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  1. #1
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    SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    So by now most of you should have heard about the exchange made between the US and the Taliban where we traded 5 senior Taliban officials for SGT Bergdahl (if there are any questions as to this I'll be happy to provide additional information/support.)

    This exchange has caused a bit of an uproar. Recently, I defended President Obama's initial decision to negotiate for SGT Bergdahl's release. I still think many of the factors I mentioned in the debate are still valid reasons for President Obama to take this action.

    However, there has been more recent confirmation of suspicions concerning SGT Berghdahl's "capture" that need to be addressed. According to several sources deployed with SGT Bergdahl as well as other DoD sources, SGT Bergdahl wasn't a POW so much as he was a defector. From a reported source that served concurrently with SGT Bergdahl in the 1-501st SGT Bergdahl had been acting strangely coming up to event and had made numerous statements concerning his dislike of the United States, the Army and his desire to strike out on his own. The soldier goes on to point out that infiltration of the type originally discussed as how SGT Bergdahl was captured are unknown in this manner (an actual infiltration in the doctrinal sense of the word) but that soldiers going out has happened on occasion (my experience would support this as well), so it seems far more likely that Bergdahl left rather than was capture on the COP.

    Add to this that he was apparently the target of internal investigations (not to mention his father's predilection for supporting the Taliban which seems at best, odd). During his confinement it was reported that SGT Bergdahl had converted and was actively teaching IED production to the Taliban (I find this source somewhat less credible given the original source and that to my knowledge SGT Bergdahl had no specialty in how to turn cell phones into initiators, it really isn't something the Army teaches you).

    Interestingly, the twitter story above by a fellow soldier seems to be confirmed by key details now leaked to the NYT giving key support not only to the questioning of his motives, but to the story listed above. This source also seems to indicate that DoD knew his location, but was unwilling to risk a rescue attempt given his status (he was never actually listed as a POW) as a possible deserter/defector.

    Finally, a great story by a reputed SOF Operator tasked as part of the initial search can be found here. His language is definitely credible, I would be surprised if he turned out to not be at very least an operator. Key components of his story match to the earlier story and the NYT article so I think it has some credibility there. He notes that that locals reported SGT Bergdahl asked where to find the Taliban and that he was actively avoiding U.S. patrols.

    Given all of this I think we can reasonably conclude that SGT Bergdahl was at a minimum a deserter. There is a plurality of evidence suggesting he was a defector.


    Some of that analysis needs to be re-visited in the light of that finding:

    1) It buoys Solider morale: This factor is somewhat if not massively dampened by the perception that SGT Bergdahl was a traitor or a deserter. We have little tolerance for quiters and certainly none for those who switch sides. Negotiating (and especially releasing enemies) to get him back does nothing but hurt morale. This would perhaps be different if the perception was that this was part of a Presidential commitment to leave no one behind, but that just isn't the perception amongst the soldiers, sailors and airmen I know or can poll.

    2) It encourages a shift in Taliban activities towards kidnapping: I still think that this is somewhat true. Though they didn't kidnap SGT Bergdahl, the perception is likely still that they can get valuable releases in exchange for living Americans.

    3) Indirectly, it encourages taliban fighters to consider giving up knowing that they might be exchanged at some point rather than fighting to the death: This isn't affected by the revelations imo. It was never a very strong point, but remains consistent now. It might be somewhat altered by the fact that only high ranking prisoners were released, but that is probably a small factor overall.


    Risks

    1) It encourages the Taliban to take prisoners: No real change here either. The IRA comparison is still valid and I think the Taliban doesn't see a reason to reduce activity because of anything that has happened.

    2) We are releasing Taliban fighters into the fold: No change here either. I doubt these guys get re-integrated. They will be welcomed back and then put to pasture. It is just too likely from the Taliban's point of view that they have been compromised, either knowingly or unknowingly. We likely understand their networks too well for the Taliban to risk using those networks again.



    So the questions for this thread:


    1) Do you support the exchange of high profile operatives for what was in a effect a low level defector? If so/not why?

