November 3rd, 2017

No prison time for Bergdahl

Just a dishonorable discharge and a fine:

Bergdahl’s attorneys asked the judge for leniency during sentencing hearings, arguing he had a previously undiagnosed mental illness when he left his post.

“Hypothetically, he probably should not have been in the Army,” said Capt. Nina Banks, one of his military defense attorneys, in her closing argument.

Bergdahl suffered from numerous mental illnesses, including schizotypal personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Dr. Charles Morgan, a forensic psychiatrist and professor at the University of New Haven and Yale University. He testified for the defense Wednesday.

The defense also argued the information Bergdahl was able to provide upon his return — and his willingness to share that information and cooperate with investigators — warranted a more lenient sentence.

But government prosecutors said Bergdahl was aware of the risks when he deserted, and that doing so put his fellow soldiers in danger.

I remember thinking that Bergdahl really did seem so unbalanced that the initial error was letting him into the armed forces in the first place. However, his actions resulted in so much harm that it seems he should have been punished with some sort of prison term, and that his mental problems were not so great as to absolve him of responsibility.

What’s more, at least some of the harm his behavior caused was actually the result of President Obama’s decision to release so many dangerous people in exchange for Bergdahl, and Bergdahl himself bears no responsibility for that.

32 Responses to “No prison time for Bergdahl”

  1. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Six soldiers died searching for Bergdahl after he deserted his post. The judge seems concerned about feelings and fairness. Were the families of those soldiers allowed to submit an “impact statement” to be taken into account in deciding Bergdhal’s sentence?

  2. OldTexan Says:

    In a just world I would think shooting Bergdahl might not be out of line however that is not the way things work now. I can live with him getting totally off the government payroll and losing every veteran benefit and allowance forever. Now just make him go away, forever and not write a book of go on a lecture circuit and with a bit of luck move to France forever.

  3. Gshdarn Says:

    He had a freaky family is all I know

  4. Oldflyer Says:

    Well, it is the 21st century.

    A Dishonorable Discharge used to be a kiss of death, figuratively speaking. Today it is probably a badge of honor in some circles.

    Sort of an ironic plea. Yo Judge, you should go lenient on me because I am so mixed up I should never have volunteered for the Army; and besides, they were wrong to accept me.

    Kind of reminds me of the brothers who killed their parents and sought leniency because they were orphans.

  5. mikeski Says:

    For which office will he be running, as a Democrat, in 2018?

  6. vanderleun Says:

    He’d better get some plastic surgery and a deep tan if he wants to avoid being beaten or shot on any given day. Folks will be looking for him.

  7. Ymar Sakar Says:

    France has enough problems without US exporting more problems to them.

    Send him to Antarctica. That place is still off limits to the international corps.

    There’s also something interesting going on there that people like John Kerry go out of their way there to visit and see.

    Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.-You know who

    Good government never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders.

    What you of the CHOAM directorate seem unable to understand is that you seldom find real loyalties in commerce. When did you last hear of a clerk giving his life for the company? Perhaps your deficiency rests in the false assumption that you can order men to think and cooperate. This has been a failure of everything from religions to general staffs throughout history. General staffs have a long record of destroying their own nations. As to religions, I recommend a rereading of Thomas Aquinas. As to you of CHOAM, what nonsense you believe! Men must want to do things out of their own innermost drives. People, not commercial organizations or chains of command, are what make great civilizations work. Every civilization depends upon the quality of the individuals it produces. If you over-organize humans, over-legalize them, suppress their urge to greatness — they cannot work and their civilization collapses.
    -A letter to CHOAM, Attributed to The Preacher

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”-Somebody that Americans don’t want to listen to

  8. Jenk Says:

    Thoroughly disgraceful but hardly surprising. He can still get hammered on appeal, if I’m not mistaken, but I won’t hold my breath….

  9. Tom Says:

    As a veteran, this is a slap in the face to all current service members, and all veterans who served honorably, and didn’t desert our post. Desertion also carries the possible death penalty. He should rot in prison.

