Exactly two months after former Marine Andrew Tahmooressi was imprisoned in Mexico for a wrong turn, Bowe Bergdahl is released in a prisoner “swap.”
Let’s just briefly compare and contrast the situations of Bowe Bergdahl and Andrew Tahmooressi.
First, let’s give Bergdahl the benefit of the doubt and assume he did simply wander off base in Afghanistan although I can find no evidence of support from those who served with him
and many in the Army community are dubious.
Further: “According to first-hand accounts from soldiers in his platoon, Bergdahl, while on guard duty, shed his weapons and walked off the observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera, and a diary. At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for Bergdahl, and many soldiers in his platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika Province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.
“Bowe Bergdahl had a different response. He decided to walk away. In the early-morning hours of June 30th, according to soldiers in the unit, Bowe approached his team leader not long after he got off guard duty and asked his superior a simple question: If I were to leave the base, would it cause problems if I took my sensitive equipment? Yes, his team leader responded – if you took your rifle and night-vision goggles, that would cause problems. Bowe returned to his barracks, a roughly built bunker of plywood and sandbags. He gathered up water, a knife, his digital camera and his diary. Then he slipped off the outpost.” – from Rolling Stone Magazine.
Let us also give Tahmooressi the benefit of the doubt and assume he simply made a wrong turn into Mexico. Something I myself have done and as evidenced by the reporting of Greta Van Susteren (and others) and has garnered tremendous support. Support including 117,840 signatures on a petition to the White House attempting to get the attention of President Obama https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/demand-release-usmc-sgt-tahmooressi-suffering-ptsd-mexico-imprisonment/qslJk2Xd
“A petition on the White House website asking President Obama to demand the release of a Marine sergeant in a Mexico prison has garnered more than 100,000 online signatures — a threshold that typically elicits an administration response. “
“I’m at the border of Mexico right now. And my problem is, I, I crossed the border by accident and I have three guns in my truck and they’re trying to take my guns from me,” the Marine told a 911 dispatcher in March. In a recording of the call released by U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, the Marine appears unsure of whether he crossed the border and exasperated that Mexican authorities are trying to take his weapons. “There’s nothing I can help you with then, sir,” the 911 dispatcher says after learning he’s in Mexico. “I do apologize. You’re not on American soil anymore.” http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/28/us/mexico-marine/
Tahmooressi has been described by his friends and fellow Marine’s as a “Marine’s Marine” who was “level-headed under fire and leading by example”. They recounted, in their own ways, how Tahmooressi saved the life of a Marine who had lost both legs in an explosion by quickly applying tourniquets and calling in for a helicopter evacuation. Like Vranicar, Tahmooressi also was involved in an IED attack that destroyed the vehicle he was driving. Richardson, who served in the motor transportation unit, saw first-hand the damage IEDs did to vehicles and the humans inside them. “There were so many hit in his platoon,” Richardson said. “He was hit with a 100-pound IED while bringing mail back to the platoon.” http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/05/26/more-would-be-remembered-this-memorial-day-had-it-not-been-for-bravery-marine/
Sgt. Tahmooressi has served two combat tours in Afghanistan and is the recipient of a Purple Heart. http://www.sandiegored.com/noticias/52294/Why-don-t-other-veterans-get-the-Tahmooressi-treatment/
Bergdahl on the other hand has been called anything but level headed : ” Bowe’s behavior, too, seemed odd at times. Fry remembers hearing “all kinds of crazy stories about him.” He often came across more like a boy on an adventure than a soldier preparing for war. “My buddy was on an op, pulling guard duty,” says Fry, recalling a joke that Bowe played. “Bergdahl was sneaking up on him like he was practicing techniques for the Battle of Wanat, on the other side.” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607page=2#ixzz33PXvkxFM and “Bowe earned the nickname “SF,” short for Special Forces – but it wasn’t a compliment. “
Tahmooressi called 911 and then his mother as soon as he realized he’d made a wrong turn into MX. It’s widely reported that he continues to pray, to God, while sitting in a Mexican prison approximately 10 miles south of the border of the United States. http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/28/us/mexico-marine/
And while Tahmooressi sits in a Mexican prison having faith in the United States to assist him…
Bergdahl wrote to his father ” “I am sorry for everything,” he wrote. “The horror that is america is disgusting.” Then he signed off with a final message to his mother and father. “There are a few more boxes coming to you guys,” he said, referring to his uniform and books, which he had already packed up and shipped off. “Feel free to open them, and use them.” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607?print=true
Also from the Rolling Stone piece:
“It was all too much for Bowe. On June 27th, he sent what would be his final e-mail to his parents. It was a lengthy message documenting his complete disillusionment with the war effort. He opened it by addressing it simply to “mom, dad.” “The future is too good to waste on lies,” Bowe wrote. “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.” The e-mail went on to list a series of complaints: Three good sergeants, Bowe said, had been forced to move to another company, and “one of the biggest shit bags is being put in charge of the team.” His battalion commander was a “conceited old fool.” The military system itself was broken: “In the US army you are cut down for being honest… but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank… The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american.”
Tahmooressi saved lives :
“They recounted, in their own ways, how Tahmooressi saved the life of a Marine who had lost both legs in an explosion by quickly applying tourniquets and calling in for a helicopter evacuation.” “The Marine sergeant imprisoned in Mexico since late March saved an untold number of lives thanks to his bravery and leadership during two tours in Afghanistan, combat veteran friends of Andrew Tahmooressi told FoxNews.com. ” http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/05/26/more-would-be-remembered-this-memorial-day-had-it-not-been-for-bravery-marine/
Bergdahl’s wanderlust cost lives: https://twitter.com/alimhaider/status/472873767849324544
Tahmooressi Calls His Mother as often as he can, is grateful for our support and though in MX, speaks in English, as does his mother.
