The Internets were briefly a-flurry today over initial reports that the Army had decided to charge SGT Bowe Bergdahl with Desertion. I posted a Reuters link on Twitter about that, and others posted similar links. Apparently Fox News and NBC ran stories on it. It appears now that story is not true.
Although they have not been forthcoming as to what, if anything has happened recently, both the Pentagon’s spokesman, Admiral John Kirby, and the Army Chief of Public Affairs, MG Ronald Lewis announced that no charging decision had been made, with MG Lewis taking a rather aggressive tack:
The reporting from Fox News and NBC on SGT Bergdahl is patently false. To be clear, there have been no actions or decisions on the SGT Bergdahl investigation. The investigation is still with Commanding General, US Forces Command, who will determine appropriate action-which ranges from no further action to convening a Court-Martial. We understand the public interest in the case and once a decision has been made, the Army will be open and transparent in this matter.
Well, OK, then.
Basically it comes to this: whatever Bergdahl might have been thought to have done, he’s one of ours, and we don’t leave our people behind. I’ll note that nobody on the right was saying shit about leaving him there while he was in Taliban captivity. They used his plight to beat the President over the head about him not caring about the military, and when Bergdahl was recovered, they immediately pivoted and attacked the President for giving up five “high value” detainees for a traitor. Well, fuck ’em. Fuck every single Goddamned one of them with chainsaw on fire.
The Army had a pretty good idea what Bergdahl had done shortly after he had done it. In fact, it was reported in Rolling Stone what was alleged and what the Army had found from members of Bergdahl’s unit. Nothing I’ve seen so far has changed what I wrote here and I agree with John from earlier today. If I had to bet today, 5 gets you 10 that Bergdahl will plead guilty to AWOL, which is a different offense from Desertion (the primary difference is that Desertion has a specific intent to permanently abscond as an element of the crime) and the sentence will be capped at a reduction in rank and a fine, with no punitive discharge. Bergdahl will then be quietly administratively discharged from the Army with a General Under Honorable Conditions at some point six months hence. And he’ll get VA benefits because of that. And I’m cool with that. It serves no purpose that I can think of to aggressively prosecute him for Desertion with all that entails, but at the same time, the Army can’t simply ignore this, as much as they probably want to do.
Also too, open thread.