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    There’s no way to justify this and it’s the judge who should be dishonorably discharged. But then, the Left has been working to destroy the military’s morale and what better way to achieve it than to learn that 6 men lost their lives searching for a traitor and the justice they receive is an “Oh well”…

    This is just another indicator of how deep the rot has spread.

  11. parker Says:

    Bowe should read John Ross’s Unintended Consequences. There are people who have blood invested in this deplorable decision. I advise they wait a couple of years and then reap justice. Bergdahl will write, with the help of a ghost writer, a book and enjoy his 15 minutes of fame. Spend the rewards quickly Bowe while you still can. And tell your father and mother to leave for shelter in Pakistan. I am going short on Bowe’s lifespan.

  12. parker Says:

    GB,

    The judge will eventually end up at a liberal DC lobbyist law firm.

  13. yara Says:

    For somebody that “shouldn’t have been in the Army”, he seems to have done reasonably well, ie, he did get promoted to a sargent, in less than two years.

    But that probably just says more about the current state of the Army and less about him.

  14. ColoComment Says:

    yara: he didn’t earn promotion, he was gifted promotion.

    Bergdahl was a Private First Class when captured; he was promoted in absentia to Specialist on June 19, 2010, and to Sergeant on June 17, 2011.[33] [Wikipedia]

  15. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Yara’s point is the issue that strikes me most vividly about this case.

    I haven’t read the transcript of the proceedings generally, or the key to it all – the psychiatric evidence – and am wary of venturing any judgement on the justness or otherwise of the sentence based on only press reports which are, of necessity, of limited value because they are abbreviated in detail and edited to stress “shock” value and manipulate emotions in what is, quite properly a highly emotional subject.

    I don’t know how it is defined in US military and operational law but what Bergdahl appears to have done would not likely constitute “treason” under our equivalent laws here in Australia but he definitely committed the lesser crime of desertion.

    The two aren’t the same but can go together – although the former is much more serious because it entails actively and wilfully cooperating with and aiding the enemy.

    On the other hand, men in war time have often deserted without any intention or effect of aiding the enemy.

    They have done so for a host of reasons not all of them down to low character – often the desertion is down to a simple inability to handle a severe degree of stress itself or the level of stress on operations rendering symptomatic a previously dormant and un-diagnosed mental illness, for which no-one is responsible.

    I certainly understand why your commenters would feel very strongly about his actions and his seemingly lenient punishment. It’s right that they should. Your country, afterall, only exists because incredibly brave men and women defied the world’s strongest military power for years in a war logic said they had no chance to win.

    I remember when Bergdahl and his parents were feted in the White House Rose garden by a sitting President. It felt to me quite surreal when one considers that an audience in such a hallowed place is bestowed as a singular honor. That ought never to have happened.

    As a former Army Legal Corps officer who defended soldiers at Courts Martial and other disciplinary proceedings here in Australia that really struck me as strange and undeserved all by itself.

    But what really boosted that conference into the realm of “Alice in Wonderland” was the father’s weird deportment: his Taliban-esque beard and muttering of Arabic words. Surely these things were a “tell” of how this fellow was raised and of his genetic emotional heritage?

    What completely sane man would think it useful to wander off to engage such vicious barbarians in discussions as he did?

    It wasn’t the chivalrous Rommel and his Afrika Corps that Bergdahl wandered out to speak with but animals in human form who could have been expected to have sawn off his head.

    Surely this is not a psychically or emotionally well or whole man – and he may never be.

    What gets me, having served in the infantry, is how he came to receive the very great honor of becoming an NCO at all, let alone so quickly.

    In my experience as a rifleman in my youth NCO’s were the cream of the crop. I still believe that. True leaders and models of men. I can honestly say that I never struck a bad one. I can’t say that for all of the commissioned officers I later dealt with as one myself.

    Medals are all very nice – but to me, the stripes of an NCO are the highest honor a soldier can achieve and it defeats me how Bergdahl won them.

