Dempsey: Army will investigate Bergdahl for desertion

posted at 9:21 am on June 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The debate continues over the value of the trade executed to return US soldier Bowe Bergdahl from captivity, especially focusing on the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture. The chair of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, issued a statement today that the Army would indeed investigate those circumstances and the allegations of desertion in due course. Dempsey argued, though, that this question is and should be separate from the duty of the US to get him back from his captors:

The Army will investigate charges that rescued Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said Tuesday.

“When he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts. Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty,” Dempsey said in a post to his Facebook page. “Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred.” …

But Dempsey and other administration officials have looked to separate the rescue effort from questions over Bergdahl’s conduct.

“In response to those of you interested in my personal judgments about the recovery of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, the questions about this particular soldier’s conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity,” Dempsey said. “This was likely the last, best opportunity to free him.”

The Hill also notes that the Pentagon concluded that Bergdahl had deserted as far back as 2010:

A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that Bergdahl had walked away from his unit before being captured by the Taliban, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. And according to The New York Times, Bergdahl left a note in his tent saying he was disillusioned with the U.S. Army and did not support the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

According to the Washington Times and The Blaze, the Army nixed any special operations to retrieve Bergdahl after this conclusion, choosing not to risk the lives of other soldiers in a rescue attempt for a deserter:

Commanders on the ground debated whether to pull the trigger on a rescue several times in recent years, according to one of the sources, a former high-level intelligence official in Afghanistan, who said the conclusion each time was that the prospect of losing highly trained troops was too high a price to pay for rescuing a soldier who walked away from his unit before being captured by the enemy.

A second source told The Washington Times that the rescue operation plans were “high risk” and became even less attractive in recent months when officials in the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command grew convinced that the Taliban and the militant Haqqani network, whose operatives were holding Sgt. Bergdahl, were eager to cut a deal for his release.

“Joint Special Operations Command always had the rescue mission on the table and it was entirely under their ownership, but the big question centered on whether Bergdahl was somebody you risk lives for when you still have time and space to maneuver diplomatically,” said the source, a high-level congressional aide, who, like the former intelligence official, spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

The aide also said there was frustration among some on Capitol Hill that the Obama administration had botched an opportunity to exert leverage over the Taliban, particularly since the U.S. military could have used force to secure Sgt. Bergdahl’s release.

The focus on Bergdahl will probably ease over the next few days, as the bigger issues in the swap are the Obama administration’s lack of compliance with the law and the danger presented by the five Taliban leaders sprung from GITMO. Some of the focus has been on Robert Bergdahl, the father who “immersed himself in Taliban culture,” NBC reported on Today, and who at times seemed to be regurgitating Taliban propaganda on Twitter. His hometown of Hailey, Idaho hopes people will back off for a while now and let residents relax a bit now that the ordeal seems to be over, but questions will persist about the Bergdahls — even if they don’t do so at the top of the headlines:

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Unfortunately, the military has got Obama’s stink on it now, and I don’t think anyone with two brain cells to rub together is going to believe we’ll see an honest report. It’s the Obama administration “investigating” itself…. again. And just like every other time, there’s no doubt it’ll find itself pristine as the driven snow. /sarc

Murf76 on June 3, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Fox News Military Pundit Calls Bowe Bergdahl “A Liar”
Uploaded on Dec 8, 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQS9-oE_KK0

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 11:27 AM

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 10:54 AM

The inherent laziness and ineptitude of this President and his staff has painted themselves into a corner again…

ConstantineXI on June 3, 2014 at 11:06 AM

ConstantineXI:Yup,..maybes Hopey should stop doin, …:),….


…….“Don’t Do Stupid Shit”!!

Retweeted by Edward-Isaac Dovere
Mike Allen @mikeallen · 8h
playbook: how the salty/spicy new West Wing phrase for the Obama Doctrine wound up in the @NYTimes 3 times in 4 days http://goo.gl/uUS2tm
==========

By MIKE ALLEN | 06/01/14 1:08 PM EDT
Welcome to June. BEHIND THE CURTAIN: For those pining for an Obama Doctrine victory for the president,
here it is: “Don’t Do Stupid Shit.”

