Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Marine's take on the case of Sgt. Bergdahl

Capt. Elliot Ackerman, USMC
Elliot Ackerman, a novelist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine junior officer and earned a Silver Star in Fallujah, has a smart and literate piece on the case of Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl in the current issue of The New Republic. The article, which presents back-story information and a perspective not seen elsewhere in the reams already written about the case, defies pulling out an arbitrary extract, so let's not try. Read the whole thing here.


  1. Note that the linked TNR article gets the scope of President Carter's Jan. 21, 1977 proclamation wrong. The proclamation's pardon (available here http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/proclamations/04483.html) is limited to "violation[s] of the Military Selective Service Act or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder." Yet the TNR article states, "In 1977, on his first day in office, President Carter pardoned military deserters who had not yet been convicted or punished as well as those who avoided the draft." Not so. As the Office of the Pardon Attorney's guidance (available here http://www.justice.gov/pardon/carter_instructions.htm) states, "President Carter’s Pardon Proclamation applies only to violations of the Military Selective Service Act by civilians. If you were a member of the armed forces during the relevant period, and you were convicted for a violation of military law, your offense does not qualify for treatment under the Proclamation." The same obviously applies to those who committed UCMJ offenses (such as desertion) but weren't convicted -- though they wouldn't need a pardon.


Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).