Letters to the Editor

Letter: Deplorable circus

June 5, 2014

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To the editor:

Unless you have been living in a cave, you cannot be unaware of the release of Bowe Bergdahl by his Taliban captors in Pakistan. It has been in all the national news.

But now several of his barracks buddies whose motives are unknown and whose veracity is also unknown have chosen to blab to the nearest media outlet their opinion that this soldier who has been released from five years in captivity was, in their opinion, a deserter.  

With no other verification or insight, the national media has gone berserk in reporting this “information.” They have made a disgusting and deplorable circus of this allegation with panels of “experts” on national outlets even before the soldier has been released from medical attention by the U.S. military.

I think this is the most deplorable and disgusting display of ratings grabbing and character assignation by supposedly reliable news services. This soldier who has suffered five years in captivity has not had any chance to have proper investigation or due process, and yet the national news media have tried and convicted him with their desire for huge ratings and sponsorship

Comments

Bob Smith 10 months, 2 weeks ago

It's been known for years that Bergdahl was a deserter. What cave have you been living in?

Matthew Herbert 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Yeah, that's not even debatable. He left voluntarily and against orders and was then captured. That's the definition of desertion. Of all the potential Obama legacies, changing America's "we do not negotiate with terrorists" policy could have the greatest (worst) long term ill effects. Once the Taliban discovers they can get a 5 for 1 deal, expect a wave of American abductions in that region.

Ralph Reed 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Sec Hagel said the decision was unanimous. This was reported on a Reuters feed. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/05/pentagon-chief-says-decision-to-free-sergeant-bowe-bergdahl-was-unanimous/

There are other articles at Reuters.com

Fred Mertz 10 months, 2 weeks ago

So they unanimously agreed to break the law - this makes it better how?

Both Snowden and Manning believed they were breaking the law for a good reason. Should we not punish them?

What is the point of having laws if people are allowed to break them without consequences?

And just think of the precedent it sets - do you want a Republican president ignoring laws? Shouldn't Brownback be held accountable for breaking laws he deems cumbersome ? Think about it.

Fred Mertz 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Fred even CNN and Hilary Clinton are against Obama on this one.

It is indisputable that this "hero" as he is called by Obama was AWOL.

You may not like the law and may not think it is a good law, but it clear that Obama broke the law he signed requiring 30 days notice to Congress before releasing prisoners from GITMO.

As for the motives of the soldiers coming forward, I think it is pretty, it is a kick in the face to every soldier that has served to call this man a hero and they want to set the record straight.

Joe Blackford II 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The fact is that the Taliban are NOT recognized by the Unites States as a foreign terrorist organization. Both of Pres. George W. Bush's Secretaries of State, Colin Powell & Condoleezza Rice, had the opportunity to list the Taliban as a "FTO." I seem to recall rumors that CIA & Special Forces operatives were swarming over Afghanistan with briefcases of cash from Day 1. Have to wonder whom thay "negotiated" with.

The "Legacy" of US actions in Afghanistan will one day be determined in a similar fashion to that of the USSR's.

http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

"Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business."

Joe Blackford II 10 months, 2 weeks ago

As a retired DoD Civilian, I resent that remark Mr. Masters.

I'm stating that the Bush administration had 8 years to declare the Taliban a FTO. The Obama administration has had 2 terms to do so as well. The Clinton administration had 2 terms also.

Reading for comprehension is the First Step to Knowledge. Screening everything through one's preconceptions, not so much.

Fred Mertz 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Resent it if you must, but what is your point? So what if the Taliban isn't listed as a terrorist organization. How is that germane to the discussion and you only referenced Bush until you were called out on it it - why?

Joe Blackford II 10 months, 2 weeks ago

As the Taliban is NOT listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization the maxim "we do not negotiate with terrorists" does NOT apply. NOTE: notwithstanding your diatribe to Leslis on your right to label anyone you see fit as a "terrorist," is widely held. That does not make it LAW.

Pres. Bush decided not to list the Taliban as a FTO. Pres. Obama has also made the same determination. As Bush initiated hostilities in Afghanistan; and took the exchanged Taliban hostage; his refusal to list them as "terrorists" takes precedence.

"called out on it it" sorry, I'm not keeping score.

Leslie Swearingen 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"Yeah, that's not even debatable. He left voluntarily and against orders and was then captured. That's the definition of desertion. Of all the potential Obama legacies, changing America's "we do not negotiate with terrorists" policy could have the greatest (worst) long term ill effects. Once the Taliban discovers they can get a 5 for 1 deal, expect a wave of American abductions in that region."

That is what Matthew Herbert wrote and since the Taliban are not legally terrorists that makes the discussion pertinent to this thread.

Fred Mertz 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Really Leslie? Just because a group is not on the list doesn't mean they are not terrorist.

Do you not believe the Taliban are terrorist?

The tea party is not on the list but Obama referred to them as terrorist. Radical Muslims are not on the list but do you doubt that the brothers who bombed the Boston marathon were terrorist?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 months, 2 weeks ago

All of you......Please refer to the last sentence in my letter. Everything you see in the news is opinion, no court or military tribunal has spoken on this issue yet. Only the news-grabbing media.

