My beloved Arizona Wildcats (34-4) are done for the year, having reached the Elite Eight. They lost (85-78) to Steve Burri's Wisconsin Badgers (35-3). In all likelihood, the Badgers will lose to the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats next Saturday, but you never know. (I assume that Kentucky will beat Notre Dame tonight.) My Cats had a terrific year, winning both the regular-season Pac-12 title and the Pac-12 tournament. They just didn't have enough against the pale-skins of Wisconsin. Maybe next year. By the way, this is two years in a row in which Wisconsin has beaten Arizona in the regional final. A year ago, when the Cats were seeded #1 and the Badgers #2, the game went overtime. This year, the seeds were reversed, with the same result. I guess those who did the seeding this year knew what they were doing. The only good thing about Wisconsin's victory today is that I had Wisconsin in my NCAA pool.
At Home (1969). This song was released when I was 12 years old. I've heard it many times over the years and always liked it. Today, the song came up randomly as I was riding my bike. Hmm, I thought, I can play that on my acoustic guitar. It took me an hour to transcribe and learn it, assisted by a few Internet searches. How cool is that?
Assuming, as your editorial does, that Sergeant Bergdahl did desert his post in combat in Afghanistan and was also chargeable for misbehavior before the enemy—perhaps two of the most serious offenses a soldier in combat can commit—then the Army has no reasonable choice but to submit these extremely grave charges to a court-martial.
Not to do so would make a mockery of the needs of discipline, a mockery of the military justice system, and would be an insult to his comrades who did not desert.
All the matters you point out for not convening a court-martial are matters the court-martial can and should consider in determining the punishment in the sentencing phase of the trial.
RONALD M. HOLDAWAY Draper, Utah
The writer is a retired Army brigadier general in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.
To the Editor:
You say trying Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “for desertion and misbehaving before the enemy—for allegedly engaging in conduct that endangered his unit—stands to accomplish little.” You use the word “allegedly,” which means a claim without proof. Well, a prosecution will prove whether or not the claim is true. There is also a claim that soldiers died looking for him.
If these claims are found to be true, do you really think that our only concern should be Sergeant Bergdahl’s ability to “rebuild his life as a civilian”? Perhaps if he is tried and convicted, President Obama could grant him a pardon and explain that he served with honor and distinction.
GERALD DEUTSCH Glen Head, N.Y.
To the Editor:
It is not often that a soldier who deserted his post in the face of the enemy has five Taliban Guantánamo detainees exchanged for his release from captivity, is welcomed back to the United States, and has the president’s national security adviser praise him for having served his country “with honor and distinction.”
Prosecuting Sergeant Bergdahl will serve to set the record straight.
JAMES G. RUSSELL Alexandria, Va.
Note from KBJ: The minute this cretin walked away from his fellow soldiers, an order should have been issued to shoot him on sight. Since that wasn't done, he should be hanged in a public square forthwith.
David Brooks’s column illustrates that hatred of Jews cannot be attributed merely to opposition to the state of Israel’s policies.
While Israel is identified as the Jewish state, it does not follow that all Jews should be held responsible for its government’s behavior—any more than all Americans should be held accountable for decisions made by our national government.
What we see, though, is that all Jews, because they are Jews, are castigated, threatened and attacked.
In fact, the continuing vilification of Israel can be understood only against the centuries of anti-Semitism that preceded the state’s founding. At first grounded in Christian doctrine, this hatred has mutated over time into variations based on race and ethnicity. In 19th-century Europe, Jews were hated because they were stateless, with no national attachment. In the 20th century, they were hated precisely because of the state that they established.
Just as anti-Semitism did not begin in 1948, it will not end if a Palestinian state is created. As in the past, the haters will find other reasons for their loathing.
John Sullivan sent a link to this blog post about the length of baseball games. I don't mind when games run long while I'm at home, watching on television. I'm free to do things in the house. But when I'm jammed into an uncomfortable seat at the Ballpark in Arlington, with obnoxious fans all around and music blaring, I mind. Yes, I can leave the Ballpark early if I don't want to stay for more than two and a half hours; but it's nice to see the entire game and still get home at a reasonable hour.
Addendum: The author of the post writes: "The game ends when a task has been achieved, when the home team records the 27th out against the opposition." Not true. If the home team is behind (or tied) after it records the 27th out, the game continues. Does this man even understand the game? I think he likes long games so he can drink more beer.
Mr. Blow’s column and your editorial critical of my record as governor provide good examples of how liberals at The New York Times and I have a different opinion on how to measure successful governance and what it looks like in practice.
When I campaigned for governor seven years ago, I promised to make the government smaller and the economy larger. That’s exactly what I have done. We cut taxes and reduced the size of government. In fact, the government is smaller by more than $9 billion and 30,000 workers. This fiscal responsibility resulted in eight straight upgrades by the major credit agencies.
And what did lower taxes do for our economy? They spurred growth. Louisiana now has higher incomes, a larger gross domestic product, more exports, more jobs and more people than we’ve ever had in the history of our state. That’s a record of which I am proud. I measure success not in the prosperity of government, but in the prosperity of citizens.
The New York Yankees baseball franchise is worth $3,200,000,000. Damn! I was thinking of buying it and putting a losing team on the field every year. Oh, wait. They're already doing that. (Sorry, John and David.)