WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban prisoners: Justifiable?

To hear Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel tell it, it was both defensible and humanitarian:

The very life of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was in jeopardy.

To hear the critics tell it, the Obama Administration conceded a lot - giving up "the hardest of the hard-core", as Senator John McCain put it - for the freedom of a probable deserter. Never mind the precedent.



Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's parents suggested their son may have to relearn English. But Bergdahl's release - particularly under the circumstances - reopens old wounds among some retired military.

From The DAILY MAIL On Line...


Counter-terrorism / counter-insurgency expert Dr. Sebastian Gorka, just appointed to the Major General Horner Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University, and National Security Affairs Editor for Breitbart.com, questions the circumstances of Sgt. Bergdahl original capture; notes his dad wears a full beard typical of fundamentalist Salafi Muslims (I would say also the same as ZZ Top band members!); and raises the precedent of negotiating with terrorists...


Posted at 8:57am on June 2, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mon, Jun 2, 2014 11:25am
I thought the U.S. never negotiated with terrorists...guess it's OK for this president to "go rogue" if it distracts from the VA scandal? Is this yet another case of politics trumping U.S. foreign policy?

I also read an interesting story at The Daily Beast (which I've linked below)...in that article they say Bergdahl was a Private but he's called a Sergeant in most other new stories...do you know which is true?


Mon, Jun 2, 2014 11:28am
...and thank you Mr. Loudell for citing Breitbart news in your post.

Allan Loudell
Mon, Jun 2, 2014 11:51am
A listener forwarded a Department of Defense release to me dated June 16th, 2011:


"The Army announced today the promotion of a soldier listed as Missing-Captured while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom to the rank of sergeant effective June 12, 2011.

Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 25, is assigned to 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

This is Bergdahl's second promotion since he was listed as Missing--Captured on June 30, 2009. He was promoted to the rank of specialist on June 12, 2010.

For more information on the soldier, media may contact Col. Timothy Marsano..."


Of course, in view of the confusion regarding the circumstances of Bergdahl apparently leaving his unit, these promotions are all very curious indeed.

But the listener who forwarded this indicated that promotions of POWs/MIAs were common during the Vietnam War. But even if the circumstances involved were questionable?

Mon, Jun 2, 2014 1:24pm
Mr. Earl is so full of it... The Breitbart article does nothing but ask questions... Six I believe....
What if?
What if?
What if?
What if?
What if?
What if?

Anyone can ask questions.., One should note as well, that the person who was SPANKED by this commander in chief in 2008, very rarely has anything good to say about that person who humiliated him and his party during that election by being right, when conservatives could do nothing right. Just look at their Vice Presidential pick that year....

Furthermore, Earl opens with the most ridiculous statement I think I have ever seen on this blog...

"I thought the U.S. never negotiated with their terrorists"... He seems to have forgotten Ronald Reagan's deal of 1500 missiles for Iran's hostages. He conveniently dismisses America's exchanges made with N. Vietnam, and our swaps made with Communist China and the Soviet Union back when we traded spy for spy... If anyone should be held a terrorist, I would think it should be Stalin with his infamous Gulag's. We dealt with him all the time.

Exchange of prisoners has always been a part of war. It is pretty silly to think that if we want a prisoner back, we can pay for it with some inconsequential kid we picked up on patrol. Of course in bargaining, they will want their most senior officials. McCain should know this. He was an admiral's son imprisoned by his captors.... and actually made the point of refusing to go along with his captors in order to get leniency... He knows how negotiations work.

What is sad, is that the filth of Breitbart and Conservatives like McCain will use American serviceman to score political points on some FOX scoreboard, against the Obama administration.

These are the sickest of the sick. An American service man is returning home. Figures Conservatives would find a way to drag his name thought the mud.... I mean, who does that?

Really sick people.

Mon, Jun 2, 2014 1:41pm
kavips: Are you trying to say you don't like Breitbart very much! LOL.

Did you bother to read the article I posted from TheDailyBeast? That story tells of the last soldier in recent U.S. history who deserted his unit...and what happened to him. No major enemies were released to secure his release and he was prosecuted for desertion.

Bergdahl was not the first American soldier in modern history to walk away blindly...an American sergeant defected to North Korea in 1965. Charles Robert Jenkins later admitted that he was terrified of being sent to Vietnam, so he got drunk and wandered off on a patrol. He was finally released in 2004, after almost 40 hellish years of brutal internment. The Army court-martialed him, sentencing him to 30 days' confinement and a dishonorable discharge. He now lives peacefully with his wife in Japan—they met in captivity in North Korea, where they were both forced to teach foreign languages to DPRK agents. His desertion barely warranted a comment, but he was not hailed as a hero. He was met with sympathy and humanity, and he was allowed to live his life, but he had to answer for what he did.

