Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter by his own admission. He pleaded guilty to the charges of desertion and endangering his comrades. Not only did he endanger them, but some were critically and permanently injured. This rightly deserves significant punishment, and yet today he walked a free man.
Prosecutors had requested a 14-year prison term following a week of emotional testimony from the survivors who were wounded during missions to find Bergdahl after he left the base in June 2009. Bergdahl’s defense team has asked for no prison time.
Somehow a military judge saw fit to ignore all of this and devalue the oath Bergdahl violated and that all those still honorably serving still uphold. This is a grotesque mockery of justice.
Part of the rationale for zero prison time was that Bergdahl suffered while in captivity, and while that is sad, it is his own fault. It should have been taken into account for potentially lessening his sentence but not to replace it. He owes all of those he betrayed a stint in a US prison for the crime he committed and the propaganda victories he gave to our enemies.
Another improper argument made by the defense was that statements by Donald Trump when he was a candidate for President were somehow undue command influence. This is absurd as Trump was a private citizen and fully free to voice his opinions. In addition the proper remedy for undue command influence is not to let the deserter waltz out the door.
This decision is dereliction of duty by the judge involved and his command needs to take appropriate action to ensure those who disgrace themselves and betray their comrades and this country face proper punishment.