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Bowe Bergdahl To Face Court Martial For Desertion, Endangering U.S. Troops

Bowe Bergdahl

The Army announced today that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held as a prisoner of the Taliban for five years before being released as part of a deal that quickly became a point of political and legal controversy, will face a court martial on charges that include desertion and endangering his fellow soldiers, a  move that virtually guarantees that the proceedings will still be going on during the height of the Presidential campaign season:

A top Army commander on Monday ordered that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face a court-martial on charges of desertion and endangering troops stemming from his decision to leave his outpost in 2009, prompting a huge manhunt in the wilds of eastern Afghanistan and landing him in nearly five years of harsh Taliban captivity.

The decision by Gen. Robert B. Abrams, head of Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., means that Sergeant Bergdahl, 29, faces a possible life sentence, a far more serious penalty than had been recommended by the Army’s own investigating officer, who had testified that a jail sentence would be “inappropriate.”

In a terse statement after the decision, Sergeant Bergdahl’s chief defense lawyer, Eugene R. Fidell, said that General Abrams “did not follow the advice of the preliminary hearing officer who heard the witnesses.” Mr. Fidell said that the hearing officer had also previously recommended against a prison sentence.

The decision followed a recommendation from the Army lawyer who presided over Sergeant Bergdahl’s preliminary hearing in Texas in September that the sergeant face neither jail time nor a punitive discharge and that he go before an intermediate tribunal known as a “special court-martial” where the most severe penalty possible would be a year of confinement.

That recommendation, made by Lt. Col. Mark Visger, came after the Army’s investigating officer, Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, testified for the defense that prison would be “inappropriate.”

General Dahl, whose report formed the basis for the Army’s prosecution, also said that no troops died specifically searching for Sergeant Bergdahl and that no evidence was found to support claims that he intended to walk to China or India or that he was a Taliban sympathizer.

Sergeant Bergdahl, 29, was freed in May 2014 after President Obama approved trading him for five Taliban detainees who were being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The exchange drew condemnation from Republicans and widespread claims that the sergeant had been a defector and that a half-dozen or more American troops had died searching for him.

The Army originally charged Sergeant Bergdahl in March with one count of desertion that carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison and one count of endangering the troops sent to search for him, which carried a maximum of life imprisonment.

At the Texas hearing, an Army prosecutor, Maj. Margaret Kurz, described a frantic but fruitless search for Sergeant Bergdahl in the weeks after he disappeared.

“For 45 days, thousands of soldiers toiled in the heat, dirt, misery and sweat with almost no rest, little water and little food to find the accused,” Major Kurz said. “Fatigued and growing disheartened, they search for the accused knowing he left deliberately.”

The prosecution’s witnesses included Sergeant Bergdahl’s former platoon leader and company and battalion commanders, who all recounted the scramble to find the soldier after he was reported missing early on June 30, 2009.

His former platoon leader, Capt. John Billings, testified about his “utter disbelief that I couldn’t find one of my own men.”

He and the other commanders said soldiers searched almost nonstop, never knowing when the ordeal would end, while their underlying mission to support Afghan security forces fell by the wayside. The manhunt involved thousands of troops across thousands of square miles.

General Dahl described Sergeant Bergdahl as a truthful but delusional soldier, who identified with John Galt, the hero of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” and left to hike 18 miles to a larger base so he could tell a senior commander about what he felt were serious leadership problems that had placed his platoon in danger.

Another defense witness, Terrence Russell, who debriefed Sergeant Bergdahl after his release, testified that the sergeant had suffered more in captivity than any American since Vietnam, including beatings with rubber hoses and copper cables, and uncontrollable diarrhea for more than three years.

Despite the fact that Bergdahl’s release is something that many members of Congress, including many Republicans, had been pressing the Obama Administration about for years, Bergdahl’s case has been a point of political and legal controversy virtually from the moment that the news of his release became public when President Obama announced it in an appearance with Bergdahl’s parents in the White House Rose Garden.

