Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 08 Sep '15 13:10
    http://news.yahoo.com/military-selects-rarely-used-charge-bergdahl-case-144326544.html

    Predictions!!

    Will Obama pardon him?
  2. 08 Sep '15 13:18
    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Military prosecutors have reached into a section of military law seldom used since World War II in the politically fraught case against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner for years by the Taliban after leaving his post in Afghanistan.





    Observers wondered for months if Bergdahl would be charged with desertion after the deal brokered by the U.S. to bring him home. He was — but he was also charged with misbehavior before the enemy, a much rarer offense that carries a stiffer potential penalty in this case.

    "I've never seen it charged," Walter Huffman, a retired major general who served as the Army's top lawyer, said of the misbehavior charge. "It's not something you find in common everyday practice in the military."

    Bergdahl could face a life sentence if convicted of the charge, which accuses him of endangering fellow soldiers when he "left without authority; and wrongfully caused search and recovery operations."

    Huffman and others say the misbehavior charge allows authorities to allege that Bergdahl not only left his unit with one less soldier, but that his deliberate action put soldiers who searched for him in harm's way. The Pentagon has said there is no evidence anyone died searching for Bergdahl.

    "You're able to say that what he did had a particular impact or put particular people at risk. It is less generic than just quitting," said Lawrence Morris, a retired Army colonel who served as the branch's top prosecutor and top public defender.

    The Obama administration has been criticized both for agreeing to release five Taliban operatives from the Guantanamo Bay prison and for heralding Bergdahl's return to the U.S. with an announcement in the White House Rose Garden. The administration stood by the way it secured his release even after the charges were announced.

    The military has scheduled an initial court appearance known as an Article 32 hearing for Bergdahl on Sept. 17 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The proceeding is similar to a civilian grand jury, and afterward the case could be referred to a court-martial and go to trial.

    Misbehavior before the enemy was used hundreds of times during World War II, but scholars say its use appears to have dwindled in conflicts since then. Misbehavior before the enemy cases were tried at least 494 times for soldiers in Europe between 1942 and 1945, according to a Military Law Review article.

    Legal databases and media accounts turn up only a few misbehavior cases since 2001 when fighting began in Afghanistan, followed by Iraq less than two years later. By contrast, statistics show the U.S. Army prosecuted about 1,900 desertion cases between 2001 and the end of 2014.

    The misbehavior charge is included in Article 99 of the military justice code, which is best known for its use to prosecute cases of cowardice. However, Article 99 encompasses nine different offenses including several not necessarily motivated by cowardice, such as causing a false alarm or endangering one's unit — the charge Bergdahl faces.

    The complexity of Article 99 may be one reason it's not frequently used, said Morris, who published a book on the military justice system.

    "It is of course more complicated than the desertion charge, not as well understood, a higher burden on the government to prove," he said.

    Huffman, now a law professor at Texas Tech University, said another reason may be that different parts of military law already deal with similar misconduct, including disobeying orders and avoiding duty.

    Recent prosecutions under the misbehavior charge include a Marine lance corporal who pleaded guilty after refusing to provide security for a convoy leaving base in Iraq in 2004. A soldier in Iraq was charged with cowardice in 2003 under Article 99 after he saw a mangled body and sought counseling, but the charges were later dropped.

    The specification that Bergdahl faces appears in the 1971 case of an Army captain accused of endangering a base in Vietnam by disobeying an order to establish an ambush position. The captain was found guilty of other charges including dereliction of duty.

    Another case cited in a 1955 military law journal says an Army corporal was convicted under Article 99 of endangering his unit in Korea by getting drunk on duty. The article says he "became so drunk that it took the tank company commander thirty minutes to arouse him."

    For Bergdahl, the Article 99 offense allows the prosecutors to seek a stiffer penalty than the desertion charge, which in this case carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

    Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell, has argued his client is being charged twice for the same action, saying in a previous television interview that "it's unfortunate that someone got creative in drafting the charge sheet and figured out two ways to charge the same thing."

    The scholars say that's a valid issue for Fidell to bring up in court, but it may not sway military authorities.

    "The question is: Is it a piling on?" said Jeffrey K. Walker, a St. John's University law professor, retired Air Force officer and former military lawyer. "It does almost look like you're trying to get two bites at the same apple."
  3. 08 Sep '15 14:44
    I predict that regardless of the outcome of the trial, whodey will complain about it.
  4. 08 Sep '15 19:26
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I predict that regardless of the outcome of the trial, whodey will complain about it.
    Didn't most nations just shoot deserters or those who disobeyed orders on the spot?
  5. 10 Sep '15 00:33
    Not Western nations.
  6. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    10 Sep '15 01:00 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Didn't most nations just shoot deserters or those who disobeyed orders on the spot?
    I was reading a book on the battle of Austerlitz, one of Napoleon's greatest victories. In the midst of the battle, a couple of French infantry battalions were hit in the flank by strong cavalry charges and broke and ran almost passing through the imperial headquarters which had been set up on a nearby hill. The staff officers yelled at them to rally and severely chastised them for "deserting the field of battle and their Emperor" but that did not stop or even slow their flight. Napoleon's reaction:

    Napoleon dismissed them with a scornful gesture, saying "Let them go" and then sent one of his aides-de-camp, General Rapp, to bring up the Imperial Guard Cavalry".

