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DonBelt
31 May 14,, 20:10
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/only-american-pow-from-afghan-war-is-freed.html?_r=0

Squirrel
01 Jun 14,, 03:25
Welcome home Sgt Bergdahl. About damn time.

Minskaya
01 Jun 14,, 14:29
Sgt Bowe Bergdahl was released in exchange for five detainees held at Gitmo. US intelligence had received information that the health of Sgt Bergdahl was deteriorating. The five Gitmo detainees were flown to Qatar with assurances from the Qatar government the the five would be banned from traveling abroad for a year.

The released Gitmo detainees:

Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa
Khairkhwa was an early member of the Taliban in 1994 and was interior minister during the Taliban's rule. He hails from the same tribe as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and was captured in January 2002. Khairkhwa's most prominent position was as governor of Herat province from 1999 to 2001, and he was alleged to have been "directly associated" with Osama bin Laden. According to a detainee assessment, Khairkhwa also was probably associated with al Qaeda's now-deceased leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. He is described as one of the "major opium drug lords in western Afghanistan" and a "friend" of Karzai. He was arrested in Pakistan and was transferred to Guantanamo in May 2002. During questioning, Khairkhwa denied all knowledge of extremist activities.

Mullah Mohammad Fazl
Fazl commanded the main force fighting the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in 2001, and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban regime. He has been accused of war crimes during Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s. Fazl was detained after surrendering to Abdul Rashid Dostam, the leader of Afghanistan's Uzbek community, in November 2001. He was wanted by the United Nations in connection with the massacre of thousands of Afghan Shiites during the Taliban's rule. "When asked about the murders, he did not express any regret," according to the detainee assessment. He was alleged to have been associated with several militant Islamist groups, including al Qaeda. He was transferred into U.S. custody in December 2001 and was one of the first arrivals at Guantanamo, where he was assessed as having high intelligence value.

Mullah Norullah Noori
Noori served as governor of Balkh province in the Taliban regime and played some role in coordinating the fight against the Northern Alliance. Like Fazl, Noori was detained after surrendering to Dostam, the Uzbek leader, in 2001. Noori claimed during interrogation that "he never received any weapons or military training." According to 2008 detainee assessment, Noori "continues to deny his role, importance and level of access to Taliban officials." That same assessment characterized him as high risk and of high intelligence value.

Abdul Haq Wasiq
Wasiq was the deputy chief of the Taliban regime's intelligence service. His cousin was head of the service. An administrative review in 2007 cited a source as saying that Wasiq was also "an al Qaeda intelligence member" and had links with members of another militant Islamist group, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. Wasiq claimed, according to the review, that he was arrested while trying to help the United States locate senior Taliban figures. He denied any links to militant groups.

Mohammad Nabi Omari
Omari was a minor Taliban official in Khost Province. According to the first administrative review in 2004, he was a member of the Taliban and associated with both al Qaeda and another militant group Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. He was the Taliban's chief of communications and helped al Qaeda members escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Omari acknowledged during hearings that he had worked for the Taliban but denied connections with militant groups. He also said that he had worked with a U.S. operative named Mark to try to track down Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Doktor
01 Jun 14,, 16:19
Homeland anyone?

zraver
01 Jun 14,, 16:54
This morning I wake up to Ihofe and Mckeon trying to make political hay of it. They claim the President did not give them 30 days notice as required. HOGWASH

US Constitution article 2 section 2 last sentence; and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Obama called this one right, now just got a jailed wife of an American, an American pastor and an imprisoned marine left to free.

Blademaster
01 Jun 14,, 17:27
This episode should put down any criticism of the GoI's handling of the IC 184 hijacking when it negotiated and released 5 terrorists in exchange for safe return of all passengers with the exception of one, Ripan Katyal who was initially killed during the hijacking part. If America, the mightiest and most powerful nation, would release 5 high value terrorists for the return of one soldier, true or not, got captured under suspicious circumstances, then the GoI during the day of IC 184 could not be termed as being weak or ill-advised.

1980s
01 Jun 14,, 17:40
So at least two of these men are alleged war criminals. I am relieved for Bergdahl and his family but it is disturbing that war criminals like Noori and Fazl had to be part of the exchange. That cant go down well in Afghanistan, particularly among the Hazara's and other Shi'as.

DonBelt
01 Jun 14,, 18:41
They are restricted to Qatar for the present, perhaps something will come up requiring their re-arrest or perhaps they will get in an accident. There are many hazards out there in the world after all. The President certainly had the authority to release the prisoners from US custody and as no country with an extradition treaty asked for them there are no obstacles to it. The common sense of it certainly can be questioned and I'm sure it will be as well as the timing of it. If Sgt Bergdahl could have been released by an exchange of prisoners, why wait until he was ill? Is it to offset the VA debacle? The news breaks about myriad abuses at VA hospitals resulting in the deaths of veterans and suddenly the president is visiting troops in Afghanistan, getting Sgt Bergdahl released. The cynical side of me says he doesn't care until there is some political benefit to him, but the bottom line to keep in mind is Sgt Bergdahl who was a POW to some of the most uncivilized people on the planet is now free and safe. The details and ramifications will sort out later.

Gun Grape
01 Jun 14,, 22:31
This morning I wake up to Ihofe and Mckeon trying to make political hay of it. They claim the President did not give them 30 days notice as required. HOGWASH

US Constitution article 2 section 2 last sentence; and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Obama called this one right, now just got a jailed wife of an American, an American pastor and an imprisoned marine left to free.



The wife is being set free

Meriam Ibrahim: Sudanese woman sentenced to hang will be freed (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/meriam-ibrahim-sudanese-woman-sentenced-to-hang-will-be-freed-in-a-few-days-9466994.html)



I'm assuming the minister you mention is Kenneth Bae?

Which Marine? The idiot that went to Iran or the idiot that went to Mexico with weapons?

Gun Grape
01 Jun 14,, 22:36
Well those 5 can't be to Super Evil bad. We've had them for over 10 yeas and have done nothing with them.

If there were charges by the UN for War Crimes, why hasn't the UN brought charges?

Welcome back Sgt Bergdahl.

Minskaya
02 Jun 14,, 22:31
On social networking sites, former soldiers of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl's unit in Afghanistan say he willingly deserted and moreover, the search to find him cost six soldiers their lives. They say that Bergdahl is not in anyway a hero and believe he should face charges under the UCMJ. Military officials are confirming to news agencies that Bergdahl left his unit voluntarily, but said they do not know why. In an e-mail to his parents in Idaho shortly before disappearing, Bergdahl said he was disillusioned with the military and he no longer supported the war in Afghanistan. Bergdahl closed the e-mail with: "I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of U.S. solider is just the lie of fools."

The Obama administration is quietly floating the notion that whatever happened, five years in Taliban captivity is enough punishment.

I'm curious how current and former US military personnel on this board view this indelicate situation.

Native
02 Jun 14,, 22:50
I hope he stands trial.

citanon
02 Jun 14,, 22:51
Sources: Intelligence community investigated Bergdahl (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/02/sources-intelligence-community-investigated-bergdahls-conduct/)



A senior official confirms to Fox News that the conduct of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl -- both in his final stretch of active duty in Afghanistan and then, too, during his time when he lived among the Taliban -- has been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. intelligence community and is the subject of "a major classified file."

In conveying as much, the Defense Department source confirmed to Fox News that many within the intelligence community harbor serious outstanding concerns not only that Bergdahl may have been a deserter but that he may have been an active collaborator with the enemy.

The Pentagon official added pointedly that no relevant congressional committee has sought access to the classified file, but that if such a request were made, key committee chairs would, under previous precedent, likely be granted access to it. Separately, the Pentagon confirmed Monday that it is looking into claims Americans died during the search for Bergdahl.

The administration announced over the weekend that Bergdahl's release had been secured, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. President Obama was joined by the soldier's parents in making a public statement on the release Saturday evening from the Rose Garden.

Sources told Fox News that many officials in the Executive Branch are "quite baffled" by the White House's decision to allow the president to stand alongside Bergdahl's father this past weekend, given the father's history of controversial statements, emails and online posts.

