Justice delayed and justice denied in Bowe Bergdahl verdict

On Friday a military judge ruled that Bowe Bergdahl would have to serve no jail time after he pleaded guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior-before-the-enemy.

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

The charges could have carried a life sentence, although prosecutors asked for 14 years behind bars for the deserter.

Supporters of the military were outraged by the decision, and with good reason.

The price paid by others for his decision to desert his post was astronomical.

The Obama administration released five high ranking Taliban fighters from Guantanamo Bay as part of the ransom to secure Bergdahl’s release from a Haqqani, a Taliban affiliated group, prison.

The five men consisted of Abdul Haq Wasiq, the director of the intelligence service for the Taliban. He worked to establish ties between the Taliban and other radical islamist groups fighting against the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Mullah Mohammad Fazl, another of “The Taliban Five,” as they have become known, was responsible for war crimes during the Afghan Civil War that included the murders of thousands of Shiites, according to the Pentagon, who deemed that he “would likely rejoin the Taliban,” upon his release from Gitmo.

Similar to Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori was also accused of murdering thousands of Shiites among his atrocities.

The two other released prisoners were Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, a military commander with direct ties to Osama bin Laden, and Mohammad Nabi Omari a “senior Taliban official.”

But more important was the price in blood paid by military servicemen who were killed looking for Bergdahl the deserter.

Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, and Pfc. Morris Walker, 23, were killed when a roadside bomb detonated when they were on a mission searching for the deserter on Aug. 18, 2009 in the Paktika province of Afghanistan, Time reported.

Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, was killed a week later in the same province while searching for Bergdahl when he came under fire and was shot during an enemy attack.

Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, died in the Paktika province on Sept. 4 of the same year when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit with a a rocket-propelled grenade and an improvised explosive device.

Two days later Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey died after being attacked by militants with an IED.

Private 1st Class Matthew Martinek, 20 died on Sept. 11, 2009 from wounds he sustained from an IED and small arms fire on Sept. 4.

None of those men get to go home to their families the way the Taliban Five and Bergdahl do.

Bergdahl’s harshest punishment is the time served, both in the Taliban prison and back in the United States, along with a dishonorable discharge.

The prison sentence being served by the families of the men who died looking for him is eternal.

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Carmine Sabia


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