Barack Obama

Is Ransomed U.S. Soldier Bowe Bergdahl a Deserter? UPDATED: Was Release of Taliban Prisoners Illegal?

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Updated (10:30 A.M. ET): Two GOP lawmakers charge that the Obama administration violated a law requiring the White House to give Congress a month's notice before transferring or releasing Gitmo captivies. From the AP via Business Insider:

The White House said it moved as quickly as possible given the opportunity that arose to secure Bergdahl's release. Citing "these unique and exigent circumstances," the White House said a decision was made to go ahead with the transfer despite the legal requirement of 30 days advance notice to Congress.

[End of update.]

For President Barack Obama (and thus America), foreign policy in every way remains a disaster. The latest incident? In swapping five Taliban leaders for a U.S. soldier who was held prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, Obama may have just exchanged some certifiably bad guys for…a deserter from the U.S. Army. CNN's Jake Tapper explains:

The sense of pride expressed by officials of the Obama administration at the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is not shared by many of those who served with him—veterans and soldiers who call him a deserter whose "selfish act" ended up costing the lives of better men.

"I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on," said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl's platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. "Bowe Bergdahldeserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him."

There's this:

According to first-hand accounts from soldiers in his platoon, Bergdahl, while on guard duty, shed his weapons and walked off the observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera, and a diary.

At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for Bergdahl, and many soldiers in his platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika Province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.

More here.

This is all completely apart from the question of whether exchanging prisoners for prisoners is a good idea while the U.S. still has over 30,000 troops in Afghanistan (and more than 100 detainees in Gitmo). And once again, yesterday, Susan Rice—she of Benghazi talking points fame—was making spurious claims on Sunday talk shows. She emphasized that Bergdahl had been "captured" on the battlefield, which may not be exactly right. Or even at all right.

I caught a few minutes of MSNBC's Morning Joe earlier today and co-host Mika Brzezinski cautioned that whatever else we know about the five-for-one prisoner deal (which involves the Taliban going to Qatar, where they will be monitored by the government there for at least a year), we don't know everything. Which is likely accurate and besides the point: Leaving aside the Obama administration's constant invocations about its super-fantastic dedication to transparency, this White House has managed to make itself toxic to increasing swaths of the public and drive faith in its best intentions and ability to cross the street through the floor.

Here's hoping that after more than a dozen years of poorly conceived and executed wars—and declining public support for the idea of America as globocop—that official foreign policy will start to appreciate the idea that we cannot undertake large and small-scale military interventions lightly.

Related: "Guantanamo Bay in 54 Seconds":

NEXT: A.M. Links: Obama Swaps Taliban Fighters for U.S. Soldier, China Prepares for Tiananmen Anniversary, Spanish King Abdicates Throne

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  1. This is all completely apart from the question of whether exchanging prisoners for prisoners is a good idea while the U.S. still has over 30,000 troops in Afghanistan…

    Look, prisoners on both sides of the swap did things they’re probably not proud of…

    1. I suspect that the Gitmo detainees are mostly proud of everything they’ve done.

      1. “I am not proud I was captured, rather than martyred. But I am back for another round o’ jihad!’

      2. Even the stuff prisoners do to/with each other inside?

  2. Looks like Team Lightworker decided to bump the VA mess off the headlines and chose….poorly.

    The guys that were in the 1/501st sure seem to have a fair amount of evidence this guy was a deserter.

    1. It’s definitely not just those guys. There is LOTS of evidence that paints a very compelling picture of exactly what Bergdahl did.

      The administration has put themselves in a very bad position here. If they don’t court martial Bergdahl, they are going to send what I fear to be an irrevocable message to the professional military.

      RIP
      Private First Class Aaron Fairbairn
      Private First Class Justin Casillas
      Private First Class Morris Walker
      Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen
      Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss
      Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews
      Private First Class Matthew Martinek
      Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey

      Their blood is on your hands Bergdahl.

      1. Another phony scandal that happened a long time ago.

        1. At this point, what difference does it make?

  3. I’ve been trying to figure out the angle here, and my guess is this. They wanted to bring home a prisoner as a pretty bow on the president’s announcement that we are ending the war. They figured they could dismiss any concerns over desertion as “swift-boating” and make some sort of appeal to the genius of diplomacy.

    That strikes me as incredibly naive on their part, but it’s the only way I can reconcile this story to the political interests of the administration. Otherwise, why not just make some noise about the mom in Sudan?

    1. maybe it’s an administration bow to certain elements in the military who want to punish Bergdahl? Maybe they’re get him just to put him on trial and have the political football diversion to further divide malcontents in the U.S.? Maybe the administration doesn’t matter at all, maybe this is an alley-oop for incoming republicans to make all sorts of legal revisions to the definition of treason so that when we trade someone to Russia for Snowden he’ll have a noose waiting for him? Maybe Bergdahl was really a super spy in need of debriefing?

      yeah, it makes no freakin’ sense to me either…

      1. maybe it’s an administration bow to certain elements in the military who want to punish Bergdahl?

        There will be no investigation and no trial. Count on it. This guy smells fishy as hell to me, but the Almighty Narrative requires the Return of a Hero thanks to the President.

        1. There have already been a few investigations. Some classified, some not. There is no question that he deserted.

          You may be right but I will be very very surprised if he isn’t court martialed.

  4. This administration continues the lie that Bergdahl was “captured on the battlefield”, knowing full well the exact circumstances under which he was captured. Every person Bergdhal came into contact with in the days preceding his desertion was interviewed. There is no question that he voluntarily left his post on a secure military installation, with his Afghan friends, and was captured while walking into the mountains. That he willingly deserted, and the exact circumstances under which he did so, was known within about 48 hours. Never-the-less, this administration continues to lie to the American people, claiming he was captured while on patrol.

    Bergdhal should be returned to the US to stand trial as a deserter in a time of war. People died while searching for him, and for three months, every asset in Afghanistan was diverted toward locating him. He needs to spend the rest of his miserable, cowardly life in Leavenworth. Fuck Bergdahl.

    1. Tell us how you really feel.

    2. Coward doesn’t seem like quite the right word… leaving the base with no weapons and walking into a hostile country while simultaneously royally pissing off your own country seems kinda ballsy.

      1. Only if you think it through to the obvious conclusion. If you picture yourself as walking off into the sunset to become a Zen Master in the mountains of Afghanistan while simultaneously deserting your military post, it makes you a coward and a fucking moron.

      2. It wasn’t ballsy. All indications are that he wasn’t right in the head.

    3. Nah, he’s not going to Leavenworth. He’s got to get a shave and a haircut and run for Senate in Massachusetts.

      1. And he’s a sure winner in Massachusetts.

    4. Anon E. Mouse|6.2.14 @ 9:24AM|#
      Fuck Bergdahl.

      This.

  5. Know who else tried to walk from Afghanistan to India?

    1. Hannibal?

    2. Denisova hominins?

      1. He mostly rode IIRC.

    3. Bruce Wayne?

  6. A COMPLETE TOTAL DISASTER!

    1. Zzzzzz

  7. He is pretty clearly a deserter and worse still at least one person was killed out looking for him. This whole thing is nothing but a sham. The guy is not and was not a hostage. He jointed the other team. That says nothing good or bad about the Army or Obama. Every army has deserters. What is going on here is that the far left supporting him is the only thing saving Obama’s sorry ass politically. So he is going full retard to keep them happy. Part of going full retard is letting the real scumbags at GUITMO out and closing the place down. This “trade” is nothing but a giant lie to cover for that.

    1. Six soldiers were killed looking for him. He deserted in war time and it says plenty bad about Obama that he would negotiate with terrorists in order to free a deserter.

      1. Yes it does. I meant the fact that there are deserters says nothing about Obama. Using freeing this asshole as a cover for closing GUITMO says plenty bad about obama.

        1. What’s wrong with closing it?

          1. Many of the people in it are legitimately dangerous and will quickly be out blowing shit up and killing people. I know you would consider that a feature. But think of it this way, when it happens, you might not be able to blame Bush for it and it might hurt the cause. You should understand that even with your low level of intelligence.

            1. So not a big fan of due process?

              1. How do you convict a man who is not party to your contract of life with your government
                how do you condemn a man who may have just been fighting to keep his country free from foreign oppression
                i think we can all agree that any “due process” would be a charade anyways

                1. So… keeping them in an extralegal facility forever is the best option?

            2. But think of it this way, when it happens, you might not be able to blame Bush for it and it might hurt the cause.

              Who are we gonna blame–Obama? Nonsense! We can always blame Bush!

              /Progderp

            3. Many of the people in it are legitimately dangerous and will quickly be out blowing shit up and killing people.

              So try them for their crimes.

              As it stands, there are two categories of prisoner. Those committing war crimes and POWs. Either try them or repatriate them. The US holding prisoners indefinitely, without trial, is about as American (old American at least) as Adolph fucking Hitler.

              GITMO is an abomination.

              1. So try them for their crimes.

                Sure, but when Bush tried to do that with rules that were more liberal than the ones at Nuremberg people like you and Nick had a fit. So now you have a fit when they don’t try them.

                What is an abomination is the stupidity of people like you who think that every criminal trial must look like Perry Mason or that POWs can’t be held until the war is over.

                1. Fuck you John. You are wrong, and what’s more, you know it.

                  You are going to sit there in broad daylight and tell me it’s okay to hold human beings indefinitely, without a trial?

                  Being a leader means, at times, making unpopular decisions. They need to be tried OR released. Only two options. Deal with it.

                  1. Fuck you John. You are wrong, and what’s more, you know it.

                    He’s pounding the table.

                  2. I agree, no one should be imprisoned for life without a trial.
                    Another point is that some Republicans are complaining about “negotiating with terrorists”. Many of the people in Gitmo were turned in for reward money, with no proof of them being anything other than sheep-herders, not captured on a battlefield (although not these particular scum being transferred, according to what I have read). And if someone is captured on a battlefield, doesn’t that make them insurgents, or rebels, or something other than terrorists? We have swapped prisoners with people just as bad, or worse, than the Taliban, i.e., the Nazis, the USSR, Maoist China, the Barbary Pirates, etc. Have we become the Divine Host, doing the will of God, and thus everyone who opposes us is by definition an evil terrorist? Or is that simply what the government is now going to call all enemies, so as to pretend the Geneva Convention and basic human rights don’t apply? BTW “enemy combatants” is another weasel-phrase, like “person of interest”.
                    “Terrorism” is a tactic, not an ideology or State; one can not be at war with terrorism.

                  3. “You are going to sit there in broad daylight and tell me it’s okay to hold human beings indefinitely, without a trial?”

                    Isn’t that inherently the status of POWs? Unless you’re arguing for a “take no prisoners policy”, I don’t see how you can do otherwise.

                    1. Well fuck, there you go injecting reality into the conversation…

                    2. Bill

                      Kindly reread my post (the one above the one you quote).

                      As it stands, there are two categories of prisoner. Those committing war crimes and POWs. Either try them or repatriate them.

                2. Bush tried to invent a brand new kangaroo court and failed, and that’s Nick’s and Francisco’s fault?

                  1. Oh, and fuck you Tony. Don’t EVER defend me. That’s like being defended by Stalin. Even if you are right, it’s discrediting. You are an immoral pig.

                    Oh, and you aren’t right. A military tribunal IS NOT a kangaroo court, asshole.

                    1. Military or civilian trials under established US law would have been preferable, but Bush tried, and failed, to create a new system of Military Commissions out of thin air.

                      I have no problem agreeing with a silly little Randian perpetually on a high horse about everything (like a silly little Randian) when he’s right.

                    2. God, you are a fucking moron. How were war criminals tried in the past, idiot? It certainly WASN’T under US law.

                      Ignorant AND immoral is no way to go through life son.

                    3. Ignorant AND immoral is no way to go through life son.

                      Don’t forget dishonest. Or does that fall under immoral.

                    4. Ignorant AND immoral is no way to go through life son.

                      Dog Boy isn’t interested in living – he just doesn’t want to die.