Almost immediately, the deal that led to Bergdahl’s relase  came under fire from Congressional Republicans due both to its terms, which included the release of five Taliban prisons from the Guantanamo Bay facility, and due to the stories that quickly began to circulate which suggested that Bergdahl’s capture occurred after he had abandoned his post, and even allegations that Bergdahl had aided the enemy in some way while he was being held captive. While a story about an American returning home after five years of captivity should seemingly have been overwhelmingly positive for the Administration, but the opposite soon turned out to be the case. Indeed, problems for the Administration increased when even Democrats began to point out that the White House appeared to have violated the law by failing to inform Congress of the release of the Taliban prisoners before the release took place. In the weeks after Bergdahl’s release, the accusations that Bergdahl had deserted his post became louder as members of Bergdahl’s unit came forward to talk about what they knew about what happened both before, during, and after the time he went missing. The Army eventually cleared Bergdahl of any charges that he aided the enemy, but the investigation into whether he had deserted or committed other violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Back in March, the Army investigation recommended in its report that Bergdahl be charged,  and while one of the chief investigators recommended in September that Bergdahl not be subjected to a Court Martial, it is apparent that the General charged with evaluating the case disagrees. So, while Bergdahl is of course entitled to the same presumption of innocence as any other person charged with a crime in a civilian or military court, it’s also quite apparent that, as The Daily Beast put it, everything the Obama Administration told us about Bowe Bergdahl was wrong, and that the deal that led to his release is now likely to become even more controversial.

In terms of the case against Bergdahl himself, the maximum charge he faces is life in prison but his ultimately punishment could end up being less severe depending upon both how the jury of officers that ultimately hears Bergdahl’s case views the case and how any subsequent appeals may go assuming that he’s convicted. Given the facts as we know them, acquittal seems unlikely but Bergdahl could ultimately receive a sentence far less than life in a military prison, and indeed could even end up getting off with a sentence as relatively light as loss of rank and a dishonorable discharge. Additionally, his ultimate fate is likely to take years to determine since the process is likely to outlast the Obama Administration itself. Politically, though, these developments are likely to continue to prove to be a political headache for the President and a serious obstacle to any efforts on his part to close down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. As it was, of course, the likelihood of that happening while President Obama was in office was virtually nil thanks to bipartisan opposition to the idea that included the passage of a rider to the annual defense bill passed into law in November that made it next to impossible for the Administration to close the facility, release prisoners, or transfer prisoners to facilities on the mainland no matter how secure they might be.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    There should be a way to administratively discharge Bergdahl as a private with a general discharge. He was clearly just a bonehead rather than a coward or traitor and he paid a ridiculously huge price for his sins at the hands of his Taliban captors.

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  2. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner: I may be misunderstanding what administratively dismissing him as a private entails, but I am really uncomfortable with people evading having to admit responsibility by bypassing trials and accepting a different form of punishment.

    He doesn’t really need to be punished, but I do think he does need to be court martialed, or otherwise acknowledge his guilt before his punishment can be negated out of compassion.

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  3. Ken in NJ says:

    @James Joyner: Based on the evidence I’ve seen it’s unclear exactly what the hell he was doing. I’m more inclined towards bonehead rather than deserter, but this is one of those cases where it wouldn’t take much additional evidence to push me over the other way, soo I think there is some value to an official proceeding.

    On the other hand, I’ve always felt that the overwhelming majority of courts martial are inherently biased (no good reason really, just a personal prejudice), so I’m inclined to agree with the idea of just kick the poor bastard out and be done with it.

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  4. John430 says:

    Only life imprisonment? Damn, and I was just gonna start raising money for the bullets the firing squad could use.

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  5. Bill Lefrak says:

    That 5:1 deal Team Obama “negotiated” looks pretty f’n full retard now, doesn’t it? Actually, it was full retard ab initio, but the media’s reporting was so ludicrously biased and blog demographics are so numbingly naïve and detached from reality, much of the sheer idiocy didn’t even shine through.

    This also is the same administration that’s somehow managed to strike a nuclear deal with “Death to America!” Iran, to leave Eastern Europe at the mercy of V. Putin, and to make terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad pretty much de rigueur, all the while lecturing us about not being racist, or whatever. Yet in 14 months they’re going to send President Troy Donahue off on a victory tour of colleges and universities, where the nation’s future baristas and waiters will cheer his every move and utterance.

    The prospects are bleak.

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  6. James Pearce says:

    Bowe Bergdahl, I’ve been told, is also the star and subject of this season of NPR’s hit podcast Serial.

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  7. de stijl says:

    The reason that this is an issue at all is that Bergdahl (and his father) have become pawns and totems in the Red vs. Blue Ultimate Death Match.

