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Subject: SGT Bowe Bergdahl rss

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For those not in the know, Bowe Bergdahl, the only known American captive of the US war in Afghanistan, was recently released after 5 years in captivity.

Having gone missing in 2009, the circumstances of his disappearance remain unknown, with allegations of desertion thrown into the mix by some. I remember when I was in Afghanistan, SGT Bergdahl was in our mission briefings, to be on the look out just in case. His exact location was never known, but it was believed that he spent most of his captivity in Pakistan with the Haqqani Network, which aligns with the Taliban and Al Queda.

The negotiations between the US and the Taliban were conducted through Qatar, with Bergdahl released in exchange for 5 "high level" prisoners being held at Guantanamo. According to an article from CNN, the negotiations were so secretive that not even Karzi knew what was being done.

The 5 were released into the custody of Qatar, with a 1 year travel ban on their movement. Whether it actually works or not, who knows.

As can be expected, some in congress are raising a stink, so there is a law that requires their notification 30 days prior to any release. And that didn't happen in this case. The reason given by the Administration was that they needed to act urgently due to evidence of deteriorating health of Bergdahl.

So what does this mean going forward? Was it right for the Administration to act without warning given to congress? Was it right to release 5 prisoners for 1? Does this go against the "We will not negotiate with terrorists" schtick? (the article does mention that even with it, the gov't always fines a way around). What about future dealings with the Taliban, or leaving Karzi out?

It's an interesting situation. Regardless of any political fallout, I'm more curious about the story behind his disappearance.

Sources:
http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/01/world/asia/afghanistan-bergdah...

http://news.yahoo.com/us-soldier-released-5-years-captivity-...

http://news.yahoo.com/hagel-soldiers-health-required-urgent-...
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CHAPEL
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Sometimes you got to just say fuck the consequences to help a brother out. Let them bicker in Congress, it's all they seem to know how to do lately anyway.
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MWChapel wrote:
Sometimes you got to just say fuck the consequences to help a brother out. Let them bicker in Congress, it's all they seem to know how to do lately anyway.


Does a man who voluntarily walk off though deserve help?
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If he deserted, then bring charges against him now. Seems kind of pointless to worry about whether we should have brought him home in the first place after the deed is done.
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If he deserted than it seems to me he did ot deserve the help of the US, also there is an argument for the idea that you shoudl not negotiate with terrorists.

But the idea that this could not go ahead unless really self important people were informed is bollocks.
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Koldfoot wrote:
This is a political positioning move on the part of the child-in-chief.

A popular, yet illegal move for which there will likely be no political fallout.

If nothing happens, he has strengthened his hand for illegally releasing all Gitmo detainees at the end of his term. He will be leaving the fallout from that foolish, yet sound short term political move given ignorance in the democrat base, for a republican. If a dem gets elected he will simply be allowed to wash his hands of the affair by the media.

This was a sound political move. It seems at this point to be foolish on every other level.


As we all now, the right way to secure the release of prisoners is to sell weapons to Iran.
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Koldfoot wrote:
This is a political positioning move on the part of the child-in-chief.

A popular, yet illegal move for which there will likely be no political fallout.

If nothing happens, he has strengthened his hand for illegally releasing all Gitmo detainees at the end of his term. He will be leaving the fallout from that foolish, yet sound short term political move given ignorance in the democrat base, for a republican. If a dem gets elected he will simply be allowed to wash his hands of the affair by the media.

This was a sound political move. It seems at this point to be foolish on every other level.


We can't keep Gitmo running forever. What would you do were you in charge -- shoot them all?
 
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The negotiations have been underway for literally *years* about this. Congress had briefings about it, including the five detainees in question, for a long long time. The only lack of notification was the 'here we need to do this now' part. There was nothing 'back room' about his, it was just seizing the moment.

If you look into the folks released it doesn't read like a who's who of murder-kills. Of all of them, there's only good evidence against one of them for criminal acts... criminal acts which several in the Afgan gov't today are also known to be guilty of. So yeah, he's probably 'one that got away' but exactly where do you draw the line between the good murderers and the bad ones?

