The latest development concerning Army Sgt. and deserter Bowe Bergdahl occurred this past week when Judge Col. Jeffery Nance ruled that serious wounds to a soldier and a Navy SEAL who searched for Bergdahl can be used at the sentencing phase of his upcoming trial. This gives prosecutors significant leverage to pursue stiff punishment against the soldier whom many of his former fellow service members have labeled a traitor.
In his ruling Judge Nance found that the soldier and SEAL wouldn’t have ended up in the firefights that left them wounded if they hadn’t been searching for Bergdahl, so their injuries would be relevant to his sentencing if he’s convicted of misbehavior before the enemy at his trial in October. This is as it should be since the guy walked off his post in June of 2009 and purposely sought to collude with the enemy.
When it was discovered Bergdahl was missing, search missions for him began all across Afghanistan, putting many lives at risk, and may have actually resulted in the deaths of a half dozen of his fellow soldiers. The former Navy SEAL, retired Senior Chief Petty Officer James Hatch, suffered a career-ending leg wound when he was sprayed with AK-47 fire while chasing enemy fighters on a July 2009 search mission. He testified he nearly bled to death and has endured 18 surgeries since then.
On a separate search mission that month, U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. First Class Mark Allen was shot in the head, suffering a traumatic brain injury that left him in a wheelchair and unable to communicate.
Bergdahl met up with the enemy within hours of his desertion and was held captive by the Taliban and its allies for five years. Along with misbehavior before the enemy Bergdahl is also charged with desertion. In times past, these crimes would have resulted in punishment by firing squad. Whatever prison time Bergdahl will ultimately get will be tame in comparison and will offer little consolation for those who suffered and died because of him.
But the worst disgrace and dishonor occurred on May 31, 2014, when President Barack Obama swapped five high-level Taliban terrorists in exchange for the traitor Bergdahl. If you watched the disgusting ceremony on TV you might remember how bizarre it was. The event was staged in the Rose Garden of the White House; Obama walked out to the reporters’ podium and stood side by side with Bergdahl’s parents to celebrate the news that their son had been freed.
After the president spoke, the father, Bob Bergdahl, standing next to Obama launched in Arabic, invoking Allah. His first words were “bism allah alrahman alraheem” – which means “in the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful.” As spooky as that was, Obama’s reaction to it was even more chilling. He sort of half smiled and nodded his head as the words were spoken.
Sometime after that, the president’s national security apologist, Susan Rice, said Bowe Bergdahl had served “the United States with honor and distinction.” Turning the very words, “honor” and “distinction” on their heads, how disgusting those people were. Obviously no one in the Obama administration had a clue what honor and distinction meant, let alone ever engaged in it themselves.
Not long after the Rose Garden farce, Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers came forward to tell the true story, that his disappearance had all the signs of desertion, and that a half-dozen American soldiers were killed searching for him. The military diligently (but cautiously) looked into the facts of the case. Like so much associated with Obama, it was a highly political ticklish situation.
The military didn’t want to make Obama look bad, but at the same time they needed to do the right thing. Time and truth have proven that Obama’s “hero” was a fraud and finally, come this October, the court-martial of Bowe Bergdahl will be held. At last justice will be done.
It’s gratifying to know that words such as “honor,” “allegiance,” and “duty” still matter to many of us in this cynical world of ours.
Self-serving manipulative politicians who twist words and deeds in an attempt to make themselves appear virtuous and significant in the end only succeed in proving themselves dishonorable and small.
Greg Crosby is a writer and cartoonist and former executive at the Walt Disney Company.