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02 June 2014


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Bergdahl will wish he had stayed with the Taliban. pl



In the vernacular I respect your views even thought I think he, and all the other over aged boys should by forced to act like men. let us start with justice for him and the men who died looking for him. BTW, Charles I, Dempsey stated this morning that although Bergdahl is innocent until proven guilty the military leadership of the US will not shrink from justice for him. pl

Charles I

Being ignorant of the exact distinction, but bearing in mind reports a child saw him crawling thru the scrub at 3 a.m, as his putative attorney I'd argue state of mind is relevant.

If he sneaked out to smoke up intending to return and then was kidnapped, is that desertion or AWOL? If he sneaked out expressly to leave w/o return surely that's desertion, whether he was kidnapped during that process or after.

Would not intent to return or not be the very crux of that distinction in THOSE circumstances, whatever is evident to you and his peers in the current ones?

Charles I

You gotta love it. "Officials believe it wrongly".

Not a Legislator or Judge in sight.

But look over there, its a Terrorist. It is hard to remember the veneer of the Constitutional rule of law pre-911 that no Member, periodic curiosities aside, has stood to uphold in 14 years; Ashcroft was lying down in a hospital bed.


Charles I

When he left his post on guard without permission he immediately became guilty of being AWOL. If he intended to stay gone then he is s deserter. His attitude is irrelevant to the charge of AWOL. A demonstrated intent to stay gone would be proof of desertion, actiually desertion to the enemy for the purpose of committing treason in the meaning of the term in the constitution. Remember this not a conscript. BTW, people are acting as though this man was a wounded child because of his earlier tour in Iraq. Hell, that should have made him stronger , not weaker! pl


I agree Col, these days it would be much better if a lot of boys and girls were forced to act like men and women. i.e. actually act their damn age! I agree 100%. And I agree with Gen Dempsey...justice has to be the goal.Painful or not.



"I think he, and all the other over aged boys should by forced to act like men."

Exactly right sir. I think this is probably the biggest problem the Republic faces, too many over aged boys; and not just in the army.

Charles I

I do now, after patient tutelage, respect if not fully understand, duty, peers, consequences, in the existential manner soldiers must needs do. My comment was more on on the developing socio-politico-emotional memes - hug him or hang him.

Intellectually, I must and do defer to requisite justice if in fact he is a proven deserter, whatever my Rumpolian aversion to incarceration.

I can grant that if he deserted in field and soldiers died trying to recover him, whether he was kidnapped or not after his intentional desertion, in a certain context - a context I salute you all for offering yourselves up into - he's as consequential as a guilty party to a violent crime.

Many seem to know his state of mind w/r/t his initial behavior whatever its declared irrelevance, I'd never heard of him til now.

Soldier or citizen, I'd be pissed at him. Not to be would be an insult to you Pat and all who have served.

But its still an act of will for a default bleeder as I to bend to the imperative of authoritarian justice by having my denial patiently derailed by a professed hard-headed libertarian.

What a splendidly confusing and illuminating teacher you are.

Whereas I have lots of experience sneaking out, then passing out, shortly to be rescued then suitably abused by bemused friends.

The lesson is repeated until it is learned. . .

Charles I

Your continued unabashed responsibility for your actions is sadly these days as distinctive as commendable.

A model, illumination this fluttering moth is irresistibly drawn to.


charles I

At 22 I was a hard hearted empath, a libertarian and very much an individualist, but I chose to submit myself to the "rule" of my order. So did Bergdahl. pl

Charles I

If only his leaders had been men of your character who could instill that strength in him, god knows you've improved mine by word alone.


Colonel, as a former JAG, I concur with your analysis. Desertion would be challenging to prove, but it seems clear, from what we know at this point, that he went AWOL from his unit- in time of war. Apprently he asked if there would be problems if he left and took his weapon along- he left that behind. That is germane to the discussion. But what he intended is anyone's guess- and he may not be in condition to recall anyway. To leave his post and go unarmed out into "Indian country" where U.S. troops had been being killed by the Taliban sounds crazy. And a sanity defense might be what defers a GCM. Was he sane at the time of the offense- and what is his mental condition now? He may never be in the mental shape to stand a GCM.

Charles I

Which goes to the man this civvy must love to learn from, and salute, today. Submission not so much n/w/s the aversion to pissing you off you have such a facility at instilling in my passive aggressive heart.

Bergdahl was obviously no Pat Lang.



"In the early summer of 1972, Major Walter Laine flew to Danang in the Republic of Vietnam with his new commanding officer. They flew north from Saigon to supervise the launching of reconnaissance patrols into Laos. Their small Army airplane took hours to reach the Marble Mountain airfield just south of the city.

After they arrived the colonel was briefed on the day’s activities. Several patrols had been landed by helicopter across the Laos border that morning. The man in charge, a lieutenant colonel, explained that the number of North Vietnamese Army troops in the targeted area of Laos was so impressive that C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft carrying fuel-air explosive “Daisy Cutters” had been used to blow cleared spaces in the heavy jungle in places where it was hoped the NVA were not. In spite of this, one of the patrols had been met with fire on two successive attempts to land in freshly created clearings.