    2) What should be done, if anything with SGT Bergdahl? I would point out that either charge (desertion or defection) given the circumstances is punishable by death, the latter especially.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
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  2. #2
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    1) Do you support the exchange of high profile operatives for what was in a effect a low level defector? If so/not why?

    It depends a bit. I honestly don't think that releasing 5 operatives will seriously endanger us or provide any real change in the balance of power. Since they have been prisoners for many reasons their ability to operate is likely highly compromised. We know them rather well by now. I think whether or not we want a defector isn't so much the real question, its if we want back a member of the armed forces.

    Until he is discharged or tried for desertion he's a member of the armed forces and there are multiple bring Bergdhal home movements sites and so on. He's a US citizen in enemy hands and we want him back on principle and because there are family and such here that love him and want him home.

    So I see it as following a principle and serving the interests of our citizens at home with minimal actual military risk. If carried out en mass this might be a bad strategy but on the scale of one exchange, its probably not really impactfull.

    2) What should be done, if anything with SGT Bergdahl? I would point out that either charge (desertion or defection) given the circumstances is punishable by death, the latter especially.

    I think we should determine what happened and treat him like anyone else in that situation. I doubt death would be the usual punishment (if were talking desertion). I looked it up and while that is possible, most of the time people get a dishonorable discharge or are demoted and allowed back in the armed forces (depending on circumstances).

    I'd say if he's shown to have deserted, dishonorable discharge. If he is shown to have actually aided the enemy actively aka fought against us or provided key intelligence willingly, then he should do time.
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  3. #3
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    He's a US citizen in enemy hands
    You had me up until here. Is a defector in "enemy hands?" If he chose to leave the base and join the enemy, doesn't that mitigate any obligation we have to gain his return?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    most of the time people get a dishonorable discharge or are demoted and allowed back in the armed forces (depending on circumstances).
    There is a difference in UCMJ between desertion and desertion in the face of the enemy. The latter hasn't really happened in a long time and so there isn't a lot of precedent. If he actually defected, that would be treason, which in the military is punished by death as often as not.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    This whole story has been confusing. Negotiating to get Bergdhal back is understandable, even if he was a deserter. Exchanging him for five high-ranking Taliban officials.... I am on the fence here. There is some indication that if the war ends, we pull our troops out, then our Taliban POW's were going to be released anyhow. So, if these five men are POW's and not simply terrorists, then we didn't really lose much be sending them to Qatar for a year. In essence, we didn't give up as much as it seems. So, if this is where the facts stand, then I think Obama made the correct deal.

    With that being said, I cannot help but wonder why Obama didn't take the legal steps to make the deal. Why didn't he give Congress the 30 days notice required by law? I do not buy the WH explanation that there was no time. So, while I'll ding Obama on a technicality, the end result would/should have been the same either way. At this point, Obama's flaunting of laws he does not like is not even shocking anymore. It is just sort of expected.

    Now, if this guy was not just a deserter, but a defector, then I say he should be executed for treason. His actions led to the deaths of several other service men. If he was "only" a deserter, then he should merely rot in a federal prison for the rest of his life.
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You had me up until here. Is a defector in "enemy hands?" If he chose to leave the base and join the enemy, doesn't that mitigate any obligation we have to gain his return?
    Regardless of how he got there, if he is not free to go home and he is a US citizen, he is an american citizen in enemy hands.

    There is a difference in UCMJ between desertion and desertion in the face of the enemy. The latter hasn't really happened in a long time and so there isn't a lot of precedent. If he actually defected, that would be treason, which in the military is punished by death as often as not.
    Since we don't have good evidence for treason I'm mostly focusing on desertion for which there seems a pretty good case. But yes, if he joined the enemy and fought against us, prison or possibly death is warranted.
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    These are Taliban, not Al Queda, right? They aren't terrorists.

    Is it also true that they are going to be detained in Qatar for a year first?
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by OP
    1) Do you support the exchange of high profile operatives for what was in a effect a low level defector? If so/not why?
    I don't support the exchange in the case of a good soldier, much less a bad one.