At least one of the others turned himself in to the Afgan gov't only to have us swoop in and steal him away and drop him in a hole for a decade... with nothing to show for it.

Some of these guys were actually popular, and former gov't figures. Holding them likely increased insurgency in the form of reprisals. That seems counterproductive. We got caught in the mindset of Taliban=Terrorist=bad=identical. Are they saints? Should we be rejoicing at their freedom? I'd say no, but I'd say holding them wasn't doing any good either. Pawning them off in exchange for a US soldier who as far as we know did *not* desert as of yet, sounds to me to be a good trade.

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Koldfoot wrote:
klarkinhistrep wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
This is a political positioning move on the part of the child-in-chief.

A popular, yet illegal move for which there will likely be no political fallout.

If nothing happens, he has strengthened his hand for illegally releasing all Gitmo detainees at the end of his term. He will be leaving the fallout from that foolish, yet sound short term political move given ignorance in the democrat base, for a republican. If a dem gets elected he will simply be allowed to wash his hands of the affair by the media.

This was a sound political move. It seems at this point to be foolish on every other level.


As we all now, the right way to secure the release of prisoners is to sell weapons to Iran.
or train Syrians.


Or the Mujahadeen!
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klarkinhistrep wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
klarkinhistrep wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
This is a political positioning move on the part of the child-in-chief.

A popular, yet illegal move for which there will likely be no political fallout.

If nothing happens, he has strengthened his hand for illegally releasing all Gitmo detainees at the end of his term. He will be leaving the fallout from that foolish, yet sound short term political move given ignorance in the democrat base, for a republican. If a dem gets elected he will simply be allowed to wash his hands of the affair by the media.

This was a sound political move. It seems at this point to be foolish on every other level.


As we all now, the right way to secure the release of prisoners is to sell weapons to Iran.
or train Syrians.


Or the Mujahadeen!

Or the Fedaykin!
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Koldfoot wrote:
Where, exactly, is it written that a POW has to be a "bad dude"?

Millions of POWs have been taken in the last century by many countries. Few were "bad dudes".

Which war?
 
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klarkinhistrep wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
This is a political positioning move on the part of the child-in-chief.

A popular, yet illegal move for which there will likely be no political fallout.

If nothing happens, he has strengthened his hand for illegally releasing all Gitmo detainees at the end of his term. He will be leaving the fallout from that foolish, yet sound short term political move given ignorance in the democrat base, for a republican. If a dem gets elected he will simply be allowed to wash his hands of the affair by the media.

This was a sound political move. It seems at this point to be foolish on every other level.


As we all now, the right way to secure the release of prisoners is to sell weapons to Iran.


The intention being to improve relations with Iran while securing prisoner's releases. How well did that work out?
 
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Two seperate accounts of his desertion:

https://twitter.com/CodyFNfootball (start with the second post on May 31st)

http://mobile.armytimes.com/article/20140531/NEWS/305310046

Scan for a comment by Dan Witmer who was apparently there when this guy deserted. (paragraphs added by me for easier reading)

"You want it from the horses mouth?? Here ya go..We were at OP Mest, Paktika Province, Afghanistan. It was a small outpost where B Co 1-501st INF (Airbone) ran operations out of, just an Infantry platoon and ANA counterparts there. The place was an Afghan graveyard. Bergdahl had been acting a little strange, telling people he wanted to "walk the earth" and kept a little journal talking about how he was meant for better things. No one thought anything about it. He was a little “out there”.

Next morning he's gone. We search everywhere, and can't find him. He left his weapon, his kit, and other sensitive items. He only took some water, a compass and a knife. We find some afghan kids shortly after who saw an american walking north asking about where the taliban are. We get hits on our voice intercepter that Taliban has him, and we were close. We come to realize that the kid deserted his post, snuck out of camp and sought out Taliban… to join them. We were in a defensive position at OP Mest, where your focus is to keep people out. He knew where the blind spots were to slip out and that's what he did.

