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The Bergdahl Non-Pardon

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Early last month, on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's return to American forces in Afghanistan, I wrote the following:  

In recent days, the Administration has justified releasing five top terrorist commanders to return to the battlefield (after a fig-leaf stopover in Qatar) on the grounds that Bergdahl was still an American soldier, and America does not leave its people behind.  The President's supporters tell us that, if Bergdahl deserted  -- or even became a collaborator  --  we have the military justice system that will, at the right time, fully investigate the matter, put the facts on the table, and, if warranted, impose punishment.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's not gonna happen.  There isn't going to be any honest investigation, and there isn't going to be any punishment.  The President is going to issue a preemptive pardon to make sure the process never gets off the ground.

It may be time for me to confess error.  I overestimated the President's willingness to act directly and take responsibility for letting Bergdahl off the hook.  It now appears more likely that, while I was correct in saying there isn't going to be any honest investigation, there may not be any pardon as such, either.  Why should there be? Why should there be, that is, when the President can just believe  --  not unintelligently  -- that, if dragged out for long enough, the whole thing will disappear into the fog of even more prominent scandals?
Thus the current story suggesting that the Administration has no very keen interest in an investigation:

U.S. Army soldiers who were serving with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl when he left his post and wound up in the hands of the Taliban say no one has contacted them, even though military brass are currently conducting a new investigation into the case.

Several soldiers who immediately came forward after Bergdahl was released on May 31, in a swap for five Guantanamo Bay detainees, have accused the 28-year-old Idaho native of deserting. But even though the Army is probing that very charge, investigators have not reached out to at least two former Army sergeants -- including the platoon's leader -- who served alongside Bergdahl on June 30, 2009, when he disappeared from his post in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province.

My goodness!  The non-pardon pardon will be "backed up" by the non-investigation investigation.  

I apologize for being so naive so late in the game.  I should have learned by now that the way to find no wrongdoing is to never look for it.  This has the advantage of not creating a record that, when trouble is brewing and promises of transparency are feeling a little more dicey than the Administration was planning on, then has to be "lost" in the kind of jiffy that would make the IRS or the Veterans Administration blush.

1 Comment

Sorry Mr. Otis, there is nothing to see here. JAG relies on their own debriefing of Bergdahl, and CID's debriefing of Bergdahl, and the Serious Incident Report filed at the time of each of his disappearances. The SIR would contain testimony from any pertinent/relevant sources already. JAG would order further testimony only if there was some compelling reason to do so. I doubt the President is micro-managing JAG one way or the other on this. But yes, I think you are right, the President will let it drag on until it disappears into the fog of more prominent scandals. Bergdahl will likely end up in the stockade unless he has a chip up his sleeve which has not yet been disclosed.

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