General Question

FlyingWolf's avatar

Now that he has been released, should Bowe Bergdahl be tried for desertion?

Asked by FlyingWolf (2484 points ) June 1st, 2014

Bowe Bergdahl, the only POW from the war in Afghanistan was released yesterday when the US agreed to trade five Taliban leaders in exchange for Bergdahl’s freedom. By all accounts the circumstances surrounding his capture are murky, with many sources, including this detailed article from Rolling Stone, saying he voluntarily walked off the base straight into custody of the Taliban. At this point I have heard very little about this aspect of the story. Do you think we’ll hear more about this part of the story? Should/will Mr. Bergdahl be held accountable for desertion?

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52 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

If he deserted, he should get a medal.

zenvelo's avatar

We won’t know until he is through all his debriefing. and yes, the Army wants to know what happened. Yet it is too early to declare he should be tried, considering the only accounts we really have are speculation from magazines and talk shows.

Voluntarily leaving the base, which could mean he went for a walk, is not the same as walking into a Taliban camp and asking to be held prisoner for five years. So it’s a misnomer to say he went “straight into custody.”

Darth_Algar's avatar

Well if he was a POW rather than taking an IED for freedom then he failed in his patriotic duty, so yes, he should be tried.

pleiades's avatar

This is the problem with the ultra right winged mindset. They believe, he walked off the premises therefore it’s his fault he was captured and we should not have traded 5 from GITMO. I believe these ultra right wingers are complete idiots and base their ideas off of fallacies with a misconception of tough love. I thoroughly agree with @zenvelo

It could be anything at this point. He could’ve been off duty, and decided to learn more about their culture by going to a market or something of that nature. He’s in a desolated area, do these ultra right winged morons truly believe he was trying to escape his duties? Yea? Where in the fuck would he run to? Would he grow out his golden blonde beard and try to blend in?

Ultra right wingers they make no sense! These people of course are in the minority and are the party poopers of his homecoming that’s for sure. Nothing is ever good enough for them.

My answer to the OP. Hell no!

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I have a feeling that no one here heard or read about what his father deleted from his twitter account. after hearing that story this morning now I have mixed feelings about the kid and the whole release story. five high level Taliban are now walking free to make havoc.

His father deleted this tweet two days ago on his account:

<I am still working to free all Gitmo Prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child. ameen>

Darth_Algar's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat

And that tweet matters why?

jaytkay's avatar

That twitter quote sounds like a conservative’s delusional idea of what liberals think. I’m very skeptical that it’s for real.

ragingloli's avatar

@jaytkay
If it was a parody of some sort, it would have ended with “hail satan”, because conservatives think liberals are satanic.

kritiper's avatar

But of course! Whatever the UCMJ dictates.

josie's avatar

Maybe. If he went AWOL, especially in a combat area, he could be in serious trouble.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Yes, if there is enough evidence. I’ve been reading about this for the past hour and the evidence seems to be there. We might see some folks in DC in trouble too. The tweet by his father does matter no matter how one might try to spin it. Obama didn’t just release 5 detainees; he released five Taliban leaders. We don’t negotiate with terrorists, you know.

jca's avatar

I can’t imagine “taking a walk” in enemy territory. I know that military bases are huge, really like a town, so if one had to take a walk, one would have plenty of space to do so on the base. Why would someone go outside the bounds of safety because they wanted to see the area?

josie's avatar

Update my answer. I still have friends in Afghanistan and I am getting plenty of buzz from them about this guy.

He didn’t get captured and made a prisoner. He walked into it voluntarily. He’s a deserter.

A few of my guys would like to get their hands on him.

Anyway, that’s the news from the front.

jca's avatar

I posted a link on the FB group page – those of you in the group feel free to post the link here. I’ll do it later as I’m off to work asap.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@jca what? Is the link regarding this question? Can you post it here for those who don’t have Facebook or aren’t in the group?

jca's avatar

Sorry – I was in a rush before and not able to do it then. I said I would do it later, @FlyingWolf.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/01/us/bergdahl-deserter-or-hero/index.html

His fellow soldiers call him a deserter, not a hero. It’s a CNN article, so I figured it wouldn’t be too slanted right or left. I didn’t read the article yet myself.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@jca, that article is linked about five posts up.

jca's avatar

@FlyingWolf: Great! I have not read the link – my apologies.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I read somewhere that he was promoted to Sergent several months after he was captured. Why would they promote him if he was a deserter?

Bet someone is making a mountain out of nothing again.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@Dutchess_III I have spoken to some service members who explained that until someone is tried and convicted of desertion they are considered active duty members of the military and receive regular pay and promotions as would any POW. @josie might be able to confirm that this is correct.

Dutchess_III's avatar

K. Thanks.

ragingloli's avatar

He is a spy. He was supposed to get captured so he could spy on the terrorists. That explains why he was so valuable as to trade several gitmo prisoners for his release.

jca's avatar

The article that I recently linked from NY Times stated he was promoted to Sargeant while he was captured.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, I mentioned that and @josie said, ”@Dutchess_III I have spoken to some service members who explained that until someone is tried and convicted of desertion they are considered active duty members of the military and receive regular pay and promotions as would any POW. @josie might be able to confirm that this is correct.”

