FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his Army base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban for five years, received no prison time for desertion or endangering troops, but was ordered by a military judge on Friday to be dishonorably discharged from the Army.
The sentencing took only minutes in a case where prosecutors had sought 14 years in a military prison.
The military judge, Col. Jeffery R. Nance of the Army, also reduced Sergeant Bergdahl’s rank to private and required him to forfeit $1,000 a month of his pay for 10 months.
President Trump, who has labeled Sergeant Bergdahl a “dirty rotten traitor,” called Friday’s sentence “a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military.”…
…Sergeant Bergdahl’s chief defense lawyer, Eugene R. Fidell, called the sentence “a tremendous relief” and said his client was still absorbing it.
Standing outside the military courthouse here, Mr. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, then took sharp aim at the commander in chief.
“President Trump’s unprincipled effort to stoke a lynch-mob atmosphere while seeking our nation’s highest office has cast a dark cloud over the case,” he said. “Every American should be offended by his assault on the fair administration of justice and disdain for basic constitutional rights.”
Even though the defense had told the judge that a dishonorable discharge would be appropriate, Mr. Fidell said he hoped that it would be overturned. He noted that such a discharge would deprive his client of health care services and other “benefits he badly needs” from the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
This punishment does not fit the crime.
Bowe Bergdahl took it upon himself to abandon his post and walk out of the gate, supposedly to draw “awareness” in some horseshit plan in which the command would be forced to look at some great wrongdoing supposedly occurring in the unit or something. I know, it sounds insane, but that is what he ALLEGEDLY thought. I’m still on the fence whether I even believe that or not, but everyone can agree that dude bailed on his comrades in a war zone. That alone should mean prison time. The whole logic of his story of walking off base so he could get an audience with a general doesn’t even make sense. If you decide you aren’t going to fight or do your job anymore in a combat theater, fine. Then you go to your command, tell them you are refusing to perform your duties and be a conscientious objector or whatever, and you take your lumps. Believe me, the command is going to be aware of you and whatever whacky conspiracy theory you want to put on their desk.
There were direct consequences to Bergdahl leaving. His absence resulted in a DUSTWUN alert and a huge commitment of resources specifically tasked with locating his dumb ass:
When then-Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl walked off his outpost in Afghanistan’s Paktika Province in June 2009, he told screenwriter Mark Boal in an interview excerpted in Sarah Koenig’s popular podcast “Serial,” he expected his disappearance to set off alarm bells throughout the military. That, by Bergdahl’s account, was the point, or at least part of it: leaving would put everyone from the Army and Marine Corps to the Navy and CIA on “alert,” he told Boal, giving him a platform to voice discontent when he reappeared.
The response to Bergdahl’s actions went far beyond a general “alert,” however. In keeping with the military’s standard—and overwhelming—response to what it calls “DUSTWUN” incidents (for “duty status whereabouts unknown”), Paktika was quickly flooded with troops and surveillance resources, and the normal operations of Bergdahl’s 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment upended.”
The punditry is engaging with dumb arguments about whether men were SPECIFICALLY killed or wounded looking for Bergdahl. Frankly, it t shouldn’t even matter when it comes to the punishment, and we can argue back and forth about if particular missions were specifically tasked with rescuing Bergdahl or not. But there is no doubt that lives were changed through his stupidity. There was SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer James Hatch, whose 26 year career in the SEAL teams was brought to an end after his leg was destroyed in a firefight while searching for Bergdahl. He testified about his experience during the sentencing, which apparently went in one ear and out the other of Colonel Jeffrey Nance, the dopey judge:
Nine days after Bergdahl’s 2009 disappearance, Hatch led a team with two helicopters on a mission into Afghanistan’s Paktika province. He said the team was taking heavy fire even before they landed…
…Hatch was then shot in his right leg, just above the knee. He described screaming in pain and worrying that he was endangering fellow troops. “I really thought I was going to die,” he said. The Navy SEAL was then airlifted out.
