December 3, 2016

The pressure on Obama to pardon Bowe Bergdahl and put him out of reach of the President-elect who has him “a no-good traitor who should have been executed.”

Obama gave up 5 Taliban detainees to get Bergdahl back, and now Bergdahl, who faces trial for desertion and misbehavior, is pushing for a pardon.
At rallies, Mr. Trump repeatedly brought up the prisoner exchange as a bad deal. At a town hall-style meeting in August 2015, for example, he called Sergeant Bergdahl a “dirty, rotten traitor” and pantomimed shooting him. Mr. Trump also falsely claimed that Americans were killed searching for Sergeant Bergdahl and that the five Taliban ex-detainees were back on the battlefield.....

The administration transferred the Taliban detainees without obeying a statute requiring it to notify Congress 30 days before the transfers.... In addition, former soldiers came forward to describe the circumstances of his capture, accusing him of desertion. That fueled Republican complaints that sending the Taliban detainees to Qatar had been too steep a price....
The argument for a pardon seems to be that a Trump administration cannot give Bergdahl a fair trial.

92 comments:

mockturtle said...

Is a pardon a 'fair trial'?

chickelit said...

Bergdahl would become Obama's Marc Rich.

chickelit said...

Bergdahl would become Obama's Marc Rich.

Not that that would stop him from pardoning him. Hell, the Clintons are still proud of pardoning Marc Rich.

damikesc said...

Except Trump wouldn't be involved in the trial. At all. The C-in-C is not involved in the court martial process.

mccullough said...

I'd pardon Bergdahl. He's been through enough. It was a bad deal for the US and Obama disregarded the law as usual. But nothing to do about it now. And get out of Afghanistan. It's a shithole of tribes. We can kill them with drones or bombs.

Ipso Fatso said...

Jesse Jackson Jr has taken to the local (Chicago) press to plead for a pardon for him and his wife. Pardons, pardons everywhere.

clint said...

"At rallies, Mr. Trump repeatedly brought up the prisoner exchange as a bad deal."

Is that really a controversial point? Does anyone actually think that President Obama made a good deal here?

madAsHell said...

Reaching for a legacy?

DKWalser said...

If the Trump Administration is unable to give Bergdahl a fair trial, you would expect a court to overturn the verdict on appeal. That's the proper protection of Bergdahl's rights, not a pardon based on the prejudiced assumption that Trump would unfairly interfere in the trial.

Unknown said...

A fair trial is possible as long as the President doesn't insinuate himself into the military justice system.

Unknown said...

A fair trial is possible as long as the President doesn't insinuate himself into the military justice system.

MaxedOutMama said...

The Trump administration will not be trying him. The military will be - it's a very separate power structure.

President Obama has the power to pardon him, but if he does, many in the military will never forgive or forget it. Bergdahl did desert.

Curious George said...

"The argument for a pardon seems to be that a Trump administration cannot give Bergdahl a fair trial."

The real reason for the pardon is that he will get a fair trial, be found guilty, and make Obama look like the fuck up he is.

Gahrie said...

The argument for a pardon seems to be that a Trump administration cannot give Bergdahl a fair trial.

They aren't supposed to....they're supposed to be prosecuting him for his crimes. You are making the same mistake the Left always makes...the courts aren't part of the administration...they're part of the judicial branch......

Gahrie said...

Is that really a controversial point? Does anyone actually think that President Obama made a good deal here?

The MSM and the Left (I repeat myself) both do.

rehajm said...

If the outgoing President burns it all down on his way out, on inauguration day can the incoming president cancel the courtesy ride in the helicopter and make the outgoing President march his own sorry ass out?

MayBee said...

Is it racist for Trump to judge Bergdahl like this, or was it only racist wrt the Central Park 5?

Terry said...

Unfortunately this is a NY Times story. You have to filter out a lot of bias. The case involves two episodes of law breaking: one by Bergdhal and one by the Obama administration.

Man in PA said...

