October 16, 2017

"Bowe Bergdahl, Called a ‘Traitor’ by President Trump, Pleads Guilty."

The NYT reports.
He was charged with desertion, which carries a potential five-year sentence, and with misbehavior — essentially, endangering the troops who were sent to search for him — which carries a potential life sentence.

The negotiations for his release became a presidential campaign issue and an attacking point for Republican critics of President Obama’s foreign policy. Last year, as a candidate, Donald J. Trump repeatedly called the sergeant a “traitor” and called for him to be executed.

77 comments:

Big Mike said...

Good.

MayBee said...

Obama holding the Rose Garden Ceremony for his parents was so Obama.

Rusty said...

Walking out in the middle of a war is frowned upon.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

So is the NYT saying Obama was wrong.

rhhardin said...

Pregnancy wan't an option.

Jersey Fled said...

Getting tired of all this winning.

jaed said...

Not "misbehavior"—"misbehavior before the enemy", which is quite a bit more serious. Quite a bit. It covers things like cutting and running in battle.

Trust the NYT to minimize it by using the same term we use for children's minor antics. Sigh.

mockturtle said...

Since he did not just desert but joined the enemy, I'd say 'traitor' isn't too strong a word. But if he were executed, some would demand the same of Hanoi Jane.

narayanan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ray said...

And many died in the search for him...

Misbehavior?

narayanan said...

Getting tired of all this winning. NOT

Big Mike said...

some would demand the same of Hanoi Jane

And they'd be right.

D said...

"Misbehave" sounds like a word from another era. I will in ignorance presume it was term that lasted until the boomer generation. Or maybe I'm over-associating it with some old Jazz song - or some early 50s slang? used by family members now passed over.

J. Farmer said...

@mockturtle:

Since he did not just desert but joined the enemy, I'd say 'traitor' isn't too strong a word.

This is not a case I have followed particularly closely and do not care a great deal about, but in what way had he "joined the enemy." It was my understanding that he deserted and was then captured and held as a prisoner for five years. Both the charges in the case, desertion and endangerment, seem accurate. What is the evidence for treason?

Gahrie said...

Bergdahl should spend a significant part of the next decade making small rocks from big rocks.

Ralph L said...

Has Trump called him a traitor since the election?
If not, their headline is misleading and implies command influence by Trump.

Mike Sylwester said...

While President Obama was in charge, all the officers positioned over the Bergdahl case knew that their careers would end soon if Bergdahl was put on trial and convicted.

That's why the generals slow-walked the case for years.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected, Bergahl would have been allowed to plead guilty for missing a curfew.

Mike Sylwester said...

I thought that the Obama Administration was going to be the most transparent Presidency in US history.

How come nobody can explain how the adjudication of this case was delayed for years?

zipity said...

He is/was a traitor. He should have been executed by now.

mockturtle said...

J. Farmer, this is my understanding:
1. He was not captured but walked off his post and turned himself over to the Taliban.
2. He gave the Taliban information that would help them evade US forces.
3. The Taliban made no demands for his release.

Michael K said...

"he deserted and was then captured and held as a prisoner for five years"

Tokyo Rose was in Japan at the start of the war and did not voluntarily join the Japanese war effort, or at least that is what she claimed after the war.

Bergdahl's status as prisoner is in some doubt, at least after he told his captors the right things.

Although she broadcast under the name "Orphan Ann," Iva Toguri has been known as "Tokyo Rose" since her return to the United States in 1945. An American citizen and the daughter of Japanese immigrants, Toguri traveled to Japan to tend to a sick aunt just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.[15] Unable to leave the country when war broke out with the United States, unable to stay with her aunt's family as an American citizen, and unable to receive any aid from her parents who were placed in internment camps in Arizona, Toguri eventually took a job as a part-time typist at Radio Tokyo (NHK).[3] She was quickly recruited as a broadcaster for the 75-minute propagandist program The Zero Hour, which consisted of skits, news reports, and popular American music.[

She was tried and convicted of treason. She served 20 years until pardoned by Ford in the post Watergate era.

I predict Bergdahl will be allowed to plead to simple desertion and will be let off with a "less than honorable" discharge.

My wife asked this morning why he would plead guilty and that's what I told her.

rhhardin said...

Tractorous behavior. Draws others in.

retail lawyer said...

Susan Rice said "he served with honor and distinction". She says a lot of things, though.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I predict Bergdahl will be allowed to plead to simple desertion and will be let off with a "less than honorable" discharge.