              2. I do have a question I have to ask you here. You seem to acknowledge that there are such things as POWs. Now, my question is, are you suggesting they can’t be held until the end of hostilities, but need to be given a trial? If so, that seems an odd way to fight a war. At the very least, from the point of view of a criminal trial for POWs, you have a big problem with jurisdiction. And unless you’re arguing “take no prisoners”, I don’t see how you can prosecute a military action any other way.

                1. You are EITHER a POW or a criminal.

                  You don’t try POWs. They are held until the end of hostilities and then returned to their home countries. WHAT YOU DON’T GET TO DO, is wage a 75 year “war” on something as nebulous as “A War on Terror” and claim you can hold thos people as POWs for their entire lives.

                  You are a criminal if you’ve committed war crimes. You may be tried and punished for such. YOU ARE NOT a war criminal simply for fighting on the other side. Fighting as an insurgent doesn’t make you a criminal.

                  1. Your freedom-loving brethren are having some trouble grasping this.

                    1. Sweeping and unsupported generalizations for the win.

                      Gitmo is a blight on our collective soul. That the Lightbringer hasn’t closed it down is, in my opinion, one of his greater failings.

                      It is difficult to accurately convey how much we are reviled over here because of that place.

          2. I think it should be closed.

            Military tribunals for all. No need to try them on the full range of their offense, just one or two.

            If acquitted, drop them off precisely where they were picked up.

            If convicted, firing squad at dawn.

            After the last tribunal, close the prison.

              1. Ding ding.

            1. Forth’ed

            2. I’d be fine with just shooting them first

            3. Dumb. That you, john Wayne? I’m enjoying citations of the constitution by right-wingers below. If anything says libertarian it’s fidelity to the laws, right.

              1. And what’s your solution? I thought you’d be all for shooting some people in the back of the head.

        2. Obama has been swearing up and down that he’d close Gitmo since he was first elected. He has no intention of doing so.

  8. when you can’t do something as basic as a prisoner swap right…..

  9. Hey Nick, last week you were all about how bad it was that the President was going to ask 10,000 American soldiers to be left behind in Afghanistan. You know, that they might be the last to die for what was a mistake. You said it.

    Guess you could not care less that Bergdahl was going to be one who might die, or at a minimum be forgotten, for what was a mistake. All about the numbers, eh? That would mean you never served, because no ONE gets left behind.

    But thanks for the slime job on this American soldier, who we yet do not know the occasion and details of his capture.

    1. No one gets left behind, provided they don’t want to be left behind. Your point is only valid if this guy were a real POW and not a deserter. Moreover, even if he were, you only exchange POWs AFTER THE WAR IS OVER, not during. Sucks to be a POW, but you are pretty much stuck there for the duration.

      Take your faux mawkish patriotism elsewhere.

      1. “Moreover, even if he were, you only exchange POWs AFTER THE WAR IS OVER, not during.”
        Of course you can exchange POW during the war, that was actually the traditional way of doing it. Back in the day you could even have… parolee ! During the revolutionary war :
        “Throughout the war, there were exchanges of prisoners. These were made in the field or at higher levels of organization.[…] The second was the use of ‘Parole’ by both sides. This would allow prisoners some freedom, in exchange for their promise not to resume the war.” Note that american soldiers were technically traitors for the British empire.
        During the beginning the of civil war :
        “The Union and Confederate governments both relied on the traditional European system of parole and exchange of prisoners. A prisoner who was on parole promised not to fight again until his name was “exchanged” for a similar man on the other side. Then both of them could rejoin their units.”
        Note that confederate soldiers were technically traitors for the union.
        During WWI
        “In all, 219,000 prisoners were exchanged”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A…..ison_camps
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W…..patriation

        1. Note that confederate soldiers were technically traitors for the union

          Only in the eyes of the Union; the Confederacy took another view of them.

    2. there is nothing but evidence that he deserted . And 6 men were killed searching for him- that’s fact. Save the emotion- I get it, we needed to bring him back- but you have to be objective and consider that maybe this guy isn’t the victim here.

    3. Guess you could not care less that Bergdahl was going to be one who might die, or at a minimum be forgotten, for what was a mistake.

      He chose his fate.

    4. Slime job? That’s rich. This piece of shit deserted his comrades, several of whom died trying to find him and bring him back. I’m fine with trading for his stupid ass, so long as it’s with the purpose of court-martialing him and throwing him in Leavenworth where he belongs.

    5. You might wish to read the article.

      He yapped about what he was gong to do for days….then did it, and it got people killed looking for him.

      Unless you would like to call all his former platoon members liars.

      1. Unless you would like to call all his former platoon members liars.

        It all depends, as they say, on whose ox is being gored poster boy is being slimed.

      2. You expect him to actually read? That’s rich. He’s got a massive butthurt boner for Nick, for some reason. Maybe The Jacket kicked his dog.

        1. The Jacket stole his girl, kicked his dog and got him fired from the malt shop?

    6. ” who we yet do not know the occasion and details of his capture.”

      Actually, we know every last detail of his desertion and subsequent “capture”. There is no question what-so-ever that he voluntarily left post, and that he had planned to do so for weeks before he actually did so. He’s a deserter, and people died looking for his sorry ass, but that story doesn’t fit the narrative (much like the Benghazi terrorist attack didn’t fit the narrative) so this administration is going to flat-out lie to the face of the American public, knowing that the average person is an uninformed dolt, much like you are. I served, and have been in various conflicts including Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan, for a total of 12 combat deployments. Fuck Bowe Bergdahl. As far as “no one gets left behind” goes, I’ll make an exception for this piece of shit.

      1. Think he may have gone to the other side and only was traded back to bring terrorism back home
        keep an eye on this guy if he evades trial for desertion it may be deeper than the surface of it looks

        1. You’re going with the Nicolas Brody argument?

    7. Except, if there is a slime job, it’s being perpetrated by other soldiers.

      Also, prisoner exchanges incentivize the further taking of hostages.

      You didn’t think this through, which was dumb.

      1. Name me one reason why the other soldiers would lie. Also, name me any cases where a legitimate POW was ever falsely accused of being so by other American soldiers? POW is a big deal. I don’t believe for a moment his other soldiers would lie and accuse this guy of being a deserter. Why would they?

        1. I saw it on Hogan’s Heroes once. Col. Klink planted a POW in the camp.

    8. Jackand Ace|6.2.14 @ 9:44AM|#
      …”But thanks for the slime job”…

      But no, thank YOU J. A.!

  10. I’m gonna play devil’s advocate here.

    This case is a classic libertarian litmus test. Bergdahl deserted his service to the State. He freely, voluntarily decided to disassociate and not fight wars for the federal government.

    However, most are also sympathetic to the idea that he abandoned people after promising to stay and fight. He willingly joined the army when there was no coercion to do so.

    So how do we look at this? Personally, as a veteran I feel that Bergdahl deserted and there should be some punishment. But if libertarians (including myself) are really honest with themselves, we have to ask if this falls under the voluntary association/voluntary exchange principle. As a free man, Bergdahl decided not to be a soldier anymore. In history, that has been an option. Today, not so much. So it is an interesting thing to ask: Was Bergdahl a traitor, or was he simply pursuing rational self interest?

    1. Those issues are only relevent if the US government had policed him up and were now trying to punish him. Even if you say he had a right to leave or even did the right thing leaving, that doesn’t make it right for the government to make any effort to save him. You want to walk away from your promise to the government, good for you. But you can’t then expect the government to make any effort to help you if you meet a bad end.

    2. You hit the key point – he volunteered with no coercion. He signed a contract of his own free will, and he broke that contract.

      1. Oh I agree, but it is an interesting topic to consider. If we are free, do we have control over when/how we provide allegiance to the State? Or is a one-time agreement binding no matter what?

        1. do we have control over when/how we provide allegiance to the State? Or is a one-time agreement binding no matter what?

          This has dick to do with allegiance to the state, and your employment contract with the military isn’t a “one-time agreement”. He could have served out his contract without reupping. And he wasn’t obligated to flee without notice and get other people killed looking for him either.

          1. that’s the thing tho- in modern times, a military contract is binding for x number of years. In history, you could join/leave the military/militia as you pleased. Obvious desertion during combat was one thing, but you weren’t obligated to a predetermined period.

            1. “In history, you could join/leave the military/militia as you pleased.”

              Citation really needed.

              1. Look into the eras of state-nation and princely state. Think: conquistadors, privateers, colonial militias, etc.

                Not making a demand for a return to it, just offering an example.

                1. Yeah, I have plenty of history and background – but what I am looking at is from the Napoleonic wars on, there was not much walking away – excepting US state militias (and mostly they just had very short enlistment terms, rather than desertion)

                2. Even pre-napolean, deserters could be captured and punished later. It just wasnt worth the effort.

            2. So what? Historical terms of military service don’t really mean shit to the facts of his particular situation. He signed up under known terms. It’s not like the time commitment is withheld from you before you put your name on the dotted line. Besides of which, he did, in point of fact, flee during combat.

              1. Oh I agree, don’t get me wrong. Just throwing it out there. as rabidly anti-state as most libertarians are, some people get mighty Kantian talking about “duty” etc.

                Again, I’m a vet. I get it. Just raising questions to ponder, FWIW

                1. No, you really aren’t. He signed a contract of his own free will and knew the terms, there’s nothing interesting or novel about the questions you think are interesting or novel.

                  1. hostile much? Just thinking out loud. Does that upset you?

                    1. to entertain this train of thought
                      when we swear an oath to uphold the constitution and defend it from all enemies foreign and domestic
                      is it not the right of the soldier/sailor to determine when the government has become the domestic enemy of the people and to stop supporting it.
                      Think
                      WHY ARE WE STILL IN AFGHANISTAN?
                      what compelling national interest do we have to force our soldier to risk their lives for
                      Obama lied, soldiers still died, the end of the war never came

                    2. It angers the Tulpa.

                2. Im a Kantian libertarian and Im not the only one. Getting mighty Kantian isnt a surprise, is it?

                  1. *error, does not compute*

      2. You hit the key point – he volunteered with no coercion. He signed a contract of his own free will, and he broke that contract.

        Yup. There wasn’t even the threat of being drafted.

    3. When you join up you sign a contract for x number of years under x conditions. Pretty sure libertarians aren’t cool with breaking legally binding agreements freely entered into by mutually willing participants. And unlike in a lot of other careers, when breaking your contract results in the loss of life, the consequences are more serious.

      1. Contract law, I remember it well. And I signed the same contract, so I understand it fully.

        I guess I just wonder about the morality of said contract, and if indeed the terms change (wars emerge that he opposed, he has a change of heart) that there are no remedial courses of action and then your “agreement” becomes “coerced service” to do things that you don’t want to do anymore.

        But again, as a vet I get it- and think he is a deserter- but idk if I put the military contract on the same level as a commercial one. Perhaps it is though.

        1. I’m no theorist or philosopher, but I don’t see how a contract isn’t a contract. If he were a draftee, I’d feel differently. He wasn’t, so I have no sympathy for him.

          1. true, drafting is immoral, IMO. Essentially slavery. And I am not apologizing for the guy here. But I guess I wonder if he suddenly turned sympathizer- doesn’t his service after that become involuntary?

            Consider taxes- society also says there is an obligation, a duty to pay them. But what if you consider taxes theft? Are you then paying them willingly or not?

            1. Consider taxes- society also says there is an obligation, a duty to pay them.

              Unlike the social contract, this one was actually written down, and two parties had a “meeting of the minds” as we say. This isn’t even an analogy until tax compliance becomes voluntary and the terms can be negotiated up front.

              1. sure they did. But apparently homeboy changed his mind. You can do that with your mortgage, a car loan- why not with your life? I’m not arguing that desertion is cool, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here.

                I would argue that a big part of the military contract is an unseen “social” contract as well, if one even exists. Should there be repercussions of breaking it? Sure. But to what extent is this issue a breach of contract, and to what extent is it an issue of disloyalty to the State?

                1. “why not with your life?”

                  You can. You can make the decision to sign or not, and I believe that you can actually get out of a military contract as well, although it’s harder than walking away like this guy did.

                  ” I’m just playing devil’s advocate here.”

