I was listening to a debate between Bill O'Reilly and Charles Krauthammer last night as they discussed Bowe Bergdahl's pending trial and the deal the Obama administration made to get him back.
O'Reilly started off well. He said the deal made by the Obama administration, five Taliban commanders for one (alleged) deserter was far too great a price for the US to pay. I absolutely agree. Returning five of the enemy's top leaders who will, in all likelihood, return to the battlefield and kill Americans, in exchange for one soldier whom was known to have deserted his post and, if convicted, can be executed for it according to the UCMJ, was a bogus deal in favor of the enemy. (Much like the disastrous nuclear deal Kerry is putting together with Iran where Iran gets everything they want and we get nothing in return.)
O'Reilly went on to say that Bergdahl, regardless of how we got him back, should face court martial for the charges leveled against him - desertion and misconduct before the enemy. So far - so good. But the Bill left common sense behind and went out on his own. O'Reilly said Bergdahl has suffered enough and that if he's convicted he should merely be give a dishonorable discharge. Period.
Krauthammer, on the other hand, surprised in the opposite way. Krauthammer said it is so important to bring home soldiers that are overseas fighting for the USA that any deal would have been OK with him. In fact, he said he himself would have made the same deal as Obama if he was President.
Charles Krauthammer, as brilliant as he is, is apparently like some of the liberals out there who have convinced themselves that Bergdahl was still "fighting for the USA" and that "every soldier should be returned from the battlefield."
While the second part of that is true - every soldier should be returned from the battlefield - Bowe Bergdahl wasn't on the battlefield. Bowe Bergdahl abandoned his platoon and walked away seeking the enemy. Once he found them it seems he changed his mind about what he wanted. Bergdahl wasn't returned home from the battlefield. He was returned home from captivity by the enemy he sought out. He wasn't even a POW because he wasn't captured in battle. He went looking for them after he deserted.
Surprisingly, Krauthammer returned to his senses when it came to Bergdahl's punishment. He said Bergdahl should absolutely be prosecuted and, if convicted, should at least serve prison time. Good for you, Charles. but you're completely wrong about the deal.
It's obvious, even if I didn't already know it, that neither of these fine gentlemen ever served in the military. Veterans don't take too kindly to deserters, particularly in time of war. I don't know if Bergdahl is a coward or if he left for some other reason. His fellow platoon members have never said he is a coward - just a deserter. And his letters home didn't express cowardice - only disenchantment with his situation. From all accounts he left because he was simply unhappy.
As I stated yesterday - Bowe Bergdahl should be prosecuted to the full extent of the UCMJ. If found guilty he should serve a lengthy prison sentence - at the very least. As for the deal made by the Obama administration - that cannot be changed. And given his performance so far, I shudder to think what the final deal with Iran might be.