Five years ago Sergeant Bergdahl went missing in Afghanistan. Soldiers from his former unit are outraged that he is now being treated like a hero by the Obama administration, when the consensus among soldiers who served with him is that he deserted his post. Desertion is a serious charge, punishable by death under Article 85 of the UCMJ. The likelihood that he will receive any punishment at all is low, given that he’s been held by the Taliban for five years.
“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”
At least half a dozen American Warfighters gave their own lives in subsequent searches to try and locate Berddahl who was recently traded for five senior Taliban operatives. The trade is rumored to have been brokered by the American CIA.
I think every effort should be made to protect American citizens and Warfighters abroad, however, swapping enemy combatants and radicals for captured Americans is a slippery slope and sets a dangerous precedent. Americans traveling abroad are now a more valuable commodity to radical extremists looking for leverage.