    This is the reason, suppose that the 5 leaders (now released) go on to plan another 911 attack and execute it.
    1) That is effectively on Obama's head. 2) It undercuts everything that good soldiers are fighting for and negates what countless lives were given to prevent.
    How many people died capturing those 5 to start?
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Regardless of how he got there, if he is not free to go home and he is a US citizen, he is an american citizen in enemy hands.
    Well I'm not even sure that is true, that is like saying he shouldn't accept the consequences of the decisions he made and the allegiances he formed. Also, we're kind of assuming they are forcibly detaining him, which might not be the case from the OP, this could well be his choice.

    Finally, there is some strong evidence that he renounced his citizenship when he left, does that play any role?


    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    These are Taliban, not Al Queda, right? They aren't terrorists.
    So the Taliban are not terrorists? A group that routinely rapes and murders young girls or disfigures girls attending school or shoots civilians to destabilize the area or uses human shields are not terrorists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboy
    Is it also true that they are going to be detained in Qatar for a year first?
    I wouldn't count on that detainment, Reuters has already reported that Qatari officials have said they are free to roam the Middle East or return to Afghanistan if they wish. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014...dercuts-obama/
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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  10. #9
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Well I'm not even sure that is true, that is like saying he shouldn't accept the consequences of the decisions he made and the allegiances he formed. Also, we're kind of assuming they are forcibly detaining him, which might not be the case from the OP, this could well be his choice.
    I didn't see any evidence presented that he is free to leave any time he likes. So long as he is not free to go where he pleases he is a prisoner. I suspect the news services would be well aware if that were not the case and all the "Bring him home" campaigns would be utterly pointless if he could just come home of his own free will. Otherwise this is a deportation negotiation or extradition and not a prisoner exchange.

    If he could leave of his own free will we would have no reason what so ever to release anyone in exchange.

    Finally, there is some strong evidence that he renounced his citizenship when he left, does that play any role?
    To do that you have to appear before a US consulate in a foreign country and sign documents of renunciation. If he hasn't done that (and we would know if he did) then he hasn't renounced his citizenship.

    So the Taliban are not terrorists? A group that routinely rapes and murders young girls or disfigures girls attending school or shoots civilians to destabilize the area or uses human shields are not terrorists?
    They are officially (by US government determination) a terrorist organization.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/white...ry?id=23981888
    "But Tuesday White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden noted that the Taliban was added to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) by executive order in July 2002, even if it is not listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the State Department. Either designation triggers asset freezes, according to the State Department, though they can differ on other restrictions imposed on the target organization. The Treasury Department told ABC News the Taliban is still on their SDGT list."
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  11. #10
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    I have a question, and I'm honestly curous about this.

    Could this exchange be so bad so as to boarder on Treason? The Pres Aiding our enemies?
    I mean if this guy turns out to be a known Traitor, and the leadership released turns out to be important enough to launch serious attacks on the U.S.
    Is that possible? Or would it just inherently fall under policy decision? Even if it was akin to.. "Hey, lets give Hitler the Bomb".. policy decision, can't touch me. (clearly an extreme to examine a point).
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I have a question, and I'm honestly curous about this.

    Could this exchange be so bad so as to boarder on Treason? The Pres Aiding our enemies?
    I mean if this guy turns out to be a known Traitor, and the leadership released turns out to be important enough to launch serious attacks on the U.S.
    Is that possible? Or would it just inherently fall under policy decision? Even if it was akin to.. "Hey, lets give Hitler the Bomb".. policy decision, can't touch me. (clearly an extreme to examine a point).
    If this was a Conservative President doing this, Liberals would already be calling for impeachment. They are hypocritical like that. To directly answer your question, yes, it could be. An argument certainly could be made that this is aiding the enemy. Particularly so if this solider in question turns out to be a traitor himself. (Which I believe he is)