                  No, you’re trying to justify breaking a voluntary contract and not really doing a very good job.

                  “But to what extent is this issue a breach of contract”

                  100%

                  “to what extent is it an issue of disloyalty to the State?”

                  0%

                  1. you cannot get out of a military contract without repercussions, Rollo.

                    Not justifying anything, just starting a discussion that I think libertarians need to have with themselves. Does that upset you?

                    And I think it’s a mix of both issues. You don’t. Ok. You can continue to be a petulant dick or, well, nevermind I think I know what you are going to do anyway.

                    1. you cannot get out of a military contract without repercussions, Rollo.

                      You cant get out of a mortgage without repercussions either.

                    2. never said you could. But those repercussions aren’t prison or death.

                2. You can do that with your mortgage, a car loan- why not with your life?

                  Yeah, you can… as long as you’re okay with the repercussions. Contracts with no penalty for failure to perform would be pretty pointless.

                  But to what extent is this issue a breach of contract, and to what extent is it an issue of disloyalty to the State?

                  To my mind it is only the former and not the latter. You made an agreement. That the other party happened to be the United States Military instead of Acme Co. doesn’t change the fact. Even if it’s a little of both there’s no need to conflate the two.

                  1. for sure, there should be consequences. No argument here. And I wasn’t conflating anything lol I just wanted to see people’s perspectives on this issue as I drank some coffee.

                  2. If we are looking at this in contractual terms, then the issues are:

                    1) What are the damages for breach? In this case, there were people who died looking for him. At the same time, if he deserted, were they under any obligation to look for him or to trade for him? Were they looking for him for his benefit or for theirs (for breaking the contract)? If the agreement is that I agree to provide my services, and you agree to provide me with training, equipment, protection, and pay, then if I breach, then you are free to withhold those things, and then seek damages. Again, had they not sent people looking for him, what are the actual damages?

                    2) Courts will generally not order specific performance of employment contracts, because they figure the people should be free to withhold their labor if they so choose (i.e. no forced labor), and that the only issue then should be one of damages. This brings us back to #1 above.

                3. I’m not an expert nor have ever been in the military, but i believe the repercussions for breaking the contract are laid out in the contract before it is signed. I get where you are coming from with the questions, but the contract is still binding. Also, if he really wanted to get out of it, there are other ways that don’t involve putting other soldiers lives at risk.

                  And don’t bother responding to Tulpa. He’s just a disingenuous asshat.

            2. …and to what extent is it an issue of disloyalty to the State?

              None unless he is charged with treason as well as desertion.

              1. could happen. Knowing Obama’s admin tho, he probably will not see punishment.

            3. “But I guess I wonder if he suddenly turned sympathizer- doesn’t his service after that become involuntary?”

              Well, if he suddenly turned coward, his service would be involuntary. Sorry, I’m not buying this. You don’t get to pick and choose the times of honoring your contract. Otherwise, there’s no point in a contract. That would be like saying a life insurer could honor the contract only up until such time as the insured died.

          2. Forcing soldiers to fight in other countries for no reason is also a violation of the same contract
            so….
            whos screwing who?

            1. Forcing soldiers to fight in other countries for no reason is also a violation of the same contract

              Yeah, no.

              1. wasn’t aware the Constitution was in Iraq/Afghan. That’s what you swear to defend, fwiw

        2. He was captured/deserted/whatever in 2009, so I’m guessing the war in Afghanistan was well underway when he signed up. Unless there’s been some measure of fraud, I don’t think it’s okay to break the terms of any contract – at least not without repercussions.

          1. sure but should repercussions be the loss of freedom, or financial ones (like most contracts)? If you lose your freedom, is it because you failed to serve the State?

            1. sure but should repercussions be the loss of freedom, or financial ones

              Um that’s between you and the person you’ve contracted with.

            2. As I mentioned before, failure to perform in most other types of contracts don’t have any possibility of resulting in the death of other people, so you could make a case for more severe consequences on those grounds. Either way, if you lose your freedom, it’s because you made an agreement where loss of your freedom for failure to perform was a known term, so I don’t have much sympathy for you.

              FWIW I would support the enforcement of private contracts that involved possible incarceration for failure to perform, as long as the parties consented to it.

              1. Certainly can agree with the logic. I guess I just expect some people would say “Well, he decided that he no longer wanted to kill children” and ask why there was no recourse for that. If you simply argue the legality of a contract, yup, he has to kill those kids because he is ordered to. But as a human, one might pause and say “maybe this is not ok morally”.

                Just a thought. There seems to be a sentiment of “just following orders” here. As a vet, I can remember specific times where opposition to “lawful” orders was indeed necessary. Should we have been locked in cages? I argue no. But that’s neither here nor there.

                1. There seems to be a sentiment of “just following orders” here.

                  Sorry I don’t see it. Most of the discussion seems to be about whether the contract he signed, because it’s military in nature, is comparable to a non-military contract. As to the idea that he may have developed moral issues with killing, I really don’t know what the current military does about that, but I suspect if it’s genuine, desertion wasn’t necessary in that case either, but I genuinely don’t know.

                  1. “As to the idea that he may have developed moral issues with killing, I really don’t know what the current military does about that, but I suspect if it’s genuine, desertion wasn’t necessary in that case either, but I genuinely don’t know.”

                    Correct – if it is genuine, and after the shrinks, chaplains and other SMEs say it is genuine, then the Army will either separate you from the Service, administratively, or if you have a valuable skill or such, rotate you to a spot outside any place combat is ongoing or possible.

                2. “Well, he decided that he no longer wanted to kill children” and ask why there was no recourse for that. If you simply argue the legality of a contract, yup, he has to kill those kids because he is ordered to. But as a human, one might pause and say “maybe this is not ok morally”.

                  Pretty sure you’re actually obligated to disobey orders that violate the uniform code of military justice (which I presume covers intentionally killing children).

                  That notwithstanding, if he was suddenly stricken with guilt about his duties and wished to break his agreement he is perfectly free to do so… and face whatever penalty he agreed to when he signed on. They can’t force you to kill people, you just might have to face consequences for it. Sometimes you have to live the courage of your convictions.

                  1. try lawfully disobeying sometime LOL UCMJ has plenty of provisions to keep that to a minimum.

                    Yeah I agree, certainly he should face repercussions. Just wondering if military and non-military contracts should really be all that different as far as punishment for breaking them. Under current law, they are. Can’t argue that. I guess I just think that the only reason they are viewed differently is due to some belief in a social contract (which holds that contract higher than all others), which I have a harder and harder time buying these days.

                    1. Just wondering if military and non-military contracts should really be all that different as far as punishment for breaking them. Under current law, they are.

                      As I said before, I think there’s an argument for making certain violations of a military employment contract more severe due to the risk of death or injury to others as a result of failure to perform.

                      But you’re talking about the available remedies and the disparity between those available to the state and those available to private actors. There shouldn’t be any difference vis-a-vis contracts. But the problem is that the remedies that courts will enforce for private contracts are too constrained, not that the remedies that courts will enforce for contracts with the state are too liberal, IMO.

                  2. ^This. Whether you’re an Infantryman, an Artilleryman, or a Pilot, nobody forces you to get out of bed in the morning to go kill kids, or anyone else. If he was suddenly stricken with guilt about his duties, it’s as easy to get out of those duties as staying in bed.

                    1. doesn’t really work like that

                    2. It works exactly like that. There’s always the option to just stay in bed and say “no”. Yes, you’ll be placed under military apprehension, you’ll be imprisoned until your Court Marshal, and you’ll face punishment under the UCMJ, but nobody is going to force you to pull a trigger.

          2. the war in Afghanistan IS a fraud
            and illegal
            still is
            always has been

            1. and illegal

              No, it isn’t. Call it immoral or unethical or whatever the fuck else, but it’s not illegal. Take that up with congress.

              1. what compelling national interest is preserved?
                citations please

                1. what compelling national interest is preserved?

                  No compelling national interest need be preserved for a war to be legal. In order to be legal, a war must simply be declared by congress, as stipulated in Article I, Section 8.

                  Don’t confuse “moral” or “justified” with “legal”.

                  1. I didn’t thanks,
                    don’t cherry pick the parts that concur with your argument read the whole thing again and come back and tell me and dont be so afraid to be wrong its not a big deal.

                    1. don’t cherry pick the parts that concur with your argument read the whole thing again and come back and tell me

                      (click here for full text, portions not relating to war powers exceed the character limit)

                      Section. 8.

                      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

                      To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

                      To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

                      To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

                      To provide and maintain a Navy;

                      To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

                      To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

                      To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

                    2. you dont need to cite it for me im well aware of that part.
                      now get to the part where it lays out the legal framework for declaring war
                      i never once contested that congress had the enumerated power to declare war wasn’t quoting that part pointless?

                  2. not to feed trolls, but war was never declared in the formal sense. A worldwide authorization of force is not really a war declaration. But I digress.

                    1. In the legal sense, what was done was equivalent.

                      I don’t know if this is true, but I remember reading that if the term “war” is used in declaration, that means the country is entirely mobilized for the war effort, and the government has wide latitude to control the economy to help the war effort.

              2. Actually, it is illegal, as there is no declaration. And before you cite the AUMF, re-read it.

                That said, every war we’ve fought since the big one has been illegal (perhaps unconstitutional is a better word).

                1. Agreed and if its unconstitutional isn’t it the sworn oath of all uniformed members to stand against it and not obey?
                  or is the Oath of service just lip service

                2. No authorization of force falling short of a “war declaration” (which, rather foolishly, isn’t constitutionally defined in the first place) has ever been successfully challenged. Good enough for the courts means “legal”, whether that’s right, good, moral or just.

                  1. So. what you’re saying is, the Constitution is optional, so long as all the branches agree not to follow it?

                    SECONDLY,

                    The AUMF doesn’t give authorization to do 80% of the shit we are doing.

                    1. The Constitution is just a starting point, upon which laws and legal precedents are built. The obvious meanings of the words in the Constitution mean nothing at this point.

                      Most libertarians reduce to nationalists living in a conflicted dream world, built atop an inherently flawed document. The endless suggestions to return to constitutionality would be amusing if I were more cynical.

                    2. Living, breathing bullshit. If you truly lacked cynicism, You wouldn’t have that point of view. Or perhaps you just consider your self a realist and want to use a broken system to advance your worldviews? You’re an advocate of rule by fiat. Either way, piss off.

          3. “Unless there’s been some measure of fraud, ”
            Which when you consider all the bullshit that the government has been spreading about the wars you could say there was.

        3. I think your making an argument where none exist. its like you ran out of nails but your still hammering.

      2. Pretty sure libertarians aren’t cool with breaking legally binding agreements freely entered into by mutually willing participants.

        Right, but the punishment for breaking an employment contract should be the loss of the valuable consideration advanced or promised by the other party, along with possible costs incurred by that party as a result of your tortious interference with other contracts.

        It shouldn’t be “prison or execution”, or we’re talking about involuntary servitude.

        1. or we’re talking about involuntary servitude.

          Someone forced him to sign? And didn’t tell him what the consequences were if he deserted?

          Of course not. Don’t be fucking stupid, he knew what he was getting into and it’s not “involuntary” anything when you VOLUNTEERED for it.

          What kind of fucking retard claims that it is…

          1. Man, you are WAYYY too upset this morning killer. Go rub one out, you might feel better.

          2. Because recruiters are the most honest people we’ve ever met
            how many times were you burning shit barrels or forced to do pushups in the latrine ditch?
            really i could feel all the supporting and defending of the constitution against those mean spirited natives who just didn’t understand America was good for them without us shoving our military might up their ass

            1. He deserted in 2009 – you seem to think he enlisted in 1993 or such?

              You know what recruiters have been telling enlistees for many years now?

              Q: what are the chances I will deploy to OEF/OIF/whatever?

              A: In your career, 100% chance.

              1. this is truth haha

              2. pretty sure I was told
                “this is the NAVY son! we wont send you anywhere near that shithole”
                then I was subsequently deployed for 3 tours to Afg after schooling
                but your experience may have been different

                1. pretty sure I was told

                  If you’re alleging fraud that’s different, a crime, and not what we are discussing.