Asked Monday about reports that Bergdahl's father was communicating on Twitter with a man described as a Taliban spokesman, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to comment on those reports but defended the administration's handling of the release.

DonBelt
03 Jun 14,, 04:02
The bottom line is we have him now. If he was a deserter or traitor, he will face our justice by our rules. If he was innocent or committed a lesser offense he has his freedom or at least a commensurate punishment. The funny thing (funny ironic) is that two of the prisoners exchanged for him are in the same boat he is. They may have been released from our captivity but they were reportedly cooperating with us prior to their capture and maybe they will be in jeopardy of their lives for treason.

tbm3fan
03 Jun 14,, 04:07
I was about to say that I was hearing rumbling about his release as mentioned.

As for those 5 pieces of evil released I don't think I'd want to go down a lite alley with anyone of them coming the other direction. Some of those faces just dripped terror. Hope they run into a drone in my alley instead.

chanjyj
03 Jun 14,, 07:13
Interesting article: Negotiating With Terrorists: Inside the Capture and Release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl | TheBlaze.com (http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/negotiating-with-terrorists-inside-the-capture-and-release-of-sgt-bowe-bergdahl/)

Tamara
03 Jun 14,, 14:11
Interesting article: Negotiating With Terrorists: Inside the Capture and Release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl | TheBlaze.com (http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/negotiating-with-terrorists-inside-the-capture-and-release-of-sgt-bowe-bergdahl/)

I didn't read much of it past the part of "For more than 200 years, the United States has had a policy of not trading prisoners for American hostages.".

Then what were spy swaps?

Triple C
03 Jun 14,, 17:10
I am not sure one alleged deserter is worth five detainees whose credentials as terrorists are pretty strong. That said, the five had probably long since lost their usefulness to the US and the enemy, and if Bergdahl committed any wrongdoing the US and the US alone should punish him.

DonBelt
03 Jun 14,, 17:18
I agree that it is us that should deal with him and not leave him to the enemy, which ever enemy that was. (Taliban? Haqqani? ISI?) But the desertion is alleged still until the Army sorts it out and makes some kind of official statement. So far everything is speculation or hearsay from "sources". It has also been reported that he was intoxicated and had left with some Afghan soldiers. If he was under the influence and made a stupid choice to go "visiting" with people he trusted (or the alcohol trusted) and got grabbed- well, there's a lot of violations there, but not treason or desertion. He may have thought he was coming back, or he could've been drugged by the Afghans to get him outside. Who knows? We should wait to see what the Army says or is willing to say. I do hope if he did desert or help the enemy that it is made public. He should not be allowed to go on with his affairs as an honorable veteran if that is the case and people should not think of him as a hero.

Minskaya
03 Jun 14,, 23:02
Bergdahl's unit comrades recount his disappearance (http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/03/4155894/bergdahls-unit-comrades-recount.html)

citanon
04 Jun 14,, 00:07
Diane Feinstein and Dick Cheney on the same page, even Hillary Clinton sorta does not disagree...

Critics and defenders of Bowe Bergdahl swap continue chiming in - CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/critics-and-defenders-of-bowe-bergdahl-swap-continue-chiming-in/)


Amid a growing chorus of criticism by Republicans over the decision to exchange five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, President Obama has found at least one Democratic defender: Hillary Clinton.

Speaking at an event in the Denver suburbs Monday night, the former secretary of state said, ""This young man, whatever the circumstances, was an American citizen - is an American citizen - was serving in our military...The idea that you really care for your own citizens and particularly those in uniform, I think is a very noble one."

Clinton went on to note that Bergdahl might be able to provide valuable information about the Taliban from his five years in captivity. But she also noted that she understood the concerns about the exchange.

"You don't want to see these five prisoners go back to combat. There's a lot that you don't want to have happen. On the other hand you also don't want an American citizen, if you can avoid it, especially a solider, to die in captivity," Clinton said. "I think we have a long way to go before we really know how this is going to play out."

One of the principal lines of criticism from Republicans has been the possibility that the former Taliban leaders will return to the organization once their mandated year in Qatar is up. Former Vice President Dick Cheney echoed that concern in a Fox News appearance Monday night.

"I think there's a distinct possibility that these five will in fact go into the battle," Cheney said. "These are people that are most likely to go back and once again launch strikes or attacks against Americans, against our friends and allies in the region. I think the odds are that they will in fact do that and we'll end up paying another kind of price because of the transaction that's been negotiated here."

Cheney was critical of the Obama administration, saying, "I do think they have in fact negotiated with terrorists and I don't think they got a very good deal."

The decision seems likely to receive additional scrutiny from Congress with Republicans in both the House and Senate calling for hearings to investigate both the legality of the prisoner swap - Congress was not notified 30 days before it took place - and whether it has endangered national security.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, backed the calls for hearings, saying that when the administration first raised the possibility of a prisoner swap more than two years ago, he raised serious concerns and was promised further engagement if it became viable once again. House Republican aides say those questions -- as well as deep misgivings about a prisoner exchange -- were raised by lawmakers from both parties when they were briefed on the idea in 2011 and 2012.

"There was every expectation that the administration would re-engage with Congress, as it did before, and the only reason it did not is because the administration knew it faced serious and sober bipartisan concern and opposition," Boehner said in a statement.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said in a statement Tuesday that members of Congress "should not be surprised that he acted as he did in the circumstances that existed."

"The President put Congress on notice on Dec. 23, 2013, that he intended to exercise his powers as commander in chief, if necessary, 'to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers,'" Levin said, though he noted that the president still cannot unilaterally change the law.

Levin said he plans to ask what risks would have been incurred if the Secretary of Defense had waited an additional 30 days after completing negotiations on the prisoner swap. He noted that he gives "serious weight" to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, who said that the deal was negotiated during what was likely the "last, best opportunity" to free Bergdahl.

Other Democrats have been more direct in their criticism.

"We feel that there is intelligence that potentially makes a majority of these people a danger for the future," said Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., following a closed hearing on the prisoner exchange. She detailed previous efforts by members of Congress to express their concerns about such a deal in the past.

"It comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law," Feinstein said.

I'm torn on this issue like many people. On the one hand, deserter or not, I think Sgt. Berghal should be brought back home, even if he needs to face the music here. On the other hand, 5 high value Taliban prisoners for one deserter seems too high a price. It sends the wrong message, weakens our hand, and encourages further attempts to kidnap Americans.

Dreadnought
04 Jun 14,, 00:08
On social networking sites, former soldiers of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl's unit in Afghanistan say he willingly deserted and moreover, the search to find him cost six soldiers their lives. They say that Bergdahl is not in anyway a hero and believe he should face charges under the UCMJ. Military officials are confirming to news agencies that Bergdahl left his unit voluntarily, but said they do not know why. In an e-mail to his parents in Idaho shortly before disappearing, Bergdahl said he was disillusioned with the military and he no longer supported the war in Afghanistan. Bergdahl closed the e-mail with: "I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of U.S. solider is just the lie of fools."

The Obama administration is quietly floating the notion that whatever happened, five years in Taliban captivity is enough punishment.

I'm curious how current and former US military personnel on this board view this indelicate situation.

Diffacult. Particulary if other soldiers gave their lives in trying to find him as many claim they did. (Unknown if certain) If he broke the UCMJ then the military will deal with him.

Gun Grape
04 Jun 14,, 02:58
I didn't read much of it past the part of "For more than 200 years, the United States has had a policy of not trading prisoners for American hostages.".

Then what were spy swaps?

Yea we don't trade prisoners for US hostages. We trade weapons. (Iran -contra)

Or we send Jessie Jackson to get them. (Lt Bobbie Goodman)

chanjyj
04 Jun 14,, 04:31
I didn't read much of it past the part of "For more than 200 years, the United States has had a policy of not trading prisoners for American hostages.".

Then what were spy swaps?