    But alas, Liberals would never, ever....EVER....turn on their demi-god, High Lord Obama. Obama could directly fund the Tailban and Al Queda and encourage attacks on US citizens on national television and Liberals would blame Bush and protect him.
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    If this was a Conservative President doing this, Liberals would already be calling for impeachment.
    Some fine day you will manage to make a post in a political thread without mentioning the world Liberal. Prisoner exchanges just don't seem like a liberal impeachment cause to me. There are already liberals calling for Obama to be impeached, there just aren't many of them.

    http://www.ijreview.com/2014/01/1099...ent-weve-ever/
    They call this guy a liberal icon... he's more libertarian but he's god some liberal chops to be sure.

    http://www.greenewave.com/mainstream...a-impeachment/
    These videos purport to be about liberals for impeaching Obama

    BTW there were also conservatives for impeaching Reagan back in the day. There's always someone who thinks the president is evil and dangerous on all sides.

    But alas, Liberals would never, ever....EVER....turn on their demi-god, High Lord Obama. Obama could directly fund the Tailban and Al Queda and encourage attacks on US citizens on national television and Liberals would blame Bush and protect him.
    Well once again you have been proven to be factually wrong with your ridiculous hyperbole.
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    So the Taliban are not terrorists? A group that routinely rapes and murders young girls or disfigures girls attending school or shoots civilians to destabilize the area or uses human shields are not terrorists?
    Well, ok, if we're the police of the world now then, yes, maybe they are. But to clarify I meant in regards to the U.S. and our "War on Terror".

    ---------- Post added at 11:14 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:11 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post

    I wouldn't count on that detainment, Reuters has already reported that Qatari officials have said they are free to roam the Middle East or return to Afghanistan if they wish. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014...dercuts-obama/
    ...after a year, so the answer is yes.

    "The source, identified as a senior Gulf official, reportedly told Reuters that the five Taliban members would not be treated like prisoners while staying in Qatar, where they were released. Rather, they'd be allowed to "move around freely" in the country and then be allowed to travel outside Qatar after one year."
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Some fine day you will manage to make a post in a political thread without mentioning the world Liberal.
    Maybe, but I do not believe I will be fortunate enough to see the end of Liberalism in my lifetime. It takes awhile to weed the welfare/warfare state out of society. It will happen, one way or the other...its just going to take awhile.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Prisoner exchanges just don't seem like a liberal impeachment cause to me.
    Few things are Liberal impeachment causes with respect to a Liberal President. I cant really think of anything that would make Dirty Harry Reid or that screeching wretch Polosi (sp?) come out against Obama and call for his removal from office.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Well once again you have been proven to be factually wrong with your ridiculous hyperbole.
    I dont see where you have proven anything. And while the example is extreme, I do stand by it.
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    Maybe, but I do not believe I will be fortunate enough to see the end of Liberalism in my lifetime. It takes awhile to weed the welfare/warfare state out of society. It will happen, one way or the other...its just going to take awhile.


    Few things are Liberal impeachment causes with respect to a Liberal President. I cant really think of anything that would make Dirty Harry Reid or that screeching wretch Polosi (sp?) come out against Obama and call for his removal from office.



    I dont see where you have proven anything. And while the example is extreme, I do stand by it.
    You said liberals would never call for Obama to be impeached. I showed you two cases of liberals calling for Obama to be impeached. That means your claim was demonstrably incorrect.

    I agree that Harrry Reid or Polosi will not, but there are certainly liberals who would and do.

    Liberalism will never end so long as humans engage in politics. At its heart true liberalism is about embracing change and there will always be calls for change just as there will always be conservatism and a call to tradition.

    The exact nature of political issues and divides will come and go however.