Bruce Bertsch 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I guess the "how dare the POTUS negotiate with terrorists" crowd is forgetting Saint Ronald of Reagan who sold arms to IRAN in exchange for prisoners. As for the Taliban, we armed them and are not reaping the fruits of our labors. If Bergdahl is a deserter, the military will deal with it.

Rex Hargis 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Iran is not a terrorist organization, it is a sovereign nation.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 months, 2 weeks ago

This soldier might have been a deserter, but I think that is for a court-martial to decide. But he was still a prisoner of the enemy in an undeclared war. We should not have left him behind. And we have to figure out something for these prisoners at Gitmo. We can't keep them forever with no trial.

Richard Heckler 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The backlash over the prisoner swap involving U.S. soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and five members of the Taliban continues to grow. In Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, community members have a canceled a celebration of his release over public safety concerns.

In recent days, angry phone calls and emails poured into Hailey city hall and local organizations over the town’s support for the soldier.

Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in 2009 shortly after he left his military outpost in Afghanistan. Some of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers have described him as a deserter.

They have also said at least six soldiers died while searching for him, a claim the Pentagon rejects. We discuss the Bergdahl controversy and its local impact in Idaho with Larry Schoen, a county commissioner in Blaine County.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The backlash continues to grow over the prisoner swap involving U.S. soldier Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and five members of the Taliban. In Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, community members have canceled a celebration of his release over public safety concerns. In recent days, angry phone calls and e-mails poured into Hailey City Hall and local organizations over the town support for the soldier.

Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in 2009 shortly after he left his military outpost in Afghanistan. He was held by the Taliban or five years. Some of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers have described him as a deserter. They’ve also claimed at least six soldiers died while searching for him. On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel rejected that claim.

CHUCK HAGEL: On Sergeant Bergdahl, I do not know of specific circumstances or details of U.S. soldiers dying as a result of efforts to find and rescue Sergeant Bergdahl. I am not aware of those specific details or any facts regarding that issue.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Capitol Hill, four top intelligence and military officials held an unusual closed-door briefing for the entire Senate on Wednesday to discuss why the White House decided to move ahead with the prisoner swap without notifying Congress. Senators were shown a recent video of Bowe Bergdahl depicting him in declining health. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina warned that Republican lawmakers would call for Obama’s impeachment if you release more prisoners from Guantánamo Bay without congressional approval.

SHOW FULL TRANSCRIPT http://www.democracynow.org/2014/6/5/sgt_bowe_bergdahls_idaho_hometown_cancels

Richard Heckler 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Bear in mind that a large number of prisoners have been held in prison years and years without charges. Bowe Bergdahl was held for five years without charges.

Isn't this illegal under any circumstances?

The right wing GOP should be ashamed of itself for creating this monster circus. This may or may not be a legal matter BUT why are they creating this chaos? Should they simply keep their mouths shut and allow the legal system to take its' course?

How can Bowe Bergdahl receive a fair trail ever at this point?

Let's not forget Reagan/Bush more or less financed the Taliban when Afghanistan was fighting off Russia for doing what the the USA government is now doing.

Other food for thought : http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/apr/20/israelandthepalestinians.oil

Richard Heckler 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Veteran: Politicians Using Freed POW Bowe Bergdahl as "Chess Piece to Win Political Matches"

On Wednesday, top intelligence and military officials held a closed-door briefing for the entire Senate showing them a recent video of Bergdahl in declining health. The administration says the video helped spur action to win his release over fears his life was in danger.

Opponents of the deal say the White House failed to give Congress proper notice, and may have endangered American lives by encouraging the capture of U.S. soldiers. The criticism has exploded as news spread through right-wing media that Bergdahl may have left his base after turning against the war.

We are joined by Brock McIntosh, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War who served in Afghanistan from November 2008 to August 2009. McIntosh applied for conscientious objector status and was discharged last month.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Your initial reaction to the uproar in Congress and around the country over the prisoner swap with Bowe Bergdahl?

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/6/5/veteran_politicians_using_freed_pow_bowe

Richard Heckler 10 months, 2 weeks ago

When our soldiers discover that what they were told isn't what turns up and killing innocent people isn't as much fun as they have been led to believe and/or the war is about taking control of an oil supply what are they to do? Killing people can have long term negative impacts.

Bowe Bergdahl and the Honorable History of War Deserters

http://www.thenation.com/blog/180144/bowe-bergdahl-and-honorable-history-war-deserters

10 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks Richard...another excellent thought provoking link as always...

Mike Ford 10 months, 2 weeks ago

One has to love the fact that fox news has trained the people with the least information to begin with to repeat the nonsense over and over until every person calling in on the Dana and Parks Show on KMBZ believes it. Prisoner swaps have been done with foreign nations and Indian tribes since the beginning of this country, Don't let facts get in the way of uninformed yelling in the town square talk.

Joshua Cain 10 months, 2 weeks ago

This Administration has knowingly given material assistance to a group that is hostile toward our nation. Whether the Taliban may or may not be designated a terrorist organization is irrelevant. Under any other circumstance this would be a crime but the true crime is the President not notifying congress of the swap 30 days prior to the deal. He broke the very law he signed into law.

The real world consequences of this action is an increased threat to our military personnel. This action that saved a soldier that willingly left his post has now endangered scores more not to mention disrespecting the losses already incurred searching for Bergdahl since his dereliction of duty.

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