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The Shield

Bergdahl Has Served His Time

Jennifer Hauser, Staff Writer

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Bowe Bergdahl will serve no prison time for the charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. By being held against his will, he has already been punished enough.

A controversial ruling was handed down to U.S. Army Private (formerly Sergeant) Bowe Bergdahl last week. He was sentenced by an Army judge, Colonel Jeffery Nance, to be dishonorably discharged, reduced in rank, and fined $1,000 per month from his pay for the next ten months; with no prison time involved in his sentencing.

A lot of people are angry about this “lenient” sentencing, because Bergdahl was captured as a result of his abandoning his post. Deserting or becoming AWOL are among the most disrespectful and disgraceful acts in the military.

He has been called a traitor and a deserter. Even President Trump once referred to him as a “dirty rotten traitor” during his campaign. These remarks may have affected the outcome of Bergdahl’s light sentencing.

It was wrong of him to leave his post, and he put others’ lives at risk in doing so. There are claims that at least six men lost their lives searching for him. However, the Pentagon has said that there is no evidence that the search for Bergdahl directly led to the loss of life.

The circumstances by which Bergdahl left his post are largely debated. It is argued that he had planned to leave his unit behind, but it is clear that his intentions were not to be captured and held hostage.

He was held for nearly five years, from June 2009 until May 2014, by the Haqqani, a branch of the Taliban. During his five years in captivity, he was tortured and beaten. He was even held in a cage for weeks at a time after he attempted to escape.

A negotiation took place for Bergdahl’s release, and five Taliban prisoners were released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for his freedom. This exchange also enraged people and caused a ton of controversy. They believed that we should not be negotiating with the enemy.

I believe that the sentencing was fair and appropriate. He does deserve to face the consequences of his actions, but prison time would not have been right. He was a hostage for five years, that in itself was punishment enough.

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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
Bergdahl Has Served His Time