    Bergdahl was a convenient tool used by Team Red when he was a captive to bash Team Blue. “Why are you doing nothing to obtain the release of our fair-haired, true-blue American boy held by those filthy savages?” they wailed.

    With, conveniently, a camera pointed at them when they were wailing at this travesty of unpatriotic un-Americanism by letting the flower of our nationhood languish in a Taliban cell being tortured at the will of his captors. Our Imam-in-Chief identifies with, and sympathizes more, with our enemies than he does with us, they wail.

    Bergdahl is a symbol.

    It was when Obama traded him for people detained at Guantanamo when stuff got real.

    Gitmo is also a symbol.

    Guantanamo Bay is a symbol that means that the Iraq war was not a foolish and counter-productive folly persecuted by Team Red for reasons I can’t really comprehend but I think it boils down to proving we’re the biggest bad-asses on the planet while also trying to lock down the National Security-minded voters forever and always.

    Look, they say, we have actual capital B, capital G Bad Guys locked up. We know they’re Bad Guys because they’re in Gitmo. Anyone locked up in Gitmo is a Bad Guy. Ipso facto, QED. Gitmo is a Good Thing because that’s where we put the Bad Guys.

    Obama tried to close Guantanamo Bay on his first day in office. To start the process, anyway. Basically as a symbol that times have changed and as a rebuke and repudiation to the previous administration and its goals and its tactics.

    As a symbol, Bergdahl was basically an abandoned Sgt. York re-born up until the day he was released. Trading him for Bad Guys(tm) from Gitmo? His father, with his stupid, libtard DFH beard in the Rose Garden? (How Randian Objectivism became “libtard” in this instance I’m not really sure, but I think it is some obscure transitive property of anti-Iraq/Afghanistan War=DFH libtard.)

    All of the sudden, Bergdahl stopped being the guy we left behind and became yet another, the next, the most egregious disavowal of Cheney’s Grand Adventure.

    Bergdahl was ill-suited at trying to be a soldier. I’m gonna be generous and call him an overly-idealistic naif.

    The reason that prosecuting and punishing Bergdahl is a big deal is that it is a rear-guard effort to re-write history and reclaim our Iraq and Afghanistan venture not as folly but as victory.

    Bergdahl and his father are no longer people. Guantanamo Bay is no longer a place and the the people imprisoned there are no longer human. They’re all symbols.

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  8. Jenos Idanian says:

    Bergdahl served with such honor and distinction, it was worth trading five top Taliban leaders for him. We have the Obama’s word for it. They even feted his triumphant return at the White House.

    So who the hell is anyone to question Bergdah’s courage, integrity, honor, and service? Just because he broke his sacred oath by walking out on his buddies, just because at least five men died trying to bring him back — the Commander in Chief hath spoken. The rank and file needs to just salute and follow their lead.

    This is the New America. The greatest form of heroism is victimhood. We don’t revere the strongest, the bravest, the most noble — it’s a contest about who can claim to have suffered more.

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  9. steve says:

    “That 5:1 deal Team Obama “negotiated” looks pretty f’n full retard now, doesn’t it? ”

    Nope, it still looks good. We don’t leave our soldiers behind. For all we knew at the time the guy had a psychotic break. We did know that he had walked out of camp once before and returned. We now know he didn’t leave to help the Taliban, he just thought he was going to be a hero and that notorious died looking for him.

    “General Dahl, whose report formed the basis for the Army’s prosecution, also said that no troops died specifically searching for Sergeant Bergdahl and that no evidence was found to support claims that he intended to walk to China or India or that he was a Taliban sympathizer.”

    Steve

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  10. de stijl says:

    @James Pearce:

    Wow!

    The first “season” of Serial was compelling, nuanced, naive, infuriating, enlightening, but oh-so listenable even when it pissed me off. With Bergdahl as the subject I expect more of the same.

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  11. An Interested Party says:

    Damn, and I was just gonna start raising money for the bullets the firing squad could use.

    Yes I’m sure Jesus would approve…

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  12. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: Render unto Bergdahl that which is Bergdahl’s.

    And if it wasn’t for capital punishment, Christianity wouldn’t exist.

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  13. de stijl says:

    @steve:

    When I read your comment, my first reaction, was thank you very kindly for proving my point, but In a strange way it is good that we have this American strain of the good, old Dolchstoßlegende to deal with as embodied by your words.

    It keeps us honest.

