Wednesday, March 25, 2015

U.S. Army Charges Bowe Bergdahl with Desertion

Clockwise from top left: Sgt. Michael Murphrey, age 25, was killed in an IED blast on Sept. 5, 2009; Private First Class Morris Walker, age 23, and Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen, age 29 were killed in an IED explosion on Aug. 18, 2009. Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, age 27, died in a firefight on Aug. 26, 2009. Second Lt. Darryn Andrews, age 34, and Private First class Matthew Michael Martinek, age 20 died after an RPG ambush on Sept. 4, 2009.
We Must Never Forget

Above are the faces of those killed while looking for Bergdahl in the days following his desertion.

We must never forget the six U.S. Army soldiers who were killed as a result of soldier Bowe Bergdahl deserting and joining the enemy in Afghanistan.

Now that Bowe Bergdahl is being charged with desertion, maybe now families of the soldiers killed looking for Bergdahl can get closure.

Yes, we must never forget that six soldiers killed looking for Bergdahl after he "walked off" and deserted while in Afghanistan.

The families of these troops know very well how they died while looking for Bergdahl. Like many others, they believe there should be justice for the needless deaths of their family members.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserted and joined the Taliban after abandoning his post in Afghanistan.

He was then freed five years later in exchange for five Guantanamo detainees in a deal hailed by the White House but blasted by his fellow soldiers for deserting.

Today, March 25th, 2015, it was announced the U.S. Army will charge Bowe Bergdahl with desertion.

The development comes 10 months after his May 2014 release -- which initially was a joyous occasion, with his parents joining President Obama in celebrating the news in the Rose Garden.

Bob Bergdahl, who actually made contact with the Taliban and studied Islam during his son's captivity, appeared with Obama with a full beard and read a Muslim prayer while Bergdahl's wife Jani embraced the president.


But that euphoria quickly gave way to controversy in Washington as Bergdahl was accused of walking away from his post and putting his fellow soldiers in danger.

The trade of hardened Taliban fighters for his freedom raised deep concerns on Capitol Hill that the administration struck an unbalanced and possibly illegal deal.

Bergdahl will be specifically charged with desertion and misbehavior toward the enemy. A senior U.S. official said he will face a court martial and trial.

Gen. Mark Milley, head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, has been reviewing the massive case files and had a broad range of legal options, including various degrees of desertion charges.

A major consideration was whether military officials would be able to prove that Bergdahl had no intention of returning to his unit -- a key element in the more serious desertion charges.

The announcement marks a sharp turnaround for the administration's narrative of Bergdahl's service and release.

After the swap last year, National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Bergdahl served with "honor and distinction."

But as Bergdahl faced criticism from fellow troops for his actions, the administration faced heated complaints from Congress over the Taliban trade itself.

"This fundamental shift in U.S. policy signals to terrorists around the world a greater incentive to take U.S. hostages," said former Rep. Mike Rogers, (R-Mich.), then the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Bergdahl disappeared from his base in the eastern Afghanistan province of Paktika on June 30, 2009. A private first class at the time, he had three days earlier emailed his parents expressing disillusionment with the war.

"The future is too good to waste on lies," Bergdahl wrote, according to the late Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings. "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."

Bob Bergdahl, his father, a former UPS delivery driver in Sun Valley Idaho, replied with a message bearing the subject line, "OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!"

But what if he was not a Hostage and simply Joined the Enemy?

The Army said Bergdahl was "captured" by the Taliban after abandoning his post in Afghanistan. And yes, people keep talking about his "captivity".

But what if he was never "captured" and was never a "captive?" Can this be the truth?
This are legitimate questions since Bergdahl did in fact leave a note in his tent that said he was leaving to start a new life and renounced his citizenship. 

For the next five years, Bergdahl is believed to have been helped the Taliban and Pakistan's infamous Haqqani network.

In one of several hostage videos released during his absence, he said he was "captured when he fell behind a patrol."

But fellow soldiers who knew the truth of what took place were outraged after the trade was made with the Taliban, and have accused him of deserting.

Along with this, we know that the lives of American troops were lost while looking for him -- and some troops from his unit in Afghanistan assert that other American lives were put at risk in the hunt for Bergdahl as well.

Bergdahl was freed on May 31, 2014, after the White House agreed to trade five high value Taliban operatives held at Guantanamo Bay for him.

He was turned over to Delta Force operatives in eastern Afghanistan, near the border village of Khost, while the Taliban members were handed over to authorities in Qatar, which helped broker the swap.

The trade was blasted by critics who said it violated America’s longstanding tradition of not negotiating with terrorists, and from Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers, many of whom view him as a traitor.

There were also concerns – which would prove well-founded – that the Taliban members would return to the fight against the West.

Of the five, Mohammad Fazl, the former Taliban army chief of staff; Khairullah Khairkhwa, a Taliban intelligence official; Abdul Haq Wasiq, a former Taliban government official; and Norullah Noori and Mohammad Nabi Omari, at least three have attempted to rejoin their old comrades, sources told Fox News.

Then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Bergdahl was a “prisoner of war,” and that the deal did not amount to negotiating with terrorists. He also said concerns about Bergdahl’s deteriorating condition made it imperative that the U.S. move quickly to make the trade.

A Pentagon probe concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had "walked away" from his base, but stopped short of accusing him of desertion, reopening the probe after his return.

Bergdhal was promoted to sergeant while in captivity, and had accrued more than $200,000 in back pay by the time he was traded for the Taliban Five.

He was assigned to duty at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, after his return.

Now that Bergdahl is being charged with desertion, families will see if Bergdahl will truly be held responsible for the deaths of their loved ones who risked everything to find him -- when he did not want to be found.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa


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