Mike, he pled to both desertion and misbehavior ("in the face of the enemy"?). I don't think they're going to let him off with the Big Chicken Dinner.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Blogger retail lawyer said...
Susan Rice said "he served with honor and distinction". She says a lot of things, though.




She would probably say the same of herself, Clinton and Obama.

Hagar said...

Bergdahl went AWOL and defected to the enemy. He was reported as wandering around and asking the locals where he could find the Taliban.

ABC says he finds it "insulting" that Trump has called him a traitor.

I think the Army made a big mistake going to look for him. They should just have left him with his new friends, and if he showed up later, charge him, and if he did not show, that would also have been good.

J. Farmer said...

@mockturtle:

J. Farmer, this is my understanding:
1. He was not captured but walked off his post and turned himself over to the Taliban.
2. He gave the Taliban information that would help them evade US forces.
3. The Taliban made no demands for his release.


The evidence certainly seems to be that he deserted was then captured. What is the evidence he "turned himself over to the Taliban?" The Taliban did make demands for his release, including large sums of money and the release of numerous individuals.

mockturtle said...

OK, Farmer, I will concede point 3.

Bob Boyd said...

The Army bears some measure of responsibility for this mess. Bergdahl should never have been enlisted. He had already been discharged from the Coast Guard for psychological reasons after only a few months. I think that should be part of what they consider when sentence him.

Ralph L said...

They got 5 detainees for him, IIRC.

WisRich said...

Ralph L said...
They got 5 detainees for him, IIRC.
10/16/17, 10:26 AM
-----

Yes, the trade didn't come about because Obama wanted to recover a serviceman, it came about because he wanted to empty out Gitmo. The fact that Bergdahl was a traitor was only a minor inconvenience.

~ Gordon Pasha said...

The West Point/Rapone kerfuffle may have some influence on the sentence handed to Bergdahl. As Voltaire opined,"Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres."

William said...

It was the Rose Garden ceremony that did him in. Bergdahl certainly didn't deserve a Rose Garden ceremony and did not profit from the increased attention Obama drew to his case. Perhaps if some low level official had issued a statement that Bergdahl was a confused young man who had made a catastrophically bad decision but was now safely back in America, then his repatriation could have proceeded quietly. This young man doesn't pass muster, and Obama cut the mustard.

Fabi said...

It's not too late to shoot that cocksucker in the face.

Lance said...

Hmm, Obama got in trouble for exerting unlawful command influence. This seems a similar scenario, except Trump wasn't President at the time of his remarks and Bergdahl has already plead guilty.

furious_a said...

Let's not forget the six troopers killed in the operation to rescue Begdahl. No grandstanding Rose Garden photo ops for their families.

Curious George said...

"Fabi said...
It's not too late to shoot that cocksucker in the face."

And then that Allahu Akbar dad of his.

furious_a said...

Susan Rice should be called to appear at Berdahl's sentencing hearing to allocate to her craven stupidity.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

The negotiations for his release became a presidential campaign issue and an attacking point for Republican critics of President Obama’s foreign policy.

Republicans pounce!

Quaestor said...

What is the evidence for treason?

Sgt. Bergdahl is subject to two constitutions: The United States and the State of Idaho.

Article III, Section 3: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

There is no evidence I have seen of Bergdahl "levying war", however, "adhering to Their enemies" is an arguable point.This is probably why Bergdahl has confessed to "misbehavior", a crime just short of treason.

Our Constitution is in some respects an 18th-century document, first written at a time when even the enemy could be expected to be a gentleman. The nature of the physical and psychological tortures inflicted by North Korean, Chinese, and even Soviet NKVD interrogators on American POWs was unanticipated by the Founders, therefore the idea that a captured soldier could be induced to commit treasonous acts without his moral assent was similarly alien to their experience. Consequently, misbehavior before the enemy became a charge after the Korean War to cover treasonous action done under such irresistible duress. J. Farmer asks for evidence of treason. The confession is the evidence. The difference between treason and misbehavior is a matter of psychology.

Bergdahl, however, is skating on very thin ice indeed. His confession to misbehavior is complicated by his voluntary desertion. The choice of the prosecution is a tough one, go for the big one, or settle for a long, long stay in Levinworth. Even in the case of the Army accepting a guilty plea based on desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, Bergdahl could yet face a second trial for his life in Idaho. In that state, the governor cannot commute a sentence of death for treason.

