October 17th, 2017

The disgraceful Bowe Bergdahl saga

Bowe Bergdahl has pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, and this article reminds us—if anyone needed reminding—what a terrible deal Obama made for him, and what a farce his welcome-home ceremony and the publicity around it was:

In 2015, Obama tried to cover Bergdahl in the glory of a war hero, even inviting his parents to the Rose Garden to celebrate the news of his release. The former president maintained he only freed five Taliban leaders to free a soldier who, in the words of his National Security Adviser Susan Rice, served “the United States with honor and distinction.”

But they knew better. They had to have: The Pentagon itself refused to list Bergdahl as a POW. That’s because an internal 2009 Army report found he had a history of walking off his post and more than likely deserted. It also found he shipped his laptop back home to Idaho, and left a note expressing his disillusionment with the war, before ending up in the arms of the Taliban.

Obama had access to this intelligence long before he made his Taliban deal. So why did he trade a known deserter — and likely enemy sympathizer, if not collaborator — for five enemy commanders whom he acknowledged posed a national security risk? Simple: To justify the release from Gitmo of five “forever detainees,” who otherwise would never have been released and would have delayed achieving his promise to antiwar liberals to withdraw from Afghanistan and empty Gitmo.

It didn’t take more than a few days for the truth to emerge, either. For example, I wrote this post about five days after the Bergdahl story first broke. In it, I stated:

Nothing about the Bergdahl/Taliban affair should have surprised me—or, for that matter, you. Nothing.

Not Obama’s audacity, nor his disregard of prior bipartisan warnings in Congress or from the intelligence community, nor his aides’ attempts to discredit those from Bergdahl’s unit who are calling Bergdahl a deserter or worse, nor Obama’s refusal to offer any apologies whatsoever for his actions in this affair, nor his lies and broken promises, nor the fact that many Democrats are lining up to defend him like the good party hacks that they are.

But an intellectual reaction is one thing. Intellectually, I’m not surprised. But there’s still an emotional reaction—what Peter Wehner referred to as a visceral reaction—which is to be stunned, disgusted, outraged, and full of trepidation about both the long-term effects of this move and what Obama will be doing for a series of encores.

By the way, I think Trump was out of line during his campaign when he called Bergdahl a traitor. Correct, but out of line, and put of line in a way that could have ended up with the judge ruling that Bergdahl could not get a fair trial.

15 Responses to “The disgraceful Bowe Bergdahl saga”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    “I think Trump was out of line during his campaign when he called Bergdahl a traitor. Correct, but out of line.”

    Being “out of line” was what got him elected. Tell the truth and shame the devil.

  2. neo-neocon Says:


    He ran the risk—and it was a huge risk—of having the Bergdahl trial thrown out. It easily could have happened, and maybe even should have happened.

    Trump was WAY out of line here, not just out of line. And I doubt you believe that this one remark was responsible for Trump’s election. It was not. It would have been the same result without this.

    I’m not objecting to this remark because it was merely inflammatory, or rude, or whatever else is offensive about Trump. It was unnecessary to win, and extremely risky and prejudicial to the case itself. And it’s BS to say it was necessary for the win. I doubt even you believe this one remark was necessary.

  3. huxley Says:

    To return to an earlier trope in this blog, the Bergdahl swap showed Obama to be a Fool and a Knave.

    A knave for the traitorous swap of one army deserter for five Taliban leaders as part of Obama’s covert effort to empty Guantanamo on the down-low.

    A fool for not realizing how quickly Bergdahl’s bona fides would be trashed and not foreseeing that PR nightmare in the Rose Garden in which Bergdahl’s father emerged with a Taliban beard and start jabbering in Koranic Arabic.

    What was that about?

  4. parker Says:

    Setting aside Trump’s campaign comment; bho knew the facts and released 5 dangerous gitmo prisoners for a traitor simply because that was where his sympathies resided.

  5. Alan F Says:

    This post reminds me, a Vietnam-era veteran, of one of the most contemptible actions Obama did. And Susan Rice said Bergdahl “…served with honor and distinction”.

  6. Oldflyer Says:

    I don’t know how the comments of a private citizen, who happened to be a candidate, could jeopardize a conviction. Candidates pretty much have free rein as to their comments; and are accountable only to the electorate.

    Then again, I am routinely surprised by the way that justice is administered, and rule out nothing.

    It seems that every day, we are faced with another Obama outrage. I won’t live long enough to see how history treats him; but, I do wish I could write my version of it. Or get it published if I made the effort.

  7. TommyJay Says:

    One of the themes here, particularly the NYPost, is that the Obama Whitehouse must have known, but somehow were fooled by Bergdahl. Neo doesn’t seem to put anything past Obama.

    But it strikes me that Obama and Jarrett saw this as a win-win. They get to empty Gitmo AND express their hatred of America and its imperialism that is supported by our military.

