October 21, 2021

The Army Has Charged Bowe Bergdahl With Something Even Worse Than Desertion

WCJ-images-Bergdahl-Obama-913x512Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been accused by fellow soldiers of abandoning his post in Afghanistan, has been charged with desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy,” which carries a potential life sentence.

The Obama Administration traded the so-called “Taliban-Five” Guantanamo detainees for Bergdahl, age 29, securing his release in May 2014. The soldier left his post in Afghanistan in June 2009, having written to his parents beforehand saying he no longer supported the war effort and that he was “ashamed to be an American.” He was reportedly held captive by the Taliban for five years.

According to CNN by accounts of those engaged in the searches, at least six soldiers died in operations seeking to find Bergdahl after he went missing.

The president lauded Bergdahl’s release last year with a Rose Garden ceremony. Obama said to the soldier’s parents, who were in attendance: “[T]oday families across America share in the joy that I know you feel…As President, I know that I speak for all Americans when I say we cannot wait for the moment when you are reunited and your son, Bowe, is back in your arms.”

Among the five Taliban detainees traded to obtain Sgt. Bergdahl’s release were: Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as deputy minister of intelligence for the Taliban; Mullah Mohammad Fazi, deputy defense minister for the Taliban; Mullah Norullah Noori, a senior military commander; Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, a former provincial governor who reportedly met with Iran to plot attacks against American forces; and Mohammad Nabi Omari, who has held multiple leadership roles in various terrorist groups.

The “misbehavior before the enemy” charge has seldom been used since World War II. “I’ve never seen it charged,” said Walter Huffman, a retired major general who served as the Army’s top lawyer, according to the Military Times. “It’s not something you find in common everyday practice in the military.”

“Misbehavior before the enemy was used hundreds of times during World War II, but scholars say its use appears to have dwindled in conflicts since then. Misbehavior before the enemy cases were tried at least 494 times for soldiers in Europe between 1942 and 1945,” the Military Times reports. “By contrast, statistics show the U.S. Army prosecuted about 1,900 desertion cases between 2001 and the end of 2014.”

“For Bergdahl, the Article 99 [misbehavior before the enemy] offense allows the prosecutors to seek a stiffer penalty than the desertion charge, which in this case carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison,” the Associated Press reports.

Soldiers who served with Bergdahl support the charges being brought against him. “The Army did the right thing here,” said Cody Full, 26, a former platoon mate of Bergdahl’s.

“You give an oath,” Full said. “You sign your name to serve your country. no matter what you’re supposed to fill that oath.”

Evan Buetow, 28, who was a sergeant and team leader of Bergdahl’s unit, also agreed with the charges being brought.

“The whole reason we came forward last year when they released Bowe, we knew he needed to answer for what he did,” he said. “We knew he was not a hero…He had to answer for why he deserted, and that’s what happened.”

Bergdahl’s “case now goes to an Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a grand jury and would recommend whether the case goes to a court martial,” reports USA Today.

Source: Western Journalism