As we honor the brave men and women this Veterans Day, I can only sum up the whole Bowe Bergdahl affair by expressing my utter disgust with his shameful and treasonous behavior and my profound disappointment with the Army justice system which has failed us all.
Bergdahl, in a premediated act, willfully deserted his post in 2009. Having been held captive by the Taliban and the Haqqani network for over five years, all of his subsequent abuse and suffering was brought on by his own willful decision.
The Department Of Defense spent enormous amounts of resources – blood and treasure – to rescue Bergdahl simply because he was an American soldier and that’s what we do in America. In spite of his betrayal of that sacred trust, six men died and many more were wounded in efforts to bring him back. Their sacrifice has changed lives forever for themselves and their loved ones.
Bergdahl plead guilty to, and was found guilty of, charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, UCMJ. These offenses were once punishable by death. This underscores the severity of the charges.
The judge’s decision was disgraceful and dishonors the
proudest of military traditions, the military justice system,
and servicemen serving our nation now.
This ill-thought and irresponsible verdict sets a dangerous precedent for our nation’s military. While I have lost faith in the military justice system, I have not lost faith in those servicemen and women who continue to serve in light of this imperfect system.
As Veterans Day is upon us, I fervently hope that Bergdahl is denied his pay for committing treason and joining the Taliban. This would only further disrespect our Armed Forces and add insult to injury. He should be thankful he received only a dishonorable discharge instead of a firing squad or life imprisonment. He will live with the shame of his treasonous actions. I hope that the same system that showed extreme leniency for a traitor does not reward him further with monetary compensation. This would be a travesty and a special insult to all of our veterans and our brave troops currently serving over this Veterans Day.