Army believes Bergdahl should not serve prison time

Army report suggests no jail time for Bowe Bergdahl

Lt. Col. Mark Visger, officer in charge of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’ s Article 32 preliminary hearing has recommended that the soldier accused of desertion avoid jail time for his actions. Bergdahl was captured 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. During last month’s hearing, Army prosecutors said Sgt. Bergdahl had planned to slip away from his unit for weeks, motivated by selfishness.

They argued that his disappearance from a remote outpost endangered many American soldiers who spent weeks scouring the area for him and that it shifted the entire mission of U.S. forces in Afghanistan at the time. Sgt. Bergdahl’s defense team countered that he was an exemplary soldier but suffered from a mental defect. They argued he hadn’t sought to desert but wanted to alert an Army general about what he perceived was his unit’s failed mission. And defense lawyers noted that Sgt. Bergdahl was subject to years of brutal torture while in captivity. Fellow soldiers on his small combat outpost discovered Bergdahl was missing the following morning, but it was too late.

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