                  If you’re too fucking stupid to know what you’re signing up for when your life is on the line, that’s on you fuckwit, not the guy taking advantage of you being an ignorant moron.

                  1. most boys 18-25 are too stupid to make that decision. I did my 6 and got out as per my contract as I clearly did not have a fucking clue what I signed up for.

                    now isn’t it a violation of the same contract when our government compels us to fight in a war that didn’t need to exist?
                    is it a violation of the contract when we are asked to spend tax money to police international waters so that we can support businesses that ship their manufacturing into the third world nations?

                    or are we just slaves with no rights once we sign? please enlightened one tell me the answer

                    1. Ok it’s someone else’s fault. Got it.

                      most boys 18-25 are too stupid to make that decision.

                      No, that’s just something stupid people tell themselves to make themselves feel better about being stupid.

                    2. Rollo,
                      I asked you a legitimate question
                      “are we slaves with no rights once we sign?”
                      now the UCMJ has a very specific answer to this, do you know what the pre-conditions of unlawful orders are?

                    3. The Oath of Enlistment basically is a waiver of your rights. I know it doesn’t square well with us libertarians, and there is no way in hell I’d sign up for the Marines again now knowing who I’d be serving and what wars I’d be fighting (I joined in 2000)

                      That being said, the Marine Corps tells you that the mission is above yourself, that you’re going to do whatever you’re told to do, that the Constitution got left at MEPS when you signed that contract, and I agreed to it.

                    4. Also swore to defend the constitution, but i see a curious lack of marines arresting the president VP and a majority of the senate and congress.
                      so is an Oath one of those things you get to pick and choose which parts are upheld and which aren’t?

                    5. Well, it’s good to know that you think “other people are being scumbags so I can be a scumbag too” is a solid, valid argument.

                    6. I’m sure they would, if they wouldn’t ultimately fail and jailed for treason. Unfortunately it is the public who needs to decide that the Constitution is being torn apart. If some Marine General wants to take a unit to DC to apprehend the President and Congress for failing in their duties, I’d be the first to sign up. If I did it by myself, I’d probably just get shot by Capitol police

                    7. “most boys 18-25 are too stupid to make that decision.”

                      Boys?

                      I knew what I was doing when I was a college freshman, 18, and enlisted. I sure as hell knew I was going to be doing when I got commissioned at 21, and by the time I was a 1LT at 25, commanding a company, I better had damned well not been some “stupid boy”.

                    8. Vic is giving you insight into himself without realizing it.

                    9. “without realizing it” is that why i said i had not a fucking clue what i did? yes i was a petulant xenophobic racist boy with absolute faith in the state and rule of law at 21 when i joined.
                      i didnt say men aged 18-25 who have made the decision i said boys and if you did serve you know the difference

                      Rollo
                      you still haven’t answered me not that you have to but still
                      “are you a slave?”
                      or better
                      “is it a lawful order for your commander to tell you to mow his front lawn?”
                      can you be compelled to obey or does the contract have clearly defined limits in the UCMJ?
                      do you even know?

        2. Really? I am pretty sure a lot of Libertarian theorist endorse the right to sell yourself into slavery.

          Why can’t it, so long as the person signing the agreement knows what they are signing and voluntarily agrees to it?

    4. Yeah, that is certainly worthy of debate. What isn’t debatable though is that a large part of the blame for his capture lies with himself. So, while I’m willing to entertain the idea that his desertion was morally okay, he is still a massive dumbass who chose his own fate.

      1. Exactly. The US government didn’t owe him shit once he walked away.

        1. agreed. Voluntary association works both ways.

          1. Yes
            and if I were to have deserted
            Afghanistan isnt exactly the place id do it, unless I was thinking about helping the enemy.
            does anyone else get the suspicion he may be a sleeper agent terrorist?

            1. “does anyone else get the suspicion he may be a sleeper agent terrorist?”

              WTF?

              HEY, LOOK AT ME! I AM HOME! *now to make nefarious plots since nobody will ever think about me again!*

              1. Before Homeland this idea would have stood a mild chance at succeeding. Maybe they don’t get Showtime in Central Asia?

              2. because of where he split. i thought of taking off plenty of times but never once in that shithole of a country.
                are you just making fun of me because your life revolves around trying to bash me currently?
                no im not at home works just slow today

                1. and no one ever claimed i wasn’t overly paranoid and suspicious of people, kinda why i live in the mountains.

    5. It’s irrelevant to whether the State should attempt to save him from his own bad decision.

      1. Well, isn’t that getting at the meat of government today? Some people expect the state to save them from their own bad decisions. Although this is an extreme example/

    6. Interesting perspective. I’ve never been in the military, but, to get all libtertariany here, doesn’t his desertion (assuming that is what happened) constitute breach of contract? I’m not aware of anything in libertarianism making an uncoerced contract with the state less valid than any other.

      1. yes, I would argue that it does. Certainly the current law agrees. But I just question the morality of the legal obligation. I’m definitely not defending the guy- he deserted- but I think this is where libertarians have to weigh voluntary association with contract rights. Makes for an interesting discussion.

        1. I just don’t see any issue with voluntary association here. It would be different if he was conscripted, but he volunteered, and when he did he agreed to abide by the military’s rules or face the consequences.

          1. and the military shouldn’t be forcing soldiers to defend a sand dune on another continent
            its also part of the contract
            soldiers arent slaves to do with what the government will, there is supposed to be a compelling national interest for American military intervention anywhere in the world.
            what is the compelling national interest for policing afghanistan?

            1. No it’s not. The contract is very one-sided in the government’s favor, not the soldier’s. You are clearly told that you are to follow the orders of the President of the United States and all ranks higher than you. What the President decides to do is up for debate in the political sphere, not the military. You follow orders.

            2. there is supposed to be a compelling national interest for American military intervention anywhere in the world.

              No such requirement exists in the constitution or statutory law. You’re confusing “moral” and “legal” again.

      2. I’m not sure that I’d consider a contract in which Party A can lock Party B in a cage for violating the terms to be a valid contract.

        1. exactly. Contracts are broken all the time- this specific contract leaves no recourse if situation changes and one party no longer consents. Your mortgage isn’t like that, nor your car loan. Student loans, meh pretty much the same haha

          1. Honest question here. If someone goes to their commanding officer and states that they don’t want to be in the military anymore, that they are not going to perform their duty to the best of their ability, and that not acknowledging that and instead expecting them to continue following orders may end up endangering the lives of others, what exactly would happen? I assume a court martial and dishonorable discharge, but is jail time guaranteed?

            1. court martial obviously. Depends on the actions whether the military will seek jail time. In Bergdahl’s case, there is a strong case for desertion- which would end in prison time. But the emotions around this case might keep him out of the slammer. Perfect propaganda piece for the Obama administration, but if played wrong, it could easily blow up in his face.

              1. I was speaking more generally. If he hadn’t walked away, but had simply gone to his CO and said that he last the will to fight, that putting him in the field would be dangerous because he couldn’t be counted on to give his all, and that for that reason he would refuse to follow orders and wanted to be discharged, even if dishonorably, would he definitely be thrown in jail? Or would they punish him in some other way before throwing him out?

                It is an important point because you’re arguing (and I realize you are playing devil’s advocate) that a military contract is different because there is no out other than a cage.

                1. DH discharges and court martials are usually saved for criminal stuff , there are so many outs now adays he problably could have gotten out with a general discharge if he tried.

              2. They’re counting on the fact that those who know the truth have been threatened with prosecution for revealing the truth. The truth is that Bergdahl is a deserter, and Obama just traded 5 battle-hardened terrorists for a deserter who cost the lives of multiple US and coalition soldiers, and cost the US taxpayer hundreds-of-millions of dollars in fuel and aircraft due to his stupidity.

          2. this specific contract leaves no recourse if situation changes and one party no longer consents.

            You can’t unilaterally withdraw from a contract – that’s the nature of the beast. You can violate the terms of a contract, either through inaction or fraud, in which there are repercussions, usually agreed upon in the terms of the contract. That’s exactly what happens when you sign your service contract. That the terms are more harsh than the courts generally allow for private contracts doesn’t change the validity of the agreement. I’d love to hear either of you explain why, from a philosophical standpoint, a contract where the enforcement mechanism for failure to perform was incarceration should be invalid. As long as the terms are known and no fraud has occurred, why would the severity of the mutually agreed upon terms render the contract invalid?

            1. I don’t think I argued that there shouldn’t be repercussions. Obviously if the threat of jailtime is in the contract, it should be enforceable- I just was wondering why it’s part of the contract ?

              If I decide one day, “man I don’t wanna blow up these children anymore”- legally, I still have to because it’s in the contract. But at some point, is there not a moral dilemma in which performing your end of the contract becomes unpalatable? Legally, you are shit out of luck, I get that. But does it make it right?

              1. But at some point, is there not a moral dilemma in which performing your end of the contract becomes unpalatable?

                That’s a question each individual has to answer for himself, and probably should consider very thoughtfully before signing up.

                Legally, you are shit out of luck, I get that. But does it make it right?

                You’re not shit out of luck as far as no longer blowing up children goes. You can do that any time. The sincerity of your convictions doesn’t have any bearing on the terms you agreed to. If I went to work as a loan officer at a bank and then converted to Islam and decided I could no longer morally participate in conventional loan making due to riba, I would be morally remiss if I didn’t quit my job immediately. And if my employment contract included, let’s say for kicks, a million dollar fee for failure to perform, I’d still be every bit as obligated to pay it as I was when I signed the contract.

                1. great example.

        2. I’m not sure that I’d consider a contract in which Party A can lock Party B in a cage for violating the terms to be a valid contract.

          Does Party B have the right to barter with their freedom or not? Do they have self ownership or not?

          If he owns himself, why can’t he voluntary enter a contract that may lead to confinement if the terms are agreeable to him?

          1. maybe, I’ve always been on the fence about this argument. If liberty is inalienable (meaning govt cannot pass laws separating you from the right), then how is enforcing contract law in order to separate you from your liberty ok? If you truly possess it regardless, as an inherent right, you could not sell it (liberty). It’d be like selling your heartbeat- it doesn’t exactly work like that- it stays with you regardless.

            1. but then, there are voluntarily agreed upon consequences, I get that. So I am on the fence about the whole “sell yourself into slavery” thing. Sometime the logical conclusion doesn’t really translate.

            2. then how is enforcing contract law in order to separate you from your liberty ok?

              You’re making a mistake here, you’re not forcing me. I agreed to it.

              If you truly possess it regardless, as an inherent right, you could not sell it

              I don’t see how this follows, if I own it, I own it. Entirely, including the right to trade or barter with it.

              I really don’t follow the argument that you’re making there, sorry.

              1. yeah, its not coherent. I simply struggle with the theory that you can sell yourself into slavery. Because you can sign on the dotted line, but when you wake up the next day, I think you still are in possession of your life and free will. But that’s just me.

                1. I think you still are in possession of your life and free will.

                  Ah I see. Well consider it this way then, you’re selling your freedom of movement, not your life and free will. You will still possess those in prison, but you’ve sold the rights to your time. It’s how I like to frame it and it helps a bit.

                  As to death as a penalty, unless I am mistaken, the military doesn’t invoke death unless other people are seriously endangered or killed. That’s not what I’d consider onerous, as it’s pretty standard in civilian life as well.

                  That said, it’s your life. If you think the compensation is worth it, what principle prevents you from selling it?

            3. If liberty is inalienable (meaning govt cannot pass laws separating you from the right), then how is enforcing contract law in order to separate you from your liberty ok?

              There is a tremendous difference between actions by and among private citizens and actions taken by the government.

              And an easy real-world example is non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. Courts routinely enforce both, even though they separate the parties from their 1st amendment liberties to free speech and association. The difference is that your relationship with the government is involuntary. Your agreements with other private citizens are entirely voluntary.

    7. As a free man…

      No such thing.

