Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

305px-USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedThe Bergdahl case will raise some considerable challenges for the defense in what could be one of the most notable desertion cases in modern U.S. history. That is, if it goes to trial. This would seem a case where everyone may prefer a plea. The evidence is strong against Bergdahl, though there is clearly a great deal of evidence that has yet to be released. Cases always appear stronger for the government at the time of indictment. However, what we know is pretty bad for the defense. On the other side, the Obama Administration would clearly prefer a plea to a trial that would highlight Bergdahl’s actions and the possible loss of U.S. personnel looking for a deserter (who was later traded for five blood-soaked Taliban leaders with terrorist ties). Such issues would be obvious for prosecutors to raise when discussing the appropriate punishment, if Bergdahl is convicted. However, it could be an argument that the Administration would not want pursued by prosecutors. While such interference is prohibited as “command influence” on a military case, there have been allegations of such influence in past high-profile cases, including controversies in this Administration. In this case, the pressure is likely to be considerable for prosecutors to accept a plea, though such a plea could fuel previously accusations that the case was being manipulated to avoid embarrassment for the Administration.

Below is the longer version of my column that ran in print this morning in USA Today.
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305px-USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedAfter months of alleged delay for political reasons until after the elections, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

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285px-Portal_Guardian_from_Nimroud._British_MuseumFlag_of_the_Islamic_State.svgThe systematic destruction of art and historical and religious sites continued this month with another crime against humanity by Islamic State militants. The extremists reject images of the human body as violations of Islamic teachings and despise earlier civilizations that were not based on their Islamic traditions. So, after destruction priceless artifacts and art in the museum in Mosul, IS destroyed the the ancient Assyrian archaeological site near Mosul. The loss is truly incalculable for humanity.

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Robert_A._McDonald_Official_PortraitWe have another stolen valor controversy this week. This time it involves Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald who was recorded telling a homeless man in passing that he was a member of the “special forces.” People are calling for his resignation. However, as someone who has written a great deal about Stolen Valor, I disagree that this is a serious case of misrepresentation or that McDonald should resign. He did not have stolen valor. He has more than enough. What happened in this case was a mistake but there is still a difference between a venial and moral sin . . . even in cases of valor.

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bergdahl150124201815-nr-dnt-harlow-sajida-al-rishawi-explainer-00001707-large-169The White House again seems to be struggling with barriers of both language and logic as many raise comparisons between the controversial Bergdahl swap and the effort this week of Jordan to swap a terrorist for one of its downed pilots with Islamic State. During a week where one of the five Taliban leaders released by the Administration has been found trying to communicate with the Taliban, the Jordanian swap has reignited the criticism of the swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, which violated federal law and released Taliban leaders with long and bloody records. The White House seems to be trying to argue that the Taliban are not terrorists in direct contradiction to its prior position that they are indeed terrorists. It shows the fluidity of these terms and how the government uses or withdraws designations as terrorists to suit its purposes. The familiarities between Islamic State (IS) and the Taliban appear to be something in the eye of beholder or, to quote a certain former president, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

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85906-songhua-starboard77606-wutaishan-anhui-44-sternThere was a curious confrontation between the New Zealand navy this month and three notorious boats illegally poaching in the waters near Antarctica. The Navy caught the boats red-handed poaching and using illegal nets. The Navy called over for the three rust buckets to stop the illegal operation and the boats simply refused. The Navy called over again that it wanted to board to check their documentation and the boats said know. They simply continued to poach in front of the Navy and then the New Zealanders let them leave without firing a shot. This was called a victory by the New Zealand Navy but I am not sure why.

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220px-John_Brennan_CIA_official_portrait

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

It is unfortunately not surprising that anything that the CIA does should be considered suspect.  When the CIA recently came under fire for allegedly spying on Senate computers, no one, except the Senators who were spied on were surprised.  Now that Director John Brennan has completed his internal “investigation” into the matter, the truth has come out.  John Brennan says he and the CIA did nothing wrong! (more…)

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