Military court right place to settle Bergdahl's fate

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

There are two sides to every story, but for a soldier in the uniform of his country, the proper place to find the truth is in a court of law.

That's where the case of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be heard at last, and regardless of the outcome, it's a triumph of the rule of law over political expediency or public opinion.

Bergdahl, 29, was captured after walking off his Army base in Afghanistan in 209 and held captive by the Taliban for five years.

He was released in exchange for five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay after a failed ransom attempt, both conducted on boggy legal grounds.

He is charged with "desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty" and "misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place" and could receive a life sentence.

He's a lucky man to be alive, even if he has to spend the rest of his life in an American prison.

Bergdahl told an official he had been tortured, beaten and held in a cage in total darkness for weeks at a time after he tried to escape.

The Army went all out to find him after he disappeared, distributing leaflets and conducting searches that resulted in the death of six of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers, according to some reports.

His release was a miracle in itself, involving cooperation between America, Qatar, Afghanistan and the Taliban, overseen by the U.S. Army's Delta Force.

An email to his father before his disappearance was full of complaints about the command structure of his unit and the Army in general -- but complaining about commanding officers and the military goes back to the days of the Romans or before.

No military can function if its members are allowed to leave their posts whenever they want.

A military court is a proper place to decide Bowe Bergdahl's fate.

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