Wednesday, June 4, 2014

AWOL question surrounding Bergdahl seems serious to older men who dealt with the Vietnam era draft


CNN has released some video of the Taliban’s video of Bowe Bergdahl’s release (story by Holly Yan and Masoud Papaizai), link here  (no embed code available). 
   
It is right that the Army conduct a thorough investigation to see if the soldier had left his post, and gone AWOL or possibly deserted, five years ago.  Barbara Starr on CNN has noted that it is up to the Army chain of command to determine disciplinary action, including possible discharge or court martial.  The president is very unlikely to intervene. 
  
Did the president overstep his authority in releasing five potentially dangerous prisoners (enemy combatants)?  Senator McCain says so, and points out that when men and women sign up for military service, they know this kind of situation is possible.  McCain was himself a POW for a long time in the Hanoi Hilton.

If indeed Bergdahl was AWOL, we have a situation where, to rescue him, five potential enemies were released and who could do the US homeland great or fatal harm someday.  At least that's conceivable. 
     
But it’s striking to me, when I was coming of age, that military service was not a choice.  There was conscription of males, and a system of deferments, eventually replaced by a lottery (in 1969).  Those with better educations, like me, could game the system to reduce the risk, as I did.  I remember those 6 AM formations (in 1968) with the counts like "one on AWOL" with Tank Hill in Fort Jackson, SC in front of me. 


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