The only surprise in this is not that the evidence supported charging the little crapweasel with desertion, but that anybody in the Administration, dedicated as it is to “different spanks for different ranks,” was willing to sign off on the charges.
You may recall that in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Hillary Clinton (during the initial Taliban negotiations, Secretary of State), said that desertion or not, honorable service or not, it didn’t matter.
CLINTON: [O]ne of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can. It doesn’t matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation.
SAWYER (in disbelief): It doesn’t matter?
CLINTON (dismissively): It doesn’t matter.
(Hat tip, Paul Bedard). Of course, given Hillary!’s long-standing disinterest in and contempt for military and foreign service personnel, that shouldn’t be a shocker. (“What difference does it make?”). Stumblebum National Security Advisor Susan Rice, fully briefed on Bergdahl’s betrayal of his mates, pronounced at the time of the swap that he, we are not making this up, “served the United States with honor and distinction.” (We admit, Rice may be using herself as a yardstick, which sets the bar limbo-low). And the President, in words similar enough to Clinton’s to suggest deliberate messaging, said that he had “absolutely no apologies” for trading the Taliban bigs for the defector. “[W]e don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to get someone back,” on whether the individual was a hostage, a prisoner or, as in Bergdahl’s case, a deserter.
There’s a certain logic to this: their actions make clear that Obama, Clinton and Rice (not to mention junior player in this fiasco, former SecDef Chuck Hagel) don’t view a traitor any differently from any other soldier: even one like Bergdahl who got his buddies killed. In fact, they may prefer the turncoat.
Who Did We Lose for this Putz?
A former soldier who was there when Bergdahl went over the wall breaks it down at, of all places, the generally pro-Administration Daily Beast. Nathan Bethea remembers a friend’s desperate battle against insurgents who seemed to come from nowhere:
[T]he attack would not have happened had his company received its normal complement of intelligence aircraft: drones, planes, and the like. Instead, every intelligence aircraft available in theater had received new instructions: find Bergdahl. My friend blames Bergdahl for his soldiers’ deaths. I know that he is not alone, and that this was not the only instance of it. His soldiers’ names were Private First Class Aaron Fairbairn and Private First Class Justin Casillas.
Not all the casualties were so indirect. Bethea lists six more who actually died looking for the deserting crapweasel.
Though the 2009 Afghan presidential election slowed the search for Bergdahl, it did not stop it. Our battalion suffered six fatalities in a three-week period. On August 18, an IED killed Private First Class Morris Walker and Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen during a reconnaissance mission. On August 26, while conducting a search for a Taliban shadow sub-governor supposedly affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss was shot in the face and killed. On September 4, during a patrol to a village near the area in which Bergdahl vanished, an insurgent ambush killed Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews and gravely wounded Private First Class Matthew Martinek, who died of his wounds a week later. On September 5, while conducting a foot movement toward a village also thought affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey stepped on an improvised land mine. He died the next day.
Inside the Beltway, that list of names draws a shrug. Those names were mere enlisted swine and expendable junior officers, the sort of people who exist to serve, and to be disposed of, by the Beltway version of Burke’s Peerage.
Who Did We Swap for this Putz?
The five Taliban leaders released for Bergdahl have all returned to war against the USA, one way or another. They’re quite a rogue’s gallery of bad actors, the Weekly Standard’s Thomas Joscelyn called them “Five of the Most Dangerous,” which may be exaggeration, but not by much. Several of them were wanted by the UN for war crimes, but this decision effectively amnestied them. They are:
Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa. Why do many Afghans have only one name? Is it because this weasel snapped up five? He’s not funny, though. This fine glowering face was the Ministry of the Interior for the Taliban, was a member since 1994, and was responsible for the secret police. He gave orders for the ethnic cleansing and massacres of Hazara people in central Bamiyan province, in part to get rid of the Hazaras, hated on religious and racial (the TB are Deobandi Sunni, mostly white, and the Hazaras Shia, mostly Asian).
Mullah Mohammad Fazl. This scowl just shouts “gentle man of God,” doesn’t it? Well, maybe if your god is allah, and your sacraments are mass murder, slavery, and female genital mutilation, it does. He was a senior Taliban commander — some documents suggest Chief of Staff — and was responsible for integrating Al-Qaeda, Chechen, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and other international terrorists into the Taliban fight against the Northern Alliance and, then, against the US-Afghan-led coalition. He also commanded mass murders of Uzbeks and other ethnic minorities before his capture in 2001.
Mullah Norullah Nori is another mass murderer, in his case of Uzbeks and Hazaras from his post as emir of north-central Balkh Province. There were few Pashtuns in Balkh, so Nori offered local Tajik leaders the Dari equivalent of plata o plomo; he got enough takers that he was able to use his mostly Tajik militia leaders and sub-mullahs to do the dirty work of exterminating entire villages, and driving others into exile (the Hazaras to Iran or to Bamian city where the local Hazara warlord, Khalili, was strong enough to protect them; the Uzbeks to Northern Alliance territory. Nori was taken alive by Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, and handed over to the SF team accompanying him in late 2011.
Mohammad Nabi Omari ran the Taliban ratline through the Khyber Pass that funneled their top leaders out of harm’s way and into the safe hands of Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, a Taliban sponsor from the movement’s earliest days. It is believed that he was instrumental in the escape of Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden from Afghanistan into Pakistan, where both were able to plot further terrorism under the benevolent overwatch of the Pakistani service. Omari, though, waited too long to put himself through the ratline, and fell into American hands. Until his fortune fell into the hands of Americans who value the esteem of jihadis over the lives of their own servicemen — lucky for him.
Abdul Haq Wasiq was one of the top men in the Taliban’s intelligence service, astride a Golgotha of torture and murder. He had a comprehensive knowledge of and involvement in Taliban/Al-Qaeda relations. Like many Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees, he was able to maintain communications with both organizations while in Guantanamo through his attorneys, supplied by the pseudo-pro-bono terrorist bar. (The attorneys are actually compensated indirectly by Gulf terror sponsors for wink-and-nod “legal work”).
Now we find ourselves waiting for a court-martial of a guy who gave his best shot at changing sides, only to find his best shot wasn’t good enough to do more than irritate anybody — except, of course, for the eight-plus men who died because of his betrayal. The whole clown circus will be assembling in the center ring soon. Look for the pro bono lawyers, driven by terror-financier cash under the table, or by simple self-aggrandizement. There will be camera-hounds, and cameras aplenty for them to hound. There will be TV “journalists,” blow-dried coifs over empty skulls, wondering If The Boy Hasn’t Suffered Enough. And worst of all, this craven bugout will not be facing the honest end that Eddie Slovik earned in WWII. They’ve already promised not to execute him, no matter what.
Gee, how humanitarian.
There’s a probably bogus statistic rolling around, that says that 22 GWOT veterans kill themselves every day, week, fortnight, or some other interval. It’s probably a bogus statistic, derived by the usual media mathematic method of anal extraction, but there are some veterans who do off themselves.
What a crying shame that Bergdahl couldn’t be one.