Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl deserves to be welcomed home

June 3, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Good afternoon:

I am surprised by recent criticism of President Obama and Chuck Hagel, the Secretary of Defense, regarding their agreement to release five former members of the Taliban in exchange for the Taliban releasing Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, whom they seized five years ago.

Republicans in Congress have criticized the agreement because they were not informed about it until after the exchange took place and they believe the U.S. gave up too much in the 5 to 1 swap.

Several members of his platoon also have criticized the agreement publicly. They claim Sergeant Bergdahl was a deserter and they resent him because six members of the platoon were killed during an unsuccessful attempt to find him.

Some Republicans have repeated this accusation when all of us should be praying for his full recovery and welcoming him home.

The response by the administration is that timing was critical, they reached an agreement with the Taliban faster than expected, and they carried out a promise to military personnel to leave no one behind by securing the release of the only soldier held by the Taliban.

The administration has announced that the Department of Defense classified Sergeant Bergdahl as a prisoner of war and he is receiving medical care in a hospital in Germany. It has promised to investigate what happened and take appropriate action after he recovers.

The plot has thickened because Sergeant Bergdahl apparently objected to the war in Afghanistan and he talked about leaving his weapons behind and walking to India.

I suspect the intense pressure and anxiety of living in a war zone where your next breath or step could be your last coupled with an escalating dislike of the war and U.S. objectives in Afghanistan could cause a psychological breakdown in anyone, no matter their toughness.

Throwing down your weapons and abandoning the relative safety of the military post to walk hundreds of miles through hostile country to reach India is not rational behavior. It sounds like he was experiencing a psychotic delusion or break and he was lucky the Taliban did not kill him when they first saw him.

Seems like everywhere I look, I find people with undiagnosed and untreated mental illness.

I am offended by the unofficial and unproven accusation that Sergeant Bergdahl, who is officially classified as a POW, was a deserter who should have been left to rot and die in a prison somewhere in Afghanistan.

The Republicans never cease to amaze me with how low they can go.

They deserve to be condemned for attacking the character of a prisoner of war who was never formally accused of wrongdoing and has been locked up for 5 years.

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Disturbing Questions About The Civilian Massacre In Afghanistan: UPDATE

March 21, 2012
Afghanistan Boy (photo: UN Photos/flickr)

Afghanistan Boy (photo: UN Photos/flickr)

Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com has a report this morning linking to an AP article in The Australian that U.S. soldiers lined up against a wall all of the adult males in the village of Mokhoyan after an IED blew up a tank injuring American soldiers at a location near the village.

According to the report, the villagers said the Americans told them they knew they were responsible for the IED and they were going to kill at least 20 villagers, including children, to avenge the attack.

According to the villagers, the incident occurred on March 8th. Mokhoyan is in the vicinity of the two villages (Balandi and Alkozai) where Staff Sergeant Robert Bales allegedly murdered 16 civilians, including 9 children, setting some of the bodies on fire during the predawn hours of March 11th.

Jason Ditz also reports today that Bales’s attorney, John Henry Browne, said his client has no memory of the incident and he denies drinking more than a sip or two alcohol that night.

Mr. Browne also said that Bales told him that a friend lost a leg in an IED explosion while on a patrol on March 9th.

The U.S. military has neither confirmed nor denied that the IED explosion reported by the villagers of Mokhoyan is the same incident that Staff Sergeant Bales mentioned to his attorney.

The villagers in Balandi and Alkozai claim that a group of U.S. soldiers committed the murders. The military insists that Staff Sergeant Bales was the only soldier involved.

Appears that the bodies may have been buried before autopsies could be performed to determine specific facts, such as,

(1) the time of death for each victim;

(2) whether more than weapon was involved;

(3) whether the fatal shot or shots were fired from close range;

(4) what was the trajectory of bullet or bullets;

(5) whether there were any exit wounds;

(6) whether there was any evidence (i.e., ligature marks) that the bodies were bound (e.g., wrists tied behind the back);

(7) whether there were any puncture or slashing type wounds consistent with the use of a sharp piercing or cutting instrument like a knife; and

(8) whether there was any evidence of physical torture prior to death.

We also do not know if the houses in which the murders took place were investigated as crime scenes. For example, were any slugs and casings recovered and, if so, how many weapons and what type were involved. Another question I have is whether any bloody fingerprints or footprints were found. Read the rest of this entry »


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