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Thread: Bowe Bergdahl

  1. #1
    Senior Member Makers's Avatar
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    Bowe Bergdahl

    After all the back and forth I've hear on whether the swap was or wasn't a good idea, I'm convinced Obama made the right decision in securing Bergdahl's release. I even had a guy in my unit who'd previously been apart of the missions to secure Bergdahl, in which several soldiers where killed. This guy told me the same as the stories that civilians are just becoming privy too. "He walked off the base on his own will." And this I believe is true. Still, it shouldn't mean he's left overseas. Justice is ours to serve, and to all the families of the killed soldiers, I feel some justice is warranted. But the case is troubled by a question that Bergdahl's desertion raises, which is, to what extent is a soldier allowed to act on their conscious during war, if that act puts their fellow soldiers at risk?

    In our military, like most, there are avenues to express frustration; however, there are chances you’ll take for doing so. You may be dismissed, ostracized, or even assigned a demeaning duty. Lower enlisted are expected to do as their superiors order and for good reason: erode the chain of command's integrity and you can put people's lives on the line. Whether or not the chain of command was reputable to begin with has not been made clear.

    Personally, I believe the overall mission in Afghaistan had merits, through my service until now, and beside you fight for the guy beside you. The creeds are unchanging. If Bergdahl couldn't adapt to military values, then he should have admitted as much. And while this may have meant a discharge for failure to adapt, that is the hard right, not abandoning his post. That said, I'm sure the Taliban treated him poorly and his families been through a lot, so justice shouldn't be severe.
    Last edited by Makers; 06-05-2014 at 05:25 AM.
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    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    Based on what you know (officially and unofficially), why exactly did he walk off base? That's the part I'm having trouble following. Was he deserting and/or otherwise betraying the cause? Or was he just bored and looking for action of some sort, and put himself into a vulnerable position?
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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    I'm more interested in the political dimension, wherein the idea of a prisoner swap implies treating the enemy as a recognized political entity which can be negotiated with, given how much effort has gone into the designation of enemies in this particular war as something else--"terrorists"--the creation of ostensible new legal/diplomatic precedent by fiat for dealing with groups designated as such, and of course the famous cant about whether one does or does not negotiate with people bearing such designation.

    Then there's the other side of the equation--the people released from Guantanamo as part of an exchange of "Prisoners of War," a type of exchange which would be utterly unremarkable from a historical/political point of view were it not for the gallons of ink and what I can only imagine were hundreds of thousands of dollars expended having government lawyers write out justifications for the assertion that the people being held in Guantanamo are something other than POW's. (I saw a video of an interview with the former commander who was in charge of setting up "Camp X-Ray" and he related being told in very emphatic terms that he was to regard the Geneva Conventions as "a suggestion" and at all times toe the official government line that the detainees under his supervision were not actually covered by the provisions about prisoners of war.)

    On a more banal level, this certainly does seem to be very embarrassing for Obama, but I would concur that it was probably the right decision.
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    The Pompatus of Love C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Another political aspect of the prisoner swap is the Right's reaction to it. The "Obama is always wrong" crowd are trying to make Bergdahl into a political football, saying Obama was wrong to negotiate with terrorists, give up dangerous terrorist prisoners to free a deserter, etc. Some right-wing gasbags reversed their positions from the last time a prisoner swap was discussed but Obama declined to do it. I wonder if they're going to overreach this time and have another Terri Schiavo moment -- that is, unleash the baying hounds and vilify an ordinary American to score a political point.

    I think Obama has enough of a track record to assume he made the right decision until proven otherwise.
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    Senior Member skip's Avatar
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    Another one-sided thread where everyone congratulates themselves on how intellectual and diverse the "discussion" is. Here we go again...
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    malarkey oxyjen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip View Post
    Another one-sided thread where everyone congratulates themselves on how intellectual and diverse the "discussion" is. Here we go again...
    What did you read so far that provoked that response? Why did you say "another"--what threads do you have in mind?

    This post made me so lost I thought maybe you had put it in the wrong thread. Could you elaborate?

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    Limber Member floid's Avatar
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    From a humanistic perspective it was a good trade -- "One of our least is worth several of your greatest"

    From the standpoint of militaristic value we got the short end of the deal -- "Several of your leaders for one of our soldiers who apparently didn't even want to be one".

    I agree with the humanistic trumping the militaristic.
    The former represents our greatest triumphs and the latter our most dismal failures as a species.
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    The Pompatus of Love C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    I'm more interested in the political dimension, wherein the idea of a prisoner swap implies treating the enemy as a recognized political entity which can be negotiated with, given how much effort has gone into the designation of enemies in this particular war as something else--"terrorists"--the creation of ostensible new legal/diplomatic precedent by fiat for dealing with groups designated as such, and of course the famous cant about whether one does or does not negotiate with people bearing such designation.
    The Israeli government has had to wrestle with the same thing to get its captured soldiers back from the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc., and it has made prisoner swaps with those organizations. The swaps were politically popular in Israel too.

    To face facts (which I know is secondary at best in politics), terrorism is the warfare of the weak. Terrorism has been practiced by national liberation movements which later became legitimate governments (in Israel, Egypt, and many other countries) and by criminal gangs with nihilist agendas (Shining Path, Al Qaeda). It would be better if we distinguished between the two. The Taliban, odious as it is, was once the government of Afghanistan, was defeated 13 years ago, and came back to become of major force again. I'd say its staying power has demonstrated popular support and, like it or not, it's unrealistic not to recognize it, unofficially at least, as the Israelis have "recognized" its insurgent enemies.
    Last edited by C.J.Woolf; 06-05-2014 at 03:15 PM.
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    The Pompatus of Love C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip View Post
    Another one-sided thread where everyone congratulates themselves on how intellectual and diverse the "discussion" is. Here we go again...
    Quote Originally Posted by oxyjen View Post
    What did you read so far that provoked that response?
    I suspect skip aimed that remark at people like me. I admit that I go all stridently anti-right at times, and skip is a political conservative. I feel sorry for sensible conservatives in the US 'cause some extreme nuts claim to speak for them.
    Your gardening sucks and your avocados ain't fruitin'. -- Sappho the Maestro

  10. #10
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    I assumed we traded five Guantanamo prisoners for one idiot because wtf else were we going to do with those guys? We don't have a plan there, we'd rather it just go away, and this was a convenient excuse to wash our hands of some folks that we otherwise would have been like "well, I don't know, I guess we'll just leave them there".

    I don't really care that he was a deserter. Either the military needs to be more honest and straightforward about what they're throwing you into when you sign on or they should expect shit like this to go down every once in a while. As much as I hate to say it, I do think our government has an obligation to free people who are taken hostage, even if they were doing something stupid when it happened. People being held hostage are a result of government policies, so of course they should have to secure their release. However, I really wish people would quit doing stupid shit in hostile countries. I think he should be prosecuted for desertion. If they decide to put him in prison for it then his time spent captive can count towards his sentence.

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