- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a good piece by a former Marine officer.
More here. What strikes me is that the Bergdahl episode captures a lot of the most difficult aspects of military service.
Professor Peter Feaver untangles the politics of the issue here, and comes away more in sorrow than anger.
Also, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis said that getting Bergdahl out takes a trump card out of the hands of Taliban leaders. That is especially credible because Mattis is hardly given to carrying water for the Obama administration. Which clearly needs help in selling this prisoner exchange. To quote Ryan Evans, "It is the national security equivalent of the Obamacare website — an idea that may have seemed sensible, but suffered from terrible execution."
Meanwhile, emotions ran high outside the front gate to the Marine boot camp at Parris Island, where the Bergdahl deal was being protested. A high-ranking sergeant major is in a bit of trouble after taking a campaign hat (AKA DI’s hat or Smokey Bear hat) off a protestor. The same sergeant major was in a big fight north of Fallujah back in October 2006. He "went to three different posts to supervise the Marines, bring ammunition to Marines who needed it, and fight the enemy himself," Stars & Stripes reported.
The sergeant major has resigned his position. It would be a shame if this Marine NCO were to wind up being punished more than Bergdahl is.