WTVM Editorial 3/27/15: Bowe Bergdahl charged with desertion

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – After months of investigation, the Army has finally charged Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl with desertion – and another less commonly known charge called "misbehavior before the enemy," which is broadly defined as intentional misconduct that endangered the lives of fellow soldiers serving in his unit in Afghanistan.

Everyone agrees Bergdahl left his post in June 2009 after he expressed opposition to the war and was quickly captured by the Taliban.

Bowe's former comrades said Bergdahl should be held responsible for several deaths that occurred during rescue missions to locate him.

The infamous Bergdahl prisoner swap gave back to the Taliban five suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay - a deal that outraged many current and former military personnel.

Now a military court will decide if Bergdahl's "leaving" was criminal desertion and whether it merits receive life imprisonment at most - or a dishonorable discharge at best.

We need to hear all the facts in this case.

But just as soon as the charges were filed, Bergdahl's attorney got busy making excuses for his client, releasing Bergdahl's statements about being beaten and abused while in captivity.

No doubt that's true - he was in a war zone - but the capture, beatings and Bergdahl's failed escape attempts would not have ever occurred had he not walked off his base in Afghanistan in the first place.

Whether the prisoner swap was a bad deal or not is a political question.

The legal process will determine if Bergdahl's survival of war time horrors in captivity will be a successful enough defense to the charges that he walked away from his duty as an American soldier.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

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