Afghanistan

Bergdahl Defense Uses Trump Rants in Court

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Remember Bowe Bergdahl?

Republicans lost their shit and attacked President Obama for making a prisoner exchange in 2014 for US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who went missing in Afghanistan in 2009.

Republicans including Trump said many disparaging things about Obama and Bergdahl, and some of those comments are now being used by his defense in court where he's been charged with desertion.

The defense, led by Eugene Fidell, played pieces of a 28-minute video in which Trump repeatedly refers to Bergdahl as a "traitor." They claim that "Trump's statements are prejudicial to Sergeant Bergdahl's right to a fair trial," according to the motion filed last month. Their main argument was that Trump's comments constituted "unlawful command influence," (UCI) which would make it impossible for Bergdahl to receive a fair trial because the commander in chief has disparaged him multiple times.

I had not forgotten about this case, but I never really considered the current implications before today.

Trump accused an active duty soldier of being a "traitor" because he walked off base and was captured; a soldier he would ostensibly command. There will almost certainly come a time in the near future where the Trump regime has to deal with an equally sensitive situation and we can't expect they will handle it with any measure of grace.

You could make a case that this has already happened. A Navy SEAL was recently killed in a botched raid in Yemen that was ordered by Trump at the dinner table where he spent the evening rage-tweeting the New York Times in his bathrobe. The raid was compromised before it even landed and caused significant civilian casualties, resulting in Yemen officially closing its borders to future ground assaults.

The Trump regime has publicly stated that the raid was a big "success."

  • muselet

    Unless there’s a whale of a lot to Bowe Bergdahl’s story that the public hasn’t been privy to, the worst that should happen to him is a general discharge.

    –alopecia

    • Aynwrong

      I have very mixed feelings regarding Bergdahl.

      • muselet

        I’m probably as ambivalent about Bowe Bergdahl as you.

        Having said that, a general discharge would get Bergdahl out of the Army quickly and with a minimum of fuss, and would be a suitable punishment: no GI Bill benefits, for example. Whether he should get an other than honorable discharge instead, I’m not qualified to say, but it seems excessive. He didn’t run off to join the baddies, after all.

        Luckily, it’s not my decision to make.

        –alopecia