The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military–Twitter quote from President Donald Trump.
I couldn’t agree more with the President. In fact, these were almost exactly my thoughts when I heard the news that U. S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was spared any prison time for his desertion from duty in Afghanistan, receiving only a dishonorable discharge, which will almost guarantee that he will appeal to have his case totally dismissed.
Former Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Jack Kean explained it well. There is a reason that the U. S. military has a criminal justice system separate from the civilian system and part of it has to do with the charge of desertion. When a civilian walks off his or her job, their continued employment might be at risk, but it is not a criminal act. When a member of the military deserts from duty, it is a criminal act because of the necessity of preserving the discipline that is critical to the defense of the country and the lives of those serving with you. This judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, has undermined that principle with a gut punch to every currently serving and veteran of U. S. military service. And to remember that in this guy’s last e-mail before he was captured by ISIS he wrote “the horror that is America is disgusting” and “I am ashamed to even be American” and that our government traded five Taliban prisoners for his release, not to mention the serious injuries suffered by those who went out to search for him, makes this ruling even more disgusting.
A final point: Our country is getting by very well with voluntary military service and our military institution itself is one of the only government entities that is held in high esteem by the American people. But I fear that, partly as a result of the volunteer nature of service and the fact that fewer and fewer of our country’s civic and political leaders have experienced military life, there is a growing disconnect between our civilian and our military life such that we no longer really understand, much less identify with the military culture. I can’t help but believe that decisions like this one are part of the result.