Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held by the Taliban as a prisoner of war for five years, will not be required to serve any time in a military prison for “misbehavior and desertion” in the lead-up to his capture, but will be dishonorably discharged.
Bergdahl was released by the Taliban in 2014 as part of a “trade” for five Gitmo detainees whom the US had already agreed at the time were cleared for release. Hawks had been heavily vilifying the Bergdahl family about his capture and release.
Bergdahl is said to have left his base attempting to walk to a larger base in Afghanistan to report problems to a senior officer, but was captured by the Taliban en route. He has since apologized for any misconduct.
President Trump reacted with fury to the verdict, saying it was a disgrace to the US and its military. Trump had repeatedly called Bergdahl a traitor publicly, and called for his execution, saying he’d have been shot immediately “in the good old days.”
Trump’s comments in the past led the defense to call for Bergdahl’s case to be dismissed, and while the judge didn’t accept that, he did say Trump’s comments were “troubling,” and that he would consider them as evidence, which means they may have factored into the sentencing.
One law professor was quoted in the New York Times as saying Trump’s comments after the case “exponentially increased Bergdahl’s chances of getting the whole case tossed on appeal.”
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