    Of course welfare will never die either. Its been with us since men lived in tribes and it will be with us so long as we have any kind of community what so ever and anyone wants for anything.
    Last edited by Squatch347; June 5th, 2014 at 05:11 AM. Reason: Tag Edit
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I didn't see any evidence presented that he is free to leave any time he likes.
    And we have precious little data that he isn't either. The Taliban has usually used phrasing such as "found" an American rather than "captured." And regardless of what his current movement restrictions in, if he voluntarily submitted to those restrictions he isn't really a prisoner. It would be like saying that you are an economic prisoner to your cell phone company because you signed a contract. Voluntarily entering into a restrictive agreement has consequences, consequences he should well have understood.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    If he could leave of his own free will we would have no reason what so ever to release anyone in exchange.
    Well, if it was a goal to continue to decrease the number of people at Gitmo, this would be a convenient way to do it right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    To do that you have to appear before a US consulate in a foreign country and sign documents of renunciation. If he hasn't done that (and we would know if he did) then he hasn't renounced his citizenship.
    You'll forgive us if we don't ignore his intent because he failed to perform a technical function in an area where that wasn't possible. The point was that he intended (even if he followed the wrong process) to abandon his American citizenship, which speaks to his intent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    They are officially (by US government determination) a terrorist organization.
    Good find, thanks.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Could this exchange be so bad so as to boarder on Treason? The Pres Aiding our enemies?
    I don't think so, Treason requires intent. I think at most this could be called a bad decision, but a bad decision wouldn't make it treason. The President would have had to release them with the intent for them to assist enemy forces, which would be pretty hard to demonstrate.


    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    Well, ok, if we're the police of the world now then, yes, maybe they are. But to clarify I meant in regards to the U.S. and our "War on Terror".
    Please see Sig's response to me, under the definition of the State Department, they are a terrorist organization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboy
    ...after a year, so the answer is yes.
    A fair point, though this statement does undercut one of my defenses of the President above since Qatar has apparently denied allowing us to monitor their movements and communications. So the deal seems to be that they will be offered safe haven in Qatar and will be protected from American surveillance during that period. That increases the likelihood that they will be a threat or re-integrated into the Taliban network since the threat of us using their movements for intel purposes is muted.
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    And we have precious little data that he isn't either. The Taliban has usually used phrasing such as "found" an American rather than "captured." And regardless of what his current movement restrictions in, if he voluntarily submitted to those restrictions he isn't really a prisoner. It would be like saying that you are an economic prisoner to your cell phone company because you signed a contract. Voluntarily entering into a restrictive agreement has consequences, consequences he should well have understood.
    Innocent until proven guilty is how we tend to take legal matters. not a deserter until shown to be a deserter and not a traitor until proven a traitor. We will never be omniscient but we have to go with what we know and at this point we have no evidence he was a traitor that I have seen, only that he was irresponsible and unhappy about his mission. Desertion seems at least somewhat supported but there is pretty much nothing pointing to him capitulating with the enemy.


    Well, if it was a goal to continue to decrease the number of people at Gitmo, this would be a convenient way to do it right?
    Hardly. It requires participation of many parties and legal approval and so forth. If the guy is not a prisoner it would be clearly apparent to many people and thus make this about the worst conspiracy ever as all the guy would have to do is open his mouth and disgrace the US government who you seem to think may be his sworn enemy. It just doesn't hold together.

    You'll forgive us if we don't ignore his intent because he failed to perform a technical function in an area where that wasn't possible. The point was that he intended (even if he followed the wrong process) to abandon his American citizenship, which speaks to his intent.
    It's not a matter of intent or spirit, its a matter of law. If you are a US citizen it doesn't matter how much you may or many not hate america, you are by law a US citizen and bound by and protected by our laws. There is only one legal means to renounce your citizenship and he didn't do it.
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Innocent until proven guilty is how we tend to take legal matters.
    Well I'm not suggesting that I be his Article 32 officer. It is definitely an embarrassment that the Army did not convene an article 32 investigation (I bet there is a 15-6 investigation out there somewhere covering this) to get a findings of fact for this issue. Given that a preponderance of the evidence suggests that he deserted his post with the intent to link up with elements then defined as the enemy, he obviated any obligation morally or legally for us to seek his release.

    Now, we could seek it for other reasons (political reasons, to try him, etc), but there aren't moral or legal obligations to that effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    Hardly. It requires participation of many parties and legal approval and so forth. If the guy is not a prisoner it would be clearly apparent to many people and thus make this about the worst conspiracy ever as all the guy would have to do is open his mouth and disgrace the US government who you seem to think may be his sworn enemy. It just doesn't hold together.
    I'm not sure why it would be a conspiracy so much as an act of political expediency. What legal approval does it require? To my knowledge the President bypassed Congressional and DoD legal processes established in this case so that objection as to it being convenient seems moot.

