So, the message is pretty much resumed in "We prefer our troops to get killed rather than captured" and "If you get captured we will blame all our faults on you".
Sounds like a good recruiting pitch!
Is there something the administration fears was included in the Manning leaks or Snowden leaks that would explain the administration's actions here?
I think in this case it is pretty clear that there is going to be a lot of blame placed on Bergdahl. It appears that he did desert his unit by simply walking away. He wasn't simply captured doing his job.
It's possible Bergdahl was a deserter, but there is right now just about zero evidence. Calling somebody a criminal without any evidence is what one tradition would call "bearing false witness against your neighbor." The Christian right loves to do this.
There is plenty of evidence. The NYT and other media organizations have gotten other soldiers in his unit to say anonymously and on record that he deserted. They have claimed that he sent an e-mail and a note to the same and that he had previously talking about deserting. They have also said that he wasn't captured on a patrol and that he walked out of the base.
That's awfully scanty for a court martial - but plenty for the court of public opinion. Get a rope, boys!
don' come back! say hello to my leetle frien'!
This isn't a court-martial. We are simply talking about the plausibility of him being a deserter. Based on what has been reported, it looks likely. A court of law may later determine if it is in fact true.
It looks like the soldiers are using Bergdahl as a scapegoat to justify the absurd deaths of their comrades.
According to the article the operational zone was pretty much a hotbed of Taliban insurgency already, and monthly casualties barely varied.
I think it is a natural reaction to being betrayed. Of course they are going to try to pin those deaths on him. If a bridge inspector faked some inspections on a bridge that later collapsed, people are going to blame that inspector even if a rigorous inspection wouldn't have caught the flaw.
Did his desertion cause deaths? As the NYT pointed out, that will be hard to establish. Nonetheless, desertion is a crime. But context matters. If there is no clear link to his desertion and the death of a soldier, I don't think he should go to jail, but in any case, he doesn't deserve to be honorably discharged.
One might as well blame the deaths on the humanitarian mission component. The humanitarian component of warfighting has always drawn criticism for diverting resources and putting soldiers in harm's way. I think the only policy that can be blamed is the policy of having armed troops occupying positions in territory that also contains hostile forces. When something bad happens, the question should always come back to whether that occupation should continue. The response should not be to create a mythology to pile on one poor bastard.
The solid evidences is that this is a soldier who became disillusioned with the war, like any sane soldier. He just made the mistake of putting the thought in an email a few days before something bad happened.
Next thing you know the mythology about the incident will include a gay love triangle. Military scapegoating is never complete without a gay love triangle.
Here's my my take, since surely the internet is desperate to hear what I think:
--We simply don't yet know why he walked...seems possible that he had mental issues, in which case he shouldn't and probably won't be prosecuted. I doubt he was intending to join the Taliban or Al Qaeda, because Americans HAVE joined up, and they aren't held against their will. If he was sane but walked for stupid reasons, the military will likely say 5 years in Taliban custody is worse than he'd have gotten from a court martial.
--I think the trade was problematic. It tells the Taliban that hostages are the way to get things they want, and puts 5 bad guys back into circulation, with hero status to boot. It also seems to have been illegal (although since we now seem to have the Imperial Presidency Nixon dreamed of, it probably won't matter.)
Even Stanley McCrystal (no liberal icon, he) is saying that we simply don't yet have the evidence to judge him, and that the principle of not leaving anyone behind is more important than blaming him.
No, the message is that the military would prefer the narrative to be that Bowe was captured rather than a deserter. Unfortunately for them, there is far too much evidence to the contrary.
Apparently the Ninth Commandment was repealed some time ago. And Greed is no longer one of the Seven Deadly Sins!
Bush lied. People died. Bush and his fellow war criminals walk free and get air time to continue propagating their defense while condemning the current administration. The people at the bottom of the hierarchy pay the price. Fodder for the cannon is fodder for the Bush crime family and all the corporations that reaped the profits of the war. It doesn't matter if Bergdahl deserted or not. He paid more dues than his "superiors" ever will. Then there's the history of John McCain's release from a N. Viet Nam POW camp which the GOP seems to have no problem with.
You could say Bush deserted his oath to uphold the Constitution when he started a war based on lies but he walks free and probably will never be held accountable for his crimes. How many lives has Bush changed for the worse?
This is Afghanistan, not Iraq. The War in Afghanistan was impacted by those lies (he reduced the troop strength in Afghanistan so that he could fight in Iraq), but it wasn't started because of it. Al Qaeda did have training bases in Afghanistan and the government did support them. They are a valid military target. The US was justified in invading Afghanistan, though it is debatable whether the length of the subsequent occupation is justified.
... and, ironically, it turns out that the only way to get out of Guantanamo Bay - other than feet first - is to actually BE a high-value member of Taliban/Al-Qaeda. You know, exactly the kind of people the facility was set up to detain.
If, on the other hand, you're some low level courier or just some innocent schmoe caught up in a dragnet or dobbed in by a neighbour with a grudge for the $100 reward, well then, sorry son ... you are profoundly screwed.
Since the 9/11 terrorists were all Saudis why didn't Bush attack Saudi Arabia instead of Afghanistan, and why were all the royal Saudis who were in the US at the time allowed to leave despite the shutdown of all air travel? Remember Bandar Bush?