Playbook rarely prints a four-letter word — our nephews are loyal readers. But we are, in this case, because that is the precise phrase President Obama and his aides are using in their off-the-record chats with journalists.

If the aim was to get this phrase in circulation to define the Obama doctrine, mission accomplished!

It appeared in the L.A. Times at the end of Obama’s Asia trip this spring, was reprised in the lead story of Thursday’s New York Times, and is used TWICE in today’s NYT — once in the news columns, and once in a column by Tom Friedman, who was part of an off-the-record roundtable with Obama on Tuesday:
(More…)
==========
http://www.politico.com/playbook/0614/playbook14123.html
canopfor on June 1, 2014 at 9:59 PM

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Does anyone truly believe this “investigation” will be anything but a whitewash?

Monkeytoe on June 3, 2014 at 11:54 AM

They need to investigate for a lot worse than desertion.

According to this story (note the date of the article), a Taliban commander claimed that Bergdahl was teaching the Taliban useful skills, like how to dismantle a cell phone and use it as a remote control detonator.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1305184/Bowe-Bergdahl-Taliban-claim-captured-U-S-solider-teaching-fighters-bomb-making-skills.html

AZCoyote on June 3, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Either (1) no one in this administration knows how to do an internet search; or (2) they believe no one else in the world knows how to do an internet search.

They may be savages, but they’re not stupid. They knew Bergdahl was worth more alive than as the victim on a beheading video.

Wethal on June 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

From the Daily Mail link above:

‘Most of the skills he taught us we already knew,’ he said. ‘Some of my comrades think he’s pretending to be a Muslim to save himself so they wouldn’t behead him.’

AesopFan on June 3, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Is is NOT a desertion.

Please, good people, it is a Defection.

Byron York, who reads HA, said so on Fox this morning. He said the terminology will make a big difference in Bergdahl’s trial.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I asked yesterday to hear from Hillary.

The Greta and Baier interviews s/b hell for the scumhag.

Today it was made known that she knew about the Bergdahl release.

You know now what the lunch with obama was about last week.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Hagel is a traitor too.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:58 AM

From the Hayes thread

Anyone who joins “the other side” is a defector. Anyone who leaves the military to do it is a deserter.

UCMJ Art 85.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Where are all the leftist azzholes from yesterday “wait until we find out the facts”, as if we don’t know the facts?

obama has known the facts since day one too, and didn’t go for freeing the guy, because he knew the facts.

The Rice/Carney stories are all fabricated, but have totally backfired.

This will be obama’s legacy, that he aided the terrorists.

However, America deserves him/this and this will be America’s legacy, that she brung a treasonous president, twice, so shortly after 9/11/01.

America and the world fully deserve the self-made destruction.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:00 PM

US Army Sgt. Bergdahl freed
40s
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany says Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s timeline for release will ‘continue to be based on the pace of his healing and reintegration process’ – statement via @NBCNews

canopfor on June 3, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I hope a few azzhole generals will lose a few stars and retirement bennies, alas. obama will promote the scumbags.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:01 PM

The best punishment for Bowe Bergdahl would be to transfer him to a VA hospital.

Uniblogger on June 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Bumped.
Karma.
It’s a wonderful thing.

AesopFan on June 3, 2014 at 12:01 PM

The best punishment for Bowe Bergdahl would be to transfer him to a VA hospital.

Uniblogger on June 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Is is NOT a desertion.

Please, good people, it is a Defection.

Byron York, who reads HA, said so on Fox this morning. He said the terminology will make a big difference in Bergdahl’s trial.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I’ll leave it to others more educated on the semantics than I, but from where I sit, “defector” is a political word, “deserter” is a military one. If *you* decide to go over to the Russians, you are a ‘defector’ – if a member of the military goes over to the opposition, they are a ‘deserter’, ‘traitor’, etc.

I do think there’s a distinction, and ‘defector’ doesn’t seem to be correct in this instance. I will happily stand corrected.