Yea we don't trade prisoners for US hostages. We trade weapons. (Iran -contra)

Or we send Jessie Jackson to get them. (Lt Bobbie Goodman)

Read it with a pinch of salt, because Brad Thor sells "action-packed-thrillers". Something I may read on an 8 hour flight to kill time.
If you scroll down further, ignoring the preramble he goes into Bergdahl's disappearance, the Haqqani/Taliban network and the whole "are we told the full story" tale. It does raise some interesting questions, but I am no Afghan expert. tl;dr, I have no clue if his "different tribes, different people" thing is accurate.

TopHatter
04 Jun 14,, 06:03
White House apologizes to lawmakers over secret POW swap

Washington (AFP) - The White House apologized for keeping lawmakers in the dark regarding the exchange of an American soldier for five Taliban fighters, senators said Tuesday, as controversy grew over the issue.

Administration officials plan a classified briefing for the full 100-member chamber Wednesday, with lawmakers from both parties fuming over the trade, which saw captured soldier Bowe Bergdahl released Saturday to US special forces in Afghanistan.

Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, a senior member of President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, said the White House breached US law when it failed to alert Congress to the proposed trade.

"It comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law," she told reporters.

"We're very dismayed about it."

Feinstein reflected mounting bipartisan concern as lawmakers questioned the merits of releasing from Guantanamo five hardened Taliban fighters and officials in exchange for Bergdahl.

Seeking to mop up the political fallout, a senior White House official called Senator Saxby Chambliss, the Intelligence Committee's top Republican, late Monday "apologizing for not giving us advance warning," Chambliss said.

Feinstein said she too was called Monday, by National Deputy Security Advisor Tony Blinken, who offered his apology.

Lawmakers have pounced on Obama for not giving Congress 30 days notice before releasing any detainee at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, as required in a law signed in December.

Chambliss and Feinstein pointed to such assurances made in 2012 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when a similar swap for Bergdahl was mulled.

Senate Democrat Carl Levin said Obama put Congress "on notice" last December in a signing statement saying he has constitutional authority to move quickly on detainees.

And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was told of the swap Friday and that he supported the exchange.

But few others openly backed the president. House Speaker John Boehner said the only reason Obama did not give the necessary notice "is because the administration knew it faced serious and sober bipartisan concern and opposition."

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin called the affair "very disturbing."

The swap will be debated in an open House hearing next week, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel invited to testify.

The controversy puts lawmakers in a tricky spot. Cognizant of the American military code to leave no soldier behind, they agree that securing Bergdahl's release after five years in Taliban captivity was admirable.

But lawmakers have blasted the swap for appearing to violate the principal of not negotiating with terrorists.

"I am concerned about what precedents we set here for exchanges, because I don't want the message to be, you can go ahead and capture Americans and use them to barter for others," Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez [D-NJ] told reporters.

And lawmakers Tuesday seized on administration rationale that the swap was rushed because Bergdahl's health had deteriorated sharply and his life was in immediate danger.

"I have heard no evidence that that is the case," said Senate Intelligence Committee member Susan Collins. Link (http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-apologizes-lawmakers-over-secret-pow-swap-225752330.html)

It must be Opposite Day because the Democrats are openly assailing their Blessed Messiah over this. Although I love how the Dems are shocked, Shocked!, that Obama acted unilaterally, breaking the law as Mrs Feinstein said. Um, this isn't the first time guys. Probably won't be the last.

Now just imagine if it had been a Republican in office committing this act.

Bigfella
04 Jun 14,, 09:48
Or we send Jessie Jackson to get them.....

....and the bastards sent him back!!!! :mad:

Minskaya
04 Jun 14,, 10:05
Can Bowie Bergdahl Be Tied to Six Lost Lives? Facts are Murky (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/04/world/middleeast/can-gi-be-tied-to-6-lost-lives-facts-are-murky.html?_r=0)

Bigfella
04 Jun 14,, 12:01
On the issue of prisoner swaps I thought it was interesting to look at what Israel has done over time. Israel is often held up as an example of an appropriately muscular response to terrorism. There is controversy in America about the fact that there was an exchange or that five Taliban prisoners were exchanged for 1 American. Israel has exchanged hundreds or even thousands of prisoners for handfuls of Israeli prisoners & even bodies of Israeli soldiers. There is a fair argument that the prisoners Israel releases pose a far greater existential threat to that nation, its people & soldiers than the 5 Taliban released for this swap.

None of that makes this the right thing to do, but it does add a useful perspective.

I can't vouch for the factuality of everything here, but lets assume that the below is broadly correct:


April 4, 1975, Egypt returned the bodies of 39 IDF soldiers killed during the Yom Kippur War in exchange for 92 terrorists and security prisoners held in Israel.[1]

In June 1975, Israel released 20 prisoners from the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula. In exchange, Egypt gave Israel the bodies of Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet-Zuri, two Jewish fighters of the pre-state underground militia Lehi who had been hanged in 1945 for having assassinated British politician Lord Moyne in Cairo in November 1944.


The six Fatah prisoners (Eliyahu Abutbul, Dani Gilboa, Rafi Hazan, Reuven Cohen, Avraham Motevaliski, and Avraham Kornfeld) were released November 23, 1983 in exchange for 4700 Palestinians and Lebanese imprisoned at Ansar camp during the 1982 Lebanon war and 65 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

The remaining two soldiers (Yosef Grof and Nissim Salem), as well as a third IDF prisoner (Hezi Shai) captured during the battle of Sultan Ya'qoub, also held by the Jibril group, were released May 21, 1985, in an exchange known as the Jibril Agreement for 1150 Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails. During the so-called “Jibril deal” several controversial prisoners, such as Kozo Okamoto, were released


Over 400 Palestinian and 30 Lebanese prisoners, including Hezbollah leaders ash-Sheikh Abdal-Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani, as well as the remains of 59 Lebanese killed by Israel, were exchanged in 2004 for the bodies of three IDF soldiers (Adi Avitan, Benny Avraham and Omar Souad) captured in the Sheba Farms area in 2000 and Elhanan Tannenbaum, an Israeli colonel in the reserves, kidnapped by Hezbollah in Dubai in October 2000



On 18 October 2011 captured IDF tank gunner Gilad Shalit, captured by the Palestinian militant organization Hamas in 2006, was released in exchange for 1027 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. The released prisoners were responsible for the deaths of 569 Israeli civilians

List of Israeli prisoner exchanges - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Israeli_prisoner_exchanges)

DonBelt
04 Jun 14,, 17:18
It must be Opposite Day because the Democrats are openly assailing their Blessed Messiah over this. Although I love how the Dems are shocked, Shocked!, that Obama acted unilaterally, breaking the law as Mrs Feinstein said. Um, this isn't the first time guys. Probably won't be the last.

Now just imagine if it had been a Republican in office committing thisact.
Many of them are facing re-election in what is predicted to be a tough race for Dems. This won't help them. The prez isn't up for any election unless he fancies running for some other position, so he doesn't care. He just wants something that says "I care about military people, I really do! Never mind the VA and Marine SGT Tahmooressi, there's nothing behind that curtain!"

tankie
04 Jun 14,, 20:05
On the face of it it looks like a bad trade , but I reckon there's more to this than meets the eye , if proven to be a deserter and guys were killed looking for him , im thinking he would have been better off staying where he was , hence my ,,more to this than meets the eye .

JAD_333
04 Jun 14,, 22:34
Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, a senior member of President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, said the White House breached US law when it failed to alert Congress to the proposed trade.


The law in this case may encroach on the president's constitutional powers. Both Congress and the president have a tendency to do that.

In any case, we bring our POW's home unless they've gone over to the other side. The price was high, but the five have been out of the loop a long time. Only 4 of them are likely to get back into the fight. One admits to helping a US agent to track down Mullah Omar. Does he want to go home to explain that? None of these guys are gun toting fighters and all of them were likely replaced long ago.

Bowe Bergdahl will be court marshaled for desertion if he's mentally fit to stand trial. To not do so would be a slap in the face of all the guys who did their duty in Afghanistan. He may be dishonorably discharged and forfeit back pay, but I doubt he'll get a long prison sentence.

No doubt the usual American hyper-critics of everything will extol him as a hero of conscience and enshrine him in the pantheon of other righteous heroes, like Edward Snowden.

