Bergdahl faces more serious General Court Martial

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Bergdahl faces more serious General Court Martial

Sort of an obligatory story here, but obviously this is big news:

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been recommended for trial by general court-martial, the Army announced Monday.

Bergdahl is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and could face life in prison.

The case was referred to court-martial by Gen. Robert Abrams, commanding general of Forces Command and the court-martial convening authority in the case.

A date for his arraignment hearing has not been announced. The hearing is expected to take place at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where FORSCOM has its headquarters.

"The convening authority did not follow the advice of the preliminary hearing officer who heard the witnesses," Bergdahl's lawyer, Eugene Fidell, said in a statement.

Bergdahl's defense team "had hoped the case would not go in this direction. We will continue to defend Sgt. Bergdahl as the case proceeds."

Everyone at this point knows the basic details of the Bergdahl situation, so I won't bother with going through that.  Incidentally the new internet Audio show "Serial" is doing their second season on Bergdahl.  I hadn't intended to listen to it, but I started this morning because of this post, and honestly, it is pretty well done.  I commend it to you.  You can listen to it BY CLICKING HERE.

Anyway, the Army Times story shows why this is interesting news:

The Article 32 investigation into his case, to determine if there is enough evidence to merit a court-martial, took place in September at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Bergdahl is currently assigned to Army North on Fort Sam Houston. He is accompanied off-post by at least two NCOs for his protection, Fidell has said.

In his report, the investigating officer for the Article 32 recommended Bergdahl avoid jail time, Fidell previously told the media. Lt. Col. Mark Visger's report to Abrams also recommended the case be decided at a special court-martial.

Soldiers facing special courts-martial can receive no more than a year in jail and no worse than a bad-conduct discharge; punishments regarding hard labor and pay forfeiture have similar restrictions.

Visger also recommended Bergdahl not face a punitive discharge for his alleged actions, Fidell said at the time.

Well, we'll see what happens. I'm not particularly disposed towards giving this guy the benefit of the doubt, but he deserves his chance to tell his side, whatever that might be.  

Meanwhile, Representative Duncan Hunter is pursuing another portion of this story:

A House Republican claims the FBI played a central role in making a botched “payment” meant to help secure the release last year of Bowe Bergdahl -- the Army sergeant who left his post in 2009 and was held by the Taliban for nearly five years -- and is now seeking an investigation into the bureau’s alleged involvement.

The FBI is not commenting on the allegations. 

But Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. -- who has long questioned whether a ransom of some kind was offered for Bergdahl’s release -- claimed in a recent letter to the Justice Department inspector general that he has learned “non-DoD organizations, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), undertook the recovery mission.” 

As part of this effort, Hunter told DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, the FBI even went to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and “awaited Bergdahl’s arrival following some form of discussion about facilitating a payment.”

Let's hope that the DOJ and FBI give us the information, particularly if federal law was violated in trying to ransom this guy.

Posted in the burner | 7 comments
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Hhhhmmmmm--I wonder what it was that LtCol Visger saw, read, or heard, that would induce him to essentially recommend Bergdahl be slapped on the wrist, called "naughty", and not allowed to have dessert, but not much else.....But I guess that's what you get for having missed bed check for five consecutive years....

Former military

I am certain a tremendous amount of political pressure will be applied to this court martial as it seems to have happened to the investigating officer. This soldier deserves a fair and unbiased hearing with credible witnesses presenting their story. I am just sorry, if found guilty, especially if the resulting death of 5 good men is true, this soldier would only face prison time as opposed to the death penalty.

This guy is a deserter and needs to spend the rest of his life in the Federal penitentiary with the other shit-heads that can't function without hanging onto mommies apron strings. He is less than a man and maybe being incarcerated for the rest of his life will cause him to understand the importance of military life and looking out for your fellow collegues who he left in harms way. Only to come back and tell some sullshit story about what happened.No sympathy here.

He will be pardoned on the PC attitude that he has suffered enough. The morale of the military, both past and present, will be devastated.

He should receive the death penalty. How it's carried out I don't really care but he is a traitor during time of war. DEATH FOR TRAITORS!

In my 24 years of service, two wars, Korea-1950-51 and Vietnam 1965-66 I don't recall ever seeing a trooper walk away from his post, turn himself into the enemy get promoted while AWOL to E-5, and awarded the POW medal and Purple Heart once he is returned. It's certainly a different Army than the one I served in. At 83 maybe my memory fails me?

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.