    What’s the Latin? Nihil nove sub sole? There is nothing new under the sun. All of us, not just the Germans, have this cross to bear – they’re just really good at cramming words together until they make an odd sort of sense. We often see our domestic “enemies” as the most important and direst threat. Our neighbors are our worst, most worrisome enemy.

    Obama did not get an American soldier released from the Taliban, he stabbed us in the back by trading five, in your words, “Taliban leaders” for a libtard traitor because he hates America and is trying to destroy our country from within..

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  14. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Apologies, @steve.

    I was trying to reply to @Jenos Idanian with my last comment, but I screwed up the reply. Sorry for the eff-up.

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  15. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The greatest form of heroism is victimhood.

    You’ve just explained conservative politics in a nutshell. Good job.

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  16. anjin-san says:

    Good ‘ol Jenos.

    Obsessively defended the sociopath child killer George Zimmermann for years.

    Can’t wait to see a combat vet, however tarnished his service record, go down…

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  17. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Sod off, you worthless git.

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  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: One more irrelevant, lying personal attack, and you win a toaster. Go for the gold, dude! You know you can do it!

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  19. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Can’t wait to see a combat vet, however tarnished his service record, go down…

    As I recall, Timothy McVeigh had a thoroughly un-tarnished service record. Bronze Star, honorably discharged. Should we mourn his downfall, too?

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  20. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’m always saddened when I see another human being who is twisted inside. Even you.

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  21. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Yes, of course we should.

    McVeigh’s downfall led to the death of 168 people, and the injury of close to 700 others. Of course we should mourn his downfall.

    Somewhere along the way, McVeigh was radicalized into accepting a hate-filled, right-wing, anti-government ideology. Whatever hopes and dreams he had, and his loved ones had for them, were sacrificed in idiocy. Of course we should mourn that.

    It’s called compassion, or empathy. It’s something normal, decent human beings have.

    Because you are apparently unfamiliar with the concept, here is a wikipedia article on the subject: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

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  22. An Interested Party says:

    Render unto Bergdahl that which is Bergdahl’s.

    Indeed…but perhaps someone who implies he is such a good Christian (judging by the pseudonym John430) shouldn’t be quite so bloodthirsty in his comments…

    Should we mourn his downfall, too?

    Perhaps you do…after all, on another thread, you were telling us what an effective terrorist he was using a comparison to make a pathetic attempt to somehow smear the President…

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  23. Jenos Idanian says:

    My sympathy is a finite resource. I’ll save it for those who deserve it. McVeigh and Bergdahl made very bad decisions. McVeigh paid for his; Bergdahl, so far, has been feted for his.

    And nice faking the compassion, annie. But be careful, you’re getting dangerously close to committing yourself to a position, and everyone knows that if you did that, you’d spontaneously combust or something.

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  24. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    Bergdahl was ill-suited at trying to be a soldier. I’m gonna be generous and call him an overly-idealistic naif.

    By all accounts, he didn’t belong in the army. Two years before joining the army, he washed out of the Coast Guard in 26 days for psychological reasons. The Coast Guard. He lasted in Afghanistan less than two months before wandering off.

    Our country failed Bowe Bergdahl by sending him to Afghanistan, and our country failed everyone in Bergdahl’s unit by sending him to Afghanistan. Bergdahl also failed, rather spectacularly.

    Bringing him back was the right thing to do. We don’t leave our own out there, and it doesn’t matter whether we failed them or they failed us, or both. And, if he deserves to be punished, he deserves to be punished by us.

    There’s a difference between justice and vengeance, and some of the mouth breathers on the right don’t seem to understand that.

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  25. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    McVeigh and Bergdahl made very bad decisions.

    I fail to see why these guys should be mentioned in the same breath.

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  26. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    very bad decisions

    Well, you keep posting, so clearly you are in no position to point fingers…

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  27. steve says:

    “My sympathy is a finite resource.”

    Not sure people should feel especially sympathetic towards Bergdahl. Deserting in a war is pretty stupid. He thought he was going Galt, but he was an idiot. The bothersome part is that he had actually done this before and it did not get reported. I suspect that probably kind of supports his claim that his unit had major issues. That still doesn’t justify his leaving. At the very least he should get a dishonorable discharge and I certainly don’t see some jail time as being out of the question. Still, we don’t just desert someone for doing something stupid.