The New York Times wrote "Mr. Trump also falsely claimed that Americans were killed searching for Sergeant Bergdahl and that the five Taliban ex-detainees were back on the battlefield....."

You know that any time that the NYT says "[insert conservative or Republican name here] falsely claimed," further investigation is in order because they cannot be trusted.

Sure enough, while the causal effects are not crystal clear, it seems very likely that the search for Sergeant Bergdahl did indeed contribute to the loss of American lives. See:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/379926/did-six-soldiers-really-die-looking-bergdahl-not-quite-spencer-case

So, in summary, it can be said that the New York Times falsely claimed that Trump made a false claim. Of course, there is no surprise there.

AprilApple said...

"Mr. Trump also falsely claimed that Americans were killed searching for Sergeant Bergdahl and that the five Taliban ex-detainees were back on the battlefield."


Is that false? I'm just asking. I don't really trust our media.

Curious George said...

Good thing being an asshole isn't a crime or his father would be begging for a pardon.

campy said...

Does Bergdahl have money? Pardons from democrats don't usually come cheap.

Sebastian said...
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Sebastian said...

Sure, O can issue the pardon as an FU to Trump, but he knows he would suffer some Rich blowback. It's not like O to risk paying a personal price for a cheap gesture like that. It's not like there's a Denise Bergdahl stuffing his pockets, is there?

EDH said...

Gahrie said...
The argument for a pardon seems to be that a Trump administration cannot give Bergdahl a fair trial.

They aren't supposed to....they're supposed to be prosecuting him for his crimes. You are making the same mistake the Left always makes...the courts aren't part of the administration...they're part of the judicial branch......


Did the NYT even bother to look at the header in the complaint itself?

United States v. Bergdahl

William said...

Obama really oversold this. He had that Rose Garden ceremony where he appeared with Bergdahl's parents and presented the exchange as some kind of triumph. If he had made the deal sotto voce and presented it as some kind of grim bargain made for humanitarian reasons, it would have gone over better.......I have some sympathy for Bergdahl as a disturbed young man who made a catastrophically bad decision, but to present him as some kind of hero mocks the efforts of the other, more dutiful soldiers who risked their lives in searching for him......Obama painted both himself and Bergdahl into a corner.

Hagar said...

Life is hard - and it's harder when you are stupid."

Bowe Bergdahl appears to be mainly stupid and confused, but with the mess the Obama Administration has made of this, he should be tried and convicted in military court.
Perhaps some future administration can let him out early on condition he keeps his yap shut, but that is the most hope he should get.

Michael K said...

I have some sympathy for Bergdahl as a disturbed young man who made a catastrophically bad decision,

I'm just happy that I'm not the doctor who qualified him for the Army. The Coast Guard had kicked him out of basic training. We see these cases from time to time and I can't remember one that got qualified. I do remember one I cancelled that another doctor had qualified; a girl who had been sent home from Marine Corps basic for threatening suicide. That is a big red flag. Bergdahl should never have gotten in.

Fernandinande said...

AprilApple said...
"Mr. Trump also falsely claimed that Americans were killed searching for Sergeant Bergdahl and that the five Taliban ex-detainees were back on the battlefield."
Is that false? I'm just asking. I don't really trust our media.


Time says true, CNN says maybe, NYT says it's "murky". Apparently it became absolutely false when Trump said it.

Seeing Red said...

POLLARD!


Spit spit!

DKWalser said...

They aren't supposed to....they're supposed to be prosecuting him for his crimes. You are making the same mistake the Left always makes...the courts aren't part of the administration...they're part of the judicial branch......

Not quite true of military courts. The officers of the court are staffed by regular military, not judges. Such courts are thought to be more susceptible to undue influence precisely because the members of the court are not independent of the command structure that governs their careers. Members of the military are aware of this perception and generally do a good job of rendering a verdict based on the evidence presented, but, if it happened, this wouldn't be the first case where undue command interference was properly blamed for preordaining the outcome of a military trial.

