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Eye of the Beholder

Brian McFadden
© Brian McFadden

I’m having lots of trouble paying any attention to this story. It seems like it is just so much noise. Even worse, it is the same noise we have heard over and over (and over) again. OMG, Obama did something, and the Republicans are attacking him over it. Maybe if everyone ignores it, then it will go away.



  1. Zed wrote:


    This is my new identifier for any right-wing media created hysteria.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink
  2. Max wrote:

    I mainly feel sorry for the guy’s parents…they don’t deserve any of this crap.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    However, this article about Bergdahl is interesting —

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    So here is my 2 cents on this, and with virtually unanimous concurrence from every Soldier I’ve talked to.

    First I’d like to say I’m glad the young man is coming home. As I’ve gotten older maybe I’m getting softer, but I think he is troubled, had what he thought was some great idea, turned into a possible “what in the He!! did I get myself into. Similar to Bradley/Chelsea Manning. And it could very well be the Military’s mistake was letting him join in the first place.

    From a Soldiers point of view and most everyone I’ve talked to including civilians, the Obama team made a huge mistake. They traded 2 Rooks, 2 Bishops and a Knight for a pawn, to use a chess analogy. An equal trade would have been a Taliban clerk who doubled as a camp guard. Even his own party and nit just Republicans are hot under the collar for not informing congress as is required by the law concerning the detainees at Gitmo. My only guess as to why they did this is they thought it be another Bin Laden like triumphal announcement to detract from all the other crap , ie Benghazi. It shows (IMO and many others) the naiveté of an Administration that really does not understand average Americans.

    From a Soldier standpoint, he walked off his post, abandoned his brothers on the battlefield and sought out the enemy. The Army never classified him as a POW because they determined he deserted to the enemy. I don’t think he got the reception from the Taliban he was expecting and when he had given them all the information he could provide, his decision may have haunted him. A traitor and coward dies a 1000 times, but a hero only once.

    He needs to be dealt with for his treason or desertion. I’m fine with giving him a sentence of time served with the Taliban or some other minimal sentence. (know that many Soldiers feel a harsher punishment is in order).

    I cannot and neither those I speak with understand how or why people could defend the Administrations actions on THIS ONE MATTER. It is so clearly wrong in my mind and every Soldier I have talked to about it. I see as blind party obedience, follow the leader, don’t think for yourselves, oppose those who question, attack their motives not their argument or facts.

    Take off the blinders and sunglasses people, and see the light.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  5. Hassan wrote:

    Obama wants to close gitmo, this was just one excuse to release few prisoners. Hopefully he will be done closing before he leaves.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink
  6. bmeye wrote:

    I’m left wondering what ever happened to ‘innocent until proven guilty’? As far as I can tell, Bergdahl hasn’t been tried yet. But then again, were the detainees? Maybe there were cooks and camp guards.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    BMEYE – The Army did an extensive investigation after his disappearance to determine the facts. even talking to Afghan villagers who positively I’D him as having come thru asking for directions to the Taliban. The Army did not put it out there except briefly immediately following the disappearance possibly for PR reasons. It’s much more appealing to let people believe he was a POW then a deserter from a PR perspective. Most intel people, all Army Intel and White house knew this. That’s why they issued a gag order to his fellow Soldiers until he could be recovered.

    I can only hope that they have some grand secret scheme where they secretly imbedded rfid or gps microchips in the released detainees and will send out the drones to eliminate large gatherings of enemy leadership. But, sadly I don’t think the plan was that devious.
    Or perhaps they thought he would be a treasure trove of valuable intel when recovered, although actual POWs could tell you they would not know much.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink
  8. ebdoug wrote:

    Without trials, the Gitmo prisoners have served years and years in jail. No speedy trial for them. They have served their time.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink
  9. David Freeman wrote:

    PTSGT – Frankly I am appalled by your words and deeply saddened by “virtually unanimous concurrence from every Soldier I’ve talked to”.

