Tag Archives: court martial

Bergdahl may be POTUS’s most stinging embarrassment


Barack Obama’s presidency is just about set to head into the home stretch.

I believe history over time will judge the Obama presidency well, even as many Americans now worry about the terror threat that, frankly, has been with us all along.

There likely will be a singular embarrassment, though, for the president that he might have to explain.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is facing a court-martial on two critical counts: desertion and endangering his unit. Bergdahl was the subject of a prisoner exchange in which our side gave up five Taliban fighters in exchange for Bergdahl, who’d been held by the Taliban for about five years.

Once Bergdahl came out, he was honored by Barack Obama in a White House ceremony that included his parents. The president spoke of how the U.S. military “never leaves comrades behind.” He spoke of Bergdahl as a hero.

Well, a military court is going to decide whether Bergdahl abandoned his post in Afghanistan and whether his conduct put his fellow soldiers in danger.

I’ve sought to withhold judgment on Bergdahl, preferring to let the court decide his guilt or innocence.

If the court-martial convicts him, then the president will have to explain to Americans the reason for giving him such a hero’s welcome. And, of course, there’s the issue of negotiating the release of five known Taliban terrorists — which is what they are, no matter that the administration refuses to label the Taliban as a “terrorist organization.”

This court-martial will be worth the nation’s attention.


Bergdahl may prove to be biggest mistake

Bowe Bergdahl is accused of deserting his post and his comrades when he was captured by the Taliban.

The Army sergeant then was released in a five-for-one swap: five Taliban senior officials for one American soldier.

Bergdahl came home, went to the White House and was hailed as a “hero” by President Obama.

No matter how this matter plays out — if Bergdahl is acquitted or convicted — the episode might stand as one of the president’s most embarrassing moments.


It is my fervent hope that one day the president — even if it’s after he leaves office in less than two years — will explain to Americans whether he harbors any regret regarding the now-overblown reaction to Bergdah’s release.

This matter is troubling on at least two levels.

One is that we gave up five known terrorists — and I will refer to the Taliban as “terrorists,” even though the White House won’t go there — for one soldier.

The other is that we negotiated with the terrorists, despite our stated policy of “never negotiating” with terrorist organizations.

Bergdah’s future remains undecided. I hope we learn that he didn’t actually commit an act of desertion. I hope we can learn that it was some sort of terrible error on his part, and that he left his post and that he blundered his way into Taliban captivity.

No matter how it turns out, the young man appears to be far less heroic than when he was set free.

And the president of the United States should feel embarrassed.


Sgt. Bergdahl's life is getting complicated

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s life got mighty complicated the day he disappeared from his post in Afghanistan and was held by Taliban terrorists.

He was repatriated in 2014 amid cheers to those who were glad we were able to recover one of our fighting men.

Now the young man’s life is getting decidedly more complicated. This story might not end well for Sgt. Bergdahl.


The Army has accused him of desertion and with misbehavior before the enemy. The desertion charge carries a five-year prison sentence if he’s convicted; the misbehavior charge comes with a life sentence if he is found guilty.

All of sudden, just like that, the man once considered a near-hero must prove to the military that he didn’t join the enemy willingly and deserted his post, abandoned his comrades and in effect shirked the duty he took an oath to perform.

The Army is going to send this case to an Article 32 hearing, which is equivalent roughly to a grand jury proceeding. There it will be determined Bergdahl’s case goes to court martial.

I would hate for Bergdahl to be convicted of either charge. If he is, then, well … the young man needs to be punished.

His life, no matter if he spends it behind bars or is acquitted, has become far more complicated than he ever imagined.

Whether to court-martial Bergdahl

The rhetoric is getting pretty heated now about the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and whether he should be tried for desertion.

Some of his combat “buddies” are saying Bergdahl left his post before being captured in Afghanistan by the Taliban. He was held captive for five years until his release this weekend in an exchange of prisoners; the Taliban got five of their leading militants in return for Bergdahl.

So, what’s the next course of action?

How about letting the Army interrogate everyone with knowledge of what happened when Bergdahl was taken by the Taliban? The Army has a pretty capable judge advocate corps of lawyers who can get to the heart of what went down.

If it’s decided that Bergdahl did desert his post, that he left his comrades in the lurch, that he committed what some are calling an act of treason, then he ought to be court-martialed.

The initial word from the Pentagon was that the Army likely wouldn’t court-martial the young man, believing apparently that he’d suffered enough.

I’m not so sure about that. I’d like to see the Army investigate this matter fully and make a careful, studied determination of what happened five years ago.

Yes, there have been comments made. To date, none of them has been corroborated. Let’s look for the truth.

Keep the Army major, Nadal Hasan, alive

Nadal Hasan has been convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder. The crimes entitle him to a death penalty … which he says he desires.

My admonition to the military court that convicted him is to sentence him to life in prison. And by life I mean “life,” as in for as long as that animal draws breath.


Hasan, a psychiatrist and a major in the U.S. Army, represented himself in a trial. He has acknowledged killing 13 people Nov. 5, 2009 in that horrific massacre at Fort Hood, Texas. He didn’t mount a defense when it came time to do so. The jury that heard the evidence offered by prosecutors deliberated and then came back with the guilty verdict — as if they needed any time to actually ponder the evidence.

Now comes the punishment phase. Hasan killed those people as part of an Islamic jihad. He is a Muslim extremist who did not want to serve in Afghanistan. Well, he got his wish by committing that dastardly deed.

He also wants to be martyred. Dying at the hands of the U.S. government would, in his demented mind, earn him martyr status. But not just his in own so-called mind. He also would become a martyr to other extremists around the world who would rejoice at the thought of this individual being put to death by the “Great Satan.”

Deny him that martyr status. Toss him into the darkest hole possible and let him serve his time with other unspeakably violent criminals.