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Can’t defend Obama on Bergdahl

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POSTED June 9, 2014 12:51 a.m.

Not even I can defend this one. Since Barack Obama was elected President, he has misstepped many times. I have defended most of those because every step he takes a step he does so with an anchor in the form of the Republican Party pulling him back. The Republicans have attempted to marginalize him since before he took office.

Then came the tea party, which in my opinion was formed out of hate for the fact that the President was Black. Sure, tea theoretically stands for taxed enough already, but in my opinion that is just cover for underlying prejudice.

And that is fine – people are free to hate in this country all they want – I just wish when they did they had the guts to say so, rather than trying to dress that hatred up into something it is not.

But all the hatred, prejudice, marginalization and vitriol in the world cannot counterbalance the totality of the recent blunder of the prisoner swap to get Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl released.

It is hard to find one point to begin with when discussing this fiasco, but I guess I knew something was way off base when I saw Bergdahl’s father at the White House with a Taliban-like beard speaking in Arabic and Pashtu supposedly because his son may have problems understanding English.

What a crock. That would be like the father of a Vietnam POW dressing up in black pajamas and squatting instead of sitting while blurting out a blessing to Buddha in some sort of pigeon Vietnamese dialect. What was Obama thinking by sharing a podium with that wing nut? What were his advisors doing letting such a debacle occur?

Again, I cannot defend this at all – this was a blunder of magnanimous proportions – but for the chest thumpers to pile on and say that we violated the sacrosanct tenet of not negotiating with terrorists is about as disingenuous as it gets. As the recent political cartoon on this page alluded to, Ronald Reagan and his minions negotiated with terrorists. So please, attack on the facts – not the hyperbole.

And there are more than enough facts to go around. As an honorably discharged veteran, I find it insulting that Bergdahl deserted as a Private First Class and while in captivity received promotions to Corporal and then to Sergeant. I was not a soldier’s soldier, so I had to work twice as hard to receive my promotions. One thing about the military – you are guilty until proven innocent. And all indicators point to the fact he should have been listed as a deserter and not a POW.

What do I think should happen to Bergdahl? Simple – bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, busted back to buck private and incarceration at Leavenworth for 25 years. Let us not forget the lives that were lost trying to rescue his treasonous butt.

I may be a veteran, but I am a peace-time veteran. My Commander in Chief was Jimmy Carter, and unlike every President since – with the exception of Obama – Carter did not send our troops into harm’s way when he had no business doing so. I cannot begin to fathom what these young men and women have been put through over the last decade-plus. But I do know that without discipline, the military would be sunk. And for Bergdahl to receive anything less than severe punishment will not do military discipline and good.

My military career was tenuous at best. I went to a 32-week electronics course at the Army Intelligence School at Ft. Devens, MA. It took me 36 weeks and I nearly flunked out to end up “reassigned to the needs of the Army,” which meant becoming a cook or an infantryman. I had three rat-hole assignments in a row – Ft. Campbell, KY, Turkey and back to Ft. Campbell. When I got back from a Turkey, I had achieved the equivalent rank of sergeant and was put in charge of an electronics shop.

One of the soldiers I was responsible for was a private who had just completed the same electronics school I did – and he did so with ease – and then upon getting to his permanent duty station he declared that he was a conscientious objector and wanted out of the service.

 I was furious. Here he had sailed through the school I had to fight so hard to not flunk out of and now he decided he did not want to be in the Army any more. Poppycock. I wanted to give that little twerp every crap detail I could. I wanted to have him scrub the latrine with a tooth brush. I wanted him to wash the trash cans every day. I wanted to put him on permanent cleanup detail in the shop. But what I wanted and what I got were vastly different. I had orders to not retaliate in any fashion, or it would be my butt on the line.

That twerp and Bergdahl had one thing in common – they volunteered. And if Bergdahl became disillusioned I am sure there were avenues for him to channel his disillusioned butt elsewhere. But to walk off his post and get service members killed in the process – he deserves no mercy.

What do you think? Let me know at davegcampbell@aol.com

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1 comment
LarryBaca: 1 month, 1 week ago

Dave, I usually agree with you 100% on stuff you write but on this one, I think you might be off a bit on the parents role and the whole Bergdahl thing here. I understand the father decided to let his beard grow until his son was freed. Just because it makes him look like a Taliban doesn't make him one and surely he wouldn't support the very people who have his son captive. As for whether Bergdahl is a traitor, that hasn't been proven one way or the other. That will be decided in due time. The bottom line is, we don't leave one of our guys behind. We sent him there, we should try to get him back. As for his promotions, the military law says if a soldier is held captive, his promotions are automatic. We also don't know if anyone was killed on actual search missions, everything I have read was people died on missions in which searching for him was part of the mission, not the entire purpose of the missions. As for some not fitting in the military, that was common during my service during Vietnam. Lots of guys just couldn't adjust, draftees and voluntarily enlisted.
You probably seen my take on this, coincidentally, my letter was right under your piece.
The rest of your take was spot on as usual, keep up the good work. Wish you were still a featured columnist, guess you were too liberal for Wyatt.. :-)




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