Zinja
05 Jun 14,, 00:56
On the issue of prisoner swaps I thought it was interesting to look at what Israel has done over time. Israel is often held up as an example of an appropriately muscular response to terrorism. There is controversy in America about the fact that there was an exchange or that five Taliban prisoners were exchanged for 1 American. Israel has exchanged hundreds or even thousands of prisoners for handfuls of Israeli prisoners & even bodies of Israeli soldiers. There is a fair argument that the prisoners Israel releases pose a far greater existential threat to that nation, its people & soldiers than the 5 Taliban released for this swap.

None of that makes this the right thing to do, but it does add a useful perspective.

I can't vouch for the factuality of everything here, but lets assume that the below is broadly correct:









List of Israeli prisoner exchanges - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Israeli_prisoner_exchanges)
BF, you can't run a nation's foreign or security policy by another nation's. Egypt you are talking about also incarcerates opposition, should the US follow suite?

Zinja
05 Jun 14,, 01:08
This is getting so annoying: According to Susan Rice, did the administration give congress the 30 day notice or not? Does this movie seem familiar to someone?

Also, Was Bergdahl health condition deteriorating or not?

The thing that gets me most about politicians, Obama was portraying himself as the shining knight that rescued Bergdahl, very happy to parade the whole thing before cameras. Now that the wheels are coming off big time suddenly he is the commander in silence pushing junior staff to the cameras to clean up his mess. This has been his habit repeatedly, it really annoys me!

DonBelt
05 Jun 14,, 02:14
And so it begins....
Now we have a loverly couple who just wanted to visit Afghanistan (the apple blossoms are lovely this time of year) and got themselves captured by the Taliban. They have been held supposedly since 2011 and now their families are demanding to know why the Obama administration won't trade captives from GTMO for them. How can you explain to them that their family members aren't worth an exchange?
In the White Mountains, the Forest Service charges people for rescue if it is shown that they behaved stupidly and got themselves in trouble. Maybe they should extend that to the Hindu Kush.

AP Exclusive: Western couple held in Afghanistan (http://news.msn.com/world/ap-exclusive-western-couple-held-in-afghanistan#tscptmf)

Bigfella
05 Jun 14,, 02:48
BF, you can't run a nation's foreign or security policy by another nation's. Egypt you are talking about also incarcerates opposition, should the US follow suite?

I wasn't suggesting that. I was offering a perspective for people to use when considering the deal that was done.....as made pretty clear.

Bigfella
05 Jun 14,, 02:50
How can you explain to them that their family members aren't worth an exchange?


Tell them you only exchange high value prisoners for US military personnel, not morons who go hiking in the wrong country.

Triple C
05 Jun 14,, 05:55
Doesn't it take 13 days of absence to be designated as a deserter? Technically, Bergdhal could only be held accountable for one evening of AWOL after which he presumably was captured. Still, incredibly bad decision making and lapse of discipline on his part, if that is the case.

How old are the five exchanged Taliban? GITMO isn't a vacation resort or regular POW pen. Are these guys in shape, mentally and physically, to get back to the fight?

JAD_333
05 Jun 14,, 07:19
A military lawyer on NPR this morning defined desertion as taking off with no intention of returning, whereas with AWOL the presumption is the fellow intends to return. Desertion can take place the minute you leave. AWOL automatically becomes desertion after 30 days. To prove desertion they'll have to prove he didn't intend to return to duty. Otherwise, he'll be charged with AWOL. The penalty depends on the circumstances. Desertion in wartime carries a max death penalty. That won't happen here because the war in A-stan is not 'declared'. If he doesn't get a Dishonorable discharge, he's likely get a Bad Conduct discharge, lose pay, be demoted and possibly get a few months in the brig.

Bigfella
05 Jun 14,, 07:26
JAD,

Do you think they will actually court martial him, or will they shirk the issue with some 'he has been punished enough' excuse.

Doktor
05 Jun 14,, 07:42
Again...


Homeland anyone?

This turned rather nasty. I wouldn't have made that trade. He was written off. "We don't negotiate with terrorists, sorry". And all would have been nice and dandy. A big can of worms is opened now.

What good will come out of a trial? Admission that the Administration rescued a deserter?

JAD_333
05 Jun 14,, 07:54
JAD,

Do you think they will actually court martial him, or will they shirk the issue with some 'he has been punished enough' excuse.

BF,

There are some pissed off Special Forces guys who think he should be. He deserted his post, was the subject of a dangerous search in which soldiers came in harm's way, was used as a propaganda tool by his captors, cost the country time, effort and political capital to extract him and 5 bad guys were freed. And now the Taliban have scored a media coup with the video of the exchange going viral and the Taliban insinuating that the US had in effect dealt with them as a government in exile. That dumped a lot of bad karma in Kabul.

I'm happy for his family, and I guess we did the right thing getting him home, but to send him on his way with a pat on the back, 5 years back pay and a promotion won't sit right with a lot of people. But we live in whacky times with a president who makes up the rules as he goes along.

bigross86
05 Jun 14,, 08:26
I don't have an issue with this deal in particular, I have issues with deals like this in general. Looking at it from the Israeli perspective, as BF brought up earlier, each single deal like this does 2 things: 1) Shows that kidnapping soldiers is a good move, and 2) shows that the Israeli government doesn't really care about prisoners actually serving their full terms, meaning that their sentences are negotiable. This directly leads to a lack of deterrence, because even if a terrorist is caught, he knows that he will eventually be released early in time for another peace initiative to fail miserably, and he can get back to his terroristing ways.

Minskaya
05 Jun 14,, 10:10
The Israel Ministerial Committee for Legislation has passed (7/3) a proposed amendment to the Basic Laws that would forbid the government from pardoning/releasing people convicted of violent crimes in regards to terrorist attacks, murder with nationalist motivations, or murder of children. Minister Naftali Bennett said the proposed amendment would be introduced in the Knesset on Sunday.

tankie
05 Jun 14,, 13:40
Latest from Reuters


LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said the decision to strike a deal with the Taliban for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was unanimous in the White House as it was believed that the soldier's life was "in peril".

Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan on Saturday after five years in captivity in exchange for the transfer of five senior Taliban members from Guantanamo prison in Cuba to Qatar.
It provoked criticism from some lawmakers in Congress who were angry that U.S. President Barack Obama's administration had not alerted them in advance, while some of Bergdahl's former comrades have charged that he was captured after deserting.

Hagel told the BBC in an interview aired on Thursday that Barack Obama's administration had to act quickly and without first consulting Congress which is supposed to be given 30 days notice before transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

"It was our judgment based on the information that we had that his life, his health were in peril," Hagel told the BBC in an interview in Romania.

"It was our judgment, and it was unanimous by the way .. that we didn't want to take any chance here."
He said the secretary of defence, the secretary of state, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, director of national intelligence, and attorney general, had all come to the same conclusion.

"You imagine if we would have waited for, taken the chance of leaks over a 30-day period. I will tell you what I know, and I made a judgment on this too, that would seriously imperil us ever getting him out," he said.
Senator Carl Levin, the Democratic head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has said Obama did not violate the law requiring 30 days notice as the president put Congress on notice in December last year that he would "act swiftly" regarding detainee transfers if necessary.

The Pentagon says Bergdahl, 28, is in a stable condition at the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Officials have indicated there is little desire to pursue any disciplinary action against him given what he has been through.
(Reporting by Michael Holden and Belinda Goldsmith; editing by Stephen Addison)

bfng3569
05 Jun 14,, 18:32
the mid east and north Africa boards?? huh? I never would have looked here if it wasn't for a thread somewhere else......

Minskaya
05 Jun 14,, 22:53
Since the exchange has become a political football, thread moved to American Politics

JAD_333
05 Jun 14,, 23:38
I don't have an issue with this deal in particular, I have issues with deals like this in general. Looking at it from the Israeli perspective, as BF brought up earlier, each single deal like this does 2 things: 1) Shows that kidnapping soldiers is a good move, and 2) shows that the Israeli government doesn't really care about prisoners actually serving their full terms, meaning that their sentences are negotiable. This directly leads to a lack of deterrence, because even if a terrorist is caught, he knows that he will eventually be released early in time for another peace initiative to fail miserably, and he can get back to his terroristing ways.