It was supposed to be a 4-day mission but turned into several months of active searching. Everyone was spun up to find this guy. News outlets all over the country were putting out false information. It was hard to see, especially when we knew the truth about what happened and we lost good men trying to find him. PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Murphrey, 2LT Darryn Andrews, were all KIA from our unit who died looking for Bergdahl. Many others from various units were wounded or killed while actively looking for Bergdahl.

Fighting Increased. IEDs and enemy ambushes increased. The Taliban knew that we were looking for him in high numbers and our movements were predictable. Because of Bergdahl, more men were out in danger, and more attacks on friendly camps and positions were conducted while we were out looking for him. His actions impacted the region more than anyone wants to admit. There is also no way to know what he told the Taliban: Our movements, locations, tactics, weak points on vehicles and other things for the enemy to exploit are just a few possibilities.

The Government knows full well that he deserted. It looks bad and is a good propaganda piece for the Taliban. They refuse to acknowledge it. Hell they even promoted him to Sergeant which makes me sick. I feel for his family who only want their son/brother back. They don’t know the truth, or refuse to acknowledge it as well. What he did affected his family and his whole town back home, who don’t know the truth. Either way what matters is that good men died because of him. He has been lying on all those Taliban videos about everything since his “capture”. If he ever returns, he should be tried under the UCMJ for being a deserter and judged for what he did. Bergdahl is not a hero, he is not a soldier or an Infantryman. He failed his brothers. Now, sons and daughters are growing up without their fathers who died for him and he will have to face that truth someday."


Then there is this report:
http://wikileaks.org/afg/event/2009/06/AFG20090630n1790.html
Note the intercepted transmission at UPDATE: 0610z
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The five freed:

—Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the Taliban deputy minister of intelligence

—Mullah Norullah Nori, a senior Taliban commander in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban fought U.S. forces in late 2001

—Khairullah Khairkhwa, who served in various Taliban positions including interior minister and had direct ties to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden

—Mohammed Nabi, who served as chief of security for the Taliban in Qalat, Afghanistan, and later worked as a radio operator for the Taliban's communications office in Kabul

—Mohammad Fazl, whom Human Rights Watch says could be prosecuted for war crimes for presiding over the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001 as the Taliban sought to consolidate their control over the country.
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Oh and as icing on the cake, it seems Bergdahl's father has a soft spot for Gitmo prisoners.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/06/bowe-bergdahls-fathe...

“I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen!”
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So basically, President Obama bypassed Congress to trade five of the most senior detainees we had for one deserter? What happened to "We don't negotiate with terrorists."? How many more will die by the release of these five? How many more will be captured and ransomed later now that the U.S. is showing weakness? How many sons have now died in vain capturing those five in the first place? I can't help but conclude that this was done to distract the American people from the VA and Benghazi scandals.
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phosrik wrote:
So basically, President Obama bypassed Congress to trade five of the most senior detainees we had for one deserter?

Yes, and I am certain that the danger posed by these prisoners is not at all overstated for political reasons.

phosrik wrote:
How many more will die by the release of these five?

Probably millions.

phosrik wrote:
How many sons have now died in vain capturing those five in the first place?

Considering a few of these guys turned themselves in, the number of deaths-in-vain is probably only in the tens of thousands.

phosrik wrote:
I can't help but conclude that this was done to distract the American people from the VA and Benghazi scandals.

That is the only logical, non-partisan conclusion you could make. Prisoner exchanges are never done quickly because of health concerns, so the only reason the administration is doing this obviously illegal and blatantly traitorous activity is to distract from the other Worse than Watergate scandals they're dealing with.
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Ilthuain wrote:
phosrik wrote:
So basically, President Obama bypassed Congress to trade five of the most senior detainees we had for one deserter?

Yes, and I am certain that the danger posed by these prisoners is not at all overstated for political reasons.


