In June 2009, U.S. Army Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan and was captured by Taliban forces. He was held for five years where he was tortured, beaten, and held in a cage in darkness after he tried to escape.
In May of 2014, Bergdahl was released in exchange for five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. The exchange was approved by then President Barack Obama.
After an investigation, the US military charged Bergdahl with one count each of desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty, and misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit, or place.
Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
Last week Bergdahl received a dishonorable discharge from the US Army with no prison time. His rank will be reduced from sergeant to private, he will be required to pay a $1,000 fine from his salary for the next 10 months. The sentence will be reviewed by higher authorities.
I think the sentence is appropriate.
Many people were outraged at the sentence and that is fine. Some of the reasons they were outraged were false reasons – like that soldiers were killed looking for Bergdahl. It’s true that soldiers looked for Bergdahl and some were badly injured, but the only death was a military working dog.