  16. Jenk Says:

    Something to consider–Bergdahl was, by all accounts, a disgruntled individual who never should have been in the Army, much less in Afghanistan. The Coast Guard rejected him but somehow the Army didn’t. He willingly left his post in a combat zone and ended up in Taliban hands; several US soldiers were killed or wounded looking for him as a consequence. That’s bad enough….

    Bergdahl was an infantry PFC with very limited intelligence value, and the Taliban had no military reason to keep him; get what little he knows and then dispose of him. So why was he even alive, and why was he “valuable” enough for the despicable prisoner swap that freed him? Since when does a PFC become a bargaining chip for five enemy field commanders? Generals, if you will…?

    That’s a question for Mr. Obama, a man who practically declared Bergdahl a hero for doing far worse than Eddie Slovik did in 1945. Y’know, the last deserter the US Army ever shot? Yeah, that guy….

    What did the Taliban know, and when did they know it? Who told them, Mr. Obama…?

    And since when does a comment made by a civilian candidate for office, not yet a commander-in-chief but a wannabe, constitute “undue command influence” in a military court-martial…?

    This isn’t about Bergdahl. He’s disposable, but for now he’s the cause du jure. Tomorrow it will be someone else, or possibly a nice seafood bisque. This was a shot at Trump, but like so many the round will do damage downrange leaving the target intact. In this case the downrange damage is to the morale and reputation of honorable American men and women serving in our armed forces today as well as those who served in the past. It’s unacceptable, but it’s also all we can expect from the Obamunists and their followers….

  17. Chris Says:

    How soon before we hear about Bergdahl’s book deal and have to put up with his appearances on liberal talk shows?

    As a veteran and the father of an Afghanistan vet I am appalled by this judge’s opinion. My heart goes out to the families of the brave soldiers killed searching for this traitor.

  18. blert Says:

    His attorney, Tom Cruise, got him an outstanding plea bargain deal — so that the misconduct of Jack Nicholson wouldn’t come into public view.

    Or something like that.

    THAT’S why he is being set loose.

    BTW, his whole family had better relocate — probably to Ecuador.

    &&&

    If you have ready any of the accounts from his squadies — you’d know that Bergdahl was trying to purchase HASHISH.

    He’d missed out on watching “Midnight Express.” (1978)

    He’d taken radio gear with him!

    He was up on this gear trying to find the local hashish dealer// Taliban henchman… broadcasting in the clear.

    Even so, it took days for him to ‘hook-up.’

    The dealer took his pathetic wad of money — and Bergdahl, himself.

    By such a time, the dealer knew that the ENTIRE nearby American garrison was hopping all over the mountainside trying to find Bergdahl.

    Which is how this and that ambush was laid… with Bergdahl’s radio set in hand.

    It took a while for the US Army to realize that they were being roped and doped.

    It’s THIS ^^^ detail that the US Army does not want in the public domain.

    For then the needless fatalities would clearly be shown to be due to the shear stupidity of US Army commanders.

    Bergdahl was ‘saved’ by the Taliban because it was quickly apparent that he was living bait.

    BTW, Bergdahl admits that it took quite some time to get his person to Pakistan.

    He had, single-handedly, humiliated the entire US Army.

    The Soviets had countless deserters to the Muj — and crazy, insane, levels of drug addiction — like 40% per year.

    Yup.

    The US Army — in contrast — just has Bergdahl.

    Go to YouTube for endless videos of hashed out Afghan soldiers.

    The Taliban is ‘winning’ because the Afghan national army is usually stoned — stoned blind, in fact.

    Desertion rates, for the ANA are in ORBIT, year after year.

    The ANA trooper can’t read nor write, nor add and subtract, even count to ten. If he can, he’s made an officer.

    Yup.

  19. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Stephen Ippolito,

    I haven’t read the transcript of the trial either. I’m doubtful that exculpatory evidence exists that fundamentally changes the basic facts of the case.