Ben, it might be a good move, but waiting 5 years for it to pay off takes a lot of its value away.

Minskaya
05 Jun 14,, 23:50
For background purposes, it is alleged by former service members that these soldiers were KIA searching for Sgt Bowe Bergdahl in September 2009.

All served in Sgt Bergdahl's unit in Afghanistan: 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Army Pfc. Matthew M. Martinek (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-pfc-matthew-m-martinek/4279471)

Army Staff Sgt. Kurt R. Curtiss (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-staff-sgt-kurt-r-curtiss/4260307)

Army Pfc. Morris L. Walker (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-pfc-morris-l-walker/4245889)

Army Staff Sgt. Clayton P. Bowen (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-staff-sgt-clayton-p-bowen/4245887)

Army 2nd Lt. Darryn D. Andrews (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-2nd-lt-darryn-d-andrews/4266702)

Army Staff Sgt. Michael C. Murphrey (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-staff-sgt-michael-c-murphrey/4268869)

DonBelt
05 Jun 14,, 23:54
A military lawyer on NPR this morning defined desertion as taking off with no intention of returning, whereas with AWOL the presumption is the fellow intends to return. Desertion can take place the minute you leave. AWOL automatically becomes desertion after 30 days. To prove desertion they'll have to prove he didn't intend to return to duty. Otherwise, he'll be charged with AWOL. The penalty depends on the circumstances. Desertion in wartime carries a max death penalty. That won't happen here because the war in A-stan is not 'declared'. If he doesn't get a Dishonorable discharge, he's likely get a Bad Conduct discharge, lose pay, be demoted and possibly get a few months in the brig.

If the word of his Sgt is good, he reportedly asked how he could ship his gear home and what kind of trouble he could get in if his equipment disappeared. That would go a ways to showing intent. First though, I think you might have to show he was mentally fit and able to understand the nature of his crime. He could've been disturbed from the git go.

tbm3fan
06 Jun 14,, 00:51
For background purposes, it is alleged by former service members that these soldiers were KIA searching for Sgt Bowe Bergdahl in September 2009.

All served in Sgt Bergdahl's unit in Afghanistan: 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Army Pfc. Matthew M. Martinek (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-pfc-matthew-m-martinek/4279471)

Army Staff Sgt. Kurt R. Curtiss (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-staff-sgt-kurt-r-curtiss/4260307)

Army Pfc. Morris L. Walker (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-pfc-morris-l-walker/4245889)

Army Staff Sgt. Clayton P. Bowen (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-staff-sgt-clayton-p-bowen/4245887)

Army 2nd Lt. Darryn D. Andrews (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-2nd-lt-darryn-d-andrews/4266702)

Army Staff Sgt. Michael C. Murphrey (http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/army-staff-sgt-michael-c-murphrey/4268869)

Here is more depth. I would say 5 have zero connection whereas one could be looking, or on routine patrol, or both, or where is the line drawn.

The six soldiers at center of Bowe Bergdahl debate - CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/05/us/bergdahl-killed-soldiers-profiles/index.html?hpt=hp_t1)

Doktor
06 Jun 14,, 00:57
How this all affair affects the morale of the GI's?

Tamara
06 Jun 14,, 07:47
How this all affair affects the morale of the GI's?

Difficult to say but if there is any indicator, it is when it comes time to re-enlist.

Two things.

First of all, keep in mind that the way news is seen in the military is different from the civilian world and indeed, probably different from a civilian. I have a pure civilian very liberal friend who can't understand all the hate against him because he's been punished enough. How they ever got married, her a liberal civilian and him a conservative petty officer, I'll never figure out. Or the civilians who can't understand why a carrier Captain is relieved because some sailor burned up a few rooms on his ship.

Still, though, if the GI is seeing all the news of how the government treats the military (VA, this incident, Vets being declared a terror risk, etc) then this matter might only be icing on the cake.

Secondly, I don't think any administration has really had a servicemember's back completely. Some more than others perhaps but never totally. One thing I have learned is that when a political leader says he takes responsibility for an incident, it means NOTHING. Not that he is necessarily lying but rather it is extremely unlikely that he will ever be called to be accountable................and he knows it.

citanon
06 Jun 14,, 07:52
Taliban Commanders Say They Found Bergdahl Cursing His Countrymen - NBC News (http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/bowe-bergdahl-released/taliban-commanders-say-they-found-bergdahl-cursing-his-countrymen-n123846)

Minskaya
06 Jun 14,, 10:11
Here is more depth. I would say 5 have zero connection whereas one could be looking, or on routine patrol, or both, or where is the line drawn.
It is very difficult indeed to definitively sort things out five years later.

tankie
06 Jun 14,, 10:14
Taliban Commanders Say They Found Bergdahl Cursing His Countrymen - NBC News (http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/bowe-bergdahl-released/taliban-commanders-say-they-found-bergdahl-cursing-his-countrymen-n123846)

Why then was he not paraded on tv for propaganda purposes ? 2nd why is he referred to as a PFC ?

Albany Rifles
06 Jun 14,, 15:29
Why then was he not paraded on tv for propaganda purposes ? 2nd why is he referred to as a PFC ?

Tankie,

Unsure of the first.

As for the second he was a PFC in rank when he went missing. He is a sergeant today because it is American policy that POW/MIA are automatically promoted at each elligible date while in captivity. So at the earliest eligible date while he was in captivity he was promoted to Specialist/E4 and Sergeant/E5.

In additiona all pay and benefits continue. If thee are dependents they receive it (wife, etc). If not then all pay and allowances are banked and given to the serviceman upon return to freedom.

And while the speculation is rampant I want to remind one and all that Sergeant Bergdahl has not been charged and/or convicted of anything. As of this moment his service is honorable.

And even if he was the biggest scumbag soldier you NEVER leave a comrade behind.

antimony
06 Jun 14,, 21:07
This episode should put down any criticism of the GoI's handling of the IC 184 hijacking when it negotiated and released 5 terrorists in exchange for safe return of all passengers with the exception of one, Ripan Katyal who was initially killed during the hijacking part. If America, the mightiest and most powerful nation, would release 5 high value terrorists for the return of one soldier, true or not, got captured under suspicious circumstances, then the GoI during the day of IC 184 could not be termed as being weak or ill-advised.

Bullshit.

That was still an active operation. You sure you want to discuss this in this thread

antimony
06 Jun 14,, 21:11
Difficult to say but if there is any indicator, it is when it comes time to re-enlist.

Two things.

First of all, keep in mind that the way news is seen in the military is different from the civilian world and indeed, probably different from a civilian. I have a pure civilian very liberal friend who can't understand all the hate against him because he's been punished enough. How they ever got married, her a liberal civilian and him a conservative petty officer, I'll never figure out. Or the civilians who can't understand why a carrier Captain is relieved because some sailor burned up a few rooms on his ship.

Still, though, if the GI is seeing all the news of how the government treats the military (VA, this incident, Vets being declared a terror risk, etc) then this matter might only be icing on the cake.

Secondly, I don't think any administration has really had a servicemember's back completely. Some more than others perhaps but never totally. One thing I have learned is that when a political leader says he takes responsibility for an incident, it means NOTHING. Not that he is necessarily lying but rather it is extremely unlikely that he will ever be called to be accountable................and he knows it.

I am a civvie, and I don't see in this case why the two views would diverge (probably because I am a civvie).

This seems like a POW exchange. You can call them terrorists as much as you like, but they are still POWs and you exchanged them for your man. Whether he is guilty of deserting or not is a completely different question

JAD_333
06 Jun 14,, 22:22
New York Times reporting today...

Bergdahl Walked Away More Than Once, Military Says
By CHARLIE SAVAGE and ERIC SCHMITT

A report on the Army’s investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance in June 2009 says he had left assigned areas before and then returned, according to people briefed on it.


Once is enough, but interesting...


