Bergdahl lawyers press for dismissal after Trump inauguration Lawyers for former prisoner of war and Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl made good on their promise to call for his case to be dismissed based on President Trump’s campaign comments against him, filing a motion on Inauguration Day.
Bergdahl said he saw his first chance at escape soon after his abduction in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, when a water delivery temporarily distracted his captors. He managed to slip off the chains binding his hands and feet and unlatched the flimsy wire holding the door to his cell closed. He was free for only 15 minutes, running barefoot over rocks and climbing onto a roof and covering himself in mud to hide, he said in audio used by the podcast. He was caught in moments and hauled back into his cell, where men beat him with a rubber hose. They then blindfolded him and moved him to a new home, in what he now believes was North Waziristan in Pakistan, he said.In a later attempt to escape, Bergdahl was longer than fifteen minutes; he managed to evade capture for seven days.
U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will face a military court on charges of desertion and endangering fellow soldiers, the U.S. Army announced Monday.
Gen. Robert Abrams, the commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, ordered the court-martial on Monday, breaking with the U.S. military officer overseeing Bergdahl's preliminary hearing who recommended that Bergdahl be referred to a special court-martial and face no jail time.
Abrams on Monday ordered Bergdahl's case to a general court-martial, which means Bergdahl could face life imprisonment if convicted of "misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place."
Last year, the United States released 5 high-profile al Qaeda commandos from the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities in exchange for the release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl was captured by militants after he allegedly deserted his base in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan. The exchange embroiled the Obama Administration in scandal—why did we trade dangerous prisoners for the freedom of a deserter?—and the public quickly began to demand answers about what consequences should and would rain down on Bergdahl’s head.You may recall the outrageous pomp and circumstance with which Obama shared the news of this swap with the American people (despite knowing at the time, as General McChrystal later revealed, that Bergdahl was a deserter): Even after it was revealed that Bergdahl was a deserter (at best), Obama continued to defend his decision to trade five top Taliban leaders for him, saying "we leave no soldier behind."
The Army concluded its investigation into the circumstances of Bergdahl's capture in December. Until now, it has been in the hands of Gen. Mark Milley, head of U.S. Army Forces Command, who made the decision to charge Bergdahl. Several U.S. military officials CNN has spoken with suggested privately that the process took longer than expected. Ahead of Wednesday's announcement, officials said Milley only had a few choices. Though the sense had been that Bergdahl must be held accountable for his actions, there had been little appetite for a lengthy term in military confinement given the five years Bergdahl was held by the Taliban. Bergdahl, who's now 28, was taken by the Haqqani terrorist network. But the circumstances of Bergdahl's departure from his base and how willingly he left have not been clear. King said he couldn't offer those details on Wednesday, and that they're being treated as evidence for the upcoming proceedings against Bergdahl. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Arizona, called the charges an "important step" on Wednesday.Of course, it wouldn't be politics if we didn't leave the charges to the lawyers and dive into the electoral consequences of one of the Administration's most controversial decisions.
“Do you think [the administration] should keep Gitmo open or close it?”No. Surely not.“Open, so we can have fun.” “Club Gitmo?” “You know it!”
“Do you know what ISIS is?”This is real. This is a thing that is real that has happened and if I have to deal with it, then so do you. Watch:“Being alone.”
The Department of Defense (DOD) violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 when it transferred five individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the nation of Qatar without providing at least 30 days notice to certain congressional committees. Section 8111 prohibits DOD from using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay unless the Secretary of Defense notifies certain congressional committees at least 30 days before the transfer. As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD also violated the Antideficiency Act.The full report is here, and concludes as follows:
Our opinion in this matter rests upon the Secretary of Defense’s responsibility to comply with a notification condition on the availability of appropriations to transfer individuals from Guantanamo Bay. This opinion does not address the Secretary’s decision to transfer the five individuals in this case as part of DOD’s efforts to secure the release of an American soldier. However, when DOD failed to notify specified congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of its transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Qatar, DOD used appropriated funds in violation of section 8111. As a consequence of using its appropriations in a manner specifically prohibited by law, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. See 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a). DOD should report its Antideficiency Act violation as required by law.So what? Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch says the penalties are pretty significant:
These five guys are not a threat to the United States. They are a threat to the safety and security of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s up to those two countries to make the decision once and for all that these are threats to them. So I think we may be kind of missing the bigger picture here. We want to get an American home, whether they fell off the ship because they were drunk or they were pushed or they jumped, we try to rescue everybody.Hillary must think the American people have forgotten why we went into Afghanistan in the first place. Maybe they have; after all, what difference does it make? It happened so long ago---twelve and a half years, and even longer ago by the time the 2016 election rolls around---that a great many of the voters to whom Hillary expects to appeal would have been little children back then.
As the opportunity to obtain Sergeant Bergdahl’s release became clearer, we grew increasingly concerned that any delay, or any leaks, could derail the deal and further endanger Sergeant Bergdahl. We were told by the Qataris that a leak would end the negotiations for Bergdahl’s release. We also knew that he would be extremely vulnerable during any movement, and our military personnel conducting the hand-off would be exposed to a possible ambush or other deadly scenarios in very dangerous territory. And we had been given no information on where the hand-off would occur.This sparked criticism from both sides of the political aisle. From the Wall Street Journal:
Just over a week after U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed by the Taliban, a CBS News Poll shows 45 percent of Americans disapprove of the deal that saw him released in exchange for five Taliban militants, while 37 percent approve of it. About one in five do not have an opinion. Views differ by political party: most Republicans disapprove of the deal, while just over half of Democrats approve. Among those who have served in the military, 55 percent disapprove of the prisoner swap. Most Americans -- 56 percent -- say the U.S. paid too high a price to secure Bergdahl's release. Among veterans, that figure rises to 65 percent. Republicans and independents say the deal cost the U.S. too much, while Democrats are more divided: 42 percent think the terms of the agreement were reasonable, but almost as many -- 39 percent -- say the U.S. paid too high a price.Pew Research further finds:
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