Tuesday, November 07, 2017

A Tale of Two Deserters


At CounterPunch, John Grant asks the question "Whose Decision Was a Greater Threat to Soldiers' Lives: President Bush’s or Bowe Bergdahl's?"

Obviously, to ask who endangered soldiers more, President George W. Bush or Bowe Bergdahl, is a rhetorical question. The real issue is whether a Dishonorable Discharge, a demotion and a fine is enough punishment for Bo Bergdahl. It's clear by now it's out-of-bounds (poor etiquette) to suggest our major leaders should be held accountable for bad military decisions that put soldiers in harms way and cost lives. It's a variant of the bumper sticker, 'Kill one person, it’s murder; kill 100,000, it’s foreign policy.'"

Well worth a read (and I'll take this opportunity to plug my Garrison op-ed on Trump v. Bergdahl as well).

I do notice, however, that Grant leaves out an important element of the Bush/Bergdahl comparison.

Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, for which he was sentenced to -- in addition to his five years of imprisonment by the Taliban -- reduction in rank from E-5 to E-1, a dishonorable discharge, and a $10,000 fine.

For George W. Bush, misbehavior before the enemy was never a potential offense. He didn't desert in Vietnam and spend five years in the Hanoi Hilton. He deserted from the relatively safe stateside Air National Guard billet Daddy secured for him. Instead of imprisonment, he got notes pleading for him to return and all would be forgiven. Instead of a dishonorable discharge, he got assigned to non-flight duties so as not to have to undergo the flight physical (including drug test) that seems to have prompted his desertion. Instead of reduction in rank and a $10,000 fine, he got a promotion to an eight-year tour as Commander in Chief.

Some military personnel whose last names begin with "B" are more equal than others.

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