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/06/world/asia/bowe-bergdahl-walked-away-before-military-report-says.html?hp

Tamara
06 Jun 14,, 22:40
I am a civvie, and I don't see in this case why the two views would diverge (probably because I am a civvie).

This seems like a POW exchange. You can call them terrorists as much as you like, but they are still POWs and you exchanged them for your man. Whether he is guilty of deserting or not is a completely different question

Well, that's another thing to add to the morale issue.

Seems like the definition of how one is fighting changes from election to election.

When I was in, long ago, for example, we were told that terrorists were criminals, not soldiers, because their actions, the way they dressed were counter to what was a soldier, in violation of the Rules of War. As I recall, for it was the late 80's, one of the defining points was that a soldier openly displays his weapon, has a standard uniform for his "unit".....which a terrorist does not.

But regardless of who they are, you still follow certain rules, procedures on how to treat them. The concept of "they would do the same to you" was not only unacceptable, it is tactically unwise for such behavior can be used by an enemy, this one or a future, against you if you are ever captured.

Now, let's conceptualize (because my time in the Navy ended in 1990) for a moment and jump up to the Bush the II administration. Suddenly, many of Rules of War of how to treat prisoners are neutralized or redefined at least by the politicians, people are told to mistreat them because the Rules don't apply to such people.

Well, one thing I know (or I'm that paranoid) is that people without true accountability will tell you to do something, tell you the situation has changed, but if it turns out badly (and in this information explosion world, someone is bound to find out eventually), it will be you left holding the bag.

If anything could affect morale, it is having to fight, carry out orders in such an environment.

Now, something I learned in the 70's as a child when I was on a diplomatic passport and my potential as a target escalated. The reason why you don't give into terrorist demands, release prisoners for hostages, is that signals to any cell in the world that such is the way to do business. If you have shown that you will give in if they have hostages, you have opened the door to anyone in the future.

Is it an all time, universal policy? Well, no. Sometimes you must exchange some people to buy time or perhaps to gain intelligence. If you have to do it, however, at least two things. First of all, you make sure that such a bargain is well worth the cost, both now and later. Secondly, it is very wise to have something later in the affair to dissuade others from thinking it is a viable means of operation.

For example, as I recall, the Israelis about Entebbe gave into some of the demands early on to buy time..............but look at the message that was delivered to the world when the other shoe dropped.

BUT.......what do I know? My ways of thinking are of another time.

Although.....the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Jaque) was seen by many as a wonderful operation; this affair, though, I doubt will be so well received in the world.

tankie
07 Jun 14,, 12:05
Tankie,

Unsure of the first.

As for the second he was a PFC in rank when he went missing. He is a sergeant today because it is American policy that POW/MIA are automatically promoted at each elligible date while in captivity. So at the earliest eligible date while he was in captivity he was promoted to Specialist/E4 and Sergeant/E5.

In additiona all pay and benefits continue. If thee are dependents they receive it (wife, etc). If not then all pay and allowances are banked and given to the serviceman upon return to freedom.

And while the speculation is rampant I want to remind one and all that Sergeant Bergdahl has not been charged and/or convicted of anything. As of this moment his service is honorable.

And even if he was the biggest scumbag soldier you NEVER leave a comrade behind.

Cheers A/R , my first ref to propaganda was i suppose , rhetorical ?? but ref to a PFC , to a brit soldier , thats one weird way of getting promotion ???

Albany Rifles
07 Jun 14,, 17:46
Tankie I understand the promotion confusion. It grew out of Code of Conduct post Korea. The idea was that if you are a POW you are still a combatant and to keep the fight going any way you could....similar to Allied airmen in World War 2. To match this the promotion system was put in place to reward continued good service. Time as a POW is always assumed to be honorable service until such time an investigation proves otherwise.

That is why I am reserving ALL judgement in this case.

tankie
07 Jun 14,, 18:32
Thanks , that clears that up then A/R , a clear concise explanation , not bad ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,forra yank :biggrin:

tankie
08 Jun 14,, 12:12
BBC news , is saying his family have received email death threats ???

Minskaya
08 Jun 14,, 12:14
Bergdahl says he was tortured by Taliban captors
June 08, 2014
By Lolita C. Baldor - Associated Press

PARIS (AP) -- A senior U.S. official says Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl tells military officials that he was tortured, beaten and held in a cage by his Taliban captors in Afghanistan after he tried to escape. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he's not authorized to discuss what Bergdahl is saying while being treated at a U.S. military medical facility in Germany. The official says it is difficult to verify the accounts Bergdahl is providing about conditions of his captivity in the hands of the Taliban. He was released a week ago after nearly five years in captivity. The New York Times reports Sunday that Bergdahl is not yet emotionally prepared to return to his family. His release in exchange for five Taliban militants from Guantanamo Bay has ignited a political firestorm.
Source (http://www.weartv.com/template/inews_wire/wires.international/35f2c035-weartv.com.shtml#.U5Q2ZvldVGg)

Minskaya
08 Jun 14,, 15:26
If we leave the circumstances of Bergdahl's capture behind, what we also have here is a clash of conflicting values. The first is to never leave a soldier behind. The second is to never negotiate with terrorists. With asymmetrical warfare with non-state actors becoming a norm rather than the exception, it seems to me that compromising the non-negotiation value may be the only pragmatic methodology to never leave a soldier behind. Although it is idealistically distasteful to barter with pirates and terrorists to reclaim soldiers and citizens, history is replete with exemplars.

I think Obama et. al. did the right thing here, but I also think it troublesome that Congress was not consulted in accordance with US law. I consider the excuses put forward thus far rather tenuous and shallow. I also think the aftermath concerning the possible reintegration of the Gitmo Five into terrorist activity and the conduct of Sgt Bowie Bergdahl will take many months and perhaps even years to apportion.

Mihais
08 Jun 14,, 15:56
NATO is getting out.Getting POW's back denies the reason for a future Rambo 2 Returns movie and all the drama surrounding these things.
As for the Talibans released,they have 0 practical importance.

Minskaya
08 Jun 14,, 16:29
A few more musings.

I think Obama's Rose Garden announcement with Bergdahl's parents was inappropriate and cheesy.

US intelligence has multi-source information of Bergdahl's behavior in Taliban captivity.

If Bergdahl is charged with offenses under the UCMJ, the military will not go easy on him.

Pedicabby
08 Jun 14,, 19:16
37088

Doktor
08 Jun 14,, 19:38
Bowe Bergdahl: America's Last Prisoner of War by Michael Hastings | Politics News | Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607)

Old date, but still can be interesting read. To remember the emotions.

Albany Rifles
08 Jun 14,, 22:22
Pedicabby


I see nothing humorous in that and find it quite offensive in fact.

And I don't give a rats ass for the source. Doesn't make it right.

Doktor
08 Jun 14,, 22:27
I would Court Marshal him. Would clean the air if he did something bad or not. If he did, let him be punished and get over it, if he didn't, move on.

citanon
08 Jun 14,, 23:51
A few more musings.

I think Obama's Rose Garden announcement with Bergdahl's parents was inappropriate and cheesy.

US intelligence has multi-source information of Bergdahl's behavior in Taliban captivity.

If Bergdahl is charged with offenses under the UCMJ, the military will not go easy on him.

At least he attempted to escape, or so we hear. I don't recall him ever releasing any anti-US statements while in Taliban captivity?

We're probably going to hear the story of a guy who deserted, went over to the taliban, changed his mind, tried to escape, resisted attempts to exploit him, etc. Perhaps a person who's conduct during captivity was more honorable than actions leading up to capture. It will be quite muddled.

Maybe Sgt. Bergdahl's alleged desertion need to be balanced against honorable service while in captivity. We won't know until the investigation is complete, but if that is the case, I think Sgt. Berghal has at least partially redeemed himself. I think that he and his parents have been through enough. I don't think the threats against his parents are right. :mad:

Now that's the human side.