    “On the other hand, men in war time have often deserted without any intention or effect of aiding the enemy.”

    That six men died is proof that his desertion took place in a war zone, which IMO makes that desertion treasonous, as he had to know that men in his unit would be ordered to go after him, so he intentionally put them in harms way.

    “often the desertion is down to a simple inability to handle a severe degree of stress itself or the level of stress on operations rendering symptomatic a previously dormant and un-diagnosed mental illness, for which no-one is responsible.”

    Bergdahl appears to have control of his mental facilities. His lawyers have not claimed insanity so he knows right from wrong.

    As for stress, in WWII combat in Germany my great uncle Tony was forced to kill a very young teen and a very old man. It greatly affected him. He went to his commanding officer and stated that he just couldn’t kill anymore children and old men, who were mostly what was left in Germany.

    He was not a conscientious objector. He got lucky and was not prosecuted and was transferred to a desk job. His unit received prestigious medals for that battle/campaign but even though he’d participated, my Uncle did not.
    He felt no resentment.

    My point is that he acted honorably. He didn’t desert and was upfront about his position, knowing that it might well mean imprisonment.

    Bergdahl could have done the same.

  20. J.J. Says:

    A travesty!

    This military judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, is typical of the kind of lawyer who is showing up in the military. Progressive and probably an enthusiastic Obama supporter.

    I met a military lawyer on a cruise a few years ago. He was a beauty. We didn’t come to blows but it was a close run thing. A slight disagreement about what the Geneva Conventions say about unlawful combatants and the treatment they can be accorded. These leftist leaning lawyers have no combat experience and are more concerned with the fine points of law than about good order and discipline or defeating the enemy. Under Obama the war in Afghanistan and against ISIS had become lawfare. The military commanders could not act without checking with the legal beagles. That has changed – thank God. And the results are showing.

    May Trump and Mattis make some headway on restructuring our armed forces to fight wars and win them. We aren’t there right now. As this case shows.

  21. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    GB @9:31 pm.

    Well said. I disagree with almost nothing you said there.

    It is certainly sad to hear of what happened to your uncle.

    That was of course one of the greatest atrocities Hitler inflicted upon his own people: the order never to surrender, to fight for every inch and the consequent throwing into the hopeless fight mere boys and elderly men at the end.
    In his megalomania Hitler believed that the German people did not deserve to outlive him. What an absolute obscenity for his people and for decent men like your uncle.

    The only point I need too clarify about my comment is that any bona-fide psychiatric condition from which Bergdahl may have been found to suffer and to which his lawyers referred must have fallen short of insanity – as insanity would constitute a complete defence on the merits to the charges, (whatever they were, technically – I don’t know), since an insane person is legally incapable of forming the requisite mental intention to do wrong.

    The significance of any bona-fide mental illness from which he may have been found to sufferer is that it would constitute a mitigating factor on the question of penalty only.

    That is, while any psychiatric illness falling short of insanity would not be relevant to the question of guilt or innocence, it is still highly relevant to penalty. That is only as it should be, no?

    It is one thing to say that a mentally ill man knew the difference between right and wrong but quite another to say that he was “playing with a full deck” just because he was not totally insane.

  22. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “That is, while any psychiatric illness falling short of insanity would not be relevant to the question of guilt or innocence, it is still highly relevant to penalty. That is only as it should be, no?”

    Agreed. So instead of the death penalty, a punishment on six counts of involuntary manslaughter seems appropriate. Federal prison sentences for involuntary manslaughter usually range from 5-10 years… So a 30-60 year sentence at Leavenworth without the possibility of parole.

    Bergdahl’s actions effectively sentenced those men to a ‘life sentence’, proportionality demands that he do the full sentence.

    If that seems harsh to anyone, tell that to the children, wives, siblings, parents and close friends of those six men who will never see them again.

    A dishonorable discharge for desertion in a time of war, in a combat zone and the involuntary manslaughter of six good men is not justice but an obscenity.

