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Word of the Day: Desertion

by Countable | 10.16.17

DESERTION

The act of illegally leaving military service or duty without intention of returning.

Why this word? Why today?

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and "misbehavior before the enemy."

Questioned before a military judge, Bergdahl said, "I left my observation post on my own. I understand leaving was against the law."

In June 2009, Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan. Hours later, he was captured by the Taliban. The sergeant was held captive until May 2014, when he was exchanged for five Taliban detainees who were being held in Guantanamo Bay.

During his captivity, Bergdahl was tortured by the Taliban, appearing in a number of videos released by the terrorist organization.

Soon after he returned to the U.S., the Pentagon began looking into the circumstances regarding Bergdahl’s decision to leave his post. In March 2015, the U.S. Army charged Bergdahl under the Uniform of Military Justice (UCMJ)’s Article 85 (Desertion) and Article 99 (Misbehavior before the enemy).

Bergdahl has become something of a political lightning rod.

In June 2014, with then-rumors of Bergdahl’s desertion swirling around the Pentagon – and news outlets – the Obama administration was criticized for swapping Taliban prisoners for the sergeant. And Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s national security adviser, took some bipartisan heat for saying Bergdahl served with "honor and distinction."

"I realize there has been lots of discussion and controversy around this," Rice said. "But what I was referring to was the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That, in and of itself, is a very honorable thing."

Candidate Donald Trump did not share Rice’s feelings. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump called Bergdahl a "dirty, rotten traitor."

"What do we do with Sgt. Bergdahl, 50 years ago?" Trump asked the Worcester, Mass. crowd. When a man in the audience stood and shaped his hand like a gun, Trump said:

"That's right. Boom. Boom!... Boom, he's gone. He's gone!"

—Josh Herman

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Written by Countable

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(15)
  • NoHedges
    10/16/2017
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    So what is it called when the Tweeter in Chief deserts the American people? Republican?

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  • James
    10/16/2017
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    I think the person should go to prison with no chance of ever getting out.and they should lose all. Their federal and state pension or anything else that helps make things easier on him/her.He/she should get a dishonorable discharge.

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  • Gordy
    10/16/2017
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    He is a traiter, he left his post- leaving people unprotected, solders were killed looking for this fool, then PRESEDENT obama trades known terrorist butchering basterds for this pathetic excuse for a solder! He is a disgrace to all solders everywhere!

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  • Dougathon
    10/16/2017
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    He is pleading guilty. What more needs to be said.

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  • Azrael
    10/16/2017
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    We all know the definition What we don’t know is why did he do it? What was his mental state? We all walk that fine line some days Most of us stand our ground

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  • Suzi
    10/16/2017
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    To learn the answers to all your questions about Bowe Bergdahl, there is a podcast called Serial, it’s number 16 on the Audio Podcasts Top Charts. Start with Season 2, Episode 1: DUSTWUN and listen to all 11 episodes. It may help you form an opinion based on his experiences. It’s very compelling but not easy to listen to.

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  • Sue
    10/16/2017
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    I think this man has suffered enough. Release him and leave him alone.

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  • RadicalModerate
    10/17/2017
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    Maybe he just realized that war is murdering for old cowards who will get rich and then shit on your family

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  • Janene
    10/17/2017
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    Life in prison for deserters!! Unless you’ve been in the military, you don’t understand the impact one deserter can have on a unit. You rely on your brothers/sisters in arms and your unit is only as strong as your weakest link. One cowardly act can cost lives.

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  • Lee
    10/19/2017
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    Execution. Hanging. Within 2 weeks of sentence. No appeals. No excuses.

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  • HockeyGuy
    10/20/2017
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    Trump, the lunatic, has deserted Puerto Rico and he should be held accountable for his despicable act. Did Trump just have his own ”Benghazi” in Niger with the unfortunate and unnecessary deaths of 4 US Green Berets??? No air support or ground support available to protect these soldiers???

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  • Sean
    10/19/2017
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    You don’t need to be in the military to desert. Trump has deserted the American people with his selfish self serving attitudes and policies. The entire Republican Party has deserted the basic principles of patriotism by allowing this unfit president to stay in office. Shame on you.

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  • Cyndi
    10/16/2017
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    I think that his in prisonment with the tellabons was enough. I think he should be dishonored discharge from the military.

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  • AngelaWood
    10/17/2017
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    Trump has zero business commenting on deserters. He's a draft dodging pussy. At least this man did enlist. He didn't have a rich daddy to pay off a doctor to provide false information to be kept out of war like Trump did.

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