      1. Sure, there is – but only after you’re dead.

    8. I don’t believe the military abides by the notion of voluntary association to the degree you imply. You do voluntarily join the group but in doing so, you agree to certain conditions. In other words, you enter into a contract.
      There is no provision that you can leave because you don’t want to play anymore, particularly if your leaving poses the very real threat of harm to others.

      Any association/exchange comes with certain expectations and guidelines. Bergdahl, in exchange for choosing to associate, was being paid, fed, housed, etc. It was HE who violated the terms of this contract, not the military.

      1. I agree. Guess I was just thinking that, at the individual level, we choose our associations every day. Should he have deserted? I’m not a fan, but maybe for that guy it was the right move. But if he did, there shouldn’t be expectation of the govt coming to save him from his poor choices.

        And on contracts- I agree, he definitely broke terms of the contract. But there are usually means of recourse if a contract needs to be/is broken. In the case of the military, you are locked in a cage. Doesn’t sound like a voluntary association to me, past the initial engagement.

        If we believe in self ownership, we have to ask: do you really own yourself if you sign that contract? And if not, why?

        1. we lost total self-ownership when Top Men believed it their job to dictate what adults could and could not voluntarily put into their own bodies.

          1. haha, no argument from me on that one!

        2. But there are usually means of recourse if a contract needs to be/is broken. In the case of the military, you are locked in a cage. Doesn’t sound like a voluntary association to me, past the initial engagement.

          If your violation of a contract involves negligence and results in death or harm to other parties you can be held criminally liable for their deaths or injury in addition to your civil liability for violating the contract. This doesn’t seem much different. And, again, those terms are understood when the contract is signed. Don’t like the prospect of going to jail for breaking your contract? Don’t fucking sign it. The recruiter isn’t going to take away your birthday.

          1. yeah obviously in Bergdahl’s case, there were effects of his actions. But what if someone just went UA here in the US? No one would die from that. Again, I’m not even supporting the guy’s actions, just throwing ideas out there.

            1. The conditions under which you violated the agreement should be considered during arbitration/adjudication, obviously.

          2. Don’t like the prospect of going to jail for breaking your contract? Don’t fucking sign it. The recruiter isn’t going to take away your birthday.

            THIS

        3. If we believe in self ownership, we have to ask: do you really own yourself if you sign that contract?

          Yes, it is your choice and you are the only one who can agree to be bound thusly. He was not conscripted or press-ganged.

          1. I dunno. My recruiter, for example, sealed the deal by telling me that if I went Nuke, I could command an aircraft carrier. Utter fraud; only nuke pilots become aircraft carrier CO’s.

            I think this invalidates the enlistment contract. 😉

            1. My recruiter told me a lie
              Said join the Airborne and learn to fly
              Now I’m in a C-130 rollin’ down the strip
              In the 82nd Airborne takin’ a little trip

              1. A Used car salesman can BS you until you’re blue in the face, but the deal that matters is the one that’s on paper, not the one he tells you.

            2. My recruiter told me I’d have no problem being an Illustrator/Draftsman (even though, at the time, a Masterchief had to die before anyone got a DM rating).

              In bootcamp, they pulled a few of us aside and offered us Crypto Tech. I declined because I thought I was gonna be a DM.

              I ended up as a Boatswain’s Mate in the towing/salvage Navy.

              Good times.

    9. He might have broken an agreement/contract, but the terms of the contract put him in a position where he might kill innocent people. I can’t blame him for wanting to break it.

      But he also knew that going in.

      I’m officially neutral on this. Can’t bring myself to give much of a shit one way or the other. I do get a chuckle out of the possibility that 0bama had no idea what he was doing.

      1. yeah I’m about the same, tbh. Lots of stuff going on in the background that we don’t know yet, too.

        1. Heaven forbid we do something like wait for all the facts to come in before rushing to judgment.

      2. I do get a chuckle out of the possibility that 0bama had no idea what he was doing.

        You must laugh a lot.

      3. “He might have broken an agreement/contract, but the terms of the contract put him in a position where he might kill innocent people. I can’t blame him for wanting to break it.”

        Oh, bullshit. The only killing he would have been doing would have been with a rifle, and nobody forces you to line up those sights and squeeze the trigger.

    10. Bergdahl deserted his service to the State. He freely, voluntarily decided to disassociate and not fight wars for the federal government.

      He voluntarily signed up, and his actions in the field compromised the safety of his fellow soldiers and left 6 dead. Historically, I can’t think of many modern armies which treat desertion in the battlefield during wartime with anything less than strict severity, for exactly the reason that it costs lives. I would suggest that the time and place for desertion (if there is a time and place for it) is when you are not placing others in imminent danger and are not directly responsible for the lives of your fellow soldiers.

    11. There are methods for disassociating or breaking a contract. I can’t just move out of my apartment and stop paying rent, nor walk out of my job 10 minutes from now. He should be allowed some way to amicably leave the military, but it’s clearly wrong to up and leave your post and walk off into enemy territory. I think a proportionate punishment is just, in the same way my landlord/boss would be owed damages.

      1. And I get your broader point, which I may not have really addressed above. It’s similar to the “can you sell yourself into slavery?” dilemma that’s sometimes kicked around by libertarians. I come down on the side that says you can’t. Both parties to a contract must always have a way out, and face only reasonable repercussions. Some terms, even if “voluntarily” agreed upon at the outset, simply should not be upheld.

        1. You are an anarchist?

    12. I think it’s pretty cut-and-dry, frankly. He made an agreement. The other party, i.e. the US Gov’t, held up to it’s side by paying him, presumably. He didn’t. Whether anyone died or not is sort of icing on the shit cake–the real issue here is that he willingly agreed to do a job, was paid for said job, and willingly abandoned his commitment.

      As far as his not intending to fight in foreign wars, I’m not a vet but I’ve always been under the impression that when you enlist you don’t get to throw in “…unless I disagree with the mission.” The time to have moral reservations about agreeing to kill foreign peoples in exotic locals is prior to signing up as a professional soldier.

      With respect, I think you’re conflating a few different issues here. There wasn’t anything involuntary about Bergdahl’s enlistment. And voluntaryism doesn’t mean capriciousness or fickleness. This is similar to the confusion that some folks have regarding the definitions of anarchy and disorder.

    13. I see your point EF. I’m a vet too and I struggle with some of these same questions.

      I think the key here is that he willingly signed a contract and understood what would happen if he broke the contract. He chose to break the contract and, as far as I’m concerned, will face the consequences now.

      1. oh I agree, just stirring debate. Personally I think the effects of his leaving in Afghan (6 guys die looking for him) are enough injury to others for him to face jail time.

        I was simply thinking broadly, and wondered why we treat military contracts different than mortgages, marriages etc. There should be consequences for breaking the contract, but I guess my question is: to what extent, and where is the line?

        1. I agree, it’s an interesting subject. I would guess that military service contracts have a more severe penalty for breaking the contract to cut down on desertion and AWOL. That’s just a guess though.

          I personally think that there should be nothing wrong with breaking your service contract as long as it is an automatic other than honorable characterization of service upon discharge. That’s admittedly a pretty big price to pay for not fulfilling the contract.

          Then again, I certainly don’t want people in the military that genuinely don’t want to serve anymore.

          Tricky.

  11. The only way to play devil’s advocate here is to figure that the Taliban guys are easier to dispose of via drone strike walking around free than they are sitting at GUITMO. Maybe Obama figured he would get some good press and then be able to drone strike these guys later anyway.

    1. I don’t know John. I thought we were talking peace with the Taliban? Would be nice to end the war with these people. It’s not like we’re accomplishing much fighting to the death with kamikazes.

      1. I’m sure these guys will probably become cab drivers and shoe shine boys when they get home after years on end at Gitmo.

      2. I figured that, but then obama agreed to leave 9,000 troops there. I honestly figured he would cut a deal and leave the place to the Taliban to create a new killing fields. I don’t see how us staying there is consistent with making peace.

        1. Dangle the carrot but keep your stick handy. I don’t fucking know. It’s all insane to me. Taliban were our good friends until they hooked with OSL.

          1. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Even so, the US has shitty taste in friends sometimes.

            1. “He’s a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s our son-of-a-bitch.”

              Variously attributed to FDR, LBJ, & others.

    2. Three of the five have been described as previous U.S. collaborators or informants in the news. I wouldn’t be if they end up whacked by the other side once they get home.

    3. I kind of.figured that is the logic too. As I read, part of the deal is the Gitmo detainees get sent to.Qatar, which agreed to hold them for a year. You better believe they will be.under tight surveillance.while there, and the second.they show.signs.of trying to hide, or manage.to.get.to Yemen or.some.other place, they’ll be.smoked.one.way.or.another.

      1. Your faith in our government’s competency is touching.

        They’ll get to Qatar and promptly be forgotten as the administration moves on to the next fuck-up.

      2. db|6.2.14 @ 10:34AM|#

        ” they’ll be.smoked.one.way.or.another.”

        I believe this administration is currently busy trying to bring the Benghazi attackers to justice right now.

        They want to put those guys on the stand so they can clear up what really took place before and during the attack.

        These gito releases will just have to wait their turn.

  12. Going AWOL in San Diego, ok. Going AWOL in Taliban country, um, that sounds like a Rambo style suicide mission. How was he going to get home? If you wanted to “abandon your comrades” wouldn’t you just shoot yourself in the foot or masturbate your way back home a la Full Metal Jacket. The “deserted his post” story doesn’t make sense to me.

    1. AWOL in San Diego is not okay if your buddies don’t or can’t cover for you until you sober up and get your ass back to base.

    2. There is ample evidence to indicate that he was experiencing some of the mental illness. He said, and wrote, some very strange things leading up to his departure. Let me put it this way; none of the guys in his platoon were surprised when he turned up missing.

  13. many soldiers in his platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika Province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.

    How exactly does possession of Sgt. Bergdahl allow the Taliban to attack the US more? This makes it look like the platoon blames everything bad that happens on Bergdahl whether it makes sense or not.

    1. Since Taliban strategists aren’t quite as stupid as you evidently are, they may have exploited the situation knowing that his disappearance would result in a diversion of resources to step up attacks at a time when the enemy would be more vulnerable. Or, you know, he may have given up information that was useful in targeting attacks.

    2. That’s Jake Tapper’s incorrect summary of what the soldiers said. Read this.

      1. Tapper is incorrect because TDB said so?

        1. No… he’s incorrect because of what the soldiers actually said. Read it.

          1. One of my close friends was the company executive officer for the unit at Zerok. He is a mild-mannered and generous guy, not the kind of person prone to fits of pique or rage. But, in his opinion, the attack would not have happened had his company received its normal complement of intelligence aircraft: drones, planes, and the like. Instead, every intelligence aircraft available in theater had received new instructions: find Bergdahl. My friend blames Bergdahl for his soldiers’ deaths. I know that he is not alone, and that this was not the only instance of it.

            The benefit of the additional detail doesn’t really change the sentiment. “Had fewer resources available for defense” vs. “attacked more”, either way, his guys were pissed off about deaths that they blamed on his actions.

            1. “Had fewer resources available for defense” vs. “attacked more”

              Er… those are definitely not the same thing. Yes, they blame him, but not for the reason Tapper states.

          2. “Bowe Bergdahldeserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

            that’s a direct quote from Tapper’s piece, something that a soldier actually said.

            1. Which says nothing about increased attacks.

              1. but it says plenty about Bergdahl’s actions and the result they created. Tapper’s reporting says, according to soldiers, attacks “seemed” to increase. Maybe that was perception; guys killed looking for a troop who left is reality.

              2. If I am reading correctly there were several outcomes:

                1) The search operations disrupted and worked against the COIN operations by pissing off the locals who had their villages tossed during the search.

                2) The search operations disrupted COIN operations by diverting resources away from them.

                3) The search operations diverted intelligence assetts from monitoring enemy operations (allowing them to mass and prep for attacks with less chance of being caught)

                4) The search operation put soldiers into areas that they would otherwise avoid, making them vulnerable to attack.

                5) The search operation diverted aviation/transport assets to move/support personnel and equipment involved in the search that would be otherwise available to reinforce or evacuate soldiers involved in serious engagements.

