Allen B. West

Army officer recommends Bergdahl be spared jail time for desertion

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Last week we shared with you the fix that seems to be in with the Bowe Bergdahl case. Sadly it appears the Army of my dad, my Army has truly lost its way.

As reported by Fox News, “An Army officer is recommending that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face a lower-level court martial and be spared the possibility of jail time for leaving his post in Afghanistan, his lawyer said Saturday. Bergdahl was captured [Bergdahl was not captured, he was apprehended due to his desertion] by the Taliban after leaving his post on June 30, 2009, and held until last year, when he was exchanged for five Taliban commanders. His commanding officers in Afghanistan say a 45-day search for Bergdahl put soldiers in danger.

Military prosecutors charged Bergdahl in March with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, a charge that could carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. But defense attorney Eugene Fidell said Lt. Col. Mark Visger has recommended that Sgt. Bergdahl’s case be referred to a special court martial, which is a misdemeanor-level forum. It limits the maximum punishment to reduction in rank, a bad-conduct discharge and a term of up to a year in prison.

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Fidell also said that Visger recommended that there be no prison time or punitive discharge against Bergdahl. In light of Visger’s recommendations, the defense is asking that the case be disposed of non-judicially, rather than by any court martial.

Visger presided over last month’s Article 32 hearing in Texas that reviewed evidence against Bergdahl. Visger submitted a report with his recommendation on Monday, but the Army hadn’t said what Visger recommended. Gen. Robert Abrams, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, will ultimately decide whether the case should be referred to a court-martial. No timeline has been given for a decision from Abrams.”These are highly discretionary matters and, needless to say, I hope General Abrams does the right thing, but it’s his call,” Fidell said by phone Saturday.”

Just so you understand, an Article 32 hearing is similar to a civilian grand jury hearing, and it appears the Article 32 hearing officer, LTC Visger, doesn’t believe in the seriousness of this incident. So let me help Visger out a tad bit.

Army LT Michael Behenna was sentenced to Ft. Leavenworth prison for “murdering” a known al-Qaida terrorist — the U.S. Army withheld exculpatory evidence is his case. Army LT Clint Lorance sits in Ft. Leavenworth prison at this time, serving a 20-year sentence for killing the enemy in Afghanistan — the U.S. Army withheld key information in his case as to the known identities of the individuals he ordered to be shot. They were conducting reconnaissance of his security checkpoint position — they did indeed have residue traces on them — and it wasn’t BBQ sauce.

I know the Article 32 hearing process very well, having gone through it myself in 2003 in Iraq. Of course the liberal progressive socialists continue their hateful ranting about me being a war criminal. Gotta ask you leftists, is it ok to abandon four Americans to die and then lie about it? As I’ve said before, I would do exactly what I did a thousand times over. But to the progressive socialists, the definition of “honor and distinction” is Bowe Bergdahl.

If General Robert Abrams accepts the recommendation of LTC Visger, ladies and gents, you truly no longer have leadership in the U.S. Army. What you will have is a gathering of spineless lackeys who — for whatever reason — are intimidated by the Obama White House and the modern day Rasputin, Valerie Jarrett.

Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post in a combat zone; nothing else matters. There are no “mitigating factors” and there are no “highly discretionary matters.” That is just bovine excrement rhetoric used by someone who has no sense of duty, honor, or country.

The Article 32 officer should not have considered anything that happened post Bergdahl’s actions, since his desertion resulted in spending five years with the Taliban and Haqqani Network — a fate he deserved. There was no poor command climate — Bergdahl deserted, and now this Article 32 officer believes this is just a misdemeanor. No, turning your back on your unit in a combat zone is clearly “misbehavior before the enemy.” Leaving your post without your weapon in a combat zone is desertion, not jaywalking.

There can be no doubt that there has been undue command influence at the highest levels in this case. This is why Bergdahl’s defense attorney was never concerned. He didn’t seek a “plea bargain” and allowed this to take its course. He knew very well there was no possibility the maximum punishment would ever happen — heck, there may be no punishment at all.

And the five years Bergdahl spent with the enemy, well, I didn’t see him limping from that truck. There was no evidence of any broken bones. Bergdahl showed no signs of being malnourished. Think about the movie “Unbroken,” the tale of Louis Zamperini — that is what happens when you are “captured” by the enemy. Remember those men who were rescued at Cabanatuan? That’s what happens when you are captured by the enemy and held. Consider what happened to Senator John McCain and others in Vietnam — those men didn’t land their airplanes in Hanoi. Those men didn’t walk away from their duty, they fought with honor.

I want LTC Visger to tell me what “mitigating factors” and “highly discretionary matters” are at play in the case of Army Green Beret SFC Charles Martland who is about to be involuntarily separated from the Army for punching a child rapist.

I don’t know what is happening in the U.S. Army but it is disgusting and despicable. And I would be happy to get a call from the new Secretary of the Army to explain this to me. But here again is a reason why America needs a strong Speaker of the U.S. House who will challenge the absurdity of these decisions and be a guardian for our men and women in uniform.

Let me close by saying, if Bowe Bergdahl is rewarded for walking away before the enemy, what becomes the new definition of honor? I guess it’s all part of the fundamental transformation of our beloved Republic. And it just stinks!

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