    And the public statements objection doesn't hold much water either, SGT Bergdahl hasn't made public pronouncements yet and it could well not be in his best interest to make comments that would upset this particular boat. What is he going to say, "I've called this press conference to announce I was a defector and the government lied to you?" He goes to jail and we get the amazing insight that the government lies to us?

    Take a look at it from the other point of view.

    The Taliban gets their "cabinet" back.

    President Obama removes 5 guys from Gitmo that he has been trying to remove from there for years and has been stymied by Congress.

    SGT Bergdahl gets to come back to the US to be reunited with his family, gets discharged from the Army (likely with backpay) and can pursue whatever other agenda he might have (good or evil).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    It's not a matter of intent or spirit, its a matter of law.
    Intent and spirit are part of UCMJ (and most civilian law), so it absolutely is a matter of intent and spirit.

    For example, he is almost certainly guilty of ARTICLE 99. MISBEHAVIOR BEFORE THE ENEMY:


    899. ARTICLE 99. MISBEHAVIOR BEFORE THE ENEMY
    10. Punitive Articles

    Any person subject to this chapter who before or in the presence of the enemy–

    (1) runs away;

    (2) shamefully abandons, surrenders, or delivers up any command, unit, place, or military property which it is his duty to defend;

    (3) through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct endangers the safety of any such command, unit, place, or military property;

    (4) casts away his arms or ammunition;

    (5) is guilty of cowardly conduct;

    (6) quits his place of duty to plunder or pillage;

    (7) causes false alarms in any command, unit, or place under control of the armed forces;

    (8) willfully fails to do his utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy any enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is his duty so to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy; or

    (9) does not afford all practicable relief and assistance to any troops, combatants, vessels, or aircraft of the armed forces belonging to the United States or their allies when engaged in battle;

    shall be punished by death or such punishment as a court- martial may direct.

    And ARTICLE 85. DESERTION:

    (a) Any member of the armed forces who–

    (1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently;

    (2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or

    (3) without being regularly separated from one of the armed forces enlists or accepts an appointment in the same or another on of the armed forces without fully disclosing the fact that he has not been regularly separated, or enters any foreign armed service except when authorized by the United States; is guilty of desertion.

    (b) Any commissioned officer of the armed forces who, after tender of his resignation and before notice of its acceptance, quits his post or proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away therefrom permanently is guilty of desertion.

    (c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

    Article 80, Attempts is solely about intent.

    Given that his intent was to renounce his citizenship (if reports are accurate) that certainly plays a role in his status as a deserter and whether or not he could be tried under the articles listed here (and a few not listed like Aiding the Enemy).
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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  21. #19
    ODN Community Regular

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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Well I'm not suggesting that I be his Article 32 officer. It is definitely an embarrassment that the Army did not convene an article 32 investigation (I bet there is a 15-6 investigation out there somewhere covering this) to get a findings of fact for this issue. Given that a preponderance of the evidence suggests that he deserted his post with the intent to link up with elements then defined as the enemy, he obviated any obligation morally or legally for us to seek his release.
    There is in fact a 15-6 report.

    This article goes into a lot of detail about it. (The report itself is still classified)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/06/wo...says.html?_r=0

    Now, we could seek it for other reasons (political reasons, to try him, etc), but there aren't moral or legal obligations to that effect.
    The military has stated they will be investigating and if needed will hold trial on Bergdahl.

    I'm not sure why it would be a conspiracy so much as an act of political expediency. What legal approval does it require? To my knowledge the President bypassed Congressional and DoD legal processes established in this case so that objection as to it being convenient seems moot.
    The president is always subject to both the official legal system and the court of public opinion. If he is shown to have acted in the interests of our enemies he could indeed be tried for treason. And if Bergdahl is indeed an enemy of the state it would be in his interest to see that happen.

