04 November 2017


By Andy Weddington
Saturday, 04 November 2017

Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly. Mahatma Gandhi 

From Abraham Lincoln I adopted the practice of writing when angry but then putting it away - to calm and think. 

Then take another look when rational thought is not overwhelmed by emotion.

After sleeping on the sentence the judge handed down to Sergeant (now Private) Bowe Bergdahl, U. S. Army, a shortened, tempered opinion; through the lens of U. S. Marine Corps Core Values: Honor. Courage. Commitment. 

Sergeant Bergdahl voluntarily joined the U. S. Army. 

He made a conscious decision on the battlefield in Afghanistan to not only abandon his post but to surrender to our enemy. 

Despite his decision, the U. S. Army searched for Sergeant Bergdahl. 

Soldiers were killed and wounded during searches. 

President Obama traded five high-value enemy captives for Sergeant Bergdahl. And attempted to sell his service as honorable. 

Nowhere in my education, training, and thinking is there a single element of Sergeant Bergdahl's conduct that conforms with the definitions of honor, courage, commitment. 

To the contrary. 

With this morning's news,  there was mention the judge, a colonel, cited President Trump's (harsh) comments about Bergdahl as an element of mitigation in sentencing.

Not a lawyer (I) but strange. 

President Trump's remarks were offered while a (improbable long shot) candidate for President.

So what, many a veteran shared the sentiments.

Bergdahl was fined $1,000.00 a month for 10 months, reduced to Private, and awarded a Dishonorable Discharge. 

Insulting, ever so mildly, to all who serve honorably; especially in combat (conquering God knows what hardships, fears and demons). More so when profits come Bergdahl's way. 

Marine Corps Core Values aside. 

Core Army Values ...

Selfless Service
Personal Courage

Bergdahl was not involuntarily captured. Worse than cowardice, he deserted. Is not duration in enemy hands moot?

To the charges, he admitted guilt and apologized.

Guilt known. 

Apology? So what.  

Do Core Army Values matter?

As a news anchor noted this morning, a general (four-star) will review sentencing. 

Will Core Army Values matter?

Essentially, review might be charted in a Venn diagram - with circles labeled: Easy; Hard; Right; Wrong. For Gandhi add: Silence; Truth. The intersections telling. Encircle all with Core Army Values. 

At the moment, gut sense is it sure feels as if those towing the Core Values line, on and off battlefields, are the ones, the innocent, being punished.

For morale, and more importantly fighting effectiveness of the force, that is not good.


Unknown said...

Selfless Service
Personal Courage
My question is why did we try to recover him in the first place?

Cy Kammeier said...

When Congress allowed liberally educated lawyers to don the cloth of the Army without real military or combat experience you have to accept liberal outcomes. The UCMJ needs to be changed that puts the real military chain of command in a say so position before these decisions that undermine the good order and discipline of the Armed Forces are handed down by these pseudo military officers.