But on the side of US policy and the administration's conduct, I find several aspects of this very questionable. If it was ONE taliban guy traded for him, I think we would not hear the same criticism today. The fact that there were FIVE high level guys who are probably going back there to be big heroes and leadership figures. That's different. That's questionable. The second fact that there was no congressional notification, not even to the leadership of the select committees, that's very questionable. The fact that the administration now states that Taliban threats kept them from a legal duty to notify congress, in effect admitting that the Taliban was able to subvert the US political process via threats, that's further questionable.

I don't think Americans object to prisoner trades to getting our guy back, but doing so in a way that endanger US personnel and convey weakness is a mistake. They should have done this better. No matter where you stand on this issue and how you feel about Sgt. Berghal, there's no getting around the fact that the US got out maneuvered on this by the Taliban and the Haqqannis. Make no mistake about it, this is a victory for our adversaries. :mad:

JAD_333
09 Jun 14,, 05:26
Citanon:

If I recall correctly the Taliban made some videos with Bergdahl dressed in uniform complete with helmet criticizing US involvement in A-stan. They must have provided the uniform because Bergdahl left his uniform and equipment behind.

Obama's people screwed up the public side of this affair from the gitgo, and they keep on stubbing their toes. If the truth were known, Obama probably didn't inform Congress of the trade as the law required because Congress might have balked at the price of 5 Taliban heavies. Now he's throwing in excuses like Bergdahl was in bad health and he may have been tortured for trying to escape.

I agree with trying to get back one our POWs. The price bothers me less than the precedent. But Bergdahl wasn't kidnapped. He walked into the hands of the Taliban.

If Bergdahl was a hero, people wouldn't be bitching so much. But even if he is a deserter, as seems to be the case, leaving him there to rot by way of punishment goes way beyond our duty to afford him due process.

citanon
09 Jun 14,, 07:02
Citanon:

If I recall correctly the Taliban made some videos with Bergdahl dressed in uniform complete with helmet criticizing US involvement in A-stan. They must have provided the uniform because Bergdahl left his uniform and equipment behind.

I was not aware of that. This puts him in an even worse light.



Obama's people screwed up the public side of this affair from the gitgo, and they keep on stubbing their toes. If the truth were known, Obama probably didn't inform Congress of the trade as the law required because Congress might have balked at the price of 5 Taliban heavies. Now he's throwing in excuses like Bergdahl was in bad health and he may have been tortured for trying to escape.

I agree with trying to get back one our POWs. The price bothers me less than the precedent. But Bergdahl wasn't kidnapped. He walked into the hands of the Taliban.

If Bergdahl was a hero, people wouldn't be bitching so much. But even if he is a deserter, as seems to be the case, leaving him there to rot by way of punishment goes way beyond our duty to afford him due process.

Agreed.

Minskaya
09 Jun 14,, 07:41
If it was ONE taliban guy traded for him, I think we would not hear the same criticism today. The fact that there were FIVE high level guys who are probably going back there to be big heroes and leadership figures. That's different. That's questionable.
I also think the US should have obtained better terms from the Qataris. Although the released Talibs supposedly cannot leave Qatar for a year, they can (and already have) meet with comrades and use phones, computers etc. This far ranging freedom almost ensures recidivism.

Triple C
09 Jun 14,, 15:27
Citanon:

If I recall correctly the Taliban made some videos with Bergdahl dressed in uniform complete with helmet criticizing US involvement in A-stan. They must have provided the uniform because Bergdahl left his uniform and equipment behind.

Obama's people screwed up the public side of this affair from the gitgo, and they keep on stubbing their toes. If the truth were known, Obama probably didn't inform Congress of the trade as the law required because Congress might have balked at the price of 5 Taliban heavies. Now he's throwing in excuses like Bergdahl was in bad health and he may have been tortured for trying to escape.


I take it that you are reserving judgement for WH's claim that Bergdahl was in imminent danger of being executed until such time that WH offers evidence it is more than a spin?

Albany Rifles
09 Jun 14,, 16:49
Kevin Levin on his excellent Civil War Blog Civil War Memory posted this excellent essay I wish to share.

There Are No Monuments To Deserters on Civil War Battlefields (http://cwmemory.com/2014/06/08/there-are-no-monuments-to-deserters-on-civil-war-battlefields/#comment-85759)



There Are No Monuments To Deserters on Civil War Battlefields
 June 8, 2014 
Bowe Bergdahl, Civil War Monuments, desertion, Peter Carmichael


Regardless of the assumptions and background knowledge that we bring, the presence of monuments on our Civil War battlefields may be one of the greatest obstacles to understanding the full range of soldier experiences. The monuments allow us to focus in on the most heroic stories and themes, which no doubt reinforces feelings of national pride and an understanding of what kind of behavior is expected. Such a focus, however, comes at the price of ignoring moments when soldiers fall short of what is expected of them in the heat of battle. Normally, we can safely ignore such moments, but it’s not so easy when one is thrust on us as is the case of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who reportedly abandoned his station in Afghanistan and spent five years as a Taliban Prisoner of War.

My friend, Peter Carmichael, is fond of promoting Civil War battlefields as places where Americans can ponder the past ten-plus years of a nation at war. This can be an incredibly fruitful approach to impressing upon visitors many of the connections between the Civil War era and the past two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was something that I tried to emphasize when touring battlefields with my students in Virginia. It’s hard not to see the influence of the past decade on scholarship having to do with the struggles of Civil War veterans and especially on the havoc that battlefields played on the human body. The most recent issue of The Civil War Monitor includes a one-legged veteran on the cover with the title, “Broken Soldiers” highlighted. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that this influence of historians extends at all to the broader society.

The bitter and divided response over Bergdahl’s release is for me the clearest indication that Americans remain woefully disconnected from war. As much as I admire the goals of a Carmichael-style battlefield tour let’s at least start by admitting that since 2003 we have in no way carried ourselves collectively as a nation at war. Once war was declared in both Afghanistan and Iraq we were perfectly content as a nation with utilizing a volunteer force. We celebrated the patriotism of the many men and women who volunteered and we were perfectly content to sit by and not worry about the multiple tours of duty carried out by so many. I for one can talk all day about the life of the Civil War soldier and I am embarrassed to admit that I can say next to nothing about military life in camp, on the march and in battle in the two most recent theaters of war.

I don’t remember reading any Facebook updates commenting on Bergdahl’s decision to join the military nor do I remember any commentary when he was captured or at any point in the last five years of his captivity. We could go on with our lives with no concern for Bergdahl at all and yet the moment he was released we all had something to say. Yesterday I made the mistake of getting involved in a Facebook thread in which the author claimed that Bergdahl was not a POW. I asked if there was any evidence. Had I missed something in my reading? What I got in return for my question was re-direction and suspicion, not to mention a personal attack from a Civil War historian who recently published a book in which he accuses others of rushing to judgment about a certain Confederate general. I doubt that either of these individuals ever gave Bergdahl a moment of thought before this past week. That was par for the course given the wild accusations made about Bergdahl that could be found across social media and even on mainstream news.

Walking on Civil War battlefields I sometimes have to remind myself that not everyone (including the wounded) marched in close order forward toward the enemy. Many likely succumbed to their fears and dropped to the ground, sought cover or simply ran in the opposite direction. Even beyond the battlefield itself we know that many soldiers fell short of the martial ideal. Those us who are serious about history and the experiences of these men know to tread carefully when dealing with these moments. We know that there is a context in which to interpret specific moments in the life of the Civil War soldier, not with the goal of judging the individual in question, but with the hope that some kind of understanding is possible. We have an obligation to tread carefully as historians, but as Americans we owe it to these men who ultimately contributed to the preservation of the Union.

We have a similar responsibility to Sergeant Bergdahl. Those of you for whatever reason choose to reduce Bergdahl’s military experience down to one moment do him and every other service member a huge disservice. If we cared little for what these men and women experienced while in combat and now as many struggle to readjust to civilian life, we can at least do whatever it takes to ensure that they don’t become the next poster child in our ongoing political partisan warfare.

How do we do that? We can start by educating ourselves about the soldiers experience in its totality over the past decade. Maybe that would truly prepare us as a nation to thank our fellow citizens for all that they have done.