                These factors are utterly unaffected by how much the prisoner talked or kept his mouth shut.

    3. The key word there to me was “seemed”. I figured it was observational bias.

    4. The answer is simple: Berghdal was telling the Taliban everything he knew. With their newfound knowledge, they could find the Army’s weak points, patrol routes, etc. There’s some evidence that he sought out Taliban to join them when he deserted.

      1. Yeah, no.

        Berghdal was a Sergeant – he wouldn’t have known much of anything outside his own unit. He *might* have been able to tell them who was most likely to be sleeping on post when his unit had duty.

        And there’s little evidence that he *sought* out the Taliban, as opposed to deciding to leave and hike to India and getting picked up by militants while out on his own.

        1. Hike to India. Seriously? Like this was some camping trip he decided to bail out of?

          1. Hike to India. Seriously?

            Corporal Henry Wood managed it in the second Anglo-Afghan war, so why not? Of course it took him a few years.

        2. Specialist at the time. He was promoted to sergeant after his capture.

          1. I see it was actually PFC below.

        3. Who knows what isn’t a function of rank, and this piece of shit was a PFC when he was captured. Knowing that he voluntarily deserted, he’s been promoted twice by the Army.

          1. *cue outrage at not attending PLDC/WLC/whatever the fuck it is today*

            1. I don’t think him missing WLC is the problem…

          2. It may not be a function of rank, but show me a SGT (E-5) that is so connected to the goings on in theater that he has enough secrets to seriously compromise the security of *multiple* units.

            1. It’s not a matter of knowing details of “other units”. Anyone from an E-1 to an O-10 with a basic knowledge of US Army doctrine and Force Protection, and the ability to convey that knowledge to an enemy force, has the ability to “seriously compromise the security of *multiple* units.”

              1. Anon E. Mouse|6.2.14 @ 1:57PM|#
                “It’s not a matter of knowing details of “other units”. Anyone from an E-1 to an O-10 with a basic knowledge of US Army doctrine and Force Protection, and the ability to convey that knowledge to an enemy force, has the ability to “seriously compromise the security of *multiple* units.””

                Any ‘secret’ spread that wide is no secret, so you just proved there was no loss of security.

                1. You’re an idiot. Do you post the hours and days when your house is going to be unoccupied on a website frequented by burglars? It’s no secret, but it damn sure will cause a “loss of security”, won’t it?

          1. They promoted him while he was gone, you know, because he’s a hero and all

        4. There is some, I’m not saying it’s Ironclad, but he may have been a sympathizer. Of course, this is unconfirmed, but there is this:

          Tweets from alleged soldier that served with Berghdal

          Villagers said an American did come through the area and was wanting water and someone who spoke English. Wanted to meet with Taliban

        5. Actually, he was a PFC. He got two promotions while in captivity.

          1. Dammit, Bill, scroll all the way down before replying…

    5. Do a FOIA request and ask for the number of SIGACTS in that area a few months before, the month of and in the months after his desertion. I think you’ll find the answers to your questions there.

  14. Nick is getting increasingly shrill.

    1. Coming from you that’s fucking rich.

    2. You have no argument so you’re making a personal attack. What’s new?

    3. Why do you care? The Taliban would’ve been morally correct to saw the dude’s head off, right? I mean, nobody has the right to life, right?

      1. Rights are whatever the government says they are, so if the Taliban leadership didn’t declare a right to life, well…

        1. Well duh. How else do you expect a Righteous Government and its Sainted Administrators to force Progress on all us Unworthies?

  15. This article is the usual (and obligatory) libertarian campaign to blast Obama. It starts out to say that our foreign policy (under Obama) has been a disaster, and so on. Blah. Blah. Blah. What’s new?

    Our “foreign policy” (if we ever had one) has been a disaster since The glorious leaders of the United States of America decided around 1898 (if not before then) that we were going to have an overseas empire.

    All the current administration has done is carry on a foreign policy invented by previous administrations. In any event, the return of this Soldier and his status as a hero or deserter is something for the Army to work out.

    About a year from now (and probably way before then) most Americans won’t even remember his name.

    1. I’m trying to figure out your argument here, Mandy.

      Are you implying that Reason is only dissing this instance of colossally fucking up because it’s Obama doing it?

      Are you implying that Reason hasn’t considered much of other U.S. foreign policy including the Spanish American War to be misguided?

      1. Oh Mandy, you came and you gave without flaking,
        But I sent you Ben-gay,
        Oh Andy, you kissed me and stopped me from something,
        And I..

        1. anomdebus,

          Your response to my comment is the response of an undereducated functional semi-literate. At least one person asked an intelligent questions in a civil manner, and he got a respectful answer.

          1. That response is more than your retarded drug-adled demfag comments deserve.

          2. Amazing, you managed to respond to something without crapping your pants and resorting to 2nd grade insults.

            Doc upped your medication did he?

      2. tarran

        Reason is always “dissing” Obama for just about everything. That’s because Reason is anti-Obama for ideological reasons (no pun intended). That is Reason’s job. Sites to the right tend to do this when it comes to Obama. Sites like “The Nation” tend to like Obama. You know how it goes.

        One thing for sure, I’ll bet that most Americans won’t even remember who this Soldier is in a few weeks. If I asked “the man in the street” who was responsible for the Oklahoma Federal Building bombing back in the 1990s, I doubt most could name him. He was a Soldier too.

        1. More babbling I see.

          1. Yeah, don’t look for coherent points from Mandy. It’s mostly shrieking and poo-flinging.

        2. Ah yes, the attention span of Americans is an excellent metric for evaluating foreign policy.

          Most Americans can’t name four combatants from WWII, accurately describe what caused the Great Depression nor name their Congresscritters.

          So, did you have a point?

    2. This article is the usual (and obligatory) libertarian campaign to blast Obama. It starts out to say that our foreign policy (under Obama) has been a disaster, and so on. Blah. Blah. Blah. What’s new?

      Butthurt detected.

    3. On The Road To Mandalay|6.2.14 @ 10:32AM|#
      “This article is the usual (and obligatory) libertarian campaign to blast Obama. It starts out to say that our foreign policy (under Obama) has been a disaster, and so on. Blah. Blah. Blah. What’s new?”

      So since we know Obo’s an incompetent liar, there’s no reason to say anything about it?
      WIH are you trying to get at?

      1. “WIH are you trying to get at?”

        See Jordan’s 10:36AM 🙂

        1. That or the road guy just likes to see his copy on the screen.

          1. I do. Just the way you enjoy viewing your bowel movements in print “on the screen”. (Had to answer this before I quit responding to you completely). Count on seeing more of my copy in the future.

      2. Sevo

        What do you think I am getting at? You just answered my question by calling The President of The United States of America “an incompetent liar”. In effect, you answered your own question.

        In any event, this “incompetent liar” will be in history books with other Presidents long after you are dead and buried.

        With that said, I will ignore you in the future. I should have done so the first time you responded to one of my comments.

        See you around the site. Advise you get some new material instead of your usual “Obo blasting”.

        1. On The Road To Mandalay|6.2.14 @ 2:23PM|#
          “What do you think I am getting at? You just answered my question by calling The President of The United States of America “an incompetent liar”. In effect, you answered your own question.”

          WIH are you trying to get at, other than attention whoring?
          You post crap that looks like a point might be in there and on close examination, it’s verbal masturbation.
          Fuck off.

        2. You had a question?

        3. In any event, this “incompetent liar” will be in history books with other Presidents long after you are dead and buried.

          Men like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao – among others – will also be in those history books. What’s your point – shit floats and gets written about?

          1. Pretty sure road-guy is an ignorant attention whore, but is certainly a lefty and hopes that might get hidden under his word-salads.

    4. On The Road To Mandalay|6.2.14 @ 10:32AM|#

      This article is the usual (and obligatory) libertarian campaign to blast Obama. ”

      I’m just glad it took that old VA fake scandal off of everyone’s radar.

      I mean, that was like sooo two weeks ago.

  16. “Exigent circs? Bah, what a cop out.

    IF THE PRESIDENT DOES IT, IT’S NOT ILLEGAL.

    1. Citing “these unique and exigent circumstances,” the White House said a decision was made to go ahead with the transfer despite the legal requirement of 30 days advance notice to Congress.

      “Yeah, we broke the law, what are you going to do about it?!”

      1. It would be interesting to see a side-by-side comparison of impeachable offenses committed by President’s throughout U.S. history. Well, the ones publicly known, anyway.

    2. It’s a corollary to the Costanza principle: If you believe it, then it’s true.

      If Obama believes it’s legal, then it’s legal.

  17. wait .. he was a PFC when he was captured and now he’s a sergeant?

    1. POW’s get promoted while in captivity.

      1. I did not know that. thanks

        1. It’s how a shitbag like McCain could make Navy Captain.

          1. Having an admiral or two in his family didn’t hurt either.

          2. Say what you want about his politics (and they do suck right out loud) his conduct as a POW was, and is, unimpeachable.

            Do you have evidence to the contrary?

  18. “Yeah, we broke the law, what are you going to do about it?!”

    How many divisions does Newt Gingrich have, anyway?

    1. Divisions or non-profits/political orgs, etc? I don’t know if any of them are armed, however.

      1. The pope had a good number of non-profits.. fat lot it did for him, though..

  19. “At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for Bergdahl, and many soldiers in his platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika Province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.”

    What this shows is that Barack Obama is so profoundly incompetent that he can’t even figure out what’s in his own best interests–never mind the best interests of the country.

    Why would he do something like this to himself ahead of the midterms?

    “This is all completely apart from the question of whether exchanging prisoners for prisoners is a good idea while the U.S. still has over 30,000 troops in Afghanistan”

    God bless our troops in Afghanistan, but it isn’t just them that are being put in harm’s way, here. What about the millions of individual American tourists and businesspeople who will be traveling all over the world over the next decade? Aren’t any one of them a legitimate bargaining chip now?

    1. This gets the VA shit-storm off the front page at least for a day or too, however, the president was so arrogant he thought former military members of his unit would roll over and cheer to get this guy back, after he fucked all over them. I honestly think the president thought there would be a parade for Bergdahl with the Army waiting to embrace him again as brother and the president as the magnificent diplomat who arranged it all.

  20. I suspect there are in fact, buried deep in the contract one signs at enlistment, provisions for the dissolution of the agreement. Hightailing it for Tibet is unlikely to be in there.

    1. Correct.

  21. The right, not taking their cues from Frank Luntz anymore, apparently (“Pro Tip: Attacking the actions that led to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a surefire way to lose in 2014.”), seems to be asserting that the country’s official policy should have been to leave him behind, period. Of course they’d never have criticized such a policy. Clinging to (even convincing) hearsay to trash a POW before he’s even out of the hospital. It could be the first time in Republican’s miserable lives that they actually care about policy over politics, but that’s not fucking likely, so I think I may be safe chalking this up to their increasing inability to to listen to people with political skill like Luntz, their painful insistence on not reforming the way they speak (like about women and minorities), because the ODS reflex overcomes it all.

    1. Pretty sure you could reverse the word order in 3-word increments and this would make as much sense as it does now.

      1. Let me summarize it: TEAM!!!!!!!!11111111elevenoneone

      2. That’s only because you’re thinking. Tony doesn’t think. He emotes. Let your hatred for all things non-progressive flow. Then you will understand. Then it will feel right. But it will never make any sense.

      3. It would be kind of interesting to see a Tony word-salad talking about Obama’s hostage swapping in relation to Iran-Contra.

        And when I say “interesting”, I mean like watching a retard trying to tie his shoes.

        1. It’d be a fucking Christmas miracle if for one day not everything was a potential Obama impeachment opportunity in lieu of doing useful stuff. But as you graciously brought up Iran-Contra, we must realize that trading for hostages (even when they’re weapons and they’re going to Iran) is not, by precedent, an impeachable offense. Only getting a blowjob outside of marriage.

          1. Only getting a blowjob outside of marriage.

            You mean perjury. Oh, wait. That would be honest. You wouldn’t know anything about that being honest. Nothing at all.

