Bowe Bergdahl

On Wednesday, Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was charged with desertion and with misbehaving before the enemy. If convicted of the latter, Bergdahl could spend the rest of his life in a military prison.

Here are the basic facts about Bowe Bergdahl. He enlisted in the Army in 2008. In May 2009, he was deployed to Afghanistan. Less than six weeks later, on June 30, he went missing. Though it was believed at the time that he had deserted, a manhunt was nevertheless undertaken to find him. It was soon learned that he was captured by the Taliban by whom he was held prisoner for five years.

On May 31, 2014, President Obama announced that a deal had been made for Bergdahl’s release in return for the release of five high-value terrorist detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Bergdahl’s release was portrayed by the administration as a triumph.

Serious concerns immediately arose.

The Associated Press reported that according to an internal Pentagon investigation in 2010 there was “incontrovertible” evidence that then Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl had walked away from his post. The Obama administration had to have known of the Pentagon investigation.

The Obama administration had to have known what the press uncovered regarding an exchange of letters between Bergdahl and his father prior to Bergdahl’s capture – an exchange in which Bergdahl said that he was “ashamed to even be American” to which his father replied, “Obey your conscience.”

At least one and as many as six soldiers charged with looking for Bergdahl died in the effort. The Obama administration had to have known this. They also had to have known that members of his unit in Afghanistan believed from the jump that Bergdahl deserted.

Yet, despite knowing these things, President Obama swapped five high-value terrorist detainees at Guantanamo to secure Bergdahl’s release. National Security Advisor Susan Rice credited Bergdahl with having served with “honor and distinction.”

The president announced Bergdahl’s release at a very carefully choreographed ceremony in the Rose Garden at which Bergdahl’s father, bearded so as to resemble a Middle Eastern imam, used the time given him at the presidential podium to recite verses from the Koran.

Yesterday, nearly a year after his release, the U.S. Army finally announced that Bergdahl will face charges that could put him in a military prison for the rest of his life. Small comfort to the families of those who died looking for him.

The embarrassment to the Obama administration is acute. Franklin Roosevelt would never have traded five dangerous enemies of the United States for one Army deserter. The same goes for every president until this one since. Not even the feckless Jimmy Carter would have made such a fool of himself.

The entire sorry episode puts in sharp relief the consequences of electing someone with exactly zero leadership, executive or military experience to the job of commander-in-chief. The world watches the U.S. under Obama and becomes more dangerous and unstable with each passing day.

Proof that elections really do matter.

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