Military judge Col. Jeffery R. Nance has made good on his promise to take President Trump’s harsh criticism of disgraced U.S. Army member Bowe Bergdahl as “mitigating evidence” in his sentencing. Today he ruled that Bergdahl would receive a $10,000 fine, dishonorable discharge, and a reduction in his rank from Sergeant to Private.
That means no jail time. None. Not a second to be spent in prison for abandoning his fellow soldiers by leaving his post in 2009, walking into Taliban territory, being captured and costing the lives of at least six American soldiers who came to find and rescue him.
This latest travesty in the case of Bergdahl offers one final slap in the face of the families of slain soldiers Clayton Bowen, Morris Walker, Kurt Curtiss, Darryn Andrews, Michael Murphrey, and Matthew Martinek. Having just arrived in Afghanistan shortly before being sent to search and potentially rescue Bergdahl, their unit had not been given the benefit of time to study and learn the terrain they would encounter, nor gather any intelligence about what they could face.
What they faced was about 150 Taliban fighters that surrounded them and took their lives. Took their lives because Bowe Bergdahl had decided to disgrace himself and his country by abandoning his post.
Those six heroes and their families were not the only ones to suffer for Bergdahl’s traitorous action. Sgt. First Class Mark Allen was shot in the head trying to rescue the deserter. According to his commanding officer, Sgt. Walters,
On the second morning of the search, “an insane amount of fire came out of nowhere,” Sergeant Walters said. Militants had them surrounded. In minutes, half the team had been wounded. Sergeant Walters turned to see “a cloud of blood” spraying from the head of Sergeant Allen. “I started treating his wounds, talking to him, telling him to hang on,” Sergeant Walters said.
He did hang on, but had to have part of his brain removed leaving him incapable of speaking, walking, or taking care of himself. Yet the man who caused all this receives no jail time because apparently the judge thinks President Trump’s harsh comments were enough.
It’s almost unimaginable to try to understand what the families of the slain and injured heroes must think about their country.
Bowe Bergdahl disgraced his country, costing six lives in the vain effort to rescue a man who had betrayed them. Yet President Obama willfully exchanged five top Taliban commanders to get him back – commanders who will return to the battlefield and potentially take the lives of even more honorable American soldiers. As if that wasn’t disgraceful enough, the Obama Administration marked Bergdahl’s return with a triumphant Rose Garden ceremony where he was unconscionably regaled as “honorable” and described as having served “with honor and distinction.”
Imagine the disillusionment you would feel as a family member of one of the actually distinguished heroes. And now, as you try to find comfort in the fact that at least the current president properly recognizes Bergdahl for the traitor that he is, a judge uses that as impetus for giving the dishonorable private no jail time.