  23. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    JJ,

    I wish you had punched that supercilious legal officer thrice – once for you and twice for me.

    I may have worked with them and as one but I was never of them.

    I ended up resigning my commission because of the type of officer you describe. Very few were anything more than civilians in uniform. So many of them useless and self-serving.

    It remains my view, which I expressed to the Corps before leaving, that prior service in the combat arms ought to be an essential prerequisite for service in the Army Legal Corps, (or JAG Corps in the US), but that did not go over well because so few would meet that test.

    I recall many times walking into a more senior officer’s room to discuss a file or case to find him poring over a list showing the names and years of seniority of the other members of the Corps so that the officer could work out the competition for his next promotion. Whole days spent doing that – on the tax payer’s dollar, too. Disgraceful.

    I recall an expression: “kisses up and kicks down”. There is so much of that in any public service which is why I have always made my way in the private sector apart from my full-time stints of Reserve service which I saw a matter of duty.

    In the private sector one is ultimately protected from the worst excesses of office politics because as long as you work hard and know your stuff you have value to the firm and will rise. Not so in the public service where they suckle contentedly on the public teat.

  24. Francesca Says:

    ““A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within . . .

    Cicero

  25. Ymar Sakar Says:

    By traitors, I’m not referring necessarily to Berg. America’s problems are a little bit “Deeper” than that.

  26. Ymar Sakar Says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicero#Julius_Caesar.27s_civil_war

    Depending on which pov you use to look at Cicero, he was the traitor his rhetorical skills spoke of. Which would mean much of the Enlightenment was based upon the wisdom of a traitor.

    No wonder Marxism and many other Ideals came out of the Enlightenment. That Rhetoric skill was equal to NLP and Alinsky’s Lucifer education combined.

  27. Ymar Sakar Says:

    I recall an expression: “kisses up and kicks down”. There is so much of that in any public service which is why I have always made my way in the private sector apart from my full-time stints of Reserve service which I saw a matter of duty.

    In the private sector one is ultimately protected from the worst excesses of office politics because as long as you work hard and know your stuff you have value to the firm and will rise. Not so in the public service where they suckle contentedly on the public teat.

    Many H2H training programs are also unregulated, compared to restaurants, milk producers, drug manufacturers. Thus if you join an organization like Blackwater’s new name or Target Focus Training, you won’t even have to deal with as much paperwork as a bureaucracy normally needs.

    The USA has a super abundance of civilian trainers who are often times superior to the military trainers (especially if you look up Army anti Rape Power point training slides). Which makes Civil War 2 interesting.

  28. Ymar Sakar Says:

    If that seems harsh to anyone, tell that to the children, wives, siblings, parents and close friends of those six men who will never see them again.

    What kind of theology do you ascribe to, when you refute the existence of the Resurrection and the promise of Eternal Life?

    Sadducee from the Jews?

    Even amongst the Norse, the concept that you won’t see the Last Battle of Ragnarok is rather weak. All warriors in Valhalla will participate. Even the evil ones.

  29. John Dough Says:

    For a colonel to advance to the rank of Brigadier General (One Star), his name needs to be placed on the list by the POTUS and confirmed by the Senate. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m guessing the Colonel who served as the Judge in the Bergdahl trial will retire as a colonel.

  30. Ymar Sakar Says:

    John Dough Says:
    November 4th, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    He’ll make more as a consultant outside than inside the military hierarchy. The pension though, he still needs.

  31. Jenk Says:

    No, let him make his blood money as a legal consultant on TV. He might end up needing a geneal’s pension to support his current lifestyle, but this veteran taxpayer doesn’t want to pay for it. I have no problem paying for the widows and orphans the dirtbag caused, but he and is judge are on their own….

  32. Jenk Says:

    No, let him make his blood money as a legal consultant on TV. He might end up needing a geneal’s pension to support his current lifestyle, but this veteran taxpayer doesn’t want to pay for it. I have no problem paying for the widows and orphans the dirtbag caused, but he and his judge are on their own….

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