Wednesday, January 28, 2015


According to recent reports Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will now face a Military Court Martial for desertion. So far the Pentagon has not officially confirmed the reports. You will remember Bergdahl as the soldier who was swapped for the five Taliban terrorists without any consultation with Congress.

I have wondered when or if this was going to be resolved. Reports are that the White House has been fighting to have this matter buried because it is inconvenient to the President and his Administration. It doesn’t fit their narrative. They absolutely do not want a public trial of this, to use their words, military hero who served with honor and distinction.

According to members of the unit in which Bergdahl served, he did in fact desert because he became disenchanted with the whole war thing and decided to go to the other side. He even left a note saying as much. We are told that six soldiers died trying to find and return him.

In 1958 I joined the Army and was inducted at Ft. Jackson, SC before being transferred to Ft. Benning, GA. The first two months of service were what the military affectionately called basic training. Among the first things all service members are taught are the rules. We were taught The Uniform Code of Military Justice. I learned there was a difference between AWOL and Desertion. Being absent without leave infers that you would return. Desertion means that you are done and have no intention of ever returning. We were further taught that desertion in time of war is punishable by death by a firing squad. During peacetime the punishment could be up to life in a military prison at hard labor. There was no nuance. There was no difficulty in understanding the rules. They were clear.

Now, what is to become of Bergdahl? He is no hero. He did not serve with honor and distinction. What he did was desert in the face of enemy fire and caused the death of our soldiers trying to find him. The military knows this and they know   they have to Court Martial him regardless of the pressure being brought to bear by the Administration to bury the case.

Members of the active military as well as all who have served are waiting for a resolution.

Will the military be true to their own Code of Justice? Will Bergdahl be punished for his violation of the law? If so, what will his punishment be? If he is found guilty should he be put to death? How about life in a military prison at hard labor?

Bergdahl has a debt to this country. He has a debt to his fellow soldiers, especially those who suffered and died trying to find him. The fact that this desertion trial would be an embarrassment to the Administration is of no concern to me nor should it be to anyone. The prisoner swap was stupid from the beginning. A savvy Administration would have learned the facts before they acted. These are the things that happen when you believe you are the smartest guy in the room when the evidence proves otherwise.

Personally, I care little about this individual. I care even less about the embarrassment of the President. We are a country of laws. Those laws are for a purpose. When they are violated, regardless of who might be inconvenienced by them, consequences must follow. The Generals who are charged with the responsibility of bringing an action against Bergdahl need to get on with it. All America is waiting.

Ron Scarbro

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