Former U.S. soldier, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, pled guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy last week. Bergdahl wandered away from his base during combat missions in Afghanistan in 2009 and ended up in Taliban hands.
Sentencing is set to be underway this week. The military judge, alone, will decide his fate.
Bergdahl faces a potential life sentence, but the death penalty is off the table. That is because prosecutors charged Bergdahl as if he deserted during peacetime, which is simply not true.
He deserted, under suspicious circumstances, in Afghanistan and quickly became a Taliban captive. Many of his fellow soldiers risked their lives and spent years searching for him. The search missions came with a high price-tag, and one soldier was shot in the head and is forever wheelchair bound as a result.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice allows for the death penalty in wartime desertion cases. Wartime desertion entirely disrupts military missions, puts our secrets at risk when soldiers are in the field, and people die.
Bergdahl has already pled guilty, but his lawyers are now saying that his case should be dismissed. They claim that Bergdahl cannot get a fair hearing due to “unlawful command influence” — a military law that prohibits commanders from attempting to influence military trials.
They tried that approach earlier, without success. Although Trump had called Bergdahl a “traitor” and said he should be executed, the judge was unmoved because Trump was merely a candidate when he made those comments. Presidents are subject to unlawful command influence; candidates are not. They’re civilians who don’t yet command anything.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Trump’s comments? Also, do you think Bergdahl stands any chance in the court of law?
Please feel free to leave a comment below!
Credit: The Hill