This is how the system is supposed to work:
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by enemy forces in Afghanistan for five years, will be charged with desertion, a senior defense officials tell NBC News. The officials say the charges could be referred within a week.
According to the officials, the desertion charges would be based on allegations that Bergdahl abandoned his remote outpost in June 2009 to avoid hazardous duty or important service, which are grounds for charges of desertion under the Uniform Military Code of Justice, or UCMJ. According to one senior official, Bergdahl’s actions in Afghanistan go well beyond the lesser offense of AWOL, absent without leave, because he allegedly abandoned his post “in the middle of a combat zone, potentially putting the lives of his fellows soldiers at risk.”
The charges will apparently not allege that Bergdahl left with the intent never to return. Bergdahl was reportedly captured by the Haqqani terrorist network in Pakistan. He was released in a prisoner swap for five Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo Bay in May.
While a court martial could lead to imprisonment, defense and military officials tell NBC News it is likely Bergdahl would be given consideration for the 5 years he spent in captivity and be permitted to leave the Army with a “less than honorable discharge.” If accepted, Bergdahl would be denied as much as $300 thousand in back pay and bonuses, and reduced in rank to at least Private First Class, the rank he held when he disappeared from his outpost in Afghanistan.
If you’ll remember, wingnuts were furious that he was brought home, saying he should have just been left there based on their anecdotal evidence. But that is not how things are supposed to work. He is one of ours. You bring him home, and then you trust the military to investigate, and if it is determined he did something wrong, then he will face the charges in our justice system, not one run by a bunch of neanderthals who stone women for adultery and throw homosexuals off the roof of a building.
It’s really that simple. He’s one of ours. I don’t know how Soonergrunt or Adam Silverman feel about the issue, but I would be surprised to learn that overall they feel any different than I do.
*** Update ***
According to the ARMY Times, no decision has been made. Weird.