The world got a little more bizarre this week. President Obama worked a trade that involved releasing five serious Taliban leaders in return for the freeing of an army deserter from Afghanistan. Bowe Bergdahl was a private who seems to have walked away from an outpost in Afghanistan and ended up with the Taliban. There are a number of stories surfacing from other members of his unit about his departure.
The handling of the announcement has drawn considerable criticism from conservatives.
The story of how the Bergdahls ended up at the White House is pure turnip-truck territory. According to Time:
Their presence at the White House on Saturday was the apparent product of coincidence: the couple had visited the capitol for a Memorial Day event and then stayed in town for meetings in Congress. Had they been at home in Idaho when the deal was announced, they likely would not have flown to Washington to appear with Obama—and a key visual element of the drama, replayed endlessly on television, might not have occurred.
Does anyone believe that ?
Where did the Bergdahls stay during their D.C. visit, and who paid? How were they vetted before their appearance with the president — both for security and for political sensitivities — and how long did the process take? Did anybody at the White House know Robert Bergdahl was going to say “bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim,” along with the “Pashto phrase” that has been getting so much attention?
If anyone is interested, that story should melt quickly like ice cream on a hot day.
The actual story of the Bergdahl adventure has been around for years.
His attitude ?
“The future is too good to waste on lies,” Bowe wrote. “And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.”
Bitching by soldiers goes back to Alexander the Great. Not all act on their impulse.
Bowe Bergdahl had a different response. He decided to walk away.
In the early-morning hours of June 30th, according to soldiers in the unit, Bowe approached his team leader not long after he got off guard duty and asked his superior a simple question: If I were to leave the base, would it cause problems if I took my sensitive equipment?
Yes, his team leader responded – if you took your rifle and night-vision goggles, that would cause problems.
Bowe returned to his barracks, a roughly built bunker of plywood and sandbags. He gathered up water, a knife, his digital camera and his diary. Then he slipped off the outpost.
Where was he going ? There are stories that he was not a prisoner but a collaborator.
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…
That is explosive stuff and, so far, is all coming from the right. If these stories are out there why would the White House get anywhere near this thing until it is fully vetted ?
The backlash seems to have taken them by surprise. Now they are even attacking the other members of the platoon. Here’s the thing about Bergdahl and the Jump-to-Conclusions mats: What if his platoon was long on psychopaths and short on leadership?
This is from a minor official in HUD who is an anti-war vet with seeming ambitions to be the next John Kerry.
Do they look alike ?
Friedman has a point. The final verdict on Bergdahl should come from a court martial. Will he ever face one ?
We are now getting spin that he attempted to escape. Let a court martial sort it all out.
ANOTHER UPDATE: They are coming daily now .
After flying in and out of Kabul for endless rounds of inter-agency meetings, my colleague grew frustrated by the Army’s inaction. He questioned the efficacy of these deliberations. A senior officer pulled him aside. “No one’s serious about a rescue mission,” he said. “It’d be too risky. Maybe if Bergdahl had actually been captured they’d do something, but he deserted.”
Note the source.
38 thoughts on “Bergdahl, Father and Son.”
“Does anyone believe that?” Forrest Gump?
Obama thinks we are all Forrest Gump. Friedman does look like Kerry.
All last week, around his big foreign policy speech, there was a lot of talk about how his latest lame duck strategy was going to be all about not being careless anymore:
Now he immediately turns around and does just that. One of the stupidest presidents in modern memory.
959 days (click for current count) to go.
There have been murmurings about Bergdahl, Jr. among the milbloggers for quite a while, even if only to acknowledge that there was something hinky about how he managed to get himself captured. I think (my opinion only) that the command didn’t want to come straight out and say that he was a deserter, while he was still in captivity, to spare the feelings of his family back home – it just was more tactful to say that he was a POW and leave it at that.
Now those who served with him at the time of his disappearing act are feeling free to come right out and talk about what they knew or observed of him. Nice of the admin to call it ‘Swiftboating’; that’s what they call it when those who served with someone who made the most out of passing himself off as an honorable veteran feel free to be honest.
Here’s the thing; nothing happens in a military unit which remains secret for long. People know, especially when they are living, sleeping, working, eating and recreating elbow-to-elbow in close quarters. If his platoon was “long on psychopaths and short on leadership” you can just about bet your next meal there will be a paper trail.
