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Andrew Kirell of Mediate reports that during a Fox News Sunday weekly panel Juan Williams Blasts Bergdahl Critics: ‘America Should Be Loving’ Him, while defending the President's decision to swap five Gitmo prisoners to free U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.  

Asked by host Chris Wallace to “defend” the swap, Williams pointed out that it’s not “a matter of defending,” but is instead a “matter of us as Americans not getting lost in the troubling optics of the White House ceremony.” Despite reports that bring negative light upon the deal and the American soldier himself, Williams suggested it’s important to remember a few guiding thoughts [emphasis added in bold]:

    The clear principle is we don’t leave soldiers behind. And at the moment, I think what’s necessary here, I’m reminded this sunday morning of the story of the prodigal son. You don’t make judgments as you have the opportunity to bring that child back. America should be loving this child at this moment. Obviously we don’t know why he left. We think he’s a troubled person. We think he may have lost a sense of America’s mission. All true. But the idea is we don’t leave people in the enemy’s hands. The enemy saw him as an American soldier. That young man suffered; he was caged, Chris. His parents suffered.

And yet people want to argue about the father’s beard. They want to say they shouldn’t have a parade. Let the military decide. The military’s best position, not us sitting here on this panel, and not all the political people on the Republican side who have flip-flopped; flip-flopped, Chris, in the most craven way. Unbelievable.

Secretary of State John Kerry was also interviewed on CNN saying we will have plenty of time to determine the details of Bergdahl's departure from his unit.

I agree. Right now the two principles we should keep in mind are "leave no soldier behind," and the "rule of law," where people are presumed innocent until proven guilty - even in the military.

I was shocked by another CNN panel where a right-wing former general was arguing that Bergdahl was definitely guilty of desertion. Not yet is isn't.  There has been no trial, no evidence, and we have not even heard Bergdahl's explanation.

Please keep in mind, he may not even know himself exactly what happened.

Let me offer to two examples, that might provide alternative explanations we can not rule out until some investigation of facts, with rules of evidence, due process, and maybe even expert testimony by doctors.

The last times I've had to work in tropical areas in South East Asia, Africa, or Latin America I've had to take a new malaria medication, because malaria has evolved resistance to the older medications.

I was fairly concerned when my docor told me  the potential side effects of this new medication include severe psychological disturbances including suicide, and even psychosis in about 1% of patients taking it. (Hoffman - La Rouche claims 1 in 10,000, however, other studies suggest 1 out of 140).

Side effects of Mefloquine


Psychiatric side effects can include anxiety, feelings of mistrust towards others (paranoia), seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations), depression, restlessness, confusion, and behavior that is unusual.[10] These psychiatric problems may last for years after the patient stops taking the drug.[11] Mefloquine has been found to act as an agonist at 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors, which are the targets of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, and it has been suggested this may be partly responsible for the neuropsychiatric side effects.[12]

The Dark Side Of Lariam
How Dangerous Is It?

Their research confirmed the hunch. Not one in 10,000, but closer to one in a 140 suffered disabling side effects.

I do not know if Bergdahl was taking this medication, or if other soldiers in Afghanistan are in resistant malaria zones, but I do remember reading years ago that when rates of suicide, and other increasing cases of bizarre solder behavior started to increase after the start of these wars, widespread use of Larium, and these possible side-effect was mentioned in one DOD report as a possible hypothesis. My point is this is just one example of the reasons we should not jump to conclusions, and make the assumption that the only possible explanation is desertion.  

We also know rates of PTSD have been problematic,and we've also read of morale and discipline problems in that unit, leading to a possibility that Bergdahl may have developed ongoing psychological problems that were not noticed and handled properly by leadership.

Until such time as the doctors, psychiatrists, Bergdahl, and the military has had time to evaluate the evidence and come to some conclusions, possibly in the form of trial and conviction, if appropriate, we should give him and his family the  benefit of the doubt.

This retired general on CNN today who said there is no doubt that Bergdahl was guilty of of desertion, which he also added that during war is a capital crime, should apologize because until an investigation, indictments and trial this is simply not true - Bergdahl has not yet been found guilty of anything as far as we know.

For such as high ranking former military officer, to leap to unsupported conclusions, without proper evidence, and demean Bergdahl's service and reputation, without due process is a disservice to all of those who serve their country in the military with honor, and their families as well.  

Not only would it appear that this former general's unsupported allegations in this case are slanderous, but they are unwise in the predictable consequences of his irresponsible statements.

Consider the parents and families of other solders, or young men considering enlisting in the services who now have to wonder if their sons or daughters should develop psychological trouble, through no fault of their own, perhaps one of the !% who have troublesome side-effects of malaria or some other medication, there will not get proper care, have their due process rights tossed aside by their own military leadership, and potentially be shot for treason, if they should wander off into the jungle in a psychotic fugue or confusion?

We should all chill out and give Bergdahl and his family the benefit of he doubt, and respect they deserve until the facts are known and determined in the proper ways.

How sad that after five years in captivity Bergdahl has to return to be tortured and abused by Americans too ignorant to respect our own constitutional rights of due process.

I shutter to think of the psychological impact this episode will have on any future American prisoner's of war who may have to suffer doubly in captivity dreading the treatment and suspicions they may face if they should ever escape and return home to such a cruel and hostile homeland.