Don't ask me. Ask the Afghans whom we are supposed to be fighting for.
http://news.yahoo.com/afghans-taliban-prisoners-freed-u-rejo...
I'm sure it's all exaggeration as you said. It's not like any of them committed war crimes in killing thousands before. Oh wait.

Ilthuain wrote:
phosrik wrote:
How many sons have now died in vain capturing those five in the first place?

Considering a few of these guys turned themselves in, the number of deaths-in-vain is probably only in the tens of thousands.

Without the pressure of war they would never have turned themselves in at all. And as you admit, not all of them just waltzed in.

Ilthuain wrote:
phosrik wrote:
I can't help but conclude that this was done to distract the American people from the VA and Benghazi scandals.

That is the only logical, non-partisan conclusion you could make. Prisoner exchanges are never done quickly because of health concerns, so the only reason the administration is doing this obviously illegal and blatantly traitorous activity is to distract from the other Worse than Watergate scandals they're dealing with.


Even IF there was a health concern, the fact is that a Taliban sympathizing deserter is not worth five high ranking Gitmo prisoners.

BTW, the Taliban is calling this a major victory...as they should.

Mullah Omar (head of the Taliban) "'I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entire Afghan Muslim nation, all the mujahideen and to the families and relatives of the prisoners for this big victory."
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phosrik wrote:


Then there is this report:
http://wikileaks.org/afg/event/2009/06/AFG20090630n1790.html
Note the intercepted transmission at UPDATE: 0610z

I don't have anything to add about this particular story.

However, I do want to step in and point out that while I'm not a fan of Julian Assange, personally, this sort of access into the nitty gritty of wartime operations is something that I feel is necessary for everyone to be able to see.

Darilian
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Whether he deserted or not, I think every country owes its soldiers the real knowledge that if they are taken by hostile forces, that their country will bring them home sooner or later. What would it do to the morale of US soldiers to say, "Eh, screw him; he probably deserted anyway"? By all means, try him if he is thought to have deserted.

A soldier potentially risks his or her life for the interests of his or her country. IMO that means then that the country then has certain obligations to those soldiers, such s especially not to foolishly waste their lives. Another similar obligation is not to abandon them.

To make an analogy, that's what bothers me about the Benghazi affair. A diplomat was simply left in the lurch. I don't claim to know how it happened or if there were any crimes committed in doing so. Fixing blame isn't really the issue. The problem is that next time a US diplomat is in dangerous situation overseas, that diplomat is all too likely to think he or she is left to his or her own devices and act accordingly.
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whac3 wrote:
Whether he deserted or not, I think every country owes its soldiers


If you deserted, are you a soldier?
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Geosphere wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Whether he deserted or not, I think every country owes its soldiers


If you deserted, are you a soldier?


Sure you are, until your official court martial. What's more important is that he is still a US citizen. Efforts to bring him home should be no different than if he had served more honorably. Once home, then the issue can be investigated properly, and appropriate actions taken.

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My favorite part is that we didn't negotiate with terrorists because we had a go between in the Qataris.

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I'm all for shutting down Gitmo and releasing some of the detainees and moving others into domestic military prisons, but it seems to me that if the Taliban want these guys back this bad, that pretty much is evidence that they are valuable to their war effort. These aren't the guys housed on trumped up charges "just to be safe". Since this "soldier's" status as a POW is sort of shaky, I don't think this was a good trade.

At the end of the day, a soldiers job involves the possible sacrifice to protect civilians. This deal could set up a scenario where we sacrificed civilians (if the freed Taliban go on to orchestrate attacks) for a soldier, and a soldier who may have betrayed his uniform and oath.
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If you were deserting to join opfor you'd think you would take your kit with you.

These guys were senior politicos a decade ago, I am sure they all still contain a ton of valuable intelligence because time doesn't matter to value when it comes to information (haha)

We had a decade to charge these guys with... anything... but didn't. That is our own fault. If we couldn't make a case in a decade then letting them go seems at least a little humane.
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