Face the Facts: Why, how should America decide the fate of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl?

Photo courtesy of Fox News

Story by Cody Uhls / Contributing Writer

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of the U.S. Army pleaded guilty at his trial for walking off his base in Afghanistan in 2009. Now he’s waiting for sentencing, and his hearings started on Oct. 25.

Bergdahl was held in captivity by the Taliban and endured some of the worst torture ever in U.S. military history. After four years and 11 months, numerous escape attempts and being stuck in a metal cage for most of that time, he was exchanged for five Taliban leaders in Guantanamo Bay. This begs the question: “Was that enough?”


Bergdahl’s story became popular in the public eye after “Serial,” a top-rated podcast by This American Life, dedicated its second season to explaining and reporting on his captivity.

If charged with desertion, he will only be given a five-year sentence. If charged with “misbehavior before the enemy,” which simply means Bergdahl endangered his comrades by walking off the base, Bergdahl could receive a life sentence in prison.

U.S. soldiers died while Bergdahl was in captivity. Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Wolfe said in an interview for the podcast, “The families who lost sons during this deployment … their sons didn’t die looking for (Bergdahl).”

The notion that the six American troops who died “searching for Bergdahl” isn’t proven, because according to Wolfe, those troops could have passed away during any patrol. Blaming Bergdahl’s search for their deaths would be absurd.

He’s been in captivity in the worst conditions since the Vietnam War, according to the podcast.

Army judge Col. Jeffery R. Nance is actually considering giving Bergdahl life in prison. That’s sickening. He isn’t a traitor.

Bergdahl expressed his displeasure with his unit and the leadership of the group and formulated a plan to hike 18 miles to another U.S. Army base to express his concerns. He thought if he made a grand attempt, the leadership of the base would take him seriously, according to reports by ABC News.

He got lost after about 20 minutes. While his plan wasn’t the smartest, his intentions weren’t to leave permanently. He wasn’t a Taliban sympathizer. He doesn’t deserve life in prison.

He went through five years of torture, which was worse than anything most Americans could even dream. He didn’t choose to endure such conditions. Bergdahl gave valuable information to U.S. Army Special Forces after his rescue, and the five Taliban leaders exchanged for him are still being closely monitored.

He was worth the trade. He isn’t a traitor. He doesn’t deserve prison. He deserves a normal life. He deserves to be a human being after being dehumanized for so many years.

If you want to listen to “Serial,” which I highly recommend, the link is here and on Apple Podcasts.

This is an opinion, written from the perspective of the writer and does not reflect the views of Sidelines or MTSU.

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To contact Editor-in-Chief Brinley Hineman, email editor@mtsusidelines.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Enrique
    November 2, 2017

    If President Trump had Bergdahl’s post in Afghanistan, how long he would stay at his post?