The sentence the military judge will impose on Tali-Bowe Bergdahl isn’t about one self-centered deserter. It’s about our national defense. The judge’s decision will decide the state of discipline on battlefields for decades to come. Bergdahl has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He has pleaded guilty to both charges. There are no mitigating circumstances. He must be punished, for his crimes and to make an example of him. Yet, the American left, which has had only two military heroes since 9/11 (Bergdahl and Chelsea Manning), continues to embrace Bergdahl’s very tall tale that he only meant to stroll a dozen or so miles through hostile territory to the next military base so he could report on conditions in his unit—which Bergdahl found unsatisfactory. Based upon the evidence available to this writer, Bergdahl intended to go over to the enemy, whom he had expected to welcome him. Bergdahl will never be commemorated for his judgment or analytical skills. The left, exemplified by former President Obama’s White House celebration for the Bergdahls after he gave up five terrorists and, reportedly, cash for their traitor-son, has never grasped why anyone would join our military—a domain of brutes, illiterates, psychopaths and “deplorables.” But leftists do understand why soldiers would desert or betray our country by revealing our secrets. It matters not in the least to those who believe this country is not worth defending that honorable service members were gravely wounded in the stop-everything-else search for Bergdahl that paralyzed our war effort in Afghanistan. And it certainly doesn’t matter that those who were on the ground and involved in that hunt believe that as many as six of their comrades died looking for a man whom our military knew from the start was a deserter (a four-star general confirmed it to me within 48 hours of Bergdahl’s desertion, but would not say so publicly—a moral coward who, ironically, got his own comeuppance a few years later). All that matters now for the left is that Bergdahl “suffered enough” during his five years under Taliban control. Of course, those wounded because of him will suffer all of their lives. The dead will never return to those they love. But none of that matters. For the left, that military judge must let Bergdahl go free on humanitarian grounds—thus redeeming Obama’s festive Rose Garden welcome for Ma and Pa Taliban. Certainly, one can make the case that Bergdahl was a feckless, self-absorbed loser unsuited to the brotherhood of arms (another phenomenon the left can’t grasp). But this case isn’t about punk psychology, but about overt and treacherous behavior. Nor was Bergdahl some hapless draftee of the sort mythologized from Vietnam. He volunteered to serve in uniform. And the crime he committed, deserting his post in a tactical combat zone, is the second-worst a soldier can perpetrate—the worst being turning your weapon on your comrades. Even had no one been wounded or killed in our efforts to retrieve Bergdahl, he betrayed a fundamental trust and endangered those who counted on him to do his part in their mutual defense. We cannot defend our country with a military in which soldiers decide to walk away because they’ve had a mood swing. One need feel no personal animus toward Bergdahl to recognize that the proper punishment for his misdeeds would be the death penalty (his behavior condemned better men to death). But we no longer punish deserters that way. The heaviest sentence that could be imposed upon Bergdahl is life in prison—to make the point to all those contemplating such crimes in the future that there will be grave penalties. And the judge can choose that sentence in easy conscience..
Agreed… SGT Bergdahl is a piece of garbage, and a disgrace to the uniform of the U.S. Army. Life in prison is far too lenient a sentence for what he did. He SHOULD get the death penalty. Unfortunately, that’s not even on the table anymore. To read the rest of this spot-on analysis by retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, click on the text above.