JAD_333
09 Jun 14,, 18:11
I take it that you are reserving judgement for WH's claim that Bergdahl was in imminent danger of being executed until such time that WH offers evidence it is more than a spin?

One of the panel people on Face The Nation yesterday said the CIA did not believe Bergdahl was in bad health. The White House made the call based on photos of him looking pasty and thin. I take it the intel people were unimpressed with this reasoning. I have no links to substantiate any of this.

Triple C
09 Jun 14,, 18:28
JAD, so far, that's as reasonable an interpretation of what's going on as any. I'm not opposed to trading prisoners on principle, but I still wonder if the number of Taliban suspects could have been better negotiated. Five high value enemies for one private is a steep trade. Which brings to question, why the exchange?

Albany Rifles
09 Jun 14,, 19:22
I can understand you reticence JAD on the White House but considering the batting average of the CIA over the last several decades....

JAD_333
10 Jun 14,, 01:54
JAD, so far, that's as reasonable an interpretation of what's going on as any. I'm not opposed to trading prisoners on principle, but I still wonder if the number of Taliban suspects could have been better negotiated. Five high value enemies for one private is a steep trade. Which brings to question, why the exchange?

To be flip, let's just say one errant US soldier is worth more than 5 Taliban heavies. The Taliban can ponder on that as they try to figure out what to do with those guys.

Triple C
10 Jun 14,, 08:44
I can understand you reticence JAD on the White House but considering the batting average of the CIA over the last several decades....

Good enough for baseball!

bigross86
10 Jun 14,, 09:35
JAD, so far, that's as reasonable an interpretation of what's going on as any. I'm not opposed to trading prisoners on principle, but I still wonder if the number of Taliban suspects could have been better negotiated. Five high value enemies for one private is a steep trade. Which brings to question, why the exchange?

"I will not trade a Marshal for a Lieutenant." - Stalin on the German proposal to exchange his son Yakov for German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus.

Mihais
10 Jun 14,, 09:53
Gentlemen,I believe you miss a point.This isn't about POW exchange in wartime.This is about leaving A-stan in the most face saving manner possible.It's something this administration has been all about since the start.The problem is they're awfully awkward and manage to fvck up even simple things.Whatever they touch,turns into a scandal.

Minskaya
10 Jun 14,, 10:13
Apparently, 80-90 executive branch officials in the Pentagon, White House, and the intelligence agencies knew of the deal, but no members of Congress were informed beforehand. Congressional lawmakers say they were only informed that news about Bowie Bergdahl was immanent.

Vahagn
17 Jun 14,, 19:16
I think there are too many misconceptions on the whole trade. From what I read and understand, the five aren't considered "terrorists" since they're part of the Afghan Taliban (which isn't considered a terrorist organization by the State Department). This isn't to say that the Taliban 5 aren't dangerous. Also the legality of the swap it all is pretty murky.

Although I don't support Obama as president, past presidents have made exceptions to the whole "we don't negotiate with prisoners" so, really, this isn't new. As for Sgt. Bowe, I'll reserve any judgements until new information comes along but it does seem like he's a deserter.

DonBelt
17 Jun 14,, 22:17
This is true, and as Taliban they occupy a squishy legal area- are they illegal combatants since they violate several long standing requirements of valid combatants? Or are they government officials and legitimate POW's? But regardless of that, Bergdahl was held by the Haqqani, not the Taliban. What did the Haqqani, who usually look for money, get for having Taliban traded for their prisoner?

Vahagn
18 Jun 14,, 05:07
I wouldn't know nor was I aware of the Haqqani until now, and according to Wiki, they were allied with the Taliban but according to the State department, they are labeled as a terrorist organization. Other than that, I don't know. I'm relying on Wiki and according to Wiki, the Taliban originally wanted a large settlement and 21 prisoners until it went down to just 5 so perhaps the Taliban took control of the whole situation.

As for the Taliban five, they were influential for the Taliban, dangerous, and some were might have been responsible for war crimes. I think this could cause future problems for the US and future administrations.

JAD_333
18 Jun 14,, 23:31
What are the limits for a father fighting for his son's life?

Bowe Bergdahl Parents: The Sacrificial Lambs - TIME (http://time.com/2863225/bowe-bergdahl-parent-the-sacrificial-lambs/)



U.S. Military
The Sacrificial Lambs

Joe Klein @JoeKleinTIME

June 12, 2014
What the Bergdahl affair tells us about the hidden costs of a decade of war

Imagine that you are Robert Bergdahl. It’s not hard if you’re a parent. For the past five years, you’ve been terrified and obsessed. Your son Bowe has been captured by the Taliban, and you will do anything–anything–to get him released. You are a former surfer, a former truck driver, a Republican. Bowe has always been a delight and a worry, smart, fragile, ephemeral. Before he joined the Army, he lived in a Buddhist monastery. Before he left for Afghanistan, he made a deep-dive study of the local culture, history and language.
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So you decide to do a Bowe-like thing. You try to show respect toward his captors. You learn their language and history. You grow your beard out in scraggly Salafist fashion. You learn that one of his captors has lost a son–shades of Homeland!–to an American missile strike. You may have been touched by Stockholm syndrome: you now know this war has been a horror on all sides. You give a speech at an Idaho Republican Party fundraiser and ask for compassion for Bowe’s captors. There have been at least three years of negotiations between the U.S. government and the Taliban, a prisoner swap for Bowe’s release that might lead to peace talks. But nothing has happened.
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And then he’s released. Suddenly, you’re standing before cameras in the Rose Garden with your wife Jani and the President. In gratitude, you say the words in Arabic that precede any public speech or film or performance: “In the name of Allah, the most merciful and compassionate.” Your hometown of Hailey, Idaho, is readying a parade to honor Bowe. But all hell breaks loose. First, it’s all about Bowe. He’s a deserter. He may be a traitor. He left his body armor on his cot and walked out of his combat outpost; he left a note saying he was done fighting. (Later, it turns out he left no note.) Some members of his platoon, understandably infuriated, are on television–an organized Republican public relations assault–saying all sorts of terrible things about him. (Later, the New York Times reports that the platoon was troubled, “raggedy” even before Bergdahl left it.) There are reports that your son became a semi-spokesman for the Taliban, that he was allowed to carry a gun. (Later, there are reports that he tried to escape twice and was placed in a cage, in darkness, shackled, for weeks at a time.)

Next, they come after you. Sean Hannity says you uttered a “war cry of Allah” in the Rose Garden. Hannity has two Islamic “experts” on his radio show who don’t refute the claim. One of them asserts that you “radicalized” your son just as the mother of the Boston Marathon bombers “did.” But Hannity knows a main chance when he sees it. Back to the war cry: “And you think the father interpreted it that way and purposely said that in the Rose Garden, and it was sending a message and the President–you could see the President smiling there as he says it.”

So, somehow, after five years of mind-bending parental torture, you have become a pawn in a right-wing meta-story: the President is a secret Muslim sympathizer. Oh, and you may be a Muslim terrorist sympathizer too. You’re getting death threats. Your town cancels the parade. Finally, in your defense, a former pastor of yours tells the Christian Post that you and Jani have been “really hurt,” that you are practicing Christians. “I’ve prayed with both of them regularly,” he says. “They both have been through a torture mill that I cannot begin to comprehend–five years of a living death. It has affected their health, both physically and mentally.”

And the worst is yet to come: now there are reports that Bowe doesn’t want to talk to you, that the Army psychiatrists don’t think he’s ready for a family reunion. You’ve alluded to troubles he would have coming back, so this might not be a total surprise. But you are now experiencing the media equivalent of that steel cage in which Bowe was confined.

It is possible, of course, that Robert Bergdahl became a Taliban sympathizer during the years his son was held in captivity; it’s possible Bowe was complicit as well–we’ve seen this story before. If so, he’ll be court-martialed. But we don’t know the facts yet. And we have leaped, with reflexive bloodlust, to crucify an American family that has already suffered too much–a scapegoat sacrifice to a decade of blood, during which we leaped into Iraq, which seems to be slipping back into civil war, and distended the war in Afghanistan, all based on things we surmised but didn’t really know.