When their commanding officer strongly hints he wants Sgt. Smith convicted, members of the court tend to listen. However, if there is evidence of such undue influence, the appellate court will overturn the conviction.

Owen said...

Michael K: your ground-level perspective is invaluable. I see Betgdahl as a flake whom the system thought was under (enough) control but when exposed to the sharp end he got loose. Result: men died trying to save a man who was trying to commit suicide even if he would never admit it.

He may earn a wholly-undeserved pardon from Obama, simply because of his faux celebrity status. He has become a weird kind of hero, or nucleation point, for the Progs. Obama may decide to throw them a bone, or (equivalently) stick a bone in the eye of the "right wing," by letting Bowe go.

It would rival Clinton's pardon of Rich not in its financial payoff but its fundamental indecency. Which is why I think it will happen.

AprilApple said...

"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."

Thanks Fernand...

AprilApple said...

So the media are lying when they say no one was killed looking for Bergdahl.

Is that right? If so - isn't that a big story? Oh right- media lying for the D - no biggie - happens all the time.

chickelit said...
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chickelit said...

Owen wrote: It would rival Clinton's pardon of Rich not in its financial payoff but its fundamental indecency. Which is why I think it will happen.

That is quite astute. Owen.

traditionalguy said...

Obama owes it to Bergdahl. He did freely submit himself and his buddies safety to allah's mercies.

Fabi said...

The Bergdahl swap was one of the many low points for this vapid administration. I hope Obama does pardon the son of a bitch -- it will further cement his horrid legacy.

coupe said...

The way the US Army loses wars is to build forts.

They fill them with troops who are targets 24/7. Then to show how brave they are, they send the soldiers out to walk around a village. The survivors then return to their fort and eat their MRE's and take their medications.

Finally the fort is overrun, and the US Army goes somewhere else and builds another fort.

Bergdahl was anti-fort. But, the pro-fort Army maintains the high ground of honor. Even though they lost the war...

It's not that he was a coward. He just decided to walk away from the fort. His fellow soldiers didn't like him anyway. They bullied him because he wasn't gung-ho pro-fort.

JaimeRoberto said...

NYT says nobody was killed looking for Bergdahl. Other mainstream media outlets say 6 soldiers were killed. Who's trafficking fake news now?

Owen said...

Coupe: your bile tends to obscure an excellent point. The best defense is a good offense. I read the book about our insane policy of building forts in Afghanistan --that led to a pointless bloodbath and our withdrawal from river valleys we had previously deemed indispensable-- and it persuaded me that a fort strategy is wrong.

But you are confusing policy and strategy on the one hand, with tactical and personal discipline on the other. Bergdahl abandoned his post in the face of the enemy. He committed treason; worse, he abandoned his brothers in arms. Some of whom then died trying to bring him back from his self-created doom.

The guy deserves an epic poem, he invokes so many tropes. But I would settle for 120 grains of a boat-tail round at 1200 feet per second.

Owen said...

Re: the "fort" strategy. Google "COP Keating" and "Battle of Kamdesh." I forget the name of the excellent book I read several years back about that pointlessly heroic fight.

Yancey Ward said...

The real mistake Obama made in the Bergdahl exchange was trying to sell it as the saving of an honorable American serviceman. Given the clear evidence of how Bergdahl came to be "captured" in the first place, and that Obama certainly knew the facts before making the exchange, only an idiot holds a Rose Garden ceremony with the parents to celebrate the terms.

How does one deduce that Obama knew the details of Bergdahl's capture? Because he didn't inform Congress before making the exchange- that would have allowed questions to be raised before the exchange such as, for example, the fact that Bergdahl had deliberately defected.

I can defend Obama making the exchange anyway- it does appear that Bergdahl had a change of heart after spending time with the Taliban, but I can't defend the Rose Garden celebration, nor could one defend a pardon at this point in time, especially before the military trial.

rcocean said...

"At a town hall-style meeting in August 2015, for example,"

Uhhh, could we actually have a SPECIFIC date so we can 'fact-check'

'cause otherwise, paint me skeptical.

rcocean said...
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rcocean said...

