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I couldn't believe my ears, but just minutes ago on "America's News HQ," guest pundit Ralph Peters suggested something to the effect that the Taliban should "save us the headache" and execute captured 23 year-old American soldier Bowe Bergdahl, because "it looks like" Bergdahl deserted his unit.  While prefacing his comments by stressing that a military decision should not be made until all of the facts surrounding Bergdahl's capture are determined, Peters then ignored his own advice and encouraged the Taliban to kill this young man.  Fox News' Julie Banderas was visibly shocked at the words coming out of Peters' mouth, but did not challenge any of his statements before awkwardly ending the segment.

I apologize for posting this as a diary without an accompanying transcript or video, but this was so shocking I had to spread word as fast as possible.  This appears to be only the latest example of the Right's tendency to exploit and discard American soldiers whenever politically convenient (opposing soldier benefits that might hurt "retention rates," covering up the Pat Tillman fratricide, etc).

I can guarantee this exchange will be on youtube within hours.

- - -

Did I say hours?  Commenter "leonard145b" found the exchange within minutes of my post.  Watch it for yourself in the link below.  

Here is a transcript of the exchange:

Fox News' Julie Banderas:

"So when one of our troops is captured, how do we get him back?  How do we get him back safely?  Strategic analyst Lt. Col. Ralph Peters joins us now. Thank you so much for talking to us.  When he was capture don June 30th, apparently Bergdahl was captured while he walked away from his U.S. base camp.  Many people are emailing me, and asking, 'How can a soldier walk off from a base on his own?  Wouldnt there always be another soldier with him?  Wouldn't he be partnered with another person?'  What can you tell us about that?"

Ralph Peters:  

"Well, Julie, I was to stress first of all that we must wait until all of the facts are in until we make a final judgment.  But nobody in the military that I've heard is defending this guy.  He is an apparent deserter.  Reports are indeed that he abandoned his buddies, abandoned his post, and walked off.  We'll see what the ultimate truth of it is, but if he did, if he's a deserter at wartime, well, as one of my old platoon sargeants would say, he's in 'boku deep kimchi.'  Now there's another problem Julie.  On that video, he is collaborating with the enemy.  Under duress or not - that's really not relevant - he's making accusations about the behavior of the military in Afghanistan that are unfounded, saying that there are no rules, he's lying about how he was captured, saying he lagged behind the patrol.  Julie, I'll tell you, any 11th bravo infantrymen will tell you, that's not how it works.  In a war zone, any soldier is aware of where all his buddies are.  If it's a night patrol, you're sure aware of where the guy in front of you and behind you is.  So we know that this private is a liar.  We're not sure if he's a deserter.  But the media needs to hit the pause button, and not portray this guy as a hero."

Banderas:  

"Wow.  All right, well, I mean, obviously I don't want to speculate here.  From what I know, what we know as a news agency, we watched this video - first of all, the reason we are not airing the video, the network has decided we will not air this video, because that is what his captors want.  They want that message to get out there, and we're not going to do the Taliban any favors here.  But in a case like this, where a soldier is taken captive, how does the military prepare for this, number one, and how do they get their guy back?"

Peters:  

"Well, the military prepares for it by rigorous training.  All soldiers know the code of conduct, what you are allowed to do, and not allowed to do, when you're in enemy hands.  And there are strict limits.  And they're for sensible reasons, because you don't want to betray information about your unit, your buddies, battle plans, etc.  As far as getting him back... we don't know.  First of all, I would bet that he's not even in Afghanistan anymore, I'd bet he's across the border in Pakistan.  I don't know that.  The best bet getting him back is tipsters, surveillance, special operations.  For right now, I think he's okay.  They're not going to kill him right away, if at all, because he is tremendous propaganda value.  He's making anti-American statements, I mean, he wants to investigate Islam, blah blah blah.

Now look, Julie, I want to be clear.  If, when the facts are in, we find out that through some convoluted chain of events, he really was captured by the Taliban, I'm with him.  But, if he walked away from his post and his buddies at wartime... I don't care how hard it sounds, as far as I'm concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.

Banderas:  

"All right, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, thank you very very much.  Regardless of what the situation is, we do not want to see any U.S. soldier in harm's way.  And we hope this guy gets out of there safely, he's an American, he's one of ours..."

Peters (interrupting):  

"Hey Julie - think about his buddies.  Think about his buddies."

Banderas:  

"Yeah.  And of course everyone who's over there, and in his group.  All right, thank you very much for talking to us."    

PS - It's an honor to be on the rec list.  I've been registered on this site for years, but this is only my second diary.  I guess I was just channel surfing in the wrong place at the right time...

Originally posted to Antman11 on Sun Jul 19, 2009 at 02:12 PM PDT.

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