Midas on June 3, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:59 AM

You highlighted the first/wrong part of BobMx’s post, Schad.

Anyone who joins “the other side” is a defector. Anyone who leaves the military to do it is a deserter.

UCMJ Art 85.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Deserter, not defector.

Midas on June 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

But unfortunately for the Pentagon and the administration, the witnesses to Bergdahl’s desertion are still alive and well . . . and talking to the media.

AZCoyote on June 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Soon to be arrested for violating a national security agreement.

Where are the folks who were in Benghazi and survived? Bueller? Bueller?

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 10:19 AM

The military and CIA could get their hands on the Benghazi survivors immediately and put them away as a group.
The Bergdahl Balloon-Busters*, 5 years after the fact, are too dispersed and too disparate to contain.

Arrests would pour gasoline on the fire, now that the public knows so much.
The key to making secret arrests work is “secret”.
At this point, the BBBs should also know enough to report any IRS audits, DHS visits, EPA or BLM citations, or just about any official “outreach” detrimental to their personal liberty.

—-
*Not quite as catchy as Swift Boat Vets, but ya gotta call ‘em something if you want to get some media buzz.

AesopFan on June 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

I do think there’s a distinction, and ‘defector’ doesn’t seem to be correct in this instance. I will happily stand corrected.

Midas on June 3, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Anyone who joins “the other side” is a defector. Anyone who leaves the military to do it is a deserter.

UCMJ Art 85.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Gold Star mom: ‘This guy was worth my son’s life?’

Exactly.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 11:53 AM

I can only begin to imagine the rage I would share in that situation.

Midas on June 3, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

I think you keep posting that thinking it supports your point – I think it suggests exactly the opposite. Are you reading the whole thing?

Midas on June 3, 2014 at 12:09 PM

In retrospect, maybe we should have mounted a SpecOp effort to grab him, whatever the risk to the rescuers.

The alternative – having 5 really important bad guys returned to the fight to mount attacks against who knows how many Americans and innocent others – may prove to be the greater evil.

BLOC on June 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Here it is and it talks about desertion, to leave the unit, vaguely only to “join other forces” when not authorized.

Punishable by death, or harshly

(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

I still consider him a defector, for clarity. He left to join the Taliban but ended up worse, with the Haqqanis, whom he aided.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Now that they’re not in custody, we can pick them off with drones?

inotes on June 3, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Is is NOT a desertion.

Please, good people, it is a Defection.

Byron York, who reads HA, said so on Fox this morning. He said the terminology will make a big difference in Bergdahl’s trial.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM

“Defecting” is not a crime under the UCMJ. The term doesn’t even appear in the articles.

Under what section of the USC is defecting a crime?

BTW, Bergdahl is subject to the UCMJ until the military discharges him. Until then, he is subject to a court-martial, not a trial.

I don’t know WTF York was spouting (I’ll see if I can find it and watch), but Art. 85 of the UCMJ carries the death penalty. I’m pretty sure whatever the DOJ could charge him with does not.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Until then, he is subject to a court-martial, not a trial.

I don’t know WTF York was spouting (I’ll see if I can find it and watch), but Art. 85 of the UCMJ carries the death penalty. I’m pretty sure whatever the DOJ could charge him with does not.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Yes, on the court-martial, ans yes on the death penalty. I already posted it, above.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Also, I’m wondering if the commanders would have made a different decision if they knew that they weren’t risking lives to get Bergdahl returned but risking lives to prevent the release of five bad guys.

blink on June 3, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Good question.

One that will have to be answered from now on by every commander who loses a defector.

Two years ago, when the military bosses quashed a plan to release them, I bet none of them even contemplated Obama making this kind of exchange.

AesopFan on June 3, 2014 at 12:16 PM

But here it is, BobMbx

(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Day late dollar short

neyney on June 3, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Here is the UCMJ. The salient portion is the punitive articles.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Here is the UCMJ. The salient portion is the punitive articles.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:16 PM

I’m confused. I think we may be making the same point.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I’ll leave it to others more educated on the semantics than I, but from where I sit, “defector” is a political word, “deserter” is a military one. If *you* decide to go over to the Russians, you are a ‘defector’ – if a member of the military goes over to the opposition, they are a ‘deserter’, ‘traitor’, etc.