Tue, Jun 3, 2014 10:17am
I wonder if Obama was forward-thinking enough to include a clause in the release agreement for Al-Qaeda to not attack American soil until after the next Republican president assumes office.

Man, that would be a BONANZA for the Democrats!

Tue, Jun 3, 2014 3:13pm
Right now it appears insane to release the 5 in trade for a U.S. Army defector...unless these 5 are droned in the near future. IF 0bama does that, he IMHO will look like a hero/genius/bada$$.

Tue, Jun 3, 2014 5:30pm
When hostilities end this year, as in when we pull out of Afghanistan leaving only 9000, we will be releasing and returning all the prisoners at Git-mo... That is what happens at the end of wars.

At least we got something for 5.

Tue, Jun 3, 2014 8:37pm
Except Gitmo holds war criminals/terrorists who are supposed to face military trials for their war crimes...instead they have been freed to return as heroes.

"We" got a defector for five top terrorist commanders? Not a very good deal.

Tue, Jun 3, 2014 8:47pm

Like I said before...this is pure politics.

Wed, Jun 4, 2014 10:49am
For those who say the Gitmo 5 pose no danger in the future...did you know one of the main suspects responsible for the Benghazi attack was (surprise) a former Gitmo prisoner? Bush released him in 2007...

Abu Sufian bin Qumu was released from the U.S. prison in Cuba in 2007, sent to Libya, where he was detained, and then was released in 2008, according to the newspaper. He now leads a group called Ansar al-Sharia in Darnah, Libya.


Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 4, 2014 10:57am
EarlGrey: So the plot thickens. Interesting info. Kind of interesting timing the mastermind of Benghazi is released as Hillary says, what difference does it make? I'd say it makes a difference.

Wed, Jun 4, 2014 6:42pm
The only reason this is a story is because Benghazi was going nowhere. Has anyone said anything about Benghazi since this broke? No? Obviously because nothing was ever there. They now have another smoke screen to hide behind, and this one too, will turn out just like Benghazi, ... nothing there....

It is sad... If we had a Democrat house, and Democrat senate and a Democrat president... There would be no controversy. Like Benghazi, the only reason we are hearing about this is because there is nothing else to bash Obama on...

Can't bash him on taxes.... Higher taxes are working.
Can't bash him on big government.... His is the smallest government in decades.
Can't bash him on stifling free enterprise... Business is doing well.. (so far)...
Can't bash him on being soft on the enemy.. This dude is an animal.

In fact the only thing you can bash Obama on... are liberal things... that should have but didn't happen. And no Republican is going to stick his neck out to be super progressive.

So instead we are talking about one person, who has no data trail, so every single person's speculation is just as valid as anyone else's... This is talk for talks sake...

It does nothing. It is like Whitewater... Something that may have or may not have happened way back in the past, and if you like the person, things are so vague you can believe in them, and if you don't like the person, things are so vague you can believe in them too... And so nothing substantial gets aired because this nothingness takes up all the air time....

Fortunately that doesn't happen on news at noon ... Great piece on Russia btw.... What a great source!...

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 4, 2014 9:29pm
Kavips: You & Mrpizza have one thing in common; you'd never admit Obama or the DEMS ever do anything wrong, just as Mrpizza would never admit Bush Jr. or the G.O.P. ever did anything wrong.

Obama apparently was supposed to notify Congress of this trade beforehand, so members of Congress would have input. Letting these masterminds of terrorism out so they could do more terrorism seems very shortsighted. I understand trying to get this American soldier back but 5-1!!! Obama was hoping for a positive news story to make him look Presidential. This wasn't the right story. This guy isn't a hero; he appears to be a deserter.

Obama made a poor choice, sadly, it appears for political reasons.

Wed, Jun 4, 2014 10:14pm
Mike: Well said on all points/comments above.

Thu, Jun 5, 2014 6:39am
Is the American soldier a deserter? If so, now we can prosecute him. Were the exchanged Gitmo prisoners actually high-ranking Taliban, or just people picked up on the battlefield or sold for a bounty? Who knows?

Funny how the same people who say you can't trust the government when they talk about climate change, believe everything they say about these prisoners being terrorists.

Thu, Jun 5, 2014 9:39am
dunmore: I'm not trusting the government for the information about Private Bergdahl or the information about the Taliban 5.

I do trust the men who were in his Army unit and tell of his desertion, and I do trust the U.K. news reports that document just what the five Taliban commanders did before they were captured and placed in Gitmo.

If I trusted the government's story, I would believe that Sgt. Berghdal was a hero and the five Gitmo prisoners were low-level terrorist wannabees.

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