Some amazing analysis on what should happen to Sgt Bergdahl

The story “We Lost Soldiers in the Hunt for Bergdahl, a Guy Who Walked Off in the Dead of Night” over on the The Daily Beast has gone absolutely viral, as have several similar stories from soldiers who served with him. (Having read many of them, I recommend the one above if you’re just reading one.)

Ignoring the argument of whether it was wise or not to trade for him — that’s too political and heated for me to touch! — the fact is we now have Sgt Bergdahl and we’re going to have to do something with him.

In the military community, the talk has been almost non-stop on what should happen. Frankly, most of it has been over-blown and too passionate, in my opinion.

But an officer I served with made some of the most insanely good commentary I’ve seen yet.

In asking him about Bergdahl, I said, “The evidence against Bergdahl seems pretty stacked, but he deserves the chance to explain what happened. (And I’m glad I don’t have to make the call — five years in captivity would make what should be a pretty simple decision much more difficult.)”

My friend and officer, who I’m choosing not to name, replied with this amazing analysis:

“Seems like a strange cat to begin with. His pops’ whole growing a beard thing suggests the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But if he deserted, he needs to be held accountable, at least nominally (even if only NJP). Tougher call about all of the VA benefits he would rate as a POW. If he aided and abetted though, he needs to get hammered. That will be a tough case to prove though from an evidentiary standpoint because everyone breaks sooner or later. Tough to draw that line.”

What do the members of Mitchell’s Militia think? Do you agree?

And what do you all think should happen? (If commenting, please keep your comments as tactful and respectful as possible!)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please consider subscribing for email alerts of new posts.


 If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after finding himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

Diet Coke, Guilt, and the Taliban

A few weeks ago, I made what I thought was a pretty bland — but very honest — comment on facebook about my addiction to Diet Coke. My confession started a string of comments that I found funny, insightful, and full of innuendo. Here’s an edited version of the conversation, with names changed.

It started when I wrote:

I have a serious love/hate relationship with Diet Coke… I love her, but she controls me and I always feel bad for going back to her…

Pimp Daddy D: yeah, but she’s always there for you and she doesn’t care if you taste like another beverage.

Red Neck RandyDiet Coke say’s “You my fool!” 

Stan R. Mitchell: Actually, Red Neck Randy, she calls me something else, and I let her…

Stan R. Mitchell: I think my longest separation from her was maybe three months…

Stan R. Mitchell: She owns me…

Two-Guns TomHave you gotten the commemorative monkey-shaped bottle to carry on your back?

Stan R. Mitchell: No, I haven’t… Tw0Guns, is there something you need to tell me?

Jim Bob Bodeen: I went back for a taste the other day… Oh the shame.

Stan R. Mitchell:  Is there anyone who isn’t in love with her?

Jim Bob BodeenI’m not in love, she was just there in my time of need. My wife had brought her along on a trip.

Stan R. Mitchell: I thought once I ended my “bro-mance” with Coke it would be much better, but she’s much worse. Tells me she’s not bad for me and the marketing says “Zero calories, 99.999 % water….” Can that be bad for you? (Yes, I know it can… Please don’t make me feel worse…)

Stan R. Mitchell: I love her and won’t allow anyone to trash her…

Stan R. Mitchell:  Sure, Jim Bob Bodeen… You can try to pretend you’re not in love all that you want….

Jim Bob Bodeen: Be careful. Under that flashy exterior, she has a dark side.

Jim Bob Bodeen: It was my wife that pushed us together. She suggested… she insisted.

Stan R. Mitchell: Hah! My wife hates her. I sometimes look both ways before refilling my cup!

Jim Bob Bodeen: She and my wife have been hanging out long before I came along.

Stan R. Mitchell: Diet Coke may be the only thing I’ve ever mis-lead Danah about. Most guys lie about gun purchases, truck parts, and outings with friends (when they’re “working”)… I lie about how much Diet Coke I’ve had…

Jim Bob Bodeen:  For shame.

Jim Bob Bodeen: What does she expect when you are all alone with her working late to make a deadline. Things are bound to happen.

Stan R. Mitchell: Yeah, that’s true. Great. Now you’ve got me justifying it. But I still shouldn’t be inhaling like half a two liter. And I shouldn’t have to get monk-like and try to take small sips and push the cup as far away as possible.

Stan R. Mitchell: I’m telling you, I have it bad…

Jim Bob Bodeen: Be strong.

Jim Bob Bodeen: How about this. Two individual sodas a day equals almost a thousand bucks a year.

Stan R. Mitchell: Nope. That makes it worse… Now I’m back to guilt mode…

Jake “Jackhammer” Jones: I too suffer from this addiction. I feel your pain!

Jim Bob Bodeen: My secret love comes from Columbia. She is dark in color and her bitter-sweet taste still lingers on my lips from our lunch break together.

Stan R. Mitchell: Yeah, thankfully I’ve avoided the coffee addiction. What worries me is my replacement drink most of the time is tea, and I use the artificial sweetener with it, as well, so basically, I’m inhaling this fake sugar stuff pretty much the entire day…

Jim Bob Bodeen:  Mine is different. I can quit her anytime I want.

Jim Bob Bodeen: That stuff can’t be good for you.