I do think there’s a distinction, and ‘defector’ doesn’t seem to be correct in this instance. I will happily stand corrected.

Midas on June 3, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Not all military deserters are defectors (some just go home, as in the Civil War, or over the border to another country and hide out).
Not all defectors are deserters, because they are civilians.
It would seem to me that Bergdahl is both a deserter (left the Army) and a defector (joined the enemy).

AesopFan on June 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

No confusion, Bob. The law is “deserter”. The defector part is for clarity. He joined the enemy, on purpose. He sought them out.

Let him be court-martialed for desertion, and be executed. I can live with that. Cheers.

Day late dollar short

neyney on June 3, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Feature, not bug, by the treasonous CiC.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:21 PM

It would seem to me that Bergdahl is both a deserter (left the Army) and a defector (joined the enemy).

AesopFan on June 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Correct! Although his defection needs to be proven. His desertion is without doubt.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:22 PM

This General Dempsey is the worst military chief of staff in recent history… But what else do you expect from an Obama appointee…

mnjg on June 3, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Fair question: which part of the “Army” will investigate Bergdahl? The political army or the military army? (Politicians or soldiers?)

BigAlSouth on June 3, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Correct! Although his defection needs to be proven. His desertion is without doubt.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Even the NYT reports today that he left a note the night before, to join the Taliban. I don’t need any more proof.

Btw, I never intended to argue against you :)

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:28 PM

If obama had a sister

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:31 PM

That s/b us

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Meant to say that w/b us.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:37 PM

In retrospect, maybe we should have mounted a SpecOp effort to grab him, whatever the risk to the rescuers.

The alternative – having 5 really important bad guys returned to the fight to mount attacks against who knows how many Americans and innocent others – may prove to be the greater evil.

BLOC on June 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM

This; I have to think that the guys who didn’t want to risk lives to rescue him would’ve chosen to do exactly that if presented with the abjectly unbelievable alternative of releasing those five terrorists.

How many people died at the hands of those five?
How many people died battling and capturing them?
How many more will die now that they are free?

Unconscionable.

Midas on June 3, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Is is NOT a desertion.

Please, good people, it is a Defection.

Byron York, who reads HA, said so on Fox this morning. He said the terminology will make a big difference in Bergdahl’s trial.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM

ucmj does not have a charge of defection.
they would use article 85 desertion.
they can also use article 104 aiding the enemy.

dmacleo on June 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Correct! Although his defection needs to be proven. His desertion is without doubt.

BobMbx on June 3, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Even the NYT reports today that he left a note the night before, to join the Taliban. I don’t need any more proof.

Btw, I never intended to argue against you :)

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 12:28 PM

You need to read better. Nothing in the NYT article said he wrote that he was joining the Taliban:

“Sometime after midnight on June 30, 2009, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl left behind a note in his tent saying he had become disillusioned with the Army, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was leaving to start a new life.”

jim56 on June 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM

The whole ‘defector’ thing just isn’t (imo) correct. Not that it matters, I suppose.

He categorically, by definition, unarguably *is* a deserter.

If he left, not just to ‘flee’, but to join the enemy, is he a ‘defector’, which is more of a civilian term (think about Soviet scientists who ‘defect’ to the west)? I think not, because of the military context. If you must add to the description of ‘deserter’, then ‘traitor’ would seem to be a more apt description of a military person who ‘deserts’ *and* actively joins the enemy.

*shrug*

Midas on June 3, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Report: Bergdahl Renounced His Citizenship…

Jenna Lee @Jennafnc

Great reporting from @JenGriffinFNC – new report: Bergdahl left behind a note renouncing American citizenship…developing…

11:43 AM – 3 June 2014

Oh.

My.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Unfortunately, the military has got Obama’s stink on it now, and I don’t think anyone with two brain cells to rub together is going to believe we’ll see an honest report.
Murf76 on June 3, 2014 at 11:12 AM

After Obama’s Rose Garden performance with the Tali-Dad, a critical report won’t be allowed to embarrass Dear Leader.