Of course, I know little about the law, but I would assume Trump would not be personally trying the deserter - that would be up the cognizant military courts and appeals process.

I doubt these military judges and lawyers will convict someone just to please Donald Trump.

MayBee said...

If he had made the deal sotto voce and presented it as some kind of grim bargain made for humanitarian reasons, it would have gone over better.......I have some sympathy for Bergdahl as a disturbed young man who made a catastrophically bad decision, but to present him as some kind of hero mocks the efforts of the other, more dutiful soldiers who risked their lives in searching for him......Obama painted both himself and Bergdahl into a corner.

Really well said, William.

rcocean said...

"It's not that he was a coward. He just decided to walk away from the fort."

Yeah, that's the weird thing about the Army, people don't get to just walk away or excuse themselves.

Personally, had I been there, I would've been Anti-Pickett's Charge, but any attempt to "walk away" would've been frowned on.

mockturtle said...

If Bergdahl walks, it will set an awfully sticky precedent.

Unknown said...

"A fair trial is possible as long as the President doesn't insinuate himself into the military justice system."

Trump bragged that if he told the military to torture detainees and kill the family members of terrorists, they would. Obviously he thinks he can insinuate himself anywhere.

The Drill SGT said...

DKWalser said...
Not quite true of military courts. The officers of the court are staffed by regular military, not judges. Such courts are thought to be more susceptible to undue influence precisely because the members of the court are not independent of the command structure that governs their careers.


FWIW,

there are 4 groups of players in a General Court Martial.

1. The Military Judge, in this likely a Full Colonel JAG Judge. Especially trained, appointed and independent from the Convening authority

2. Trial Counsel. The DA. ultimately reports to the Convening authority. eg the local General

3. Defense Counsel. Again, completely independent and in a separate organization.

4. The Jury, Senior local officers, serving in the chain of command. Bergdahl has the option to have enlisted jurors for 1/3 of the court. a Suicidal choice in this case.

After conviction, the result goes through some automatic appeals by both Generals and by appellate military judges. The basic result is to decrease the penalty or throw the result out

Unknown said...

"I doubt these military judges and lawyers will convict someone just to please Donald Trump."

Really? That's not what Trump thinks. He said if he told them to do something, they would.

SukieTawdry said...

I would hate to think the outcome of a general court martial is dependent on who the Commander-in-Chief is.

Although the defense's request for postponement was reasonable, the military didn't have to postpone until after a new president was sworn in. I wonder why they did it.

coupe said...

One of the differences about Afghanistan and Iraq, was the soldiers were given powerful drugs. Dexedrine for "go", Ambien for "no-go".

Infantry soldiers are given narcotics to keep them in the field. They have zero value in a hospital, and anyway the fresh air will heal their wounds faster. So if you get shot, you can expect the bullet to be removed, the hole patched, and then back to the fort you go.

Take some pills. Lay down in the Poppies like Dorothy and we're off to see the wizard...

Drugs complicates the equation for me. It's not black and white coward/hero anymore.

khesanh0802 said...

Okay I have read the comments and my gut reaction on Bergdahl remains what it has always been. Give him a fair trial then put him in front of a firing squad.

Bergdahl DESERTED HIS POST IN THE FACE OF THE ENEMY. I don't care why or what silly excuses civilians make up for him. He DESERTED HIS POST IN THE FACE OF THE ENEMY. I have seen Marines do a lot of stupid things, but not one would ever consider DESERTING HIS POST IN THE FACE OF THE ENEMY. Betraying your fellow Marine like that would be beyond the pale and would be treated, most likely, with frontier justice.

The Drill SGT is absolutely correct that his fellow enlisted men would be his harshest judges, because it is they that he has betrayed.

khesanh0802 said...

@coupe You don't have a clue. You are obviously the kind of guy no one would wish to share a foxhole with.

khesanh0802 said...