          2. What would rise to the level of an impeachable offense for your beloved Obama? Anything? Or would you brush it all away as “non-scandals”?

            1. Who can say? The standards are a bit of a mishmash. Blowjob = impeachable. Lying to start a war and torturing suspects = not impeachable. What a quirky system we have!

              1. Blowjob = impeachable.

                Keep up the dishonesty.

                1. It wasn’t merely a blowjob; it’s against the law for federal officials to have sex with subordinates. The lie, also, was under oath, so perjury.

                  Both are crimes that could get you fired and in the case of perjury jailed.

                  I guess Tony is arguing that felonies relating directly to a federal official’s job such as violating civil service laws and seeking to pervert the course of justice are *not* grounds for removal of the official from office.

                  And it’s fascinating that in his blindness he assumes lots of libertarians didn’t want Bush impeached (we did!).

                  The Iraq war wasn’t the impeachable offense – but the suspension of habeas corpus, to cite one egregious example – was.

                  1. And it’s fascinating that in his blindness he assumes lots of libertarians didn’t want Bush impeached (we did!).

                    It’s not blindness. It’s dishonesty.

                  2. The blowjob wasn’t impeachable–perjury was.

                    And Lewinsky was hardly the important case.

                    When the taxpayers bailed out the S&Ls;, the Clintons funneled money out of the money meant for Madison Guaranty and into Bubba’s campaign fund. That money was intended for the widows and orphans who were too stupid to know that the S&Ls; weren’t insured by the FDIC. …it was not meant to finance Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.

                    All of the partners in that deal, including the sitting governor of Arkansas, went to prison for being in that deal–which Hillary Clinton drew up. They’d have both been sent to jail if he hadn’t been the president. In fact, neither of them disputed that the taxpayers’ money ended up in Bill’s campaign fund–they just claimed they had no idea how it got there.

                    Bill Clinton is a crook.

                    Whatever else Hillary Clinton is, she is also a crook.

                    1. Whatever else Hillary Clinton is

                      According to Gennifer Flowers, she’s bisexual:

                      http://pagesix.com/2013/09/19/…..tons-life/

                  3. I guess Tony is arguing that felonies relating directly to a federal official’s job such as violating civil service laws and seeking to pervert the course of justice are *not* grounds for removal of the official from office.

                    No, he’s arguing the same shit that Mandalay and amsoc and all the rest argue every day on this site. To whit, that the only relevant fact in any discussion about politics, morality, or economics is the party membership of the people involved.

                    For all I know they might be warm, caring, considerate people capable of profound feats of reasoning…right up until they hear the dog whistle. As soon as Party comes up, the only real moral failing can ever be failure to toe the Dem line, and anything done to further the interest of the Party is not only excusable but morally laudable.

                    1. That’s true but only because the other party is so disastrously rotten from inside out with know-nothingism as to be obviously disastrous. You’d think that would give Democrats a scarily large margin for asserting power, but Americans keep electing the other stupid fuckers.

                    2. Tony|6.2.14 @ 10:17PM|#
                      …”but Americans keep electing the other stupid fuckers.”

                      Yeah, Obo is a real fucking disaster.

              2. Lying… = not impeachable.

                So you’re arguing that what Bush did isn’t impeachable.

                1. So you’re arguing that what Bush did isn’t impeachable.

                  He’s saying that lying to the people is impeachable (when a Republican does it), and lying to Congress is not (when a Democrat does it). Or at least that’s what he’d say if he was capable of any honesty.

                  1. I’m saying only Republicans talk about or accomplish impeaching presidents in the last few generations, and it’s not out of fucking patriotic duty, jackass. You don’t like Obama and that’s why you want him impeached because you have the political sophistication of a toddler. Not that there isn’t an entire party in your company.

                    1. Tony|6.2.14 @ 10:19PM|#
                      “I’m saying only Republicans talk about or accomplish impeaching presidents in the last few generations, and it’s not out of fucking patriotic duty, jackass.”

                      Yeah, turd, one more lie.

          3. “But as you graciously brought up Iran-Contra, we must realize that trading for hostages (even when they’re weapons and they’re going to Iran) is not, by precedent, an impeachable offense.”

            Look at Tony making excuses for Ronald Reagan!

            See? Once St. Reagan does it, it can never be wrong again.

            It works the same with with Dubya in Tony’s twisted world. Every awful thing Bush ever did is to be both condemned and used as a justification for Obama doing the same thing.

            Tony’s an apologist for Obama–and that’s all he is. He doesn’t give a shit about anything else.

            1. I’m a realist. It’s not my fault that rightwingers such as yourself are incapable of criticizing the president rationally, insisting instead on innumerable conspiracy theories, desperate grasping, and confusing your stupid dogma with something the president should remotely give a shit about.

              1. I’m a realist liar.

                ftfy, yw

              2. Tony|6.2.14 @ 3:18PM|#
                “I’m a realist…”

                Wrong. You’re a fucking lefty idiot.

              3. It’s not my fault that rightwingers such as yourself are incapable of criticizing the president rationally, insisting instead on innumerable conspiracy theories, desperate grasping, and confusing your stupid dogma with something the president should remotely give a shit about.

                Did somebody say “conspiracy”?

          4. Tony|6.2.14 @ 11:53AM|#

            “an impeachable offense. Only getting a blowjob outside of marriage.”

            Who got impeached because he got a blowjob outside of marriage ?

          5. I wouldn’t be so sure shit stain. Those who serve aren’t going to cut Bergdahl slack and will keep asking questions. If the public sees the military turn their back on this guy, while the President actively, which he did, broke the law by releasing 5 terrorists without notification to the congress this could get interesting.

            However, republicans are too afraid to impeach Obama regardless of what he does, so as always you are dumb.

            1. Yeah, impeach him over securing the release of a POW. It would be brave in a kind of stupid way.

              1. It would be futile – so long as the Democrats hold the Senate. Those old criminals wouldn’t convict and remove Obama even if he were a child killer, if they thought their constituencies would object – which they probably would.

    2. As a veteran and someone that is in Afghanistan right this minute, I will tell you that I am very glad that Bergdahl will be repatriated. As much as I am convinced that he is a fuck up and a deserter, he is still an American. I am quite positive that his court martial will be fair and the results impartial.

      And Tony, you can go fuck yourself. Hard.

  22. Clinging to (even convincing) hearsay to trash a POW before he’s even out of the hospital.

    When people talk about what they have directly observed, that’s not hearsay. Much of the evidence that he deserted is from his squaddies. Not hearsay.

    Now, recounting what he said before he deserted might be hearsay, but it would be admissible hearsay in any court.

    This legal pedantry brought to you by Iron Laws, Ltd.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with speculation–I mean–outside of court. What, is preparing for impeachment proceedings against Obama? Trying to figure out which testimony the American people are allowed to hear.

      I’ve got some speculation of my own to offer! What kind of irresponsible idiot would risk a political catastrophe–heading into the midterms–when the only gain to be had is a guy that his squad members call a deserter?

      This is not what Obama wants going into the midterms–so why did he smear it all over himself and go out in front of the cameras and say, “Look at me! I saved the hostage!” Obama is so proud of shitting the bed–again. Now get out there and vote for the Democrats because Obama’s a genius, you stupid redneck.

      1. Ken Shultz|6.2.14 @ 11:53AM|#

        “What kind of irresponsible idiot would risk a political catastrophe–heading into the midterms–when the only gain to be had is a guy that his squad members call a deserter?”

        Have you heard one word today about the fake VA scandal that is already two weeks old ?

        There’s your answer.

  23. “Two GOP lawmakers charge that the Obama administration violated [another] law…”
    Fixed

  24. The White House said it moved as quickly as possible given the opportunity that arose to secure Bergdahl’s release. Citing “these unique and exigent circumstances,” the White House said a decision was made to go ahead with the transfer despite the legal requirement of 30 days advance notice to Congress.

    Uh…are they just casually admitting that they broke the law?

    1. Yes, and daring anyone to do something about it. Which no one will.

      1. Reminds me of a documentary I watched this weekend about some German dude who casually broke some treaty or something, and no one did anything about it.

        1. Maybe Congress can go live on a reservation.

    2. Yep. And nothing else will happen.

    3. You wouldn’t pull over a guy who was speeding to get to the hospital would you? So why would you hang on a legal technicality when we’re talking about man’s LIFE!

    4. Its OK that they broke the law, because when Obama signed it he issued a statement that he thought it would be unconstitutional if it were ever to inconvenience him.

      Remember when signing statements were teh evul?

      http://www.wsbradio.com/weblog…..tatements/

      Yeah, me neither.

  25. And once again, yesterday, Susan Rice?she of Benghazi talking points fame?was making spurious claims on Sunday talk shows. She emphasized that Bergdahl had been “captured” on the battlefield, which may not be exactly right.

    I didn’t watch. Can I safely assume that no member of the DemOp media challenged her on this lie, either?

    1. What difference at this point does it make?!!!!

  26. Can I safely assume that no member of the DemOp media challenged her on this lie, either?

    She represents the President. She wouldn’t lie.

  27. Libertarians aren’t for releasing people who haven’t been charged with a crime? If this article was written in 2006 by nick Gillespie he’d be telling us how this is a sign that GWB is committed to closing gitmo. I wonder why writers at Reason make bullshit excuses for war when a Republican is president and get all gooshy anti war when a Democrat is in office. The money must be great, nick. Your integrity… Mmm, not so much.

    1. Try again but be coherent.

    2. american socialist|6.2.14 @ 12:22PM|#
      …”If this article was written in 2006 by nick Gillespie he’d be telling us how this is a sign that GWB is committed to closing gitmo”…

      Those are just voices in your head, a.s.; don’t let ’em get to you.

    3. You’re pretty good at lumping everyone together. Must be because you’re a socialist. Besides, I don’t recall a Reason writer ever saying that any President ever did anything right.

      1. …”I don’t recall a Reason writer ever saying that any President ever did anything right.”…

        Every goddam nitwit lefty who shows up here presumes that their slimy team fixation is the only way to view government. Hence, since we call Obo on his continual lies and screw-ups, we must have supported BOOOOOOOSH!
        You’d think at least one of them would maybe look at the archives, but no. Every damn one of them is a witless cheerleader.

        1. Seriously.

          I’ve made this point before =

          we spend nearly half our time reading the actual stated arguments and positions of the progressive left *daily*. We know their whole schtick inside-out; better than most Salon readers even *understand it themselves*, given that at least we see it in context, and are witness to their utter lack of self-awareness…

          ..whereas, these leftys? HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT when they occasionally come here to throw poop around. They attack Bush like we’re all ‘hoorah!TEAMRED!’ and think we’re going to be butthurt. They are utterly unaware that Reason/H&R was (and is) considered heretical squishy ‘cosomotarian’ by conservatives and think that somehow the disdain for Obama is driven by *partisanship*

          (when the most accurate criticism of most people here is probably utter political nihilism)

          If anything, its exactly what you say = more a comment about their own desperate political fixation on TEAM UBER ALLES than anything else. They have no idea how ridiculous their criticism actually looks because they are so blindly unaware of the context here.

        2. Stop talking like you have Glenn Beck’s dainty hand up your backside and people will stop confusing you for tea party Republicans.

          The claim that there’s a third way is convenient for people who want to feel good about themselves, but doesn’t reflect reality.

          1. Tony|6.2.14 @ 10:25PM|#
            “Stop talking like you have Glenn Beck’s dainty hand up your backside and people will stop confusing you for tea party Republicans.”

            Strangely, I have no idea what Beck thinks about the matter, turd.
            And the only ‘people’ confused here are you and other lefties none of whom are going to win any prizes for intelligence.

          2. Since you have a poster of Rachel Maddow in your locker you can’t imagine that people utterly in opposition to your demonstrably failed political philosophy don’t worship this Beck guy?

            That’s kinda sad.

          3. that’s what’s crazy. The left is so simple minded. Simply, republicans, tea party and libertarians are not one in the same. Nor are they mutually exclusive. They are different shades in a fucked up Venn Diagram.