Stan R. Mitchell: Yeah, I know… I’ve read about a billion articles on it… I even bought Mio to try to work on drinking water, but I’m not sure that it’s much different…

Jim Bob Bodeen: I learned a long time ago… Most people either die from what they eat, or from worrying about what they eat. Which way sounds more fun.

Stan R. Mitchell: Hah!

Stan R. Mitchell: Life was simpler when we carried big sticks and fought saber-tooth tigers…

Jim Bob Bodeen: Is it worth it to squeeze out 2 or three more years if I have to be miserable to do it?

Jim Bob Bodeen: Me like big stick with sharp point to kill mammoth.

Stan R. Mitchell: That’s a great question, and I’d imagine the answer is different now than it will be at the end!

Jim Bob Bodeen:  I suppose.

Stan R. Mitchell: We should introduce Diet Coke to the Taliban… They’d all have jobs and stress in no time…

Jim Bob Bodeen: funny

Steve “Goldtooth” Stevens :  Um, yeah. I decided to cut way back to just one a day (my morning beverage in lieu of coffee, which I don’t drink). Then, this summer, I thought: Hey, let’s just switch to Coke. Then we’ll quit pop altogether. Hmmm. I’m back to one Diet Coke per day (hopefully).

Jim Bob Bodeen: I got leery when I was told you could use diet soda in lieu of anti-freeze.

Jim Bob Bodeen: Whether it was true or not, I didn’t care.

Stan R. Mitchell: Holy crap. I hadn’t even heard that. I did hear you could use Coke to remove rust… Check that. Actually, that it worked better than most rust removers…

Jim Bob Bodeen:  It’ll shine up a penny too.

Delilah Martin, aka “Paris the Pole Dancer: My children suffer from the adverse side effects of her, I want to feel bad, but I just can’t shake her. My husband is OK with it.

Billy Bob “Big Beard” Leonard: I have the same toxic relationship with Diet Dr. Pepper, Stan.

My Mom (no joke): Dad has scared me to death saying the artificial sweeteners are not good for you, but evidently it has not been proven long term. Doctors say “long term results” have not been proven. So what do you do? Any other ideas?

Jim Bob Bodeen: If we stop eating all together, we will never eat anything bad for us again. Otherwise, someone will always find something wrong with anything you eat.

Billy Bob “Big Beard” Leonard: I say artificial sweeteners and coffee, too, must be very slow-acting poisons. I’ve been using both for decades. And, man, those biscuits and sausage gravy…

Stan R. Mitchell: This is great! We’ve come full circle and I’m no longer feeling bad about it or as worried as I was.

Stan R. Mitchell: Funny thing is that this always happens. I’ll spend some time researching or talking with someone about my addiction and in the end, I end up in the same place: I need to try to moderate it, but I just can’t give it up.

Billy Bob “Big Beard” Leonard: Stan, somebody said, and the source is highly debated, “All things in moderation.” I say, “Over-indulgence on occasion is unlikely to kill you.”

Stan R. Mitchell: Hah! Love that, Billy Bob “Big Beard” Leonard. And I’m going to use that in the future — both to make others feel better and as an excuse to enjoy life a bit more with fewer feelings of guilt!

*     *     *     *     *

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. I really appreciate everyone’s support of my books. Sold Out, the Marine Sniper/CIA thriller about Nick Woods, has gone as high as No. 46 in its genre. And Little Man, and the Dixon County War, a Western thriller that moves super fast, has gone as high as No. 34 in its genre.

Want to learn more about snipers on the battlefield?

USA Today reported on Wednesday about how snipers are transforming the battlefield.

The article looked at one specific area in Afghanistan — the Musa Qala area in the southern part of the country — and described how when a Marine infantry battalion deployed there in 2010, it couldn’t leave its base without coming under fire.

“They couldn’t get outside the wire more than 50 meters before it was a barrage of fire,” said Marine Sgt. Jonathan Charles, a scout sniper.

But that changed in the coming months, once the unit sent sniper teams out for some happy hunting. The article explains how these snipers changed that region, and goes further into how snipers are being used more and more these days. (It’s a great article that’s certainly worth reading: find it here.)

The article also pumps me up because as my close fans know — mic check, anyone out there? — I’ve got a sniper novel that will be finished soon. This is a thriller about a former Marine sniper that gets caught up again in an incredible conspiracy along with a chain-smoking, soft reporter from New York, who gets dragged in, too.

I’ve been working on this novel since 2001, and even my ex-wife said parts of it rocked. (Can you get a more accurate assessment of your work?)

So, why ten years, Stan? Are you that pathetic of a writer?

No. The book is just that complex. And I get these guys in such jams that I often spend weeks and weeks, if not months, figuring out how they can get out of it.

The easier path for me would have been to go back and take the jam out, or make it less of a jam. But, that makes for a weaker book, so when you guys read this and see the shit these two guys have to go through, oh, you’ll be thankful; and probably reading at an elevated heart-rate. Believe me, you’ll be staying up past your bedtime with a lamp burning, I guarantee it.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Want to read a fast-moving, shoot-’em-up novel? Then go buy “Little Man, and the Dixon County War.” It’s gone as high as below 21,000 on the Amazon paid Kindle list — no small accomplishment — and the reviews say it rocks. Don’t have a Kindle? Read it from your computer, laptop, ipad, phone, or other device. Click here for free download.