As far as Obama pardoning Bergdahl; it would be completely in keeping with his lack of moral character that we have witnessed now for almost 8 years. I doubt that it would make Army morale any worse than what he has already accomplished.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

If convicted, Bergdahl would probably get credit for his time served in captivity by the Taliban. So, if you're President Obama, does it make sense to pardon him? Wouldn't the best play be to allow Trump the opportunity to come down too harshly?

JPS said...

coupe,

"One of the differences about Afghanistan and Iraq, was the soldiers were given powerful drugs....Infantry soldiers are given narcotics to keep them in the field."

I was an infantry soldier in Afghanistan. At no time was I given a drug more powerful than coffee.

For all I know some soldiers in our unit were prescribed stimulants and sedatives but you make it sound like standard practice. It wasn't.

JPS said...

About that article: It sure does piss me off every time I see him wearing Sergeant's rank. I get how and why this happened, but it's still an insult to those who damn well earned it.

Michael K said...

JPS, coupe reminds me of Kerry back in 1972.

Barry Dauphin said...

The Rose garden ceremony with Bergdahl's parents was a disgrace.

Jim Nicholson said...

"The argument for a pardon seems to be that a Trump administration cannot give Bergdahl a fair trial."

Courts martial are conducted within the military, not the executive branch. This argument is specious.

Fabi said...

Yes it was, Barry Dauphin -- especially with the idiot father spouting off some bullshit in Arabic or Austrian or whatever.

James Pawlak said...

He should be tried before such a Military Commission as was constitutionally established for those involved in the murder of Abraham Lincoln.

PackerBronco said...

Obama will only pardon him if it benefits Obama.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"The argument for a pardon seems to be that a Trump administration cannot give Bergdahl a fair trial."

What? and the Obama administration can?

coupe said...

JPS said...I was an infantry soldier in Afghanistan. At no time was I given a drug more powerful than coffee.

I wasn't there. All I have to go on is Frontline stories, and the 100's of video's on youtube about soldiers and psychiatric drugs (both during deployment and after return before the next deployment). I think the most shocking story was called "The Wounded Platoon".

Very sad.

JPS said...

coupe, fair enough. Again, I don't mean to argue that this couldn't happen or doesn't happen, prescribing people drugs and then declaring them mission-ready. Just that I didn't see it, and I should have had ample opportunity if it were prevalent.

Dr Weevil said...

Has Bergdahl claimed to have been on drugs, either before or during his desertion? Surely he would have said so if it were true, or even if he thought it was a plausible excuse. I don't trust people who offer excuses for others' actions that the others appear to be unaware of.

tim in vermont said...

I don't know if there is any way to know if people were killed looking for him or not based on the evidence that we have. There were claims that the enemy became more effective after he deserted to them. But the "blame America first" crowd doesn't want to hear that. He should have been shot then, he should be shot now.

tim in vermont said...

Wouldn't the best play be to allow Trump the opportunity to come down too harshly?

So you think Trump is going to have him drawn and quartered, rather than just plain shot dead?

tim in vermont said...

Amazing the number of people who think that desertion is no big deal.

khesanh0802 said...

@Tim "Amazing the number of people who think that desertion is no big deal." It is isn't it. From my point of view it is the ultimate crime in the long list in the UCMJ.

Dr Weevil said...

khesanh0802:
I'd lean towards calling desertion the penultimate military crime. Shooting your officers or fellow soldiers in the back is worse. But penultimate is plenty bad enough to deserve hanging.

Harold said...

The Drill SGT said...
4. The Jury, Senior local officers, serving in the chain of command. Bergdahl has the option to have enlisted jurors for 1/3 of the court. a Suicidal choice in this case.


Officers, not senior officers. In case of a court martial of an officer, the sitting jurors must be senior to the officer being tried. For an enlisted man, could be 2LT's right out of OCS. In the Navy, I saw Ensigns sitting on juries for courts martial of enlisted men.

One thing I never saw was a Warrant Officer sitting on a jury. But then, I've never seen a Warrant Officer being the accused...