Of course there is a terrific backlash to l’Affaire Bergdahl, and of course this administration did not see it coming. Not a one at the higher levels has ever served, likely don’t know anyone who served, although I will note they do take notice of the troops when they need a handy rent-a-crowd to make a speech. Or someone to hold an umbrella over them.
If you read that story in Rolling Stone, there may be some point in complaints about the unit, itself, and that is why the Rose Garden thing is so odd. It will be interesting to see if the military chain of commend has the guts to do a court martial and let the truth come out. I’m betting they don’t.
This military is the most political in our history. Vietnam were patriots compared to this bunch. They saw what happened to McChrystal and to Bob Stumpf and learned their lesson. George Marshall would never recognize the generals today.
Time for perspective. This military is far from the most political in our history. Think about the Civil War or the Revolution. Before victory was achieved in either lots of politics had to be drained from the military. And George Marshall was a masterful politician, as were Eisenhower, MacArthur, King, Arnold and the list could go on forever. When you reach that level in any human activity being political is a necessary, but not sufficient quality.
The Civil War had political generals, some of the politicians were even pretty good generals. Some, like McClernand and Ben Butler , were weak. Others, like Grant, Sherman and Thomas, were above politics and Lincoln respond to accusations about Grant drinking with the question as to “what is the brand ? I will send a barrel to my other generals.” The Confederacy was more political with its generals and Joe Johnston was removed and replaced with Hood who was a poor general but more a talker.
I don’t know that we can have any confidence in the generals today. Even Petraeus seems to have had clay feet.
It appears that Bergdahl senior went “native” in his desire to get his son back home. Being a father, I can understand wanting to do just about anything to have you child home safely. Even though he probably knew that his son walked off post intentionally, he probably has been in deep denial. I would cut him slack. However, the way the parents were used by Obama in the photo op was just disgusting. I can just imagine Obama thinking how good it would look to all the proles.
As to Bowe, he needs to be investigated and, if necessary, face justice under the UCMJ. Exceptions cannot be made, especially in such a high profile case.
Trading five high ranking Taliban for one soldier is an example of how stupid this group is. Anyone who has ever done any shopping in the ME knows that you never accept the asking price. They ask for five, you offer one and start to walk away. If they come down to four, you offer two and that’s your last bid. That, of course, is if you think it’s smart to negotiate with terrorists, which I don’t. As a result of this deal, we all are now potential hostages for the jihadis.
The “Obama is the anti-Christ” faction loves nothing more than to be distracted from the many important issues related to the president’s under-performance.
“loves nothing more than to be distracted from the many important issues related to the president’s under-performance.”
I hate to feed the troll but what important issue is being distracted ? The deficit ? The zero interest rate inflation ? The lawless behavior of the DoJ ? The climate fraud ? The economy ?
Regale us with the true issues.
MikeK — the war on drugs, counterproductive drone strikes, links to Wall Street establishment. Tough to attack Obama on the economy, as it’s coming back and the laggard sectors are more victims of global trends than specific administration policies. Basically, the focus should be on attacking bedrock liberal policies that Hillary or any other nominee will have to defend. The conservative movement isn’t in a position to win by attacking. It also has to be much better at defending its ideas and, more important, to expand its base by converting political enemies to allies.
When will you learn that Obama just isn’t as vulnerable as you think he is on the identity issue.
In that sense, Obama has been the best thing that ever happened to liberalism. Back when Carter and Clinton were presidents, liberalism took a pummeling as conservatives gleefully pointed to the failures of welfare, etc. and presented an alternative path.
Now, conservatism has been taken over by fringe groups intent on attacking Obama as personally responsible for treachery on every issue from school lunches, to gun rights to the economy, terrorism and, preposterously, hostage releases.
“They ask for five, you offer one and start to walk away.”
I would have started with an offer of 1/2.
The economy is coming back? http://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2014/05/declining-expectations.html
Not by any reasonable standard. Total disaster. Doing nothing would have exceeded Obama’s policies by a wide margin.
