June 7, 2014
A 'Black Heart' medal for Bergdahl's No-Show Officers
By Russ Vaughn
This Bergdahl swap is emitting a growing stench that is more apparent to those who are serving and those who have served. A huge question is why those who served in Bergdahl’s squad, platoon and company may have been intimidated into silence by being required to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements by their superiors. My take on that is that the Army and the Obama administration were embarrassed by the desertion and probable defection of an American G.I. in Afghanistan. Knowing what I have learned in the past five years about this “most transparent” administration, they were eager to avoid the negative publicity such an event might generate.
Bergdahl’s squad members have ignored the looming threat of those non-disclosure agreements to appear on the FOX News Channel and openly express their views that Bergdahl is clearly a disaffected young soldier who deserted his post. They are right to speak their minds because those Non-Disclosure Agreements were worthless from the get-go. NDA’s are used to insure that people who are about to enter into proprietary or classified environments will not reveal anything regarding the information to which they are about to be given access. They are not sworn to reveal that which they already know to be fact and may be called on to testify about. That would be an ex-post-facto NDA.
Further, an NDA is a contract binding the signatories. Basic contract law will tell you that no contract is valid if one of the contracting parties is doing so under duress. The very fact that these enlisted men in Bergdahl’s squad were asked by their superiors to sign such a document implies duress because of the reality that the signatory’s continued successful service and promotion, within his unit and beyond, is totally dependent upon the approval and recommendation of those requesting his acquiescence. Those unequal bargaining positions also raise the issue of inequality of parties, another legal doctrine that can invalidate a contract when one party has power and position so as to overwhelm the other.
So Bergdahl’s enlisted brothers have come forward with first-hand testimony to prevent the Obama administration and the Democrat party from embracing another false hero, as they too frequently have done in the past. They are the party of Stolen Valor, embracing and protecting those who disgrace their service with phony medals and awards. Those Democrat politicians who have ridden that terrible lie into office deserve nothing but icy contempt from the honest veterans in America.
I have saved the last couple of paragraphs to shame the officers of Bergdahl’s unit. They, just like their enlisted men, had to know Bergdahl was a deserter, but in this battle for the honor of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, the very first paratrooper organization America ever fielded, with many battle ribbons and a proud heritage earned around the world, those officers are silent. Rather than support those troops they led into battle, they sit back and let the enlisted men carry the load. That abandonment of their paratroopers in a time of high crisis is disgraceful and should plague their souls to their graves. They quit. That is the ultimate disgrace in Airborne units where the motto, "All the Way," carries a very special meaning, that the unit, its officers, its non-coms and the troops are committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve the mission, and if it brings death, so be it, I will have died honorably with my paratrooper brothers. And yet, when their men need them most, the officers of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment quit; they have deserted the battlefield every bit as much as PFC Bergdahl. For them I propose an award:
The Black Heart, a flat-black medal with the point of the heart upwards to be awarded to deserters, whether they be those who go out through the wire or those who silently desert their responsibilities by shrinking into quiescent anonymity, leaving their men out there, as the only troopers bearing the colors of the regiment.
Call them the no-shows.