As you no doubt remember, a few years ago we got Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl back from the Taliban, in exchange for five high-ranking terrorists. Only, it turns out that Sgt. Bergdahl – whom the White House described as having served with “honor and distinction” – was eventually charged by the Army for ‘desertion’ and ‘misbehavior before the enemy,’ on the grounds that he, well, deserted and misbehaved by cooperating with his ‘captors.’ Today, the Army announced that Bergdahl will face trial on both charges. And they’re doing this despite recommendations of leniency.
It might surprise you to hear that, of the two, ‘misbehavior before the enemy’ is the worse one. Desertion can get you five years; misbehavior before the enemy can get you life. The defense is not happy that Sgt. Bergdahl – who, remember, has served with ‘honor and distinction,’ at least if you believe the White House – is facing spending the rest of his life in a military prison, but there’s not much that the defense can do about it. Well, aside from getting him acquitted at the court-martial, of course.
As to what happens now? Bear in mind that I’m not a military guy, but have been listening to military guys talking about this… the Sgt. Bowe “HONOR AND DISTINCTION” Bergdahl situation will probably be resolved soon, assuming that Bergdahl is smart and simply pleads guilty. If Bergdahl is stupid, he’ll insist on a court-martial, which will be populated with officers who will have either served in Afghanistan recently, or lost a friend there, or both. If Bergdahl is a stark, raving mad fool he’ll insist on a court-martial that will be partially populated with NCOs who will have likewise either served in Afghanistan recently, lost friends there, or both.
…I’d personally take my chances with the all-officer panel. Or pleading guilty. Or, you know, maybe actually serving with honor and distinction by not deserting and demonstrating misbehavior before the enemy in the first place.
PS: I wonder if Barack Obama is insane enough to contemplate pardoning this guy, some time in December of 2016? It would be, in fact, insane; but at the same time, the President’s got his own reputation to protect – or, more accurately, his own self-image to pander to. God forbid that a man that the White House described as serving with honor and distinction should rot in a military jail for the next half-decade…