If military prosecutors followed the lead of the New York Times, alleged army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would see charges of desertion and misbehaving before the enemy dropped. He could be honourably discharged and saying “So long” to his current home, the US Army HDQ in San Antonio.
He’d be home in time for supper.
The left would rejoice. There may even be a parade with a nationally televised apology from Barack Obama and a plaque for serving with honour and distinction in Afghanistan. Bowe’s parents could have another Rose Garden photo op with the President. Did the American sniper, Chris Kyle’s parents or his wife get a meeting with President Obama yet? Just wondering.
Honour and distinction – that was the term sacrificial US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice used when she laid down cover for the Obama administration’s Bergdahl blunder, releasing five high value Taliban dirt bags from Gitmo in exchange for Bergdahl, and failing to inform Congress as required by law. Recent information says at least one and possibly three of the terrorists Obama illegally turned loose have returned to the fight.
That’s business as usual from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The New York Times editorial position is this. Sgt. Bergdahl’s behaviour suggested psychological issues in 2006 when he was cut loose by the Coast Guard after a few weeks in training. There were concerns by some relatives and fellow service members in Afghanistan that he was “emotionally distressed and at times delusional.” The article, No Need to Prosecute Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, also speaks of an Army report that described Bergdahl as “naïve and at times unrealistic.” So naturally the Army is to blame for enlisting a guy with issues. Case closed.
The Times may be right. The Sgt. might have been troubled, possibly even unfit for service. But we don’t know that yet and we won’t learn the truth without a trial, the most thorough way to legally and fully address the charges and Bergdahl’s claims.
What we do know is that the Sgt. willingly left his duty, his responsibilities and the safety of his unit. We know his decision led to the deaths of military brothers, soldiers who, unlike Bergdahl, will never come home to friends, families or any future. None of that is open to debate.
Some reports claim there is evidence the alleged deserter was upset over U.S. policy in Afghanistan but we know through his lawyer, Bergdahl is claiming that he didn’t desert. He was AWOL because of concerns over order and discipline in his unit. He didn’t trust his commanding officers to hear and address those concerns so he was heading to another base . . . somewhere . . . . on foot . . . . without a weapon . . . . to find a sympathetic ear.
This is the foundation for his defense. He didn’t run. He intended to return. The damn Taliban got him.
Who could have expected that to happen while wandering alone, miles from anywhere, in the middle of a war zone?
If mental instability, sufficient enough to severely impair his judgement is proven at trial, then the accused deserter deserves a break. But, if the Sgt., after going through the military justice system with robust representation is found guilty of the charges, then he deserves to spend the rest of his days in a military prison, and lose his pay and benefits rumoured to be around $300,000. He can go free when those who died trying to rescue him come back from the grave.
I wonder if that sounds fair to the New York Times.