The Campaign Spot

Politics & Policy

Confirmed: The Bowe Bergdahl Deal Is as Disastrous as We Feared

From the Thursday Morning Jolt:

Confirmed: The Bowe Bergdahl Deal Is as Disastrous as We Feared

So those reports from January turned out to be accurate:

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban for five years after leaving his remote post in Afghanistan, was charged by the Army with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

The misbehavior charge carries a potential life sentence, the Army said in a statement, but legal analysts said it was likely Bergdahl would reach an agreement that would result in a light punishment.

Bergdahl was released from captivity after the United States agreed to release five Taliban militants held at Guantanamo Bay.

He was charged with “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place,” according to the Army statement…

Bergdahl was also charged with “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty,” which carries a potential five-year sentence, according to the Army statement.

You’ll recall Susan Rice assured us that Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction.”

The statement from Senator Tom Cotton:

The Army’s decision to charge Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior in the face of the enemy underscores how misguided and dangerous it was for President Obama to trade five hardened Taliban commanders for Bergdahl in the first place. Regardless of his conduct, the United States should not negotiate with terrorists or trade terrorist detainees for American hostages. President Obama’s break with this longstanding bipartisan policy has placed a price on the head of every American abroad, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, or anywhere else. And it’s created the risk that these five detainees will return to the fight.

Now that Bergdahl has been charged, his proceedings should move forward under the Uniform Code of Military Justice without unlawful command influence, just as they would for any other soldier charged with misconduct.

Finally, I want to commend the many soldiers in Bergdahl’s unit who risked their lives on missions to rescue him, despite suspecting he had deserted from the outset. Some have observed that President Obama was justified in his decision to swap terrorists for Bergdahl based on the principle that we leave no man behind. Let’s be clear about this: the soldiers who tried to rescue Bergdahl didn’t leave him behind and we should be grateful for that.

Last summer, Hillary Clinton declared, “It doesn’t matter how someone ended up in a prisoner-of-war situation.”

That’s the sort of statement that, offered by a Republican lawmaker, could launch a lot of sneering, snickering columns on the op-ed pages of big newspapers. Really? It doesn’t matter at all if a soldier deserted or attempted to join the enemy, compared to being captured while in combat or on patrol? That doesn’t factor into our decision-making or thinking at all, at any point?

How do you think the men and women in uniform feel when those of us outside of it declare, “Whether you serve with honor and distinction, or whether you run away from your post, we see you the exact same way”? Doesn’t that treat every guy who does the right thing and performs his duty like a chump? Shouldn’t it matter to us how someone ended up in enemy hands?

No base stealing, lefties; you can’t presume that this is a binary choice, with the only options being to always attempt a rescue under any circumstances or to leave our man in enemy custody. (Right now, half the Morning Jolt readers are exclaiming, ‘Once you desert to join the enemy, you’re not ‘our man.’’) Our military leaders have to calculate and assess risk, to determine if the odds of success justify risking the men and women involved in the rescue attempt. Is Hillary Clinton really contending that having a lower threshold of risk for a deserter is morally objectionable?

A reminder:

Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas, and Private 1st Class Morris Walker, 23, of Chapel Hill, N.C., were killed by a roadside bomb in Paktika province on Aug. 18, 2009, while trying to find Bergdahl. Like Bergdahl, they were part of the 4th BCT from Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, of Murray, Utah, died Aug. 26 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was shot while his unit was supporting Afghan security forces during an enemy attack. Like Bergdahl, Bowen and Walker, he was part of the 4th BCT.

2nd Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, of Dallas, Texas, died Sept. 4 in Paktika Province when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device and a rocket-propelled grenade. Like Bergdahl, Bowen, Walker and Curtiss, Andrews was part of the 4th BCT.

Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, of Snyder, Texas, died Sept. 6 in Paktika province after being wounded by an IED. Like Bergdahl, Bowen, Walker, Curtiss and Andrews, Murphrey was part of the 4th BCT.

On Sept. 4, 2009, Private 1st Class Matthew Martinek, 20, of DeKalb, Ill., was seriously wounded in Paktika province when Taliban forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device, a rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire.

The diversion of these men and their units to the hunt for Bergdahl thinned the ranks of U.S. troops elsewhere in the region, contributing to several more American KIAs, U.S. soldiers who were there at the time believe.

Back to Hillary’s “It doesn’t matter” comment: That tone reminds you of another comment of hers, doesn’t it?

Johnson: No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that — an assault sprang out of that — and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.

Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

How Bowe Bergdahl ended up in the hands of the Taliban doesn’t matter.

What triggered an attack that killed four Americans doesn’t matter.

A lot of things that matter a great deal to us don’t matter at all to Hillary Clinton.

Most Popular

White House

For Democrats, the Party’s Over

If the Democrats are really tempted by impeachment, bring it on. Since the day after the 2016 election they have been threatening this, placing their chips on the Russian-collusion fantasy and then on the phantasmagoric charade of obstruction of justice. The attorney general accurately gave the ingredients of the ... Read More