Hagar said...

I don't think Bergdahl is a deserter until the Army says he is, but he did go AWOL and defected to the enemy.
They should just have left him there. It was his choice.

exhelodrvr1 said...

khesanh,
"Amazing the number of people who think that desertion is no big deal." It is isn't it.

Just another example of how clueless most of the population, especially on the left, is about the military. The fact that there is so much surprise about Mattis being so well-read is another.

Ty said...

Mr. Trump also FALSELY CLAIMED that Americans were killed searching for Sergeant Bergdahl

coupe said...

tim in vermont said...Amazing the number of people who think that desertion is no big deal.

Next January is the 40th anniversary for the President of the United States giving a pardon to all men who ran from their country to avoid serving it as a conscript.

mikee said...

Charlie Manson tried to get a mistrial by having his followers, observers in the courtroom, hold up newspapers with headlines quoting Nixon, about the trial. It failed.

So too would any current claim fail, that Trump influenced the trial of this person.

khesanh0802 said...

@Dr Weevil I do and don't agree with you. Desertion is a moral failing which may lead to disastrous consequences for others in your unit. Killing an officer or enlisted man is just murder. As we know there have been many officers and enlisted men who needed killing so that makes that area a little gray/grey.

Achilles said...

They gave us ambient for the two double digit hour flights to whichever shithole we were going to. We were given doxycycline to take which was mandatory. Almost everyone else used chewing tobacco. Since almost everyone else was a functioning alcoholic going dry not much else was needed.

We chose the fort strategy in lieu of killing our enemies. I agree that is stupid. Hopefully we return to killing them now.

Achilles said...

Inga makes it clear in another post that she is on the other side.

chickelit said...

Desertion is not a capital crime in the eyes of the left because it is predicated on national loyalty. National loyalty conflicts with globalism. Borderless nations and peoples abhor national loyalties.

chickelit said...

I mean, why do you they hate flying flags so much in many university towns? It's a blatant display of national loyalty. I shall never forget the reaction I provoked on a San Diego campus when I announced that I was moving to Oceanside: "But they fly flags up there!" was the serious admonition.

Swede said...

You're wrong about the fort strategy.

When you have an enemy that doesn't wear a uniform and looks exactly like the local civilians you need to draw them out. Fortify and defend, coupled with enough patrolling, is an excellent way to bring the enemy to you. The risks are obvious.

If these two wars have taught the military anything, it's how to absorb the first punch. After that it's game on.

Rusty said...

Blogger coupe said...
JPS said...I was an infantry soldier in Afghanistan. At no time was I given a drug more powerful than coffee.

I wasn't there. All I have to go on is Frontline stories, and the 100's of video's on youtube about soldiers and psychiatric drugs (both during deployment and after return before the next deployment). I think the most shocking story was called "The Wounded Platoon".

Very sad.

Frontline, huh?

dbp said...

If they are worried about a fair trial, why haven't they just tried him already? He has been back in our hands for 2 1/2 years already!

dbp said...

Hagar said...

"I don't think Bergdahl is a deserter until the Army says he is, but he did go AWOL and defected to the enemy..."

It has been a while since my service, but the rule I remember is AWOL automatically becomes desertion after 30 days. I am not sure if being held captive would be an extenuating circumstance.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Don't mind Coupé, he's a wet brain.

protestmanager said...

It's both sad and amusing to me that people forget / don't know that getting a pardon effectively removes any 5th Amendment right not to testify fully and completely.

The 5th Amendment protects your right against "self incriminalization". You can NOT incriminate yourself if you have a pardon for the action.

So if Bergdahl (or Hillary!) gets a pardon, he (she) can be forced to testify under oath about everything covered by the pardon.

Lie? Can be convicted of perjury.

Refuse to testify? Can be thrown in jail for "Contempt of Congress / Court / whatever" until testify fully and completely.

Tell the truth? Democrats get utterly embarrassed.

So bring on the Pardons, President (for not very much longer) Obama. We're happy to help you look even worse.