Former Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pled guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy earlier today. Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in June of 2009 and was held in captivity by the Taliban for nearly a half-decade. In 2014, the Obama Administration negotiated a prisoner swap with the Taliban, releasing five detainees at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdahl.
As a Presidential candidate, now-President Donald Trump had harsh words for Bergdahl, referring to him as a “dirty rotten traitor.”
Berghdahl partially blames those comments for his fate … even though he pled guilty of the crimes leveled against him.
According to HotAir,
In an on-camera interview shot last year by a British filmmaker, obtained exclusively by ABC News and airing today on Good Morning America, World News Tonight with David Muir and Nightline, Bergdahl says the words of the man who is now his commander-in-chief would have made a fair trial impossible.
“We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs that got what they wanted,” Bergdahl said. “The people who want to hang me, you’re never going to convince those people.”
If Bergdahl was hoping to work the refs for his court-martial, it’s a curious way to go about it. He accused military judges and officers in the potential jury pool of having no independence in their conduct of criminal trials at the point where he’ll need to rely on that to get something significantly less than a life sentence. Perhaps Bergdahl thought at the time that by calling its integrity into question, the judge and jury would be forced to bend over backwards to show mercy. That’s a high-stakes gamble — one that Bergdahl eventually discarded.
The developments over the last two months show how transparently manipulative this strategy was. Bergdahl waived his right to a jury trial in August, which would have acted to protect him from a court that lacks independence from the commander in chief.
On top of that, Bergdahl chose to plead guilty rather than offer a defense against either charge. If this is a “kangaroo court,” why cooperate with it — especially with the potential of using it as a platform to attack a supposedly biased and corrupt system?
Bergdahl also said that he’s “offended” that people think he’s a traitor.
While we don’t yet know Bergdahl’s punishment, he could face up to five years on the desertion charge and a life sentence for misbehavior. Such a sentence will be mild in comparison to the one Trump believes he deserves.
Bergdahl “would have been shot 30 years ago,” then-candidate Trump asserted.
Back in May of 2014, President Obama’s decision to trade five terrorists in exchange for Bergdahl was highly controversial. American troops had just retrieved him in an expedition that cost six soldiers their lives.
Upon his return to the States, President Obama welcomed him and his parents to the White House Rose Garden, and administration officials such as Susan Rice described his service as “honorable.”