the president to have that power, because they know which party’s president will get away with using it much, much more.

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