“Everyone on that mission was aware [Bergdahl] walked off,” Hatch said. When asked why they went after him, Hatch responded: “Because he’s an American.”
Even more tragic was the case of Sgt First Class Mark Allen, who was shot in the head while searching for Bergdahl, and is paralyzed for life and can’t even speak. His wife, Shannon Allen, now has a lifetime of tending to her husband’s many health issues that are a direct result of Berghdahl’s actions:
Sergeant Allen, a national guardsman from Georgia, had part of his brain removed during surgery, and is now unable to speak, walk, or take care of himself. His wife has said little publicly, but in a Facebook post after Sergeant Bergdahl was freed, she blamed him for causing her husband’s incapacitation.
“Instead of being his wife, I have become his caregiver,” Ms. Allen testified on Monday.”
Army Master Sergeant Mark Allen will live out the rest of his life in a wheelchair. He was shot in the head by Taliban looking for B.B. pic.twitter.com/KG2WFDHLUg
— Cody Beaudreau (@cody_beaudreau) November 4, 2017
A popular talking point I’ve seen among Bergdahl’s defenders is, “Look, he spent five years in a cage, getting beaten by pipes and force to clean his own shit from his fingers just to be able to eat.” Yes, and I’m sure that horrendous sexual abuse was involved as well. But all of that was his own fault and his own creation. Bergdahl suffered greatly because he made an infantile, absurdly stupid decision. He has paid the price for his own stupid decisions. But now should have been the time to pay The Man. And that didn’t happen, because this buffoonish Social Justice Warrior military judge chose to ignore decades and decades of military case-law.
Things like dereliction of duty, misbehavior before the enemy, duty, honor, country, and all that were apparently just silly words on paper to Nance. Instead, because he hated that Trump sent a tweet, he brushed all of it aside and gave what amounted to a slap on the wrist. I mean, a Marine Corps General was just given 21 days of confinement because he wouldn’t listen to a judge. But Bergdahl walks away with no jail time on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in war-time? It’s stunning, ridiculous, and absurd. Bergdahl’s lawyer keeps pushing this theory of “undue command influence” because Trump sent a tweet, which should have been laughed out of court. Instead, Nance obviously took this into account.
When former Army Ranger Tim and I were discussing this on the podcast on Friday, I was actually trying to come from a place of compassion, because as all of you know, I’m Mr. Compassion. And the thought occurred to me that SJW judge Nance wasn’t actually doing Bergdahl any favors. See, if he had received some sort of confinement, he would then at least have some access to health care, especially of the mental health variety, which he will badly need. Now? He’s saddled with a dishonorable discharge, which prevents him from receiving any sort of health benefits. So he’s basically cut loose to the world with a shamed name, and will be Persona Non Grata to the entire military community forever. Perhaps if he had received a proper measure of military justice, in time, his sins could be forgiven. Instead, the vast majority of the military community will see this rightly as a case in which a clearly guilty party skated on serious charges. If this judge had half a brain and thought this through, perhaps he would have realized that. Instead, he’s actually hurting the guy even further.
Not content with this unbelievably light sentence, Bergdahl’s lawyer is going to keep pushing. Not only does he think Bergdahl should be honored with a purple heart and POW medal, he intends to challenge even this joke of a sentence. Look at that quote up above about the defense saying a dishonorable discharge was appropriate. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Fidell could tell he was dealing with a sympathetic judge, and planned accordingly. OF COURSE the defense is satisfied with a Dishonorable Discharge, said the shyster lawyers, who, in all likelihood, knew that once this sentence was handed down, they would immediately appeal even this minimal punishment. I’m gonna go ahead and call this one right now: Somewhere down the line of the appeal process, Berghdahl’s inability to revive VA benefits will be overturned. Mark it down. I still can’t get past the fact that Bergdahl’s lawyer is a law professor at Yale. Trying to find out who paid for all of this, I came across this nugget buried in a story from 2014:
Fidell, who will work pro bono, said Wednesday that he was flattered to have been approached to represent Bergdahl, though he would not give details.”
