Travesty upon a travesty for military

January 2, 2018

The sentence handed down to Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was perhaps the most egregious and sickening act in the history of military justice. The Military Judge for Bergdahl's General Court Martial was Army Colonel Jeffery Nance. Inconceivably, he sentenced Bergdahl, a self-confessed deserter and for misbehavior before the enemy, to not stand before a firing squad, not to spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement, not to a life of imprisonment at hard labor or even to serving time in prison at all. Instead, Colonel Nance gave him not even a slap on the wrist, but a pat on the back. He merely reduced him in rank, ordered him to pay $1,000 for 10 months and gave him a dishonorable discharge. This action on the part of the Army in general, and Colonel Nance to be specific, was heinous itself. But, now the story becomes even more nauseating. I offer this excerpt from a recent Army Times article:

"When Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl came home in 2014, he was potentially entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay that accumulated over five years while he was in Taliban captivity in Afghanistan. From the moment he was captured, Bergdahl became eligible for extra pays available to captive troops. In total, along with his basic and deployment pay, he could be entitled to more than $300,000.

"Bergdahl was captured after walking off base June 30, 2009, while deployed to Paktika province with 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. He pleaded guilty in October to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. On Nov. 3, a military judge ruled Bergdahl would not serve any jail time but be dishonorably discharged from the Army and reduced in rank to private. In addition, the judge said he must forfeit pay equal to $1,000 per month for 10 months."

When the colonel was challenged on his preposterously lenient sentence for Bergdahl, his answer was simply, "He's suffered enough."

This is frightening. It demonstrates the weak mindedness and absence of the warrior ethos that now permeates the senior ranks of our armed services. The "swamp' has overflowed its banks and engulfed our military.

Steve Hyle

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