Sources have told The Associated Press that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the man rescued from former President Barack Obama in exchange for Taliban members at Gitmo, is expected to plead guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy to avoid a trial.
Obama showed off Bergdahl and made a big deal of his exchange deal with the Taliban, but it didn’t take long for news to surface that Bergdahl actually deserted his post in Afghanistan and put other soldiers in danger.
From The Associated Press:
They tell The Associated Press that Bergdahl will submit the plea later this month and sentencing will start Oct. 23. The individuals weren’t authorized to discuss the case and demanded anonymity.
The 31-year-old Bergdahl could face up to five years in prison on the desertion charge and a life sentence for misbehavior.
Those who received injuries while searching for him will testify. Some soldiers lost their lives in the process of looking for Bergdahl.
“We’re committed to winding down the war in Afghanistan and closing Gitmo,” Obama said, in a brief statement in the Rose Garden, flanked by Bergdahl’s parents, Bob and Jani.
But, Obama said, the nation also “made an ironclad commitment to bring our prisoners of war home. It’s who we are as Americans,” he said. “Today, at least in this instance, it’s a promise we’ve been able to keep.”
“I was pissed off then, and I am even more so now with everything going on,” said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”
Vierkant said Bergdahl needs to not only acknowledge his actions publicly but face a military trial for desertion under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Many of Bergdahl’s fellow troops — from the seven or so who knew him best in his squad to the larger group that made up the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division — told CNN that they signed nondisclosure agreements agreeing to never share any information about Bergdahl’s disappearance and the efforts to recapture him. Some were willing to dismiss that document in hopes that the truth would come out about a soldier who they now fear is being hailed as a hero, while the men who lost their lives looking for him are ignored.
The Army concluded its investigation into the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture in December. Until now, it has been in the hands of Gen. Mark Milley, head of U.S. Army Forces Command, who made the decision to charge Bergdahl. Several U.S. military officials CNN has spoken with suggested privately that the process took longer than expected.
Ahead of Wednesday’s announcement, officials said Milley only had a few choices. Though the sense had been that Bergdahl must be held accountable for his actions, there had been little appetite for a lengthy term in military confinement given the five years Bergdahl was held by the Taliban.
Bergdahl has been working desk duty at an Army base in Texas “pending the outcome of his case.”DONATE
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