    Steve

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  28. Dave D says:

    @de stijl: It is about him the first episode came out last week and it was all about him trying to create a DUSTWUN. Very interesting.

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  29. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    My sympathy is a finite resource

    One of the most appalling views one can have about oneself.

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  30. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher:

    One of the most appalling views one can have about oneself.

    Well, you are talking about someone who basically said personal benefit would be his sole criterion for determining whether or not he’d alert authorities to a planned terrorist attack, so…

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  31. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jenos Idanian: In the years I’ve read your comments I’ve yet to see you sympathetic or compassionate to anyone whom you did not perceive mirroring your political biases, which in itself is representative of neither virtue.

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  32. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    McVeigh and Bergdahl made very bad decisions. McVeigh paid for his; Bergdahl, so far, has been feted for his.

    By the thousands of people that were cheering 9/11 in New Jersey?

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  33. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Top leaders? Christ almighty you’re not even close to the truth. Most of them were politicians with no real combat experience.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/31/us/bergdahl-transferred-guantanamo-detainees/

    Notice governors, ministers and such. Bureaucrats…

    Top Taliban leaders. You’re hopeless.

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  34. Robin Cohen says:

    @James Joyner: What he did was an affront to all in our military , he knew the consequences and should pay the penalty.

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  35. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Ben Wolf: In the years I’ve read your comments I’ve yet to see you sympathetic or compassionate to anyone whom you did not perceive mirroring your political biases, which in itself is representative of neither virtue.

    Then you haven’t been paying anywhere near as much attention as you think you have. I’ve said nice things about Obama, Biden, and several others I disagree with. Also, despite the fevered lies of several of the idiots here, don’t recall ever defending Whathisname Zimmerman’s character — I just pointed out, repeatedly, that the lynch mob mentality was based on lies and stereotyping and political bias. (I did so so often because the lies kept getting pushed so often.)

    I don’t recall anyone ever walking back their lies about that case, nor the lies about the Ferguson shooting, even when repeatedly and thoroughly disproven. But I’m digressing.

    Bergdahl betrayed his oath, the oath he took willingly. The Obama administration not only now knows that he didn’t “serve with honor and distinction,” but knew that was a lie when they said it. Why aren’t those lies called out?

    Oh, yeah. Never mind. I forgot who I was talking about.

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  36. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Matt: Matt, I think I’ve done something you didn’t do: I read your link.

    Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa

    Khairkhwa was an early member of the Taliban in 1994 and was interior minister during the Taliban’s rule… Khairkhwa’s most prominent position was as governor of Herat province from 1999 to 2001, and he was alleged to have been “directly associated” with Osama bin Laden. According to a detainee assessment, Khairkhwa also was probably associated with al Qaeda’s now-deceased leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. He is described as one of the “major opium drug lords in western Afghanistan”

    Mullah Mohammad Fazl

    Fazl commanded the main force fighting the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in 2001, and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban regime. He has been accused of war crimes during Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s. Fazl was detained after surrendering to Abdul Rashid Dostam, the leader of Afghanistan’s Uzbek community, in November 2001. He was wanted by the United Nations in connection with the massacre of thousands of Afghan Shiites during the Taliban’s rule. “When asked about the murders, he did not express any regret,” according to the detainee assessment.

    Mullah Norullah Noori

    Noori served as governor of Balkh province in the Taliban regime and played some role in coordinating the fight against the Northern Alliance. Like Fazl, Noori was detained after surrendering to Dostam, the Uzbek leader, in 2001. Noori claimed during interrogation that “he never received any weapons or military training.” According to 2008 detainee assessment, Noori “continues to deny his role, importance and level of access to Taliban officials.” That same assessment characterized him as high risk and of high intelligence value.

    Abdul Haq Wasiq

    Wasiq was the deputy chief of the Taliban regime’s intelligence service. His cousin was head of the service. An administrative review in 2007 cited a source as saying that Wasiq was also “an al Qaeda intelligence member” and had links with members of another militant Islamist group, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin…

    Omari was a minor Taliban official in Khost Province. According to the first administrative review in 2004, he was a member of the Taliban and associated with both al Qaeda and another militant group Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. He was the Taliban’s chief of communications and helped al Qaeda members escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

    And that’s not even touching on how Obama deliberately violated a law he himself signed in releasing them without notifying Congress beforehand. But that’s right, laws only matter when it’s a conservative flouting them, right?