The last person convicted of treason against the United States was Tomoya Kawakita, a Nisei citizen of California who was a student in Japan during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Under Japanese law then in force, Kawakita was a naturalized citizen of Japan by reason of race, and therefore qualified to serve in the Imperial armed forces. Whether he was conscripted or joined voluntarily is neither clear nor pertinent to the case. Witnesses identified Kawakita as a warrant officer serving as an interpreter in an industrial plant in Kokura which used American POWs as slave labor. Kawakita was implicated in dozens of beatings of American prisoners, including at least one that resulted in death. Kawakita was sentenced to death in 1948. In 1953 President Eisenhower commuted the sentence to life in prison. In 1963 President Kennedy ordered him released on condition that he leave the United States and never return. Kawakita was never charged with treason against the State of California, his brithplace, but it was always a possibility.

Bob Ellison said...

"Treason" is a simple word that normal people understand.

Jeff Teal said...

Bergdahl,Manning,Snowden,Fonda,Clinton should all have fac e d the same sentence-to encourage proper behavior.

Larry J said...

retail lawyer said...
Susan Rice said "he served with honor and distinction". She says a lot of things, though.


He did serve with honor and distinction, only not for our side. That would be right in line with Rice's, Hillary's, and Obama's perspectives.

mockturtle said...

He did serve with honor and distinction, only not for our side.

And Jane Fonda was a patriot. For Hanoi.

mockturtle said...

Quaestor, doesn't 'aid and comfort to the enemy' describe treason? Certainly, Bergdahl provided this.

Quaestor said...

Manning and Snowden could be charged with espionage. Espionage in time of war is treason, however, the United States is not at war with Russia or Wikileaks, much to the chagrin of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Clintons are clearly guilty of hundreds of acts of gross venality, sexual assault, perjury, fraud, tax evasion, election law violations, and disgusting immorality generally. They are connected to several violent deaths occurring under suspicious circumstances, and therefore perhaps guilty of murder. They are also guilty of elevating Albert Gore, Jr. from a know-nothing political cipher into an almost-President, a vile crime in my book, though not in any law book. Unfortunately for the eager firing squad, they're not guilty of actual treason. Sorry.

Jane Fonda, on the other hand, is in jeopardy. Her actions do in fact meet the criteria of treason. And there is no statute of limitations. Any federal prosecutor with a mind to do it could summon a grand jury on the matter and probably get an indictment. The left is quite happy to bandy the charge of treason against Robert E. Lee. In the General's case, the charge is not clear at all. Citizens of these United States owe allegiance (Owe allegience, who on the left is willing to espouse that truth, I wonder.) to two sovereign powers — his Nation and his State. In 1861, every free person in the Confederacy was on the horns of a dilemma. Which allegiance was the greater. The Constitution was and remains silent on the matter. The only law is the law of precedent. The Union won and enforced its will on the would-be independent States. To my knowledge, no court has ruled on the legality of Mr. Lincoln's war. The point is those who declare Lee a traitor are total hypocrites if they do not also insist on the prosecution of Jane Fonda.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Shoulda put in to have a sex change at taxpayer expense. I hear that works to minimize prison time in cases like this. I guess there's still time.

Ralph L said...

Unfortunately for the eager firing squad, they're not guilty of actual treason. Sorry.

He did sell important technology to China for campaign funds.
Close enough for me.

Scott McGlasson said...

Good. At this point, in addition to his crimes, he needs to be made an example of.

The Drill SGT said...

J. Farmer said...
@mockturtle:

Since he did not just desert but joined the enemy, I'd say 'traitor' isn't too strong a word.

This is not a case I have followed particularly closely and do not care a great deal about, but in what way had he "joined the enemy."


Split the difference
1. he deserted
2. he likely wanted to join the Taliban
3. the T'ban had other plans

old military wisdom about never trusting traitors.

Quaestor said...

Doesn't 'aid and comfort to the enemy' describe treason?

Yes, it does. But aid and comfort could be extracted from a POW. Under the law of war, captured soldiers can be legally put to work on tasks not of direct benefit to their captor's war aims and policies.* However, during WWII Japan used Allied POWs as labor in munitions factories and in construction projects like the infamous Burma railway which were vital elements of their war plans. By cooperating those POWs were giving aid and comfort to the enemy. A strict reading of the law would imply that a POW must endure every torture and even death before submitting to such demands. Undoubtedly a few did just that, but more picked up the spade and worked. This dilemma was the theme of The Bridge on the River Kwai, was it not? Therefore I prefer the charge of adhering to their Enemies because it is less ambiguous.