Who approached Fidell? Bergdahl had military lawyers assigned to him, as does every other service member who has been charged with a serious crime. Why does this particular case merit involvement from an obviously sympathetic prominent Yale Law school lawyer, who was previously known mostly for trying to get Guantanamo Bay detainees better lawyers and thinks that Chelsea Manning is an incredible patriot and not an insufferable, egotistical, pompous dunce.
Bowe Bergdahl would have been better off getting some jail time, even a short sentence, even if only as a symbol of penitence and punishment. Instead, he will now be seen as someone who escaped justice, and whose actions were cowardly, stupid, and shameful. People, by nature, have a tendency to forgive once they have seen that proportional punishment has been meted out and justice served. Since neither of those things happened, Bergdahl will now be a pariah and forced to carry the burden of his shame for the rest of his life.
— BK (@BKactual) November 4, 2017
WASHINGTON — Two collisions between Navy destroyers and commercial vessels in the Western Pacific earlier this year were “avoidable” and the result of a string of crew and basic navigational errors, the Navy’s top officer said in reports made public on Wednesday.
In two harrowing reports that told of missed warnings, chains of errors and frantic American sailors fighting to save their fellow shipmates, the Navy determined that both fatal collisions could have been prevented. Seven sailors were killed in June when the destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a container ship near Japan. The collision in August of the John S. McCain — another destroyer, one named after Senator John McCain’s father and grandfather — and an oil tanker while approaching Singapore left 10 sailors dead.
In the case of the Fitzgerald, the Navy determined in its latest reports that the crew and leadership on board failed to plan for safety, to adhere to sound navigation practices, to carry out basic watch practices and to respond effectively in a crisis.
“Many of the decisions made that led to this incident were the result of poor judgment and decision making of the commanding officer,” the report concluded. “The crew was unprepared for the situation in which they found themselves through a lack of preparation, ineffective command and control, and deficiencies in training and preparations for navigation.”
One lucky motorcyclist. pic.twitter.com/fjmn4qYOgf
— Caught on CCTV 🔞 (@CaughtCctv) November 5, 2017
A Pennsylvania State University-Brandywine professor criticized her students’ belief in “meritocracy” and “hard work” in an academic article published Thursday.
Angela Putman, who teaches public speaking at Penn State-Brandywine, designed a comprehensive three-day seminar on “white privilege” for her students, then interviewed 12 attendees on their belief in meritocracy and equal opportunity.
To her dismay, Putman discovered that these “whiteness ideologies” were widely endorsed by students, many of whom agreed that “if I work hard, I can be successful” and that “everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve success.”
Dismissing meritocracy as a mere social construct, Putman argues that students “are socialized to believe that we got to where we are… because of our own individual efforts,” especially in classroom settings.
“Thus, whiteness ideologies may be reproduced through a general acceptance and unchallenging of norms, as well as through everyday discourse from a wide variety of racial positionalities,” she adds.”
Drunk Miami fan slaps a cop. 😳 pic.twitter.com/JQN3L1mj2h
— COP VIDEOS (@Copvids911) November 5, 2017
A military medical team is making progress against a bacterial outbreak at the Marine Corps’ boot camp in San Diego.
Officials announced Friday afternoon that 69 troops at both Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the boot camp’s training facilities at Edson Range at Camp Pendleton are being treated for symptoms linked to bacterial exposure.