            The left has a Beck/Limbaugh/whoever strawman imagined, and cannot imagine complexity outside of that. CLASSIC sign of groupthink within the left- you are either 100% dem or 100% necon bushpig teathuglikkan!!!1!!one! !

            I can’t tell you how many times I am told that libertarians oppose gay marriage, want to start wars with Iran, and want to end abortion. LOL surprises to me I guess

    4. “I wonder why writers at Reason make bullshit excuses for war when a Republican is president”

      Nick opposed Bush and the Iraq War every day of it here at Reason.com

      Go check the archives.

      1. Oh, I have… Despite the unworkable archive site. There are some doozies around 2003. Want to read some?

        1. Have at it, a.s.

    5. Go fuck yourself.

    6. Your integrity… Mmm, not so much.

      …says THIS fuckin’ guy.

  28. Is Reek a good nickname for Bergdahl?

  29. On The Road To Mandalay|6.2.14 @ 2:14PM|#
    “Reason is always “dissing” Obama for just about everything. That’s because Reason is anti-Obama for ideological reasons (no pun intended). That is Reason’s job. Sites to the right tend to do this when it comes to Obama. Sites like “The Nation” tend to like Obama. You know how it goes.”

    Hey, Gilmore!
    One more fucking lefty nitwit served up right here!

    1. You’re right. I read the same shit at breitbart and frontpagemag that I do here. At least, they have the integrity to not lie about who they vote for. Isn’t it sad that this website has become yet another paranoid, conspiracy-laden right-wing shit show? You’re very familiar with their work at breitbart correct? What are they saying about bergdahl? Let me know… I’m dying to find out. Thanks, bro!

      1. american socialist|6.2.14 @ 10:09PM|#
        “You’re right. I read the same shit at breitbart and frontpagemag that I do here.”

        So they are occasionally libertarian? And an ignorant asshole like you would have any idea whether that’s true?
        Stuff it, commie-kid; we know the extent of your mental abilities; catfish do better.

      2. So you read Breitbart and frontpagemag (a right wing site, I assume) whereas I’ll bet most here do not.

        Interesting.

        I also doubt that anyone is your bro here.

  30. Two items:

    First, from the linked CNN article, the only one of the five who seems to have any guilt alleged is Farzi, and he should be tried by an Afghani court, not US.

    Second, Bergdahl may have breached the contract, however, it is possible that the US Government presented the contract under false pretense; if fraud were involved then the contract would not be binding on Bergdahl; note that since the US Government wrote and provided the contract, the burden of proof for demonstrating that Bergdahl unilaterally breached the contract falls on them.

    1. It’s an enlistment contract. It says that in exchange for training, food, housing, and monetary compensation, you’ll follow legal orders, follow the rules as set forth in the regulations of your particular branch of service, and be subject to the UCMJ for a particular period of time. The UCMJ (the details of which are covered during training, just in case you didn’t look it up before you signed the contract), explicitly states that deserters during a time of war are subject to capital punishment. He signed the contract, and he voluntarily left his post (deserted) in a time of war and the evidence for that is irrefutable. There is no “may have” to it. What more does the government need to demonstrate?

      1. In exchange for what, and under what conditions? What are the obligations of the US Government to the person signing the contract? If they were misrepresented or not fulfilled, they breached the contract. If there is no offer in exchange, there is no contract.

        1. Are you really trying to condone Bergdahl’s actions because his enlistment contract might be void?

          Do you have any reason to think that or are just a fucking idiot?

          1. Yes; he may have been led to believe that his job entailed defending the Constitution against its enemies, and later discovered that he was, in fact, being ordered to act offensively against non-enemies, with the likely result that enemies would be created as a result.

            That would make the contract no more valid than one which offers employment as a “hostess” to women then ordering them to perform as prostitutes.

      2. I neglected to add that there was no time of war; Congress never declared such, and is this is the only means under the US Constitution where the power is granted.

        1. Your attempt to be pedantic is an utter failure. You seriously don’t know shit about martial law nor the UCMJ, do you?

          I’ll try to use small words for you; Congress doesn’t have to declare war for the UCMJ to apply nor does it have any bearing on his enlistment contract.

          1. meh, he’s right about the declaration of war, Mr. Clausewitz fan.

            I think that changes the level of charge, from desertion to abandonment. But to me, it doesn’t really matter- people died trying to find the guy. There’s gotta be some consequences.

            And I don’t think I’ve seen one person excuse Bergdahl’s actions- even me, who poked the bear by asking whether he was obligated to serve the State regardless of moral convictions.

  31. Second, Bergdahl may have breached the contract, however, it is possible that the US Government presented the contract under false pretense; if fraud were involved then the contract would not be binding on Bergdahl; note that since the US Government wrote and provided the contract, the burden of proof for demonstrating that Bergdahl unilaterally breached the contract falls on them.

    WTF are you talking about? Your contract includes an oath of enlistment that states you will follow orders of the Commander in Chief and the officers appointed over you. Not deserting your post is a standing general order.

  32. Can you have it both ways? Reason seems to say that the war in Afghanistan was illegitimate, then it gets snippy about a soldier who deserts. Maybe desertion is heroic in such a situation.

    1. “Reason seems to say that the war in Afghanistan was illegitimate, then it gets snippy about a soldier who deserts”

      That might be because they are entirely different issues.

    2. Well, I think to be fair that the issue becomes influenced by the people who were put at risk and who died looking for this guy. My gut is that if this dude just strolled into Kashmir and got picked up for desertion nobody here would really give a shit one way or the other.

      And to be fair to Bergdahl he’s being used by the administration for good press. To the best of my knowledge he’s not the one going on and on about his heroism and service and so forth, that’s the 24/7 spin machine that is the White House. At the risk of speaking for others, I think the average position here is that you can be pleased that he’s back home and want to see an end to the war in Afghanistan while also not believing he deserves any special recognition for endangering his comrades or deserting his post.

    3. There is nothing heroic about Bergdahl’s desertion. Especially when he had legal means and a clearly defined process to declare himself a conscientious objector.

  33. Start working from home with Google. I make money in my ?p?r? tim?! I have been unemployed f?r months but n?w i m??? up to $100/day on the computer. pop over to this website http://www.Fox81.com

  34. This guy was turned, and, for that promoted by our president. But, the worst part is that those captains of war we had captured serving the most feared and capable leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, was there to greet them and prepare for taking over Pakistan with their Nukes! Mullah Omar is the leader who has killed more American soldiers by far than any other leader! Afghanistan with its valuable opium crop to finance their war will fall quickly. The Young new Sunni ruler of Qatar is so extreme even the Saudi’s have pulled away from him. Our President who has already assisted Sunni terror will arm them more and teach them to take Syria. They have already with weapons the President provided over the last year killed thousand of Syrian citizens.

  35. You are a war criminal if you fight in violation of the Geneva Conventions, which the Gitmo prisoners did. I would have preferred a straight declaration of war against Al Qaeda and their allies, so it has become a bit imprecise and muddled without that. IANAL, but my understanding is that the US would be fully compliant with the Geneva Convention by trying all Gitmo prisoners before a military tribunal and executing everyone found guilty.

    I think one reason for this is that Obama thinks he can negotiate with the Taliban and other Islamic terrorists, so by releasing five top commanders in exchange for one deserter he thinks the Taliban “owes him one.” He’s a fool.

    1. Are you under the impression that Obama favors the current system?

      1. Tony|6.2.14 @ 10:27PM|#
        “Are you under the impression that Obama favors the current system?”

        The “current system”, meaning what he’s been doing for the last 6 years?

        1. Yes, he hasn’t done much to change it, has he?

          1. This really is Congress’s doing and you should know that if you’re going to flap your piehole about it. Maybe Obama will find ways to transfer out all the detainees using similar justifications as in this case. I’m sure you’ll breathe a sigh of relief over that.

            1. Tony|6.3.14 @ 12:03AM|#
              “This really is Congress’s doing”…

              Yeah, turd, Obo has nothing to do with anything when there’s a screw-up.
              ‘It’s not the Stalin! It’s his advisors!’
              We’ve heard it before and it smells no better coming across the screen than it did on the printed page.

            2. Tony|6.3.14 @ 12:03AM|#
              This really is Congress’s doing…

              You get stupider each day. I have to admit I’m sort of impressed.

              How, pray tell, is Guantanamo’s continued existence Congress’ fault? It’s almost like the Commander in Chief is in the Executive branch, not the Legislative.

              1. Congress has barred any transfers of detainees to American prisons. Obama has stated a hundred times that he wants to close Gitmo. If he had the unilateral authority to do so, why wouldn’t he have done so?

                Learn about what you’re talking about for Christ’s sake. ODS makes you stupid.

                1. Are you referring to the Congress that Democrats had complete control of for the first two years of Obama’s first term? So you’re saying it’s the fault of Reid and Pelosi?

    2. Ridiculous.

      The Geneva convention does not allow nations to try pows- even those not wearing an insignia–that are engaged in acts of war. They have to be repatriated at the end of hostilities. That’s why we had to get CATO board member, john Yoo, to come up with a bullshit term like “enemy combatant” so that libertarians could legally justify the bush administration’s gulag in Cuba.

      1. False. The category of unlawful combatants (who are not required to be treated like POWs) long predates John Yoo.

        1. Read the fucking Geneva Convention. If you remember, we invaded their country. Obama was not president. Why is a socialist arguing with a libertarian about why it’s not a good idea to maintain a gulag? This is *your* time to shine and tell us gulag-supporters just how great freedom and the good ‘ol USA really is.

          1. american socialist|6.2.14 @ 11:14PM|#
            …”If you remember, we invaded their country. Obama was not president.”

            So you’re saying he didn’t get the chance? Oh, well, he kept them there for 6 years, so that’s something, right?

          2. american socialist:
            Read the fucking Geneva Convention.

            Maybe you should read the Geneva Convention.

            Or google “enemy combatant.”

            Oh, I’m up for ending the gulag, but not because of the Geneva Convention.

            I’m holding my breath and waiting for Obama to shut it down. He did campaign on shutting it down back in 2008, I remember. Then, he suddenly became a republican on the issue. You know: like the drug war.

            1. I know, i know, brian you like bullshit libertarian justifications for gulags when they are carried out under republicans and I don’t. Got it. Pow status doesn’t apply when an occupying army invades a country and armed militias fight back? Sure.

          3. Quote for us, line and verse, the part of the Geneva Convention that supports your childish assertion.

            I’ll save you some trouble: you can’t, and not just because you’re a pinko idiot.

            The Geneva Conventions apply to armed conflict between two sovereign states. Of course, that’s surprising to you because you think shooting people in the back of the head is an acceptable way to settle political differences. The fight in Afghanistan is most properly characterized as an “armed conflict not of an international character.” Therefore only Article 3 applies. I realize all of that may as well be written in Yiddish as far as you’re concerned but it means something to people with morals and/or a functioning brain.

            Yes, Guantanamo should have been closed long ago and probably never should have existed. But many of the people there were/are unlawful combatants.

            Google this “…enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals” and see if it helps you learn something.

            I doubt it.

      2. “That’s why we had to get CATO board member, john Yoo, to come up with a bullshit term like “enemy combatant” so that libertarians could legally justify the bush administration’s gulag in Cuba.”

        Is this sorta like slimy socialists justifying mass murder because of the socialist Stalin? Or Mao?
        Just want to see where your ‘justification’ ends, slimy socialist.

        1. You seriously can’t realize that the problem in your lack of an ability to have an even minutely interesting conversation is that you say things this stupid?

          1. Tony|6.3.14 @ 12:09AM|#
            “You seriously can’t realize that the problem in your lack of an ability to have an even minutely interesting conversation is that you say things this stupid?”

            This from a cheer-leading turd?
            Fail.

          2. You wrote that down when someone said about you, didn’t you? Be honest!

  36. Let me get this straight so Barrack picks and chooses what terrorist he wants to set upon the world!! That’s kind of like what he does with illegals he chooses the Murders and Sex offenders and turns them loose on the streets of America!
    Does anyone understand what this man is doing!!
    How could releasing 5 terrorist leaders that all have the same goal to destroy the people of the United States of America and Obama and his people say there is no Security threat to America!!

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