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15 December 2015

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BabelFish

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

It appears that he didn't get this message. Duty is all and no more or less than is expected of any man or woman in service to their country. Bravo for the decision to hold him to his sworn oath.

thepanzer

The guy washed out of Coast Guard basic training (coast guard?!? doesn't their basic training consist of coloring books?) because he was crazy. The Army NEVER should have signed him up in the first place as a result. And then, shocker, crazy dude with no business being in the military proceeds to act crazy.

Hey, maybe the army can start recruiting functionally retarded adults and then we can prosecute them too when they wander off?

If we're going to prosecute this putz then lets also prosecute his Army recruiter who looked the other way and gave him a waiver. Lets prosecute his drill sergeants and basic training cadre for looking the other way. Then lets also prosecute his local chain of command after assignment for also looking the other way and sending someone who obviously had no business being in a warzone over to a warzone.

I once had a rep from the FDA have a mental breakdown during a conference, guy was schizophrenic and was off his meds as I later learned, he was out of his mind and impossible to reason with. If you've ever dealt with a crazy person in the middle of a psychotic break you'd know that "oaths and obligations" aren't part and parcel for someone who thinks the government has a mind control chip in their head and is hearing imaginary voices.

If you still want to hold him to his oaths game on, but lets rope in every person in the food chain who endangered the lives of his fellow soldiers by putting this previous basic wash out for mental illness into the service.

The guy never even should have been given a firearm, much less sent overseas. Otherwise you're playing the classic game of "punish the grunt, protect the seniors" mentality that's rotting our country from the inside out.

turcopolier

thepanzer

No! No! No! People are responsible for their actions. Period. He did what he did and must be punished severely. When you find a criminal article that will punish the recruiter for Bergdahl's desertion in the presence of the enemy let me know. I might want to sign up to supporting that prosecution. pl

thepanzer

Then you agree his local chain of command, recruiter, etc. should also be punished? Otherwise you're just passing the buck when a LOT of people looked the other way and endangered their fellow service member.

If this guy was using an insanity plea with no prior record I'd say throw the book at him. But the fact that the coast guard threw him out on his ass for being crazy and then the Army, in a completely irresponsible move, took him in, gave him a gun, and then threw him into a warzone, thus endangering every other life around him is also a grievous dereliction of duty.

This is no different than the chain of command looking the other way on a known drug user, thief, or any number of other personal or UCMJ issues that preclude people from continued military service.

He was accepted INTO the Army with a KNOWN mental illness wrap so severe another branch wanted nothing to do with him. Now the Army wants to play innocent and throw the book at him without taking any personal responsibility on its own part.

Throw the book at him, go ahead, but also prosecute every senior NCO and officer in all of his command chains who looked the other way and just kept passing him off as someone else's problem.

If you don't agree, please explain as a former officer why the dereliction of duty of his commanding peers is acceptable but his dereliction is not.

And lets be honest, there's a lot more potential Bergdal's waiting in the wings. The Army lowered it's recruiting standards so low you guys will take anyone with a pulse. I've worked with all the service branches at one point or another and the Army members have always been the dull knives in the lot.

You guys need to clean up your own mess and raise your recruiting standards above "crazy people who wander in off the street". Seeing you try to throw your own member in a woodchipper while pretending the leadership didn't know anything is disingenuous at best.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

Perhaps Dahl and Abrams are privy to information the public is not that mitigates the damage Bergdahl did in some way? Just saying.

Colin Brace

So five years in a dreadful Afghani dungeon wasn't enough?

turcopolier

Colin Brace

Oh, the poor thing... He was a prisoner of the Taliban BECAUSE of his crimes against the US Army and his oath. pl

turcopolier

Hindenburg

Nonsense. IMO Dahl was just kissing ass at the WH and, sure enough he was promoted to LTG. pl

David Habakkuk

All,

I do not see how military organisations – or indeed, all kinds of other organisations – can survive without a strong culture of honour.

And such a culture can only be sustained if there are sanctions for dishonourable conduct which are both highly painful and extremely visible. Sometimes, these involve decisions of uncertain or indeed questionable justice.

In a famous aphorism about the execution of Admiral Byng, Voltaire quipped that in Britain it was thought to be a good idea to 'kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others.'

However, recent research appears to suggest that it did 'encourage the others', and was important in creating the 'culture of aggressive determination' that gave the Royal Navy a decisive psychological ascendancy over its opponents.

(See http://blogs.new.spectator.co.uk/2011/03/the-execution-of-admiral-byng/ .)

Certainly, we need to see the restoration of codes of honour in relation to people at the top of organisations. But that does not provide a good reason for tolerating dishonourable conduct among the 'other ranks'.

Not only in the military, but in many other kinds of organisation, it is a 'culture of honour' among the NCO grades which is critical to effective performance.