    If Bergdahl is motivated by any kind of self interest and was free to go he would simply leave and claim to have escaped. He would be welcomed as a hero. If Obama wanted to manufacture a reason to aid the Talliban he could do it in a million other less public ways that would be much harder to verify.

    A good plot has good deniability, difficulty of determining the truth and a realistic alignment of motivations best accomplished by the plot.

    Take a look at it from the other point of view.
    The Taliban gets their "cabinet" back.
    Not sure what you mean.

    President Obama removes 5 guys from Gitmo that he has been trying to remove from there for years and has been stymied by Congress.
    He was trying to close Gitmo on principle of it being an extra legal detention facility which many on the left object to on principle. He's not especially interested in setting people free. The problem is you can't close it without getting all the prisoners out. Getting these 5 out doesn't really move towards his goals.

    There has been considerable pressure for us to bring home the only prisoner of war in that theater from his family and friends and other supporters. It is a clear direct motivation that lines up with all the usual interests and actions of the US. It is not especially unusual or unique.

    SGT Bergdahl gets to come back to the US to be reunited with his family, gets discharged from the Army (likely with backpay) and can pursue whatever other agenda he might have (good or evil).
    That remains to be seen. I don't think that is how it will play out but we shall see.

    Intent and spirit are part of UCMJ (and most civilian law), so it absolutely is a matter of intent and spirit.
    This is not a matter of UCMJ. I am arguing he is a citizen of the US, the military does not make those determinations. There is only one way to stop being a US citizen and Bergdahl hasn't done it. You may well think him a deserter or traitor, but neither of those things mean you are not a US citizen. In fact you can't be a traitor or deserter if you aren't a US citizen.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  22. #20
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    Re: SGT Bowe Bergdahl exchange

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    There is in fact a 15-6 report.
    Great find.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    The president is always subject to both the official legal system and the court of public opinion. If he is shown to have acted in the interests of our enemies he could indeed be tried for treason. And if Bergdahl is indeed an enemy of the state it would be in his interest to see that happen.
    As I mentioned to MindTrap, he would have had to knowingly or reasonably expected to be acting in their interests. Bad decisions (assuming this is one, I'm still somewhat on the fence about the decision overall) are certainly not treason.

    Bergdahl's interest would be tied directly to whatever his agenda is. He could well have an agenda or interests that do not involve him getting arrested and thrown in jail for aiding and abetting the enemy. He could just want to live a peaceful life, or he could want to be an operative for all I know, in both cases not getting himself tried and confined would be the better course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    If Obama wanted to manufacture a reason to aid the Talliban...
    This sentence makes me think you might not have understood my suggestion earlier. I didn't mean to imply that the President released them to aid the Taliban, but as part of his policy agenda to close down Gitmo. It has been his goal for quite a while to remove the prisoners from there and he has been constantly denied by Congress. This was a way to remove five relatively high profile ones and only ignore the law in a relatively minor way (less backlash than simply releasing them or transferring them against Congressional resolution).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    Not sure what you mean.
    My point is to show that none of the players here really have an incentive to act in the way you suggested. The five Taliban members have occasionally been called Mullah Omar's cabinet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    It is a clear direct motivation that lines up with all the usual interests and actions of the US. It is not especially unusual or unique.
    Except that it is. In Korea, Vietnam and WWII there were all personnel that were variously captured or defected to the enemy that didn't wish to come home. The story of Charles Robert Jenkins for example matches this one quite a bit, along with his three compatriots there was no discussion of trading or negotiating for his return.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sig
    This is not a matter of UCMJ. I am arguing he is a citizen of the US, the military does not make those determinations.
    Actually, we do. Well at least we are supposed to, one of the legal complaints about this process was that DoD was ignored during the negotiations. There are several laws requiring DoD to be in the process when military personnel are involved, especially in a combat zone.

    And, going back to why this was brought up, the point was to show that he was a deserter, not a POW. If he intentionally left with intent not to return (which would seem to be indicated by his attempt at renunciation) then why are we obligated to bring him back?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


 

 
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