NY Times: Bergdahl Desertion Really Fault Of Unit Discipline, Afghanistan War


I’m surprised NY Times writers, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Eric Schmitt, didn’t just straight out Blame Bush

Bergdahl Was in Unit Known for Its Troubles

The platoon was, an American military official would assert years later, “raggedy.”

On their tiny, remote base, in a restive sector of eastern Afghanistan at an increasingly violent time of the war, they were known to wear bandannas and cutoff T-shirts. Their crude observation post was inadequately secured, a military review later found. Their first platoon leader, and then their first platoon sergeant, were replaced relatively early in the deployment because of problems.

But the unit – Second Platoon, Blackfoot Company in the First Battalion, 501st Regiment – might well have remained indistinguishable from scores of other Army platoons in Afghanistan had it not been for one salient fact: This was the team from which Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared on June 30, 2009.

In the years since Sergeant Bergdahl’s capture by the Taliban, and even more since his release last week in a contentious prisoner exchange for five Taliban fighters, much has been written suggesting that he was a misfit soldier in something of a misfit platoon that stumbled through its first months in Afghanistan and might have made it too easy for him to walk away, as his fellow soldiers say he did.

Indeed, an internal Army investigation into the episode concluded that the platoon suffered from lapses in discipline and security in the period before Sergeant Bergdahl – a private first class at the time who was promoted while in captivity – disappeared into Paktika Province, two officials briefed on the report said.

See? It’s not really Bergdahl’s fault that he deserted: his unit was to blame, along with

But their problems in many ways reflected those of the Pentagon’s strategy writ large across Afghanistan at that moment of the war. The platoon was sent to a remote location with too few troops to seriously confront an increasingly aggressive insurgency, which controlled many villages in the region. The riverbeds they used as roads were often mined with improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.s; simply getting supplies or traveling back to their home operating base could be a nerve-racking ordeal.

And there you go, it’s ultimately blamed on the way the Afghanistan War was being conducted, which, of course, means Blame Bush. This is essentially a follow-on, companion, “hard news” piece for the NY Times Editorial Board editorial which slammed his unit and the men in it.

The Times is doing all they can to shift blame to others while making Bergdahl look better, in order to defend Obama.

(Reuters) Americans are deeply divided over whether the Obama administration did the right thing by swapping five Taliban leaders to win the freedom of Afghanistan prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl, according to Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Friday.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll of 958 Americans interviewed online found that 44 percent disagreed with the statement that trading Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl was “the right thing to do,” with 26 percent of them strongly disagreeing.

Twenty-nine percent of those polled said they thought the prisoner swap was the right thing to do and 27 percent said they were not sure, the poll found.

That’s not “deeply divided”: American’s think the swap was a bad thing by an almost 2-1 margin. Most agreed that the US should make the effort to get our POW’s back: I think we can all agree with that. But, the problem is not really getting Bergdahl back, it’s trading a guy who deserted for 5 high ranking Taliban members. Who are already vowing to fight Americans again.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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