FlyingWolf's avatar

@Dutchess_III this thread is starting to twist my brain! Your quote from Josie is exactly what my quip said.

kritiper's avatar

All part of the “innocent until proven guilty” concept. Everyone must/should assume innocence of the accused party before his/her trial/court-martial.

jca's avatar

According to the NY Times article, they were actively looking for him for months and service members died in the search (which is apparently why they’re not too thrilled with him right now).

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ah! Sorry @FlyingWolf! I meant to give you credit for that comment, not Josie. Sorry!

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jca

Soldiers getting killed in a war zone? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s been known to happen from time to time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Darth_Algar but if it’s true that he went MIA, and someone got killed trying to “find and save him,” only to find out he left voluntarily…that would upset me too, because it could have been avoided. That is IF all of this is true.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III

Basically what I’m saying is that the assumption is that they were killed because they were searching for this man. They weren’t. They were killed because they were active combatants in a war zone. This man cannot be faulted for their deaths ether way.

jca's avatar

@Darth_Algar: According to the NY Times article, they’re upset because they feel there were deaths that were directly attributed to searching for this man, who they find out now may have deserted his unit purposely.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I was one of the first to post on this thread. my comments went over like a lead balloon from some members here but now I see many more members have learned more about this “soldier” and his parents.

I just learned that his home town has cancelled the big parade they had planned for his homecoming.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jca

Yes, I understand that. That is exactly the thing I was disputing in my post.

ragingloli's avatar

they died because they were incompetent.

Bill1939's avatar

Until it is determined whether Bergdahl was AWOL, deserted or walked away because of mental illness or other reason, he should not be prejudged. Civilian or soldier, he is innocent until proven guilty. Making political hay out of his release from captivity is wrong. Sadly however, those who oppose Obama will do anything they can to make him and the Democratic Party look bad.

Dutchess_III's avatar

” Sadly however, those who oppose Obama will do anything they can to make him and the Democratic Party look bad.” Including humiliating a possibly innocent soldier just to make their agenda. Whether he walked away voluntarily or not, I can’t imagine his life has been easy these last 5 years.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We have a lot to learn about it, don’t we, @jca. How much is true, how much is media hype. I feel sorry for the guy. They cancelled some parade for him in his hometown. It’s been 5 years. Seems to me the whole town would have heard the story long before now….

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I would think that a lot of what occurred would not have been heard by now, due to much of it being classified information. According to what I read, he seemed to be anti-American and planning this desertion for a while, and his dad seemed to be supportive of it.

FlyingWolf's avatar

This article from Rolling Stone is the most comprehensive coverage around about the circumstances surrounding Mr. Beegdahls’s disappearance and eventual capture. It was published long before he was released and is free of all the current hype, bias, and politicization. Here is a link to an abridged version with the most important points from the article.

dxs's avatar

If you don’t mind me asking, what’s all this hype about Obama not passing it through Congress? And how much was known about Bergdahl when he was released?

jca's avatar

@FlyingWolf: I know Rolling Stone does good work when they do articles like this, and that article you linked looks great. However, I think that the new info about this topic is not necessarily all negative. There’s new info out, new people interviewed who are talking now who maybe weren’t talking then. Not all the recent info out is politically biased.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@dxs “If you don’t mind me asking, what’s all this hype about Obama not passing it through Congress?”

In a nutshell there was a bill passed that requires the President to give Congress 30 days’ notice before acting on prisoner exchanges like this. Obama, however, has always contested the bill saying that it’s an unconstitutional infringement on the powers of the executive office. I’m inclined to agree with Obama on this one. The window of opportunity on exchanges of this nature can be pretty narrow, and if the President sat around and waited for 30 so that a few combative Congress men can feel that have proper notice (note: he doesn’t have to have Congressional approval to initiate such exchanges, he just has to tell them he’s going to do it a month before he does it) then he’d likely miss the window altogether. It’s a pointless bill that was passed just so some Congressmen can use it for political grandstanding and tell their voters back home that they’re fighting against unchecked presidential power, or when he ignores it they can tell those same voters “see? He’s a tyrant trying to bypass Congress”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Darth_Algar… did that bill come about as a reaction to the Iran Contra mess?

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

Obama signed the Bill giving Congress 3o day notice so he can’t blame anyone else for it. Simply put the President broke the law by not notifying congress.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Looks like it gets signed into law every year for the last 53 years: ” This was the 53rd consecutive year that a National Defense Authorization Act has been passed.[2]”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act

He did the right thing. As @Darth_Algar said, he could have missed the window of opportunity if he’d sat around twiddling his thumbs for 30 days.

Would you view it differently if it was your son stranded over seas for the last 5 years?

Darth_Algar's avatar

More to the point would you view it any differently if the president had an® next to his name?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t get your point @Darth_Algar

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