Old Microbiologist

I just looked up the UCMJ again and in time of war both carry a maximum punishment of death. I believe that the 6 soldiers who died as a result of his cowardice are best remembered by executing this guy. When I did CGSC we were given a tour of the (now old) military prison at Fort Leavenworth and shown the execution chamber which now uses lethal injection and not hanging or firing squad. That was back in 1989 before they built the new prison. I like the old one better.

Old Microbiologist

Plus there are a plethora of photos showing to be buddy buddy with his captors.

Fred

thepanzer,

"You guys need to clean up your own mess and raise your recruiting standards"

Obama is Commander in Chief as he never tires of telling us. If he agrees with your rant he can always issue a pardon. Didn't all the rainbow flag waiver women and combat change all those recruiting issues. As to Bergdahl he should get shot for desertion and dereliction of duty. Save your outrage for the lawyer and film producer who are going to make a couple million each off this pos.

turcopolier

Old Micro


since I (probably like you) am on the retired list of the US Army, and not in the chain of his command, I feel free to say that if convicted on either charge he should be shot. pl

turcopolier

fred

I am interested to see if Obama has the balls to interfere in this as CinC. pl

mike

Colonel - I agree with you on Bergdahl and I personally hope they throw the book at Bergdahl. Unfortunately I suspect that they will only give him a Dishonorable Discharge and send him packing back to Idaho.

But I cannot agree regarding General Dahl. From all I understand he is an honorable man and was not ass-kissing or in no way was responding to any WH interference in the case.

BTW, I wonder if one of the reasons that General Abrams overruled Dahl was the recent press conference by Bergdahl where he publicly stated that the reason he deserted was the lack of leadership in his unit. Plus he compared himself to Jason Bourne of Ludlum fame. I believe General Dahl feels the same way after hearing Bergdahl's rant last week.

turcopolier

mike

I respect your opinion as a US Marine, but I hope that people like Dahl lose control of the narrative. pl

Old Microbiologist

I agree completely. Having been on a short list for duty requiring field grade Article 32 investigator, I have done more than my fair share of these (more than one a month for 5 years). I always presented the facts and always recommended maximum if it was warranted so the JAG would go forward with the prosecution. It is, of course, up to the convening authority to actually proceed with a courts martial. The majority of mine resulted in General level Article 15 (non-judicial) punishment. But several went the full route. I became intimately familiar with the UCMJ back when I commanded a dual TOE-TDA unit. Lots of fun. But, politics only rarely was a part of the process. I can't imagine trying to do this one. So, I pity the General his task given the pressures put on him.

steve

This guy had gone on walkabout once before. He should have had the book thrown at him then, and spent some time locked up. Since that did not happen I have to think that there probably were real leadership issues in his unit. I certainly hope they looked at that.

turcopolier

steve

Nah! Sometimes you try to save a loser if you can. If you have the time it is worth effort however risky it is. You can see the risk from the comments of some of the losers who have written here. pl

turcopolier

Old Micro

Never pity a general. pl

Matthew

Col: Thank you for the Creighton Abrams story. Any background on his conversion to Catholicism? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creighton_Abrams

BTW, you have mentioned in a number of posts that people fail to appreciate the true destructive power of the US Army when it is fully engaged. I just finished Stephen Ambrose's "Citizen Soldier" and I think I now understand what you were getting at.

turcopolier

Matthew

So far as I know they were not Jewish in his life memory. I seem to remember that Julia brought him into the Church. They were members of the EOHSJ. I told her once how much we all respected him. She looked bored. She had heard it a lot. pl

Matthew

Col: Which means he married the right woman.

Trey N

David,

"I do not see how military organisations can survive without a strong culture of honour."

Well, after all the cheating scandals at the service academies + the similar scandal at the AF missile command + doctored intelligence to meet political goals etc etc ad nauseum, it looks like this "strong culture of honour" of which you speak is already beyond the aid of CPR when it comes to all branches of the US military (the Marines excepted -- at least they're putting up a valiant rear guard/last stand action against the PC idiocy of allowing women into all combat arms).

Just as a fish rots from the head, all the cologne of the Pentagon's "perfumed princes" (to use Hack's immortal epithet) can't cover up the stench of the rot in the US military that's resulted from the top generals and admirals who have betrayed their oaths and sold out the nation's security to get their share of the slop at the MIC trough: planes that can't fly (the F-35), newly-launched warships that have to be towed back to port on their maiden voyages (USS Milwaukee), overly-complex and unreliable systems in all fields, etc etc etc. Always plenty of $$$ for the big toys of the MIC boys, while in 2004 families were having to buy body armor on their own and ship it to their sons and husbands serving in combat in Iraq. For shame!

It will be very interesting to see how the bloated bureaucracy of the current US military establishment (more admirals than warships!) fares if it ever faces a counterpart like the Russian armed forces in an all-out war. Given the impressive performance of the Russian men and weapons so far in Syria, it doesn't appear that an air force equipped with planes that can't fly and a navy that has to tow its ships into combat is going to emerge the victor....

turcopolier

Trey N

yes. We should just give up and surrender to corruption. pl

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