* My mother told me about encountering a crew of German POWs using scythes to clear the roadside of weeds and such while walking home from school. They didn't know it but she was fluent in German and heard them muttering about what a nice bit of Aryan ass she was, which she reported to the shotgun-wielding guard who was supervising them. The guard ordered them to be silent. Actually what my mother said was the Germans were rude to her, but I'm pretty sure their remarks were more than rude. She was gorgeous, no kidding. That kind of labor was typical of the Germans held by the United States. To avoid any taint of war-related work the prisoners were mostly used doing clean-up jobs, and they got paid a token wage to do them, enough for candy, smokes, etc. Some Allied countries violated the Geneva Conventions, however. One of the most egregious violators was Denmark, oddly enough. In May 1945, Denmark commandeered more than two thousand German POWs, mostly teenaged conscripts, to do mine clearing. Using nothing but steel rods and their bare hands those boys removed over 2 million landmines from Danish beaches. About a third of them were killed or wounded by the mines, and they were all mistreated and fed poorly.

Quaestor said...

He did sell important technology to China for campaign funds.
Close enough for me.


That's espionage, which I forgot to add to the indictment. There. Done. Still not treason, though.

The Drill SGT said...

So, I'm confused about the ART. 85. DESERTION charge. The NYT says the penalty is 5 years. My UCMJ says it has the potential to be Life. And "if in time of war" the Death penalty is in play.

Similarly, 99. MISBEHAVIOR BEFORE THE ENEMY has the potential for death.

and they did not charge, ART. 104. AIDING THE ENEMY

I suspect that the NYT leaves out that the Army in early motions, did not seek the death penalty.

Sam L. said...

GOOD.

mockturtle said...

This dilemma was the theme of The Bridge on the River Kwai, was it not? Therefore I prefer the charge of adhering to their Enemies because it is less ambiguous.

True. But was it their intent? There is at least some evidence that Bergdahl fully intended to help the enemy even without coercion. But I've made enough factual errors for one morning...;-)

oleh said...

This article seems instructive:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/19/us/bowe-bergdahl-should-not-be-imprisoned-army-investigator-says.html

"But General Dahl testified that he found Sergeant Bergdahl truthful during the day and a half he spent interviewing him as part of the investigation. General Dahl also said that Sergeant Bergdahl had shown remorse about how his decision to leave his base could have endangered others in his platoon.

“I do not believe there is a jail sentence at the end of this procedure,” General Dahl said. “I think it would be inappropriate.”

His testimony came on the second day of a preliminary hearing here. Another defense witness, one of the military’s top debriefers of prisoners of war, suggested that Sergeant Bergdahl’s captivity was the worst any American had endured since the Vietnam War."

****************

"In his testimony, the first time he has spoken publicly about his investigation, General Dahl also impeached much of the news coverage of Sergeant Bergdahl since President Obama approved exchanging him for five Taliban detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in May 2014.

For example, despite claims that a half-dozen soldiers died in the search for Sergeant Bergdahl, General Dahl testified that he had found no evidence that any soldiers had been killed while specifically engaged in the effort."




mockturtle said...

"...Another defense witness, one of the military’s top debriefers of prisoners of war, suggested that Sergeant Bergdahl’s captivity was the worst any American had endured since the Vietnam War."

The old 'suggested'. The last refuge of a scoundrel.

Kevin said...

Another defense witness, one of the military’s top debriefers of prisoners of war, suggested that Sergeant Bergdahl’s captivity was the worst any American had endured since the Vietnam War."

Daniel Pearl and Otto Warmbier could not be reached for comment.

Kevin said...

“I do not believe there is a jail sentence at the end of this procedure,” General Dahl said. “I think it would be inappropriate.”

Poll all the generals, not just the one hand-picked by the Obama Administration to interview and report for them. Post the results. See how inappropriate it might seem then.

Known Unknown said...

Snowden and Manning are not the same. Manning indiscriminately released sensitive info that jeopardized American missions and current operations. Snowden let us know how the United States government doesn't give a damn about your privacy.

Earnest Prole said...

I have no problem with our efforts to take back our soldier from the enemy, since we should want to get our hands on him if he's a traitor (if for no other reason than to discourage other traitors), and want to get our hands on him if he's not. It was Obama's Rose Garden ceremony that turned this from a military question to a political one, which was wrong.

oleh said...

Also seems pretty uncontested that Berghdal was suffering from the following art the time he walked off:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizotypal_personality_disorder

Bad Lieutenant said...

But General Dahl testified that he found Sergeant Bergdahl truthful


I think we need to know ALL about this General Dahl.

J. Farmer said...

@The Drill SGT:

2. he likely wanted to join the Taliban

What is the evidence for this?

Bad Lieutenant said...