Law abiding and wiser military officers should rise to this injustice and reassure soldiers, their loved ones, and our nation of their personal commitment not abandon their duty to protect our soldier's dignity, health, and constitutional rights from being savaged by the hysteria of right-wing political opportunists too eager to exploit Bergdahl's uncertain circumstances to take a swipe and tear down a President they hate more than they love our legal traditions that someone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, under the rules of due process.    


Do you agree that failure of military officers and other responsible leaders to protect Sgt. Bergdahl's due process rights and presume he is innocent until proven guilty could damage morale for all soldiers and their families?

90%75 votes
6%5 votes
2%2 votes
0%0 votes
1%1 votes

| 83 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

    by HoundDog on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:36:35 PM PDT

  •  Every one of those rabid critics wouldn't hesitate (16+ / 0-) demand a lawyer and insist on their right to be considered "innocent until proven guilty" if they were accused of wrongdoing.  Yet, they are the first to cast stones at someone who has been detained by the enemy for five years, before he has even been able to speak for himself.  

    Politically motivated hypocrites are in abundance in this country, as are people who are quick to judge others far more harshly than they would ever judge themselves--before all the facts are known.

  •  Please don't call him a child. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebrann, Shockwave, Lujane, SteelerGrrl

    Your intentions are good, but I don't think it helps matters.  He's not our child.  He's our soldier.  He went into harm's way for us.  He's a man.

  •  I used to really like Williams when (8+ / 0-)

    he was at NPR. Every now and then he shows the same fire he had back then.

    In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

    by Voter123 on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:10:36 PM PDT

  •  Watched part of "Judgment at Nuremburg" (6+ / 0-)

    last night.  
      The retired General is like the German judge, who'd decided to sentence a Jewish man to death before the testimony and evidence were even presented.
      Different war, same disgusting human behavior.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:11:55 PM PDT

  •  We go to war based on fabricated evidence, (7+ / 0-)

    lies, misinformation, and propaganda.  Unreasonable suspicion (debunked at the time by people who actually knew stuff) is enough to invade a country, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths and ongoing unrest.

    Likewise, we send drones to kill people who fit a profile of a militant, even if they're really farmers, or people celebrating a wedding, or attending a funeral.  Suspicion is enough.  This includes American citizens.  The courts have ruled surviving family of these Americans cannot sue for their loved ones' deaths.

    In that context, the presumptive guilt of one soldier is surprising only insofar as he is white.

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:13:39 PM PDT

  •  Bergdahl was probably the only thinking man... (6+ / 0-) his unit;

    US soldier Bowe Bergdahl 'was disgusted with Afghan war and ashamed to be American'

    Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier being held prisoner by the Taliban after disappearing from his base had told his parents he was disgusted with the Afghan war and ashamed to be American.


    "The future is too good to waste on lies," he wrote in the email obtained by Rolling Stone magazine.
    "And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting."

    Sgt Bergdahl criticised his superiors, calling his battalion commander a "conceited old fool", and said the American army was composed of "liars, back-stabbers, fools, and bullies".
    He concluded by saying: "I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting."
    The truth, in his case, did not set him free.

    Back in the Vietnam days we had the VVAW which included the swiftboated John Kerry.  Now we only have Bergdahl.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 02:33:44 PM PDT

  •  Chloroquine made me paranoid (0+ / 0-)

    It got so bad I quit taking it and took my chances on malaria.

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 05:53:01 PM PDT

  •  Another General Said.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flowerfarmer, worldlotus, cjtjc

    "I saw no evidence to confirm that Army Sargeant Bergdahl
    collaborated w/ his captors, not one bit".  He also said
    "You hear things, & it was second & third hand."

    This was said by United States General James Mattis in a recent telephone interview w/ the Tampa Tribune.  General Mattis is a Marine & commanded the US Central Command in Florida.  

    The NY Times is also reporting the timeline isn't matching up.  Bergdahl went missing June 30th.  Two soldiers were killed inside post, not on patrol or running checkpoints looking for him.  Six additional soldiers were killed in late August-September months after Bergdahl's disappearance.

    Two died in a roadside bombing, a 3rd was shot during a search for a Taliban leader, 2 in an ambush & one stepped on a mine.

    FOX News, John McCain & Lindsey Graham are going to have a tough time selling Bergdahl as the responsible party 3 months after he disappeared.    

  •  In professions so entwined (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, cjtjc

    with life and death, there has to be an ethic of non-judgmentalism. I'm not and never have been in the armed services, but I have been an RN for ten years. In Juan Williams' words:

    The clear principle is we don’t leave soldiers behind. And at the moment, I think what’s necessary here, I’m reminded this sunday morning of the story of the prodigal son. You don’t make judgments as you have the opportunity to bring that child back.
    When faced with a critically ill patient, I don't give a shit about their criminal record, socioeconomic status, or lifestyle. All I know is a human being is in trouble. If they haven't lived a perfect life, that's for others to sort out later. My job is to keep them safe and breathing.

    I'm not a huge fan of Juan Williams but he nailed this one.

    Visit my new blog, Little Lotte Studio, to see what I'm growing and making this spring!

    by SteelerGrrl on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 06:22:23 PM PDT

  •  He's no good to FoxNews anymore. (0+ / 0-)

    Juan Williams was hired by Fox News to be it's house-moderate, never straying too far from the FN talking points. But now he's come out against the party line. His remarks to Chris Wallace put him at odds with the Bergdahl agitprop that Fox is trying to sell.

    Don't expect to see Williams on display often for a while.

    The problem with centrists is they carry moderation to an extreme.

    by ebrann on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 08:43:15 PM PDT

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