At Fort Bragg, North Carolina Tuesday, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was arraigned on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, the AP reported. The charges stemmed from his five-year captivity by the Taliban in Afghanistan. In an act Bergdahl claims he undertook to bring attention to poor leadership in his unit, he walked away from his post in June 2009. Last Monday, Commander of U.S. Army Forces Command General Robert Abrams ordered Bergdahl's case to a general court-martial, Newsweek reported.
While a desertion conviction comes with a maximum five-year sentence, the charge of misbehavior before the enemy is far more serious and could mean a life sentence for Bergdahl, The L.A. Times reported. Currently stationed in Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, he continues to be treated for the torture and neglect he experienced. Bergdahl is also featured on the second season of Serial, where he repeated his claim that he left his base to make a statement, having his items shipped home and withdrawing cash he might need on his journey before leaving his post. Geoffrey Corn, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, told Reuters that it is possible that the panel will opt to give Bergdahl no jail time. “These are people who are able to sort out the difference between extremely aggravated offenses and offenses committed by people who just make really stupid decisions," Corn said.
The terms of Bergdahl’s May 2014 release were highly controversial — and still are to this day. To ensure his return, the Obama Administration agreed to release five Taliban detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. This move was widely criticized, mainly by Republicans who felt like the deal will further encourage terrorists to take hostages and would allow enemies to get back into problematic positions. Not only did a Republican-led House vote to officially condemn the swap in September 2014, but the South Dakota Republican Party pushed for Obama’s impeachment. Nevertheless, President Obama celebrated Bergdahl’s recovery. With Bergdahl's parents at his side, Obama thanked service members who helped with the effort and declared that Bergdahl was “never forgotten”:
His parents thought about him and prayed for him every single day, as did his sister Sky, who prayed for his safe return. He wasn't forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military, which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin. And he wasn't forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.
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