2. he likely wanted to join the Taliban

What is the evidence for this?


[Er,] He joined the Taliban?

Jim at said...

A hero of the left.

True brothers in arms.

mockturtle said...

J. Farmer, you have to do a little delving beneath the MSM versions of the events of the time. Bergdahl knew where the Taliban were and knew he would be 'captured'. I think he may have been surprised that he was not treated as well as he had hoped and, while I don't think he was an evil terrorist, he was a clueless idiot who put US troops in harm's way. Captured in June, it was, I believe, December before the Taliban asked for negotiations. On Christmas Day 2009, the Taliban released a 36-minute video in which Bergdahl criticized the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan. "This is all going to be the next Vietnam, unless the American people stand up and stop all this nonsense," Bergdahl said. [L.A. Times]

While I happen to agree with Bergdahl's assessment of our efforts in Afghanistan, what he did was wrong and, IMO, traitorous.

Jim at said...

"The Taliban did make demands for his release, including large sums of money and the release of numerous individuals."

Only after Obama came knocking.

There is simply no defense of this asshole unless you take up sides with him.

And that makes you the same as he is. A traitor.

J. Farmer said...

@Bad Lieutenant:

[Er,] He joined the Taliban?

That's complete news as far as I am concerned. What's the evidence that that occurred?

@Jim at:

Only after Obama came knocking.

That is not true; demands for his release began in at least early 2010. The negotiations that led to the prison swap occurred in early 2014.

There is simply no defense of this asshole unless you take up sides with him.

And that makes you the same as he is. A traitor.


There is a defense against false charges. As I said in my first comment, "Both the charges in the case, desertion and endangerment, seem accurate." However, that is quite different from taking up with the enemy and joining their cause. There is no evidence of that.

J. Farmer said...

@mockturtle:

Bergdahl knew where the Taliban were and knew he would be 'captured'. I think he may have been surprised that he was not treated as well as he had hoped and, while I don't think he was an evil terrorist, he was a clueless idiot who put US troops in harm's way.

How can you possibly know what he knew when he deserted? What is your source for this information?

On Christmas Day 2009, the Taliban released a 36-minute video in which Bergdahl criticized the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan. "This is all going to be the next Vietnam, unless the American people stand up and stop all this nonsense," Bergdahl said. [L.A. Times]

Damiel Pearl made criticisms of US foreign policy in his videos, too. Do you think he believed them? And while Bergdahl may very well have criticisms of US foreign policy and action, you have no way of knowing what form of duress he may have been under went that video was taken. Hostages denouncing US foreign policy or praising the side of their captors in hostage videos is a common occurrence.

pacwest said...

@J.Farmer,
The assumption is that Bergdahl knew he was in enemy territory. How could anyone with an IQ above 70 not know that? mockturtle's conclusions are a reasonable given that single assumption.

Bad Lieutenant said...

J. Farmer said...
@Bad Lieutenant:

[Er,] He joined the Taliban?

That's complete news as far as I am concerned. What's the evidence that that occurred?

Er, the six or more videos the Taliban released of Berghdal in their company? Do you need those links?


J. Farmer said...

@Bad Lieutenant:

Er, the six or more videos the Taliban released of Berghdal in their company? Do you need those links?

Those were all hostage and propaganda videos. Daniel Pearl appeared in videos made by his captors denouncing US foreign policy and Israel. Do you think that means he joined their company or believed in their cause?

@pacwest:

The assumption is that Bergdahl knew he was in enemy territory. How could anyone with an IQ above 70 not know that? mockturtle's conclusions are a reasonable given that single assumption.

So you have exactly no evidence. Just a complete hunch based on what you think he should have known at the time. Yeah, I find that less than compelling. Mockturtle claimed, "Since he did not just desert but joined the enemy, I'd say 'traitor' isn't too strong a word." There is zero evidence of that, and no such evidence was presented at his trial.

mockturtle said...

There is zero evidence of that

"I have not personally seen evidence of that" FIFY

J. Farmer said...

@mockturtle:

"I have not personally seen evidence of that" FIFY

And, apparently, nor have you. But that hasn't stopped you from making evidence-free assertions of fact.

mockturtle said...

I've seen rather a lot, in fact. But you should at least acknowledge that to assert that 'There is zero evidence' is presumptuous, at best.

J. Farmer said...

@mockturtle:

Then my original question to you remains: what is the evidence for treason? You declared three reasons for believing so, and none were backed by anything other than what could most charitably be described as a hunch. I think it's presumptuous to declare that someone "did not just desert but joined the enemy."