As reported by the American Military News and other news outlets, the now infamous Bowe Bergdahl is preparing to plead guilty to the charges filed against him.
If you are unfamiliar with the case; Bergdahl joined the service under the impression he was going to be an action hero from the movies he had watched. He assumed that he would be the prototypical alpha male super hero, capable of conquering terrorist cells single-handedly. Instead, he turned out to be a poor man’s John McCain.
Bergdahl claims that he had witnessed egregious treatment of soldiers and judgement calls from leadership, which led him to leave his post in order to connect with a post not far from where he was stationed. Bergdahl was already earning the suspicions of his fellow service members and the locals near his post in Afghanistan, by being “a bit too friendly” with the native population. After a particularly challenging mission for Bergdahl and his unit, he abandoned his post. His goal was to let a nearby post of soldiers know about what he saw as being terrible offenses committed by military leadership.
What happened next is, as they say, history.
Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network and he was held prisoner for 5 years. It is claimed that soldiers had lost their lives in effort to rescue Bergdahl, but what isn’t talked about as much is how soldiers and others involved in the search for him were bound by a gag-order. How does this tie into the case? As soldiers traversed across Afghanistan searching for Berghdal the gag-order kept critical information from being widely known, information like the fact that Bergdahl had been moved to Pakistan. Last year, the 371-page report compiled by the Army was released, and offers more information, that in turn raises more questions.
It seems abundantly clear that Bergdahl had issues well before he left his post in Afghanistan, in what is now being described as schizotypal personality disorder. It is also clear that the mistake he made had a large effect on many others.
Supporters of the military call him a deserter, the lowest of the low. Some supporters of Bergdahl claim that this one is on the military, for they surely had to have noticed this disorder prior to deployment, and should be responsible for the fact that they put him in the position to do what he had done. The President himself had harsh words for Bergdahl, stating that he should have been executed for leaving his post. “We’re tired of Sgt. Bergdahl,” said Trump, “who’s a traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed.” Others who tend to fall in the middle think what he did was egregious, but that he had also paid any debt owed to society for what he had endured while being held prisoner for half a decade.
As the trial approaches, what are your opinions? Is Bergdahl a traitor who deserves the very worst that the American military can throw at him in terms of discipline? Has he been through enough? Regardless of what any of us think, the events that will transpire after he announces his guilty plea will be interesting to say the least.
* Vinny Marshall is a contributor for Being Libertarian and Think Liberty, part-time author, freelance designer, and host of the Think Liberty Podcast. He is a former art director and currently the marketing operations director for multiple web platforms.