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  37. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    don’t recall

    Of course you don’t. Just like you did not recall your Ebola hysterics :)

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  38. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: How sad. If you didn’t have your pathetic grudge/crush on me, you’d have absolutely nothing to contribute to any discussion here, would you?

    If you disagree, please be specific.

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  39. Anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Well jenos, if that’s what gets you through the night, stick with it, bu all means. Meanwhile, back here in reality, I am reasonably well regarded by the OTB commentariat, and you are universally viewed as a raging idiot. So you are stuck with telling yourself how stupid the other kids are and how you are better than all of them. You are such a nasty little piece of work that’s it’s difficult to even feel very sorry for you as you occupy your pathetic corner of the Internet.

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  40. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Could at least copy stuff properly..

    Abdul Haq Wasiq

    Wasiq was the deputy chief of the Taliban regime’s intelligence service. His cousin was head of the service. An administrative review in 2007 cited a source as saying that Wasiq was also “an al Qaeda intelligence member” and had links with members of another militant Islamist group, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. Wasiq claimed, according to the review, that he was arrested while trying to help the United States locate senior Taliban figures. He denied any links to militant groups.

    For example..

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  41. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Anjin-san: You’re well regarded by people I don’t like and don’t respect. Well, gosh, you put me in my place, didn’t you? And that’s an excellent summation of your contribution here — you don’t like me, and have a variety of ways of saying and showing it that some find entertaining.

    But unbend just a little, annie. Go on topic. Discuss how it was just wonderful and fine and dandy how the Obama administration lied to the American people about Bergdahl’s service and broke a law that Obama himself signed to release several very bad people to get back a guy who could easily be charged with desertion, if not treason.

    Or, if you like, stick to your strengths only demonstrated ability and attack me some more. Keep trying, annie — some day you might actually make me feel a little bad.

    Don’t bet on it, though. Every single time you totally ignore the topic at hand and engage in your freely-admitted attempts at trolling to bait me off the topic, I consider it another minor victory. (It’s really old hat now, but it still counts.) Show everyone how you can resolutely ignore the topic at hand and flout the never-enforced Terms of Service here. You know the one I mean — “Comments that contain personal attacks about the post author or other commenters will be deleted. Repeated violators will be banned. Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.” I re-read that every now and then when I need a quick laugh.

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  42. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    people I don’t like and don’t respect.

    Yet you spend a significant part of your life talking to them. Poor you.

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  43. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Matt: So, I should have included “they all insisted on their innocence?” I put in ellipses to give notice that I had edited the comments, as is standard practice. And quoting too much runs the risk of violating CNN’s copyright, and getting Our Hosts in trouble.

    Besides, it was your source material I was quoting. How the hell could I hope to deceive you about the material you yourself first brought up?

    But here, I’ll now put up all the apparently-exculpatory material from your link:

    During questioning, Khairkhwa denied all knowledge of extremist activities.

    “When asked about the murders, he (Fazl) did not express any regret,” according to the detainee assessment.

    According to 2008 detainee assessment, Noori “continues to deny his role, importance and level of access to Taliban officials.” That same assessment characterized him as high risk and of high intelligence value.

    Wasiq claimed, according to the review, that he was arrested while trying to help the United States locate senior Taliban figures. He denied any links to militant groups.

    Omari acknowledged during hearings that he had worked for the Taliban but denied connections with militant groups. He also said that he had worked with a U.S. operative named Mark to try to track down Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

    That better?

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  44. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: And you spend nearly all your time here talking to… well, me.

    Such a martyr you are.

    And you have such a predictable tactic: you latch on to one thing I say at the beginning and snark at it as if that achieves something. I’m starting to think that I could just say a couple of words, then Lorem Ipsum the rest, and get the same results.

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  45. anjin-san says:

    And you spend nearly all your time here talking to… well, me.

    Sorry skippy, but slapping you around requires about as much attention as I put into cleaning out the cat’s litter box :)

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  46. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Wow, you do have something more productive you could do than clutter up this place. Well, that and cleaning your gun collection, the reasons for which you own you refuse to discuss.

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  47. Pharoah Narim says:

    @James Joyner: Being a bonehead is grounds for Court Martial in many cases. A kid that snorts Coke is a bone head….he’ll get Court Martialed nevertheless. Many other regulations in the UCMJ aren’t related to crime…they are about not being a bonehead.

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