    Obama claimed that bomber Bill Ayers was just a guy in his neighborhood when in fact he spent at least dozens of hours in board meetings with him in that Annenberg educational non-profit. He commuted the sentence of bomber and FALN terrorist Oscar Rivera. Manuel Zelaya’s failed attempt to convert Honduras to a dictatorship was immediately met with cries of coup de tat by Sec. Clinton.

    Is it not abundantly clear that these folks really and truly hate America, Western Civ., and even democracy itself?

    Obama was visibly thrilled when papa Bergdahl began spouting Koranic verse in the Rose Garden. It was a couple America haters having a blast.

  8. neo-neocon Says:


    A court could certainly rule that a presidential candidate could influence a trial, particularly when that candidate ends up being elected president, and could cause the judge to allow (at the very least) some changes in procedure in order to compensate and to favor the defendant. It’s a judgment call on the part of the court.

    Here’s a discussion. See also this and this.

    Trump’s remarks unnecessarily jeopardized the trial. Fortunately, not as much as they might have. But he ran an unnecessary risk, and said many extreme things, such as that Bergdahl should be shot. If he had uttered one word about the trial after he became president, the repercussions would have been very dire.

  9. Susanamantha Says:

    I was surprised at the time at how little media coverage I saw concerning Sec. Clinton’s wrong-headed backing of Zelaya. It was almost as if the media knew that she was making a mistake.

    And I have seen nothing about Honduras’ government situation since then. (I must admit, I haven’t searched for any.)

  10. The Other Chuck Says:

    Judge Andrew Napolitano had a very interesting take on this. Here is the video of his discussion with Kennedy on Fox, and note that at 3.57 minutes in he states that if he were the judge deciding the sentencing of Bergdahl for desertion, he would let him off with time served.

    What do you make of this, Neo?


  11. neo-neocon Says:

    The Other Chuck:

    I agree with Napolitano that it would have been good to have had an airing of all the evidence.

  12. J.J. Says:

    The truth is that Bergdahl should not have been shipped to Afghanistan – maybe not even allowed to enlist. He was mentally unstable, but the Army isn’t an organization equipped to detect such things. His bizarre “desertion” wasn’t a desertion, but a feeble attempt to inform senior officers about what he considered to be bad leadership his unit.

    I watched many interviews with his fellow soldiers who came on TV after he was released by the Taliban. Most of them described Bergdahl as a goof ball with delusional thinking. He fancied himself a “super soldier” with superior outdoor abilities. His ill-planned and poorly executed plan to complain about his leadership went awry as he was easily captured by the Taliban. The search for him was exhaustive and lead to some soldiers killed and wounded. Some of the wounded were permanently disabled and understandably have ill feelings about Bergdahl’s actions.

    You can read more about his mental problems here: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/17/politics/bowe-bergdahl-documents-released/index.html

    Bergdahl’s screwball actions caused casualties. He was mentally unstable but knew what he was doing was wrong. Stable enough to stand trial and understand right from wrong. IMO, time served, as suggested by Judge Napolitano, is not sufficient punishment. 15 years in Leavenworth might be more fitting.

    As to Obama’s motivations. Knave to release five Taliban commanders for a single American. Fool to think he could cover up the truth about Bergdahl and portray him as a hero. About par for much of what he did – anti-American and clumsily claimed as a big achievement.

    Big scoop coming. Obama’s FBI and Justice Department knew in 2009 about the double dealing that culminated in the Uranium One deal. This implicates Obama, Bill Clinton, and Hillary. Stay tuned!!

  13. AesopFan Says:

    Oldflyer Says:
    October 17th, 2017 at 8:16 pm
    I don’t know how the comments of a private citizen, who happened to be a candidate, could jeopardize a conviction. …

    Then again, I am routinely surprised by the way that justice is administered, and rule out nothing.
    * * *
    We’ve just seen a court toss a legal, and constitutional, order on travel into the US because of comments made by “candidate Trump” and the courts have almost routinely overturned legal, and constitutional, votes by citizens in favor of their own preferred ideologies.

    I’m rule out nothing, and am not surprised anymore.

    PS PowerLine is all over this, and Scott Johnson is livid. Lots of links and data.

  14. miklos000rosza Says:

    I don’t expect Obama to ever be held accountable or ever pay price for anything he’s ever done. There’s too much of a cult of personality with too much invested in how they see themselves and BELIEVING IN Obama is a crucial pillar of this and serves as eternal proof that they are not racist. Any criticism of Obama is racist, regardless of whatever so-called facts ever revealed.

    We still don’t even know what his SAT scores or grades in college were and I’ve never yet met anyone on the Left who’s remotely curious about this nor about Bill Ayers or Bengazi, the Iran deal or anything else which might make The One look bad.

  15. neo-neocon Says:



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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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