WASHINGTON, November 03, 2017 — A military judge ruled that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will not serve anytime in prison, despite his questionable actions in Afghanistan. He was sentenced on Friday to a dishonorable discharge and a reduction in rank.
The decision received a strong rebuke from President Donald Trump who called it a total disgrace to the country and military. Bowe Bergdahl faced up to life in prison after pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The prosecution was asking for prison time, while Bergdahl’s defense team asked for leniency because Bergdahl spent five years in Taliban captivity.
Bergdahl’s sentence is being appealed and his lawyer Eugene Fidell will fight for an appeal because of Bergdahl’s alleged need to receive benefits because of his mental health. The ruling puts an end to a hearing that featured testimony from soldiers, the family of victims and Bowe Bergdahl himself.
While on the stand, Bergdahl called his decision to abandon his post a “terrible move” and spoke on multiple escape attempts from his captors he attempted. Bergdahl even apologized for his actions and appeared to break down during his testimony.
Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was later captured by the Taliban. He was then released in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners, a move that was criticized by President Trump and other Republicans.
During the campaign, Trump was critical of Bergdahl and called for him to be executed by firing squad. Defense attorney Capt. Nina Banks made the case that the torture Bergdahl endured from the Taliban was punishment enough, along with being branded a traitor and deserter by Trump, when he returned home.
Bergdahl has been diagnosed with schizophrenia-like condition and post-traumatic stress disorder. Bergdahl managed to escape a prison sentence and possible death sentence. Many have criticized the sentence. Many see it as a spit in the face of those who died looking for Bergdahl. Other than tweets, the Trump administration has not come out publicly and made any official statement on the Bowe Bergdahl ruling.