Monday, December 14, 2015

Bowe Bergdahl to Face Court-Martial on Desertion Charges

I haven't followed the Bowe Bergdahl case very closely, but reading that he now faces a possible life sentence -- a far more serious penalty than had been recommended by the Army’s own investigating officer, who had testified that a jail sentence would be “inappropriate” -- certainly has me concerned ... especially because I hear that right-wing blogs have long claimed Bergdahl deserted his post to "engage in a homosexual tryst with a young Afghan" and many Republicans felt (disgustingly) he didn't deserve to be rescued at all. (Being held by the Taliban for five years apparently wasn't enough for them.) Does anyone know what's going on?


Anonymous said...

i can't imagine any military jail sentence for desertion that would equal 5 years torture at the hands of the taliban. if the military wants him out, issue a dishonorable discharge, anything else is piling on.

Dan said...

You might want to start listening to the Serial Podcast. They just started a new series about the Bergdahl case last Thursday. They have the first in-depth interviews with Bergdahl himself that anyone has heard since his release (via a partnership with the screenwriter who did the interviews).

I haven't been following the story closely until now, but your post here is the first time I've heard anyone suggest the "homosexual tryst" thing. I'm pretty sure that's just a homophobic slur from some random bigot.

Steve said...

Well, I study military justice in law school and also in the Army. What I can tell you is that it IS unusual for the Convening Authority to order a General Court Martial after the Army's own two independent fact finders concluded that the evidence did not support the alleged crimes. This is the civilian equivalent of having the prosecutor bring a trial anyway after the Grand Jury refused to indict the accused. I still personally think that the Army has a weak case even after the case proceeds to court martial because the fact-finding has ended so the facts are unlikely to change from this point on.