Soldier in controversial prisoner swap charged with desertion

Bowe Bergdahl

From CNN:

“The U.S. military has charged Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with one count each of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, officials announced Wednesday afternoon.

“Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan before being captured and held captive for five years. For that, he faces charges that carry a maximum penalty of life in a military prison, and he could also have to forfeit pay and be stripped for his rank, Army Col. Daniel King said as he announced the charges.

“Bergdahl now faces a military procedure similar to a grand jury deciding whether charges are appropriate, King said. Then, he could face court martial proceedings.

“The decision comes nearly a year after Bergdahl returned to the United States as part of a prisoner exchange and since the Army began a formal investigation into his disappearance from his unit in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009.”

This possibility was, of course, rumored at the time of the prisoner swap and led to a lot of debate about whether the U.S. should have gone to such great lengths and cost to bring home a soldier who allegedly walked away from his post. The five prisoners the Obama administration released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay will be free to leave Qatar in June; we’ll find out after that if they return to a jihadist battlefield that, since their arrest, has grown to comprise large chunks of Syria and Iraq. At least one reportedly tried to contact other militants while in Qatari custody.

There were questions at the time as to whether the U.S. had more leverage regarding Bergdahl’s release than the 5:1 swap would indicate. A charge of desertion certainly makes the deal look worse. Was it worth trading five high-level terrorists — and losing the lives of other soldiers — to save the life of a man we could end up putting in prison for the rest of his life? That’s a very tough pill to swallow.

Reader Comments 0

31 comments
LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

If it weakens the U.S., Obama will be all for it.  Selling out for a deserter is just the latest chapter.  Next up:  helping Iran run out the clock and getting their bomb.

lvg
lvg

No question Obama blew this  one. Parents and Begdahl owe country an apology.

Salt-n-Light
Salt-n-Light

So we are trusting the guy who swapped Bergdahl for Terrorists to negotiate on Nukes with Iran. Talk about the JV at work.

GMFA
GMFA

I think he should be charged, however this is a guy that is not hitting on all 8 cylinders. There is something wrong with him mentally. So I still think we should have done what we did based on what we knew at the time.

straker
straker

It has taken the Army about a year to charge Bergdahl with desertion. 

This strongly suggests that, at the time of the prisoner swap, the Army did not know if he was guilty of anything.

Also, those holding him probably gave the US a time limit on how long they would be willing to swap him.

So, Obama did the only thing he could humanely do.

Unfortunately, we now have those who, whether its race, rape, hate crimes or desertion, do not believe in innocent until proven guilt;y.

They don't even believe in guilty until proven innocent.

If he's charged, he MUST be guilty is what they believe.

Pitiful and pathetic.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

five high-level terrorists

Is there some kind of ranking system you're using here?

Is there an A-ball to AAA system indicating they're in the minors, and a MLT (Major League Terrorism) assignation for when a guy's made The Bigs?

JoelEdge
JoelEdge

"he faces charges that carry a maximum penalty of life in a military prison"

Good.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

What are they going to convict him of? Serving with "Honor and Distinction"?

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Bergdahl was nothing more than the excuse Obozo was looking for to let three terrorists out of Gimo and he thought he could keep the public from ever finding out that Bergdahl was a deserter and now it's backfired on him, expect his lackeys to put as much pressure as possible on the Army to drop the charges. I wonder if he will trot out Susan Rice to say again that Bergdahl " served with honor "  

MarkVV
MarkVV

It is not just that the speculations about Bergdahl’s exchange are worthless, but that those criticizing it on the basis of his alleged misbehavior show an inability of critical thinking.There was a possibility that Bergdahl had deserted. But that could be proven only in a US military court. Until then, he is legally innocent until proven guilty. Not to consider him for exchange would be akin to saying that only those without any suspicion of misbehavior could be considered for an exchange, and since even a lack of suspicion could not be taken as a proof of their innocence, no one should be exchanged. Those pleading for a swap of someone like Bergdahl would be asked to do the impossible – to prove a negative.

kitty72
kitty72

@MarkVV  We bring them home if we are able and we did. The desertion charge is separate from that. Did we pay too high a price for him? If you separate the two issues, no. He is one of ours.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Absolutely not !!!!