    Robert Goetz, 1805: Austerlitz, pp. 223-24

    The IGC soon restored the situation. So one of the greatest military commanders in history on at least this occasion did not consider some men breaking and running as a capital offense.
  7. 10 Sep '15 01:37
    Originally posted by normbenign to KazetNagorra
    Didn't most nations just shoot deserters or those who disobeyed orders on the spot?
    Although he's a fanatical apologist for the CSA, Normbenign's so ignorant of US Civil War
    history that he does not know that CSA President Jefferson Davis commuted almost
    every death sentence for deserting the CSA Army that reached his desk (on appeal).
    Robert E Lee believed, however, that Jefferson Davis should have shown less mercy.
  8. 10 Sep '15 01:42
    Originally posted by FishHead111
    Not Western nations.
    During the Great Patriotic War, there was an incident when an officer (with many of his men)
    defected from the RKKA (Red Army) and wound up fighting for the Wehrmacht.
    Later in the war, it was secretly arranged that he and his men would be forgiven if they
    could (while surprising and disrupting the Germans) return to the RKKA and this happened.
    In general, however, the RKKA was not very tolerant of deserters and defectors.
  9. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    10 Sep '15 09:56 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Although he's a fanatical apologist for the CSA, Normbenign's so ignorant of US Civil War
    history that he does not know that CSA President Jefferson Davis commuted almost
    every death sentence for deserting the CSA Army that reached his desk (on appeal).
    Robert E Lee believed, however, that Jefferson Davis should have shown less mercy.
    None of this has anything to do with the UCMJ of the US Armed Forces and the Bergdahl trial.

    The Near Genius
  10. 10 Sep '15 21:03
    Which flag-waving Americans here want Bowe Bergdahl to be punished more harshly than Martin Monti was?

    In late 1944, Martin Monti, a USAAF fighter pilot with extreme right-wing political beliefs,
    defected with his Lockheed P-38 Lightning to Germany. According to his Luftwaffe interrogator,
    Hanns Scharff, Martin Monti volunteered to join the Luftwaffe and fight against the USSR.
    The Luftwaffe regarded Martin Monti (who evidently did not speak German well) as
    obviously unqualified to be commissioned as an officer, as he had requested.
    Instead, Martin Monti accepted a commission as an officer in the Waffen-SS.
    He made Nazi propaganda broadcasts aimed at Americans fighting against Germany.

    After the war, Martin Monti was initially tried only for a charge of desertion and he was
    treated extremely leniently, being given a suspended sentence upon the condition that
    he enlisted as a private in the US Army. In 1948, however, Martin Monti was charged with treason.
    He pleaded guilty, while claiming that he had aimed only to fight against the USSR, not the USA.
    Martin Monti served 12 years out of his 25 year sentence of imprisonment.

    Given his actions, Martin Monti should have become widely known as among the worst
    traitors to the USA during the Second World War. But few Americans today know or care
    about his story. Indeed, some extreme right-wing Americans seem to regard Martin Monti
    with sympathy, if not also some admiration, and believe that he was punished too harshly.
  11. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    10 Sep '15 23:48
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Which flag-waving Americans here want Bowe Bergdahl to be punished more harshly than Martin Monti was?

    In late 1944, Martin Monti, a USAAF fighter pilot with extreme right-wing political beliefs,
    defected with his Lockheed P-38 Lightning to Germany. According to his Luftwaffe interrogator,
    Hanns Scharff, Martin Monti volunteered to join the Luftwaffe ...[text shortened]... Monti
    with sympathy, if not also some admiration, and believe that he was punished too harshly.
    In my opinion, Bergdahl should get a minimum of a dishonorable discharge and whatever else that seems appropriate.
  12. 11 Sep '15 00:05
    Let the poor guy go he suffered enough.
  13. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    11 Sep '15 00:20
    Originally posted by FishHead111
    Let the poor guy go he suffered enough.
    For his effort, I believe he should at least be given that dishonorable discharge, so he has something to remember his wonderful time on vacation with pay and promotion.
  14. 11 Sep '15 00:56
    Originally posted by FishHead111
    Let the poor guy go he suffered enough.
    What if he is just a cook who sold out to the enemy of the US?

    I think there is enough evidence to show that his antics cost lives of his fellow soldiers for what he did. At best, he put their lives in danger.

    But now the situation is politically charged. I don't reckon Obama will let him be held accountable due to his own political ambitions.
  15. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    11 Sep '15 04:14
    Originally posted by whodey
    What if he is just a cook who sold out to the enemy of the US?

    I think there is enough evidence to show that his antics cost lives of his fellow soldiers for what he did. At best, he put their lives in danger.

    But now the situation is politically charged. I don't reckon Obama will let him be held accountable due to his own political ambitions.
    There's no evidence Obama has interfered in the investigation at all. Serious charges have been lodged against Bergdahl but the case against him is in the early stages of the military justice system. It should be allowed to run its course rather than having right wingers like yourself prejudge it for blatantly partisan reasons.