Bergdahl has apparantly forgotten how to speak English, though he IS able to recall Military Code and can WRITE in English since:
” …he grabbed a paper plate and wrote three characters: “SF?” The men understood: Special Forces? The U.S. commandos didn’t bother to write back. “Yes!” shouted at least one over the roar of the flight. “We’ve been looking for you for a long time!” http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/31/world/meast/afghanistan-bergdahl-aboard-helicopter/
Tahmooressi’s parents continuously thank the American Public and thank God in the press and on social media https://www.facebook.com/freeusmctahmooressifrommexicanjail
Bergdahl’s Father grows a beard, does not shave it for his photo op with the President and at the end of the presser has these comments : ”
“At the end of brief event, the soldier’s father, Bob Bergdahl, recited the most frequent phrase in the Koran — “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim” —which means “In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Compassionate.” After Bergdahl finished his statement and his praise for Allah, Obama hugged him.” http://dailycaller.com/…/obama-submits-to-taliban…/… ”
Tahmooressi’s family continuously attend rallies, use social media to thank people helping in their efforts and try to elicit some attention for their son from the State Dept. all, to little avail as yet. https://www.facebook.com/freeusmctahmooressifrommexicanjail
Bergdahl’s Father ALSO takes to social media, tweets this (and then deletes it) though his tweet stream is full of other nearly as damning tweets :
Chuck Hagel “says Bergdahl’s life was in jeopardy http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/01/hagel-arrives-in-afghanistan-says-bergdahl-life-was-in-jeopardy/
Tahmooressi is being held in a Cartel led, Mexican prison and we’ve not heard from Hagel: ” He was beaten badly until he was left ‘gasping for air.’ .. He was also allegedly chain(ed) to a bed with his feet at one end and his hands to another. He told reporters that he got this treatment as a punishment and he began to wonder if they would go after his family. ‘I was afraid,’ he said. ‘I was afraid for my family because I thought, you know these guys they wanted to harm me and that they were talking to the guards, that they were going to try and get information from the guards about the whereabouts of where my family was.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2643555/Marine-imprisoned-Mexico-gun-charges-remains-hopeful-released-chained-naked-bed-badly-beaten-gasping-air.html#ixzz33PlAffM6
Most of you are aware of President Obama’s “Phone and Pen” commentary as to how he will circumvent Congress http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-i-will-use-my-pen-and-phone-to-take-on-congress/
And Though He’s NOT picked up that infamous phone to call the President of Mexico on USMC Sgt. Tahmooressi’s behalf, he apparently did use his executive power to send in the SEALS for Bowe Bergdahl. ” “Obama is required by law to notify Congress 30 days before any terrorists are transferred from the U.S. facility. They said Obama also is required to explain how the threat posed by such terrorists has been substantially mitigated.” http://www.businessinsider.com/gop-prisoner-swap-taliban-obama-2014-5#ixzz33PxClnZC
…when he unilaterally released “battle hardened Taliban Commanders” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/freed-prisoners-were-battle-hardened-taliban-commanders/2014/05/31/d52b3005-636e-4c65-a1da-2b9ace667e4d_story.html
Now, in all fairness, Sec of State John Kerry did mention Sgt Tahmooressi as he ” told CNN Wednesday that he spoke with Mexican authorities about it last week.” WHEN HE WAS IN MEXICO http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/28/us/mexico-marine/
…and while it’s possible that John Kerry is negotiating behind the scenes for his release, no assurances have been given.
But, I can find no evidence that Senator John Cornyn brought up Tahmooressi while on his “low key trip” to Mexico http://www.texastribune.org/2014/05/30/cornyn-tours-ciudad-juarez-low-key-trip-mexico/
I have not personally reached out to Senator Cornyn but he does follow me on twitter and at least ONE of my hundreds of tweets, going back weeks, must have crossed his twitter feed –
So, where are we now with Sgt. Tahmooressi? Still trying to garner the attention of President Obama. All 117,840 of us!
Although it may appear I begrudge Bowe Bergdahl his freedom, I do not. I firmly believe in no man left behind. If there is any punishment to be meted out, I have faith in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to do so. My intent is simply to point out the injustice that is decorated Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi languishing in a Mexican prison for a wrong turn while a “questionable” Bergdahl was swapped for 5 high profile terrorists by dozens of Navy SEALS. I want Tahmoressi out and Mexico is our “neighbor.” What is it going to take to rectify this? A phone call would do it Mr. President.
I cannot imagine any negative repercussions such a phone call would have and if any they certainly would not equate to this: ” Mullah Omar, who has made no public appearances or speeches since fleeing Afghanistan in 2001 when US-led forces toppled the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks in the US, said: “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entire Afghan Muslim nation.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27655312
And, finally, The Tahmooressi family has asked former POW Senator John McCain for assistance: Relatives of U.S. Marine Andrew Tahmooressi, who is being held in a Mexican jail for entering the country with weapons in his possession, have asked Republican Sen. John McCain for help in the case. “We’re very concerned about his well-being. He’s been beaten, he’s suffering from hunger. The only thing they’re giving him to eat is bread and water with sugar,” http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/06/01/family-asks-mccain-to-help-win-us-marine-release-from-mexican-jail/
Teri Peters is on twitter at @hipEchik