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

I understand that the actions by the military are, basically, an indictment.  He's not been found guilty of anything, though, you can bet your next paycheck that the entire process has been orchestrated by the administration. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Susan Rice should have to resign for lying to the American people.  She said Bergdahl "served with honor and distinction". 

TBS
TBS

It was a good thing that the US made the decision to get Bergdahl back.  Now that the investigation has been completed and it is has lead to charges Bergdahl can either pled guilty or face a trial. 



AvailableName
AvailableName

From what I've read about this whole unhappy mess, the kid was messed up.  I find it amazing that without knowing, you would pontificate about the wisdom of keeping him alive.  I'd love to hear your take on the Oklahoma bus kid's "apology" in a news conference today.  Forgiveness for him but not the Army Kid?  Forgiveness for neither?

MarkVV
MarkVV

“There were QUESTIONS at the time …”

“A charge of desertion certainly makes the deal LOOK worse.”

“WAS IT worth …?”

(My emphasis)


What are these speculations worth?

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@MarkVV 

Is Kyle suggesting that the better course was to leave a US soldier as the captive of terrorists?

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

As noted in a WashPost editorial this week, this is truly an Orwellian Presidency.  He treats our allies like enemies and our enemies like allies and seems to work against the best interest of America.  When Conservatives panned this swap at the time, the proggies ran the flag up the pole and started spouting the innocent til proven guilty line and disparaging all of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers, who told us what he did.  Well I guess we now know who the liars were.


Ok, I'm ready, hit me with the old "he hasn't been convicted yet".  His innocence is hanging by a thread, if there was any small hope that he could be cleared, Obama would have continued the stonewall.  Apparently Obama couldn't delay justice any longer and keep the Pentagon on the reservation.  


If there was any indication he was innocent, the findings of the investigation would have been released immediately, rather than 9 months after the Army claimed they were finished . 

Mr_B
Mr_B

@RafeHollister As a serious student of British literature, I seriously doubt that Orwell would have found this administration to be "Orwellian."

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Mr_B @RafeHollister

And I'm sure Eric Blair would have a hearty (if tubercular) laugh at the expense of the American Tories who try to claim him today as an inspiration. 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"high level terrorists" 


Just checking:  Were these terrorists ever convicted of anything, or were they of the forever prisoned due to neverending "war" on terror? 

If they were THAT BAD, it should have been quite easy to convict them and send them to SuperMax prisons in the US.  As it stands, anyone left in Guantanamo should either have been convicted long ago or released long ago.  Having people put in prison without trial is against our American justice system.  We should be ashamed of this. 


It's good not to leave an American in a prisoner position as it is good not to have anyone in the American prison system without legal recourse to get a trial. If they didn't like the US before, locking them up and putting them in legal limbo certainly didn't help their opinion.


I'll reserve judgement whether or not there was a "good deal" to be made either way.  The 5 Released to Qatar could be the new terrorist leaders, or they could disappear, or they could die. Bergdahl could be cited for desertion or he may get off with just a discharge. 

Penses
Penses

The Bergdahl swap, like a number of other things the Obama administration has done, is truly puzzling and unsettling. I mean, if saving the lives of Americans was the main concern, one would think other "trades" might have been made. Why Bergdahl and why five top level terrorists? It almost seems like the primary motivation was to empty Guantanamo Bay.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Penses 

I wonder that anyone would support leaving a US soldier in the hands of terrorists.  I mean, why is it even a question?

straker
straker

Maybe we should wait until he is tried and found guilty to question whether it was worth it.


No rush to judgement.


We've been seeing that in race, rape and hate charges way too often of late.