Bowe Bergdahl’s Future

May 09, 2015



  Words by Mike Weisbecker.

Well we finally have some movement on Bergdahl’s situation.


So what does this mean? 
Nine months after his release from Taliban custody for five mid to high level Taliban leaders, the Army presented his legal team a charge sheet.  Desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.  He will now face an Article 32 hearing.  This is similar to a civilian Grand Jury.

Well a military judge will review the charges and take testimony to determine if there is enough evidence to move forward to a court-martial, determine which type of court-martial to convene, dismiss the charges, or determine what other actions are deemed appropriate by the evidence presented.

 

Some in the realm of the social media sphere believe that he should face a death penalty.

None of the investigation by the Army has been made public but the fact that they are going ahead with proffering charges against Bergdahl tells me that they have enough evidence to prosecute. 

Some in the realm of the social media sphere believe that he should face a death penalty.  This option is off the table.  The last service member executed for desertion during wartime was Pvt. Eddie Slovik near the end of the Second World War. 


Many who believe he is guilty think we should just speed up to the punishment phase.  I disagree.  While I don’t agree with how we got him back in our custody, it was important that we did so to get his side of why he just seemed to walk out of that forward operating base on 30 June 2009.  The Uniform Code of Military Justice is there for a reason.  Up until a court-martial renders its verdict, he is just the accused.  Let the system do what it is supposed to do.  If it was your ass being accused of something that warranted a court-martial, that’s what you’d want.
The maximum penalties on the table are up to five years for the desertion charge and up to life for the misbehavior charge. 

One immediately telling result from the Article 32 hearing will be if they proceed with a special court-martial.  If this happens, the most that can happen is up to twelve months confinement, forfeiture of 2/3rds of his pay per month up to twelve months, and/or a bad conduct discharge.  Only a general court-martial can throw the whole enchilada at him.

No matter what happens, he will have to live with the repercussions of his actions for the rest of his life.