Bergdahl Court Martial also Indicts Obama

The decision to refer the case of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl to a general court martial on charges of desertion by Gen. Robert B. Abrams, the head of Army Forces Command at Ft. Bragg, N.C., shows there remains at least one general not cowed by President Obama’s purge of command officers deemed insufficiently subservient to his policies of appeasement and unilateral disarmament. As Breitbart reported:

Bergdahl, who was kidnapped by the Taliban following his abandonment of a forward operating base in Afghanistan, was charged this year with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. If charged with the latter, he could potentially face life in prison. If charged with only desertion, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

I hope that he will face life in prison and is lucky a firing squad is not in the cards. It was not what President Obama, who welcomed the parents of deserter Bergdahl to the White House Rose Garden to cheer the alleged good news of the return of the deserter six other soldiers died looking for, wanted to hear. President Obama, who said we traded five Taliban commanders for Bergdahl because we leave no soldier behind, has had no regrets about leaving former Marine Amir Hekmati a prisoner in Iran. Nor did he raise a finger as Andrew Tahmooressi was left to rot in a Mexican prison for taking the wrong exit.  

That Bergdahl was a deserter and a traitor should never have been in doubt, yet it was, partially due to President Obama sending National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who spread the Benghazi video lies on the Sunday talk show circuit, to appear on the June 1, 2014 broadcast of ABC’s “This Week to tell two more lies, that Bergdahl was a good soldier and that trading five top Taliban commanders would not endanger U.S. security. As Breitbart reported:

Regarding the desertion allegations, she said Bergdahl, “served the United States with honor and distinction. And we’ll have the opportunity eventually to learn what has transpired in the past years.”

Rice also said that “assurances relating to the movement, the activities, the monitoring of those detainees [released in exchange for Bergdahl] give us confidence that they cannot and, in all likelihood, will not pose a significant risk to the United States. And that it is in our national interests that this transfer had been made.”

In fact, the Taliban trade of the terrorist equivalent of four-star generals does and has jeopardized U.S. security and was done to exploit Bergdahl’s captivity to help Obama to get the worst of the worst out of Guantanamo to facilitate his campaign pledge of closing the facility. That Bergdahl was a deserter should never have been in doubt, judging by the universal condemnation of those who served with him. Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) noted that fact and editorialized that Obama feared a court-martial because it could lead to him being charged with providing material assistance to a terrorist enemy:

Every one of the men who served with Bergdahl or tried to find him and who have spoken out publicly has said he was clearly a deserter.

Indeed, the uncontestable fact is that Bergdahl walked away from his post in a time of war, leaving his weapon and gear behind. He was not out for a walk to relieve stress or clear his head.

"Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him," former Sgt. Matt Vierkant told CNN. At least six soldiers died in operations looking for Bergdahl.

Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has said that Obama dreads a court-martial for desertion, which is what the report might recommend, because questions regarding a trade providing material assistance to a terrorist group could be asked.

"We have a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization," Napolitano said. "It could be money, maps, professional services, any asset whatsoever, (including) human assets."

And there’s the nagging question of whether a ransom for Bergdahl was offered and/or paid. As Fox News has reported, Rep. Duncan Hiunter, R-Calif., has been pursuing whether the Obama administration tried to trade cash for Bergdahl:

The FBI played a central role in making a botched “payment” meant to help secure Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release last year, according to the office of a House Republican now seeking answers on why the bureau was involved at all in the apparent rescue attempt.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. --- who has long questioned whether a ransom of some kind was offered for Bergdahl’s release --- claimed in a recent letter to the Justice Department inspector general that he has learned “non-DoD organizations, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), undertook the recovery mission.”

As part of this effort, Hunter told DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, the FBI even went to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and “awaited Bergdahl’s arrival following some form of discussion about facilitating a payment.”

Bergdahl didn’t show -- and ultimately was not released until May when he was traded for five Taliban leaders. Hunter’s chief of staff, Joe Kasper, told the unsuccessful FBI border visit came after this operation paid an Afghan intermediary, who then ran off with the money.

As Investor’s Business Daily reported in a December 2014 editorial, Hunter had also pursued the ransom payment for Bergdahl issue with outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel:

"It has been brought to my attention that a payment was made to an Afghan intermediary who 'disappeared' with the money and failed to facilitate Bergdahl's release in return," Hunter wrote in a Nov. 4 letter to outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

As Bill Gertz reports in the Washington Free Beacon, Hagel's Nov. 21 response to Hunter was a tad equivocal. The Pentagon "did not make any payment of ransom nor make any attempt to pay ransom for the lease of Sgt. Bergdahl," Hagel said.

Hagel then added that "we have no information that any payment was made to an Afghan intermediary in exchange for facilitating Sgt. Bergdahl's release." OK, so which is it — that no ransom was paid or there's no information that a ransom was paid?

Gertz reports that Hunter also wrote to the Pentagon's inspector general, Jon Rymer, a letter that noted: "Defense officials said the payments were likely part of a $5 million fund that the commander of the U.S. Central Command has at his disposal, which can be used to pay rewards or to purchase information leading to the release of captive."

Was President Obama offering a ransom to get Bergdahl back under the radar, switching to the Gitmo Taliban trade as a Plan B? Bergdahl deserves court martial and imprisonment for his desertion in time of war. The question is just what President Obama deserves for providing material aid and comfort to a terrorist enemy?

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

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