    I almost never agree with him but Krauthammer was accurate when he said that the United States, along with other Western countries, “always comes out on the short end” in hostage swaps. He included Israel in this, pointing to when the country gave up 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for one sergeant.

    “The reason we put a value on the individual human life the way that the ones at the other end of the table don’t,” Krauthammer said. “That’s why we always end up with unequal swaps.”

    The idea of leaving an American soldier, especially a deeply troubled one and even an untried possible deserter, in foreign hands is absolutely unacceptable period.

    Did we get a good deal? I don’t know but we got the deal that John McCain was willing to consider until it became political. I suspect we got the best deal we could, especially considering that with the war winding down, international law would soon require us to return these 5 anyway. You may recall that at the start of this war, the Taliban were the government of Afghanistan so there is no question that these 5 were POWs – bad guys yes but POWs none the less and POWs are returned at the end of hostilities by civilized nations anyway.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
  10. ThatGuy wrote:

    David Freeman, did Krauthammer really say something so sensible? That may be the most shocking thing to come out of this whole “scandal.”

    The US has a responsibility to its troops that it sends over. This guy went out into the wilderness with what, a knife, a compass, and a water bottle? That seems more like someone who snapped than someone who was maliciously going over to the enemy as a rational choice. Should we call him a hero? No. Nor should we label everyone who wears the uniform a hero simply for doing just that. As with nearly every other discussion about the military in the United States, this discussion is sorely lacking nuance.

    This uproar is political theater. The US has made seemingly crappy trades with terrible people and states (whether or not we called them terrorists) for at least a century in the name of pragmatic and usually, if surprisingly, intelligent statecraft.

    So yeah, I’ll trade one disturbed American for five Taliban who will have Hellfire missiles screaming through their windows in 11 months.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
  11. Don wrote:

    IK, the Washington Post article was excellent reading. It paints a clear picture of an individual that was placed in a position by our government for which he was clearly not capable of performing in his own as well as his fellow soldiers best interests.

    PSgt, if the soldiers you have spoken to and you yourself believe that this is a simple case of desertion (which is how I read your comments), than I worry for your humanity – especially in light of the large number of military personnel returning from our latest wars in a miserable state of mental health. They weren’t prepared for war, either, but were fortunate enough to survive the battles and get back on the plane for the US. Bergdahl lost it before he got that plane ticket. It’s a pretty sad case from all perspectives.

    Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  12. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Don and David – let me repeat my earlier comment. I am glad the young man is home. We should leave no American behind, ever.
    You are both looking at this from the view point of a civilian and you may not be able to understand a Soldier’s point of view. So I’ll attempt to tell you why we feel the way we do.

    In combat nothing else matters but your buddy, the men to your left and right. That’s what Soldiers are willing to give their life for, not their country, but their fellow Soldiers. And for them they’d risk their own life. Trust in born in battle. You trust that when it’s your buddies turn to stand guard so you can sleep, that he actually is watching out, and he trusts you back. Soldiers are taught to not let down, not to fail and to perform their duty. Six of Bergdahl’s teammates were killed, because in the first couple days after his disappearance they thought he was a comrade in need of help, kidnapped against his will and in enemy hands. They were willing to risk and lay down their own lives to get him back. When the reality of his actions became apparent it shattered that trust. They will never trust him again. He became dead to them when he broke that most sacred bond that exists between Soldiers.
    I don’t know if either of you ever served, or when the last time you laced up some boots, picked up your rifle and stood watch over your sleeping friends keeping them safe, knowing they’ll do the same for you tomorrow.
    So don’t be too quick to judge a Soldier from a civilian point of view. If you were me or them you’d see it exactly the same. We’re glad he’s home, maybe more for his family, but still glad. But wave a flag for him, not happening. Unless he can raise the dead. Our position is for their honor, he has none.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink
  13. Jon wrote:

    Interesting how many people have already convicted Bergdahl of desertion, in this country where we like to say everyone deserves at the very least a fair trial.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
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    Friday, June 27, 2014 at 12:46 am | Permalink