When Barack Obama released five Gitmo detainees, terrorists who were being held at Guantanamo Bay, for Bowe Bergdahl, there was outrage from many across America, especially those who served with him. According to the men in his platoon, Bergdahl was not simply captured by the Taliban. He actually deserted his unit to go out in search of the Taliban. Before that, he renounced his American citizenship.
Upon arriving back in the U.S., Bergdahl was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The question remained, however, what would actually come of these charges. Would Bergdahl face a general court-martial or something less serious? On Monday afternoon, that question was put to rest by the U.S. Army Forces Command.
It was announced that Bowe Bergdahl will face a general court-martial.
This is undoubtedly not the decision that Obama hoped for since he has faced intense criticism for exchanging known terrorists, some of whom are back in their Islamic terrorism leadership positions, for Bergdahl. The decision by Obama to trade the five Gitmo detainees for Bergdahl was done without the required 30-day notification of Congress.
Bergdahl could have seen his charges moved to a special misdemeanor-level court. In fact, that is what his attorney, Eugene Fedell, hoped would happen. But now, his client, who Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice said served with “honor and distinction,” will be court-martialed.
In October 2015, the officer who was tasked with recommending whether Bergdahl should face court-martial said in a report that he should instead be charged in a lower-level special court-martial. He also recommended no prison time.
Lt. Col. Mark Visger recommended that Bergdahl’s case not proceed to a general court-martial, where Bergdahl could have been subject to life in prison and a dishonorable discharge if he had been found guilty. Instead, Visger recommended that the case be tried at a lower-level special court-martial, Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s lawyer, said on Saturday.
Sentences at special courts-martial are limited to a maximum of a year in jail and a bad-conduct discharge.
But Visger, who presided over Bergdahl’s preliminary hearing last month on charges stemming from Bergdahl’s leaving his post in Afghanistan in 2009, recommended no prison time and no punitive discharge in the report he sent on Oct. 5 to officials who will decide the matter.
With Bergdahl now being referred to a general court-martial, he faces more stringent punishment. Military.com succinctly explains what one faces in a general court martial.
A general court-martial consists of not less than five members and a military judge, or an accused may be tried by military judge alone upon request of the accused.
A general court-martial is often characterized as a felony court, and may try all persons subject to the UCMJ, including officers and midshipmen.
A general court-martial may adjudge any punishment not prohibited by the UCMJ, including death when specifically authorized.
After Bergdahl’s release, Obama held a press conference in the Rose Garden with Bergdahl’s parents.
At the press conference, Bergdahl’s father praised Allah. Lt. Col. Allen West, former congressman from Florida, explained exactly what Bergdahl’s father said.
“What none of these media is reporting is that the father’s (SGT Bowe Bergdahl’s father Bob) first words at the WH were in Arabic – those words were “bism allah alrahman alraheem” – which means “in the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful” – these are the opening words of every chapter of the Qur’an except one (the chapter of the sword – the 9th) – by uttering these words on the grounds of the WH, Bergdahl (the father) sanctified the WH and claimed it for Islam. There is no question but POTUS knows this.”
Given the rise of Islamic terrorism and the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, in addition to Obama’s JV team ISIS proclaiming that they will fly their flag over the White House, the fact that Obama put five terrorists back in the field in exchange for a deserter now facing a general court-martial will not sit well with Americans.