“Where is the team?” the colonel asked.

“Over there,” the briefer said and pointed to a small group seated with their backs to a hangar wall. They were smoking and taking advantage of the shade provided by the building. It was a blazingly hot day.

“What now?” the colonel asked.

“They want to try again in a couple of hours…”

The colonel walked across the “apron” to the team.

They stood and waited for the two officers to arrive. Their leader, a senior Special Forces sergeant saluted.

“What’s up?” the colonel asked.

“We had a little trouble this morning,” the man said, “but we’ll get in this next time.”

There were seven of them. They were dressed in camouflage clothing made somewhere in Europe. They carried a variety of firearms. Many of these were not of US manufacture. There were three Americans and four native soldiers. Each man had his blood type neatly embroidered on his left breast pocket where a medic could find it. Two had bandages on superficial wounds.

The colonel walked away from the team so that he and Laine could speak privately. “Is this one important?” he asked.

Laine had a folding map board with him. He opened it and pointed at the place in Laos. “No. No, sir. This is Quebec-79. We accepted this one from the staff at MACV as a compromise on some other recon targets. We had no idea it would be this hot. We need to put some Arclight cells on it. The B-52s will have a field day.”

“Go get that truck,” the colonel told Laine while pointing at a two and a half ton vehicle parked by their plane.

Laine returned with it as well as the lieutenant colonel.

“Sergeant,” the colonel said. “You are through for today. Put your men on the truck and go back to camp. I don’t want you trying to get into that area again.”

“Sir, that’s our target,’ the sergeant said, “The little bastards are not going to keep us out of it.”

His men waited. They looked eager to follow the pack leader.

“Laine, help me lower the tail gate,” the colonel said. Having done that, he turned back to the sergeant. “This is an order. Put your men on the truck.”

He and Laine watched the vehicle depart.

Having been temporarily relieved of their burden of duty, the team began to sing and laugh as they rode away.

“What do you think?” the colonel asked.

Laine spoke after a moment:

“I carry two sorts of destiny toward the day of my death.
If I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans, my return home is gone, but my glory shall be everlasting.”

“What’s that from?”

“The Iliad, sir. It’s from the Iliad.”"

From "The City of the Trojans," an autobiographical story.

The sound of their song still echoes in my heart these were men from the Iliad.. pl

Abu Sinan


What do you think of the comments now being made by portions of the right in the US that his father may also be an inside player for the Taliban? His beard and the fact that the father has picked up some Arabic and Pashtu is being seen as proof that the father, as well as the soon, are some sort of radical, Islamic 5th column.


Abu Sinan

Nah, just a couple of simpletons. Don't sweat it. pl

The Twisted Genius

Well, the top headline in my morning paper reads, "Pentagon probe determined Bergdahl fled unit." This investigation was done in 2010. I think he's probably looking at a reduction to E-1 and a BCD. Desertion in time of war can lead to a death sentence, but I don't think that will do the Army or the nation any good. Release him to his family and forget about him. He's got to live with his decisions. If this country allows the likes of Alexander and Clapper to continue to enrich themselves without shame, it's disingenuous to be screaming for Bergdahl's head.

Medicine Man

Aw hell, I know the answer to that last question. Just ask the grunts who got to hold the bag for the whole Abu Ghraib mess.

robt willmann

Here is an article from 2012 by the late Michael Hastings about Bowe Bergdahl--



Regardless of one's opinion of Hastings, I know of no instance in which holes were punched in his fact-checking. And, in my opinion, he was murdered; but that is another story, told by Sir Isaac Newton.



Concur. I would not be inclined
to throw the book at him either.

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96



""They just didn't want an American home-schooled ..." The French new what they were doing.

Mark Kolmar

My assessment is near the middle of all the analysis that used words like "ambivalent", "complicated", or "mixed".

The sergeant probably has performed/suffered terrible, unnatural acts enough to soften resentment over his departure, even if his offense were a bit worse than what has been accused. An indefinite amount of additional "time to think about what he's done", for one more hour, some months after he is debriefed.

One implication from this exchange is that one U.S. soldier has more currency than a handful of refined carpet stains. That is probably a fair signal. Corollary is that no one can be traded for a U.S. soldier, but that is naive or idealistic. Radical reactionaries have no new incentive. The signal to U.S. military personnel has more value.

Another area of ambiguity has to do with non-state groups vs. nation-states. It is a fair argument that trans-national agencies should begin to have status comparable to nation-states. I will bring this up again one day with regard to corporations.

I heard that the sergeant's father grew his beard in sympathy with his son's captivity. Leave the father out, please.


Hastings was a vainglorious wretch. He was consumed by his own story, much to the detriment of his judgement and his writing. His death was a small tragedy, like most deaths, but it would be a mistake to see phantoms behind it. Bad things happen to good and mediocre men alike.

- Eliot


Ahmen, Thank you Col Lang.


Press reports Obama said it in Poland too. Seems everyone got the talking point.

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