I don’t really have a dog in the fight over whether the guy was a deserter, traitor, or whatever. Time will solve that mystery just fine. What interests me is the fact that again, for the umpteenth time, the Obama administration gets everything wrong all the time. They have the inside information and the jump on everyone, and it is still a disaster in the press and they have to fight a rear guard action, once again. This is supposed to be the easy part – giving information out as they see fit, vetting EVERYTHING first, and being one step ahead of everyone else since they are holding all the cards.
Instead, what we see time and time again is a befuddled administration clumsily doing things that seem just stupid. It happens over and over and over again and shows a serious lack of competence, sloppiness, and just plain ‘ol laziness. I seriously dislike lazy. Obama can’t even get a state dinner right. His handlers all are probably just brown nosers who will do anything to make captain zero happy and who cares about the nation.
The ineptitude of Obama’s handlers is an interesting topic. They began by giving Queen Elizabeth an iPod of his speeches. I have wondered ever since if that was a studied insult or a 22 year old overcredentialed, undereducated fool performing. The administration seems to be filled with them.
Tim: by what measure is the economy a “total disaster?” Which developed economy are you comparing the U.S. to? U.K.? Japan? EU? All things considered, the economy is doing OK. If you insist on exaggerating the situation like that, no one’s going to take you seriously.
We are obligated to get all our men back dead or alive. In this case he was alive.
Regardless of what’s he’s done. That’s for us to decide. We have to keep faith.
From the news [your sources too] this character should have never been passed through Basic Training. Thanks again TRADOC. His platoon is describing him as naive and delusional.
Naive we can cure. 1 round past the ear.
Delusional is something else altogether.
Father and son both appear erratic and unstable. He should have never been in the military, and you can bet the Drill Sgt’s at Basic knew that. Stats you know.
If he’s found mentally competent and his offenses grave enough then he should be punished.
As to the prisoners: Prisoners go home when wars are over. Prisoners are exchanged during war. The President is the Commander in Chief during war. The precious voters spoke twice on this matter. Obama is their choice. Welfare checks beat out War. And will right to the end.
GITMO is mostly empty, and most of the released returned to Battle. Which enemy we release isn’t important as they are trying to empty the place. When wars end this happens. There are no beloved enemies and few are admired. It’s a dirty business all around.
VVXC…”We are obligated to get all our men back dead or alive.”
At any price? If the price had been 15 terrorists instead of 5? If the price had been a shipment of 100 portable antiaircraft missiles?
1)Everyone in the military(regardless of the branch)complains and gossips. The Marine Corps was started in a bar by guys complaining.(Tun Tavern, 1775)
2)Everyone hates their unit, the best units are the ones you left and the one you are going to.
3)There is no such thing as a secret in the military(sure we have plenty of open secrets)but I can guarantee that when Pvt Bergdahl deserted, everyone in theater knew about it, hell I’d bet that our allies in theater knew all about it.
4)If he is a deserter and he should tried according to the rules and regulations of the UCMJ, no exceptions.
“I would have started with an offer of 1/2.”
I say minus five. We get the deserter (after listening to his platoon members’ interview there is no doubt) and we keep the five, but keep them alive. No virgins, no attacks, no TV, pork or vegan diet, deloused and shaved, military tribunals moving smartly along and a promise that we will take out five more “serious” terrorists each month until he is returned. If we are cutting and running, I see nothing to lose.
“Which developed economy are you comparing the U.S. to? U.K.? Japan? EU? All things considered, the economy is doing OK.”
Really? Is that all you got? The EU? Japan? Comparing the US economy to other developed economies is fallacious. We should be being compared to emerging economies where effective regulation and effective confiscatory tax rates have lagged the developed bastions of progressive political/economic lethargy. Unleashing the productive potential of this economy from the “headwinds” of the disincentives of the nanny state model of Europe and the crony capitalism of places like Brazil, Russia, India and China, would vault us into a league of our own, as we previously experienced. Instead we are and have been busily trying to catch down to them. Thank God it is such a monumental task to flat line such a reserve of creative forces. You really should know something about incentives and economic growth. I recommend you start by reading: http://www.auburn.edu/~johnspm/gloss/growth_theory You may recognize yourself in the second half of the last paragraph. If so, your further enlightenment is seriously in doubt. If, happily, you have any doubt you fall into any of these neo-centralist groups, follow up with Frederick (F. A.) Hayek. It is politically possible to kill the golden goose and we seem to be intent on slow, progressive (pun intended as usual) strangulation.
