**As originally created by Michael “Vass” Vasquez at Binghamton Political Buzz Examiner.com **
Several major media sources are reporting, as of January 15, 2015, that the completed October review into the possible desertion of Bowe Bergdahl will be released in the coming week. The determination of the investigation has been long delayed. Described by Retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, of the London Center for Policy Research, as due in part to the efforts of Ben Rhodes, Assistant Director of National Security Intelligence, on behalf of the Obama Administration.
The investigation has reportedly determined that Bergdahl deserted, leading to his capture by the Taliban in Afghanistan for 5 years. Private Bergdahl released in a prisoner swap for 5 high level Al Qaeda Guantanamo detainees in June 2015, and received promotions and back pay for the time in captivity. The prisoner swap was an act the White House has admitted was done without the consent or notification of Congress as required by law.
For most who have followed the Bergdahl case, the determination by the Army to charge Bergdahl with desertion is not new. In fact the only point that was in question was whether Bergdahl had voluntarily joined the Taliban forces in a act of treason, or was captured against his will, after his act of desertion. Under United Code of Military Justice Article 85 desertion is described as,
Any member of the armed forces who without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently.
The penalty for desertion, in war, is the death penalty. It is also possible, and under the Obama Administration most likely, that Bergdahl would receive the alternative punishments of “other punishment as a court-martial may direct.” It is reported that a court-martial would direct that Bergdal lose any promotion given since the desertion – reducing his rank to Private from Sergeant. In addition, the back pay provided to Bergdahl at the time of his release would also be forfeit.
This of course flies in the face of the initial Obama Administration declaration, on June 1, 2014, by National Security Adviser Susan Rice,
“He served the United States with honor and distinction. And we’ll have the opportunity eventually to learn what has transpired in the past years.”
The backlash created by the apparent misrepresentation of Bergdahl, the nature of the deal for his release, and the failure of the White House to lawfully notify Congress, resulted in almost immediate silence by the White House on the issue. Almost immediately after Bergdahl was reclaimed, investigation of possible desertion began, with the review by the Army completed in October 2014.
In a virtual vacuum of silence from the major media, the report was held back along with further action by the Army, as the mid-term elections approached and passed. There were few editorials such as in the Washington Post, commenting on an expected delay of a week – until after the mid-term elections of 2014,
Now there’s the possibility that Gen. Dahl concluded that Sgt. Bergdahl should be court-martialed, and this would further shine a bright light on President Obama’s incompetence and the ineptitude of his administration…. Sometimes surprises are worth the wait, but we won’t know about this one until after next week — unless a whistleblower leaks a copy.
Still, from October until January 27, 2015 the attention of the media has been tepid at best. Fox News has been virtually alone in continuing to report the situation, stating that “…the White House wants this to go away,” and that Ben Rhodes Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser is in charge of suppressing the release of the Bergdahl report. Ben Rhodes was also the person identified as putting a political spin on the Benghazi talking points.
Politically, the Bergdahl trade has been an embarrassment for the White House. From the start it was mired in an admitted violation of law, which in retrospect was a highpoint of the situation. With the help of a mostly absent news media, and an Administration pushing for a delayed release to accommodate a lessened political impact, the public has once again been denied the ability to voice its opinion of the Obama Administration’s action in the mid-term elections and beyond.
In the end the Obama Administration cannot escape the embarrassment, and criminality, of what it has done. All they can do is try to bury the issue at a convenient time where the political blowback will be diminished. Given the multitude of scandals and acts of incompetence, this White House has gotten all too familiar with the process it is using. Even so, the attempt to make a hero out of a likely deserter for the purpose of political gain is both an incredulous act of arrogance by the White House and an insult to the military.