We are all Banana Republicans now.

petefrt on June 3, 2014 at 12:46 PM

If this exchange blows up in the Dear Leader’s face before November then I might die of popcorn lung just from the amount of the stuff I will be going through watching this show.

alchemist19 on June 3, 2014 at 12:52 PM

The chair of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, issued a statement today that the Army would indeed investigate those circumstances and the allegations of desertion in due course

…JugEars has been replacing most of the military honchos with “his people”…so we know how this is going to play out!

KOOLAID2 on June 3, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Be sure to watch Brad Thor on the Kelley Files tonight.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Is is NOT a desertion.

Please, good people, it is a Defection.

Byron York, who reads HA, said so on Fox this morning. He said the terminology will make a big difference in Bergdahl’s trial.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM

There are no defections in the “on-post” military.
You’d have to desert first in order to defect.
This pup deserves a firing squad.
III/0317

Sgt Stryker on June 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM

OBAMA RELEASED THE ‘TALIBAN DREAM TEAM’, GETTING THEM OUT OF PRISON, IN EXCHANGE FOR A U.S. DESERTER, TRAITOR, & ISLAMIC EXTREMIST CONVERT…WHO WILL GO STRAIGHT TO JAIL. IRONY WOULD BE TO SEND HIM TO GITMO!

easyt65 on June 3, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Sgt Stryker on June 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM

That’s my understanding also.

As another posted quoted this is looking like an article 104.

dogsoldier on June 3, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Defect 1. To disown allegiance to one’s country and take up residence in another: a Soviet citizen who defected to Israel.

Desert 3. To abandon (a military post, for example) in violation of orders or an oath.

Doubtful the first can be proven without serving a subpoena on some Taliban bigwig (which would be an amusing application of John Kerry’s assertion that the War on Terror should be primarily a law enforcement role. “Mohammed Reza, you have been served.” Bang! Bang! Bang! “Owwwww.”)

However, the second seems almost a given, if one places any credence in the various reports.

dreadnought62 on June 3, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Is there anyone in this world insane enough to believe that the “army” will do a real investigation that could expose the decision of its own CIC as being crazy?

Don L on June 3, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Is is NOT a desertion.

Please, good people, it is a Defection.

Byron York, who reads HA, said so on Fox this morning. He said the terminology will make a big difference in Bergdahl’s trial.

Schadenfreude on June 3, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I’ll leave it to others more educated on the semantics than I, but from where I sit, “defector” is a political word, “deserter” is a military one. If *you* decide to go over to the Russians, you are a ‘defector’ – if a member of the military goes over to the opposition, they are a ‘deserter’, ‘traitor’, etc.

I do think there’s a distinction, and ‘defector’ doesn’t seem to be correct in this instance. I will happily stand corrected.

Midas on June 3, 2014 at 12:05 PM

That’s my understanding too. ‘Defector’ is a term used to describe civilians or mon-military who cross to the other side for political, ideological or other reasons…also used in contexts to describe spies or civilian contractors who defect, but the kind that are not bound by the military code of justice, say like Snowden (though he can also fall under the ‘disident’ category, depending what’s one’s personal stand on his actions)…while ‘deserter’ is used in military context mainly. We have the same semantic distinction in French between ‘transfuge’ (used mainly to describe civilians who cross to the other side) and ‘déserteur’ that is used in military context.

jimver on June 3, 2014 at 6:07 PM

General Dempsey may be a good man, but the fact that he works for the current occupant of the white house makes him suspect. anyone with an ounce of integrity would resign and call potus out for the incompetent traitor he is. the army has already done it’s vetting of this incident and the general is only doing the dog and pony show to cover the lotus hind end.

warmairfan on June 4, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Suuurree you will, General.

kjatexas on June 5, 2014 at 12:28 AM

Let’s investigate Dempsey while we are water-boarding Bergdahl.

virgo on June 5, 2014 at 1:18 AM

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