Agree with Death 6. Our GDP should be growing at least 4% annually, as is typical in economic recoveries. Current performance is at less than half that rate. The obvious explanation for the lag is the taxes, regulations, slow-walking of approvals, and general hostility to business that we have been living under during Obama’s administration.
Agree that economic growth should be a lot higher than it is, and there are a lot of problems affecting this other than the business cycle. One of them is America’s increasingly-dysfunctional education system: a lot of kids in K-12 receive very expensive educations which do not really give them the level of literacy or basic math skills or the level of self-discipline needed for highly-productive employment, and the vast expenditures on higher ed, a substantial part of which are wasted. All of this burdens the entire econom
Alas, I’m short on time so I can’t give your hilariously idiotic comments as much attention as I’d like.
But I will take time to express my wonder that anyone would actually make the moronic claim that the deserter rescue/ terrorist release deal arranged by Obama was not his responsibility.
It took place on his initiative. He concealed it from congress. He ordered the military to shut up and salute. And he even arranged a Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate.
Who did that, if not Barry?
Was it Mitt Romney? George Bush? Cliven Bundy? Rush Limbaugh?
“One of them is America’s increasingly-dysfunctional education system: a lot of kids in K-12 receive very expensive educations which do not really give them the level of literacy or basic math skills or the level of self-discipline needed for highly-productive employment, and the vast expenditures on higher ed, a substantial part of which are wasted.”
100% David. Human capital is highly to be valued, especially in an age of information technology. I include the government meddling in education through targeted funding, regulation, social justice schemes and generally intruding in state and local prerogatives as a big part of our economic growth “head winds”. Reforming our government educational virtual monopoly has to high on the list of reform. It is a tough nut to crack as the entrenched interests have it captured (George Stigler, capture theory of regulation, public choice theory).
Beyond the actual impediments within the educational system, there are the disincentives of the welfare state to make the self-investment in critically needed technical skills much less appealing than they should be. With the explosion of six-figure earning government bureaucrats with “soft” degrees from progressive institutions, even the ambitious are captivated to an increasing extent into fields that offer primarily required ideology and terminology. I give you Susan Rice and the current spokeswoman for State. Both expert on military combat operations, unit cohesion, the UCMJ and heroism, honor, dedication by virtue of their membership in the ruling class through the “right” kind of education and years of service as government trolls. Wow! Economic growth and peace in our time must be close indeed with human capital of that caliber.
I am very discouraged with higher education. An interesting post today on law school grade inflation . It is also endemic at Ivy League schools. I guess they figure the SAT determines GPA but why spend all that time in class ? I remember a post a couple of years ago that compared a short civics and history quiz between Harvard seniors and Freshmen. The freshmen had higher scores suggesting intelligence, or at least information, diminution with four years at Harvard.
Kids don’t read anymore. Parents who have the guts to discard TV have a head start. Friends in Tucson have done that and have outstanding boys. One enters the Marine Corps this summer, the next is a petroleum engineering student at U of A, the third enters college next fall. The father is a retired Marine fighter pilot. The mother has home schooled each boy one year in turn. They return to Catholic school after each year of home school.
It is tough to do that.
The quantity of anti-Americanism here is a little surprising. Constantly dragging the country down. One fellow takes to calling economic growth that’s below 4 percent “a total disaster.” Always blame America first, always exaggerate the negatives and ignore the positives. It’s no wonder so many voters reject conservatives.
“It’s no wonder so many voters reject conservatives.”
Especially clueless left-wingers.
America’s universities are No. 1 globally, considered far and wide to be the ideal place to get an education. Obviously, other countries’ institutions are catching up, but we’re still No. 1. Elites from virtually every country on the planet choose to send their children here, so we must be doing something right. It’s a shame conservatives are so committed to bad-mouthing American institutions.
” It’s a shame conservatives are so committed to bad-mouthing American institutions.”
It’s a shame clueless left wingers don’t understand that Chinese students don’t come here to study English Literature or History. Humanities are a declining resource. Medicine and engineering are mostly immune from the PC nonsense that wrecks US education.