That’s down from 302 cases reported on Halloween, with 14 new patients. The vast majority of the more than 5,500 recruits at the depot have not been affected by the outbreak and their training continues, officials said…
…Most of the patients appear to be suffering from Shiga toxin-producing E.coli bacteria, with the primary symptom of acute diarrhea…
…Symptoms typically include painful stomach cramps, diarrhea that can become bloody, a mild fever and vomiting.While most victims recover within a week, some infections can threaten lives…
…The Marines report that 17 recruits are being treated at undisclosed off-base hospitals, up from 10 patients on Tuesday. Nine of those patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome and the Marines termed that “a very serious concern.”…
…The cause of the outbreak remains a mystery but Navy investigators continue to search for the source of the exposure. The strain of bacteria can be found in common areas, food, water and the intestines of people and animals.”
THIS SHITS SO DISRESPECTFUL LMAO pic.twitter.com/mVEPRoNMUy
— NO CHILL 🚫 (@NoChillPosts) November 4, 2017
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A third Muslim military recruit has been added to the list of alleged victims of a Marine Corps drill instructor accused of terrorizing and abusing young men under his care.
During their opening statements at his court-martial here Tuesday, military prosecutors said Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix put two Muslim recruits inside an industrial clothes dryer at the Marines’ storied recruit training facility in Parris Island, S.C. — starting it in one case. He’s also accused of repeatedly slapping another Muslim recruit seconds before the young man jumped three stories to his death.
Felix is charged with cruelty and maltreatment, obstruction of justice, drunk and disorderly conduct and failure to obey a general order. He has pleaded not guilty.
Twenty Marine drill instructors were swept up this year in a broad investigation into claims of hazing and physical abuse targeting recruits at Parris Island, which the tradition-obsessed Marines consider hallowed ground. The scandal shocked the military community and appalled those in Congress with oversight of the armed forces. Several of those instructors face court-martial. One was already acquitted.
Prosecutors say Felix called all three Muslim recruits “terrorists” and insulted their religion during whiskey-fueled tirades in July 2015 and March 2016. The new charges concern the alleged abuse of Rekan Hawez. The Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) learned of the incident while questioning members of Felix’s platoon, said Capt. Joshua Pena, a Marine Corps spokesman. Hawez told investigators the drill instructor put him in a dryer but did not turn it on.”
retweet if this is NOT your QBpic.twitter.com/Iujbh5ga2Q
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) November 5, 2017
Sen. Rand Paul was “blindsided” and suffered a minor injury when he was allegedly tackled by a neighbor at his home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, police and a Paul spokesperson said Saturday.
Rene Boucher, 59, of Bowling Green, was charged with one count of fourth-degree assault in the incident, which occurred at about 3:20 p.m. local time Friday, Kentucky State Police said.
“Senator Rand Paul was blindsided and the victim of an assault,” Kelsey Cooper, Paul’s Kentucky communications director, said in a statement. “The assailant was arrested, and it is now a matter for the police. Senator Paul is fine.”
After Paul reported the assault, the Warren County Attorney’s Office issued an arrest warrant and a trooper arrested Boucher soon after, police said.
Boucher remained held Saturday in the Warren County Regional Jail.
A criminal complaint says that Paul “told police that his neighbor came onto his property and tackled him from behind, forcing him to the ground and causing pain.”
CHANDLER, AZ – A Valley man is accused of attacking his parents inside and outside their Chandler home.
According to Chandler police, on October 27, James Anthony McPherson, 28, came into the kitchen naked and sat down at the table. His mother left the room and soon heard sounds of arguing and things being broken.
Authorities say the argument turned physical when McPherson followed his father into the bedroom. His mother left the house but was caught in the garage and brought back into the home.”
McPherson stood in the doorway refusing to let them leave. Police reports indicate McPherson knocked his father to the ground and smashed his head on the kitchen floor. His mother managed to escape and make it to a neighbor’s house but was caught before she could ring the doorbell. McPherson dragged his mother back to the house, pushed her on the floor and held her there.
Reports indicate McPherson then attacked his father with a Swiffer Wet Jet, striking him in the eye, and causing him to bleed…
…McPherson was arrested the next day and reportedly told police that he remembered the fight, but not the details, saying he had been drinking. Police say they found an empty whiskey bottle in his room and the house.”