Front Page
NMJ Search
Editorials
Commentary
Archive
NMJ Radio
Constitutional Literacy
Islamofascism
Progressivism
Books
NMJ Shop
Links, Etc...
Facebook
Twitter
Site Information
About Us
Contact Us
  US Senate
  US House
  Anti-Google






Archive Email Author

About Ralph Peters
Ralph Peters is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel specializing in intelligence and author. He is a military-reform advocate and a journalist who has covered multiple conflicts; a traveler and researcher with experience in over 70 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including a range of works on security matters as well as bestselling and prize-winning novels. http://tinyurl.com/l84v7ol
Social Bookmarking
Print this page.
Why Team Obama Was Blindsided
by the Bergdahl Backlash

Ralph Peters
June 4, 2014
Congratulations, Mr. President! And identical congrats to your sorcerer's apprentice, National Security Adviser Susan Rice. By trying to sell him as an American hero, you've turned a deserter already despised by soldiers in the know into quite possibly the most-hated individual soldier in the history of our military.

I have never witnessed such outrage from our troops.

Exhibit A: Ms. Rice. In one of the most tone-deaf statements in White House history (we're making a lot of history here), the national-security advisor, on a Sunday talk show, described Bergdahl as having served "with honor and distinction." Those serving in uniform and those of us who served previously were already stirred up, but that jaw-dropper drove us into jihad mode.

But pity Ms. Rice. Like the president she serves, she's a victim of her class. Nobody in the inner circle of Team Obama has served in uniform. It shows. That bit about serving with "honor and distinction" is the sort of perfunctory catch-phrase politicians briefly don as electoral armor. ("At this point in your speech, ma'am, devote one sentence to how much you honor the troops.")

I actually believe that Ms. Rice was kind of sincere, in her spectacularly oblivious way. In the best Manchurian Candidate manner, she said what she had been programmed to say by her political culture, then she was blindsided by the firestorm she ignited by scratching two flinty words together. At least she didn't blame Bergdahl's desertion on a video.

The president, too, appears stunned. He has so little understanding of (or interest in) the values and traditions of our troops that he and his advisers really believed that those in uniform would erupt into public joy at the news of Bergdahl's release -- as D.C. frat kids did when Osama bin Laden's death was trumpeted.

Both President Obama and Ms. Rice seem to think that the crime of desertion in wartime is kind of like skipping class. They have no idea of how great a sin desertion in the face of the enemy is to those in our military. The only worse sin is to side actively with the enemy and kill your brothers in arms. This is not sleeping in on Monday morning and ducking Gender Studies 101.

But compassion, please! The president and all the president's men and women are not alone. Our media elite -- where it's a rare bird who bothered to serve in uniform -- instantly became experts on military justice. Of earnest mien and blithe assumption, one talking head after another announced that "we always try to rescue our troops, even deserters."

Uh, no. "Save the deserter" is a recent battle cry of the politically indoctrinated brass. For much of our history, we did make some efforts to track down deserters in wartime. Then we shot or hanged them. Or, if we were in good spirits, we merely used a branding iron to burn a large D into their cheeks or foreheads. Even as we grew more enlightened, desertion brought serious time in a military prison. At hard labor.

This is a fundamental culture clash. Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans "so dumb" they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don't necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle -- the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)

President Obama did this to himself (and to Bergdahl). This beautifully educated man, who never tires of letting us know how much smarter he is than the rest of us, never stopped to consider that our troops and their families might have been offended by their commander-in-chief staging a love-fest at the White House to celebrate trading five top terrorists for one deserter and featuring not the families of those soldiers (at least six of them) who died in the efforts to find and free Bergdahl, but, instead, giving a starring role on the international stage to Pa Taliban, parent of a deserter and a creature of dubious sympathies (that beard on pops ain't a tribute to ZZ Top). How do you say "outrageous insult to our vets" in Pashto?

Nor, during the recent VA scandal, had the president troubled himself to host the families of survivors of those vets who died awaiting care. No, the warmest attention our president has ever paid to a "military family" was to Mr. and Mrs. Bergdahl.

(I will refrain from criticism of the bumptious attempts to cool the flames of this political conflagration by Secretary Hagel: I never pick on the weak.)

What is to be done? Behind the outrage triggered by Team Obama's combination of cynicism and obliviousness (Bergdahl was so ill we had to set those terrorists free immediately, without notifying Congress, but now he's chugging power shakes in a military hospital . . . and all this just happened to come at the peak of the VA scandal . . . ), military members don't really want to lynch Bergdahl. But they want justice.

Our military leaders need to rediscover their moral courage and honor our traditions, our regulations, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. We need a fresh, unprejudiced 15-6 investigation (the military equivalent of a grand jury). We already know, as the military has known since the first 24 hours after Bergdahl abandoned his post, that sufficient evidence exists for a court-martial, but it's important to do this by the numbers.

It's hard to believe that the resulting court-martial would not find Bergdahl guilty of desertion (although there will be heavy White House pressure to reduce the charge to Absent Without Leave, or AWOL, status, a lesser offense). If he is convicted, I for one do not want him to go to prison. I'm sure he's paid and paid for betraying his comrades, quite possibly suffering brutal sexual violence. But if he is found guilty, he needs to be formally reduced to the rank of private, stripped of all privileges and entitlements (the taxpayer should not pay for a deserter's lifelong health care -- Bergdahl's book and film deals can cover that), and he should be given the appropriate prison sentence, which would then be commuted by the president. Thereafter, let Mr. Bergdahl go home and live with himself.

As for President Obama, how about just one word of thanks to the families of those fallen soldiers you sent out to find Bowe Bergdahl?

Ralph Peters is FOX News Strategic Analyst and a retired Army officer & former enlisted man.

This article was originally featured at NationalReview.com. Refer to original article for related links and important documentation.








The BasicsProject.org informational and educational pamphlet series is now available for Kindle and iPad. Click here to find out more...

The New Media Journal and BasicsProject.org are not funded by outside sources. We exist exclusively on tax deductible donations from our readers and contributors.
Please make a sustaining donation today.







Opinions expressed by contributing writers are expressly their own and may or may not represent the opinions of NewMediaJournal.us, its editorial staff, board or organization.  Reprint inquiries should be directed to the author of the article. Contact the editor for a link request to NewMediaJournal.us.  NewMediaJournal.us is not affiliated with any mainstream media organizations.  NewMediaJournal.us is not supported by any political organization.  Responsibility for the accuracy of cited content is expressly that of the contributing author. All original content offered by NewMediaJournal.us is copyrighted. NewMediaJournal.us supports BasicsProject.org and its goal: the liberation of the American voter from partisan politics and special interests in government through the primary-source, fact-based education of the American people.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance a more in-depth understanding of critical issues facing the world. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The Media Journal.us © 1998-2014    Content Copyright © Individual authors
Powered by ExpressionEngine 1.70 and M3Server