Harvard, Yale and many other American universities also have world-leading humanities programs. “PC nonsense” does draw a lot of negative attention to fringe activities, but it is far less of a threat to open expression and unfettered scholarship than was the Red Scare blacklistings of the 50s and early 60s.
Anti-intellectualism is another talkradio noise-machine theme that’s killing conservatism. Anti-American anti-intellectualism is doubly corrosive.
Folks, “Oliver Suess-Barnkey” appears to be the same person who has trolled here before as “Clive Bartley”, “Wes Turner”, “bunkerbuster” and probably other aliases. Characteristically he has emerged from his wind-up phase and is becoming increasingly provocative. Time to slingshot him out of Earth orbit and back to the far reaches of the solar system.
I am a bit miffed that we don’t attract a higher class of troll.
He makes me appreciate the warm wit and wisdom of Pengun.
But anyway, here’s a nice shiny example of the mindset that has carpeted so many nations with mass graves.
Noticing something other than lickspittle deference to Barry and his leftist lackeys, troll-boy equates it with treason.
Dissent is no longer the highest form of patriotism, it seems.
This is sad, and makes me feel old. I remember when the left had arguments they could make in good faith, and hadn’t yet been reduced to rather pitiful attempts at trolling.
But then again, some of the old leftists I recall having the ability to make arguments don’t seem to fit in the left anymore.
For example, Nat Hentoff has endorsed Rand Paul.
I suppose he’s just succumbed to anti-Americanism.
He won’t respond, and if he does I’ll delete his further comments.
If he were a sincere leftist he’d be welcome, but he’s here for the thrill of provoking other people and setting them against each other. Arguing with him is like arguing with a script. There’s no point.
Maybe one day someone with access to the NSA archives will write a psychological history of the Internet.
Medicine and engineering are mostly immune from the PC nonsense that wrecks US education.
Not from a lack of trying. back when I was in engineering school at UT Austin, the lefties were just starting their “lack of diversity in engineering” jihad. They would regularly demand that the weed-out courses be softened so more non-Cuban/Argentine/Brazilian Hispanics and American blacks could get engineering degrees. Even then, these morons considered Asians as white.
The professors and department heads were unanimous in rejecting them, sometimes profanely. They are still at it. My youngest son is in Civil Engineering at WEstern Michigan, and the same drivel is still happening. There are a few more women nowadays, but part of the diversity jihad is still aimed at getting more girls to study engineering.
“part of the diversity jihad is still aimed at getting more girls to study engineering.”
This, of course, is in full flower in medicine. Medicine is more memory than reasoning, in contrast to engineering which is more calculation. In teaching second year students, I try to introduce some of the aspects of reasoning once they get enough of the facts to start using them. We do exercises in what I call “diagnostic decision trees.” They like it. The young women do well and medical school has gone much farther toward what I call (none too loudly around some other faculty) feminine reasoning. students are pressed to “understand” their patients, almost in preference to figuring out what is the matter.
One interesting topic is women surgeons. There have to be some good women surgeons since there does seem to be quite a few. I just haven’t seen them in action. A friend, an operating room senior nurse, was over for dinner last night and we were talking about the changes going on in the hospital I practiced in for 25 years. The surgical group that I was part of for 14 years runs the trauma center I started in 1979. The hospital has taken that away from them, as of July 1, and awarded it to a new group of trauma surgeons that is not from this area. Nobody knows who they are. There was one of the interminable classes on PC BS this past week and a couple of the OR nurses attended. They told my friend that there were three of the new trauma surgeons there and that two of them are women.
Oh Oh. OR nurses don’t like women surgeons. They consider them to be rude and rather hostile toward nurses. I have a theory that women physicians in general are very sensitive that others may think they are nurses, especially if they are all wearing greens and thus no rank symbols. Interestingly enough, this does not seem to affect women anesthesiologists. They want nurses to call them by their first names, etc. Of course, they are there all day and there is no case of mistaken identity.
My high school girlfriend was an engineer and she worked in aerospace for years. She did take time off to raise her kids but she was recently president of the Society of Women Engineers. She was not a nerd and married a guy I went to high school with. She is now 75 or 76 so she is part of that early generation before people worried about these things.
Sir William Osler said there were three sexes, men, women and women physicians. That was about 1895. Johns Hopkins was founded with money from an heiress who required that one third of medical students be women and they were.
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