On Friday, a military judge ruled that U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would not serve prison time.
Although his desertion could have earned him a life sentence in prison, all he got was a life sentence in prison. The lead investigator, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, thought that a life sentence would be “inappropriate”.
Bergdahl’s attorneys asked for a lighter sentence due to Bergdahl’s psychological problems. According to the defense team, Bergdahl got a lighter sentence for disclosing information.
The prosecution demanded that Bergdahl receive a harsh sentencing. He knew the implications of deserting his comrades. While looking for the deserter, six soldiers were killed. Others were wounded.
Bergdahl apologized to his fellow soldiers by saying, “My words alone can’t take away their pain.”
In his opinion, President Donald Trump thought only a dishonorable discharge was not enough. From Twitter, he called the decision a “total disgrace”.
The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
According to lawyers in the case, Trump’s previous criticism was claimed to have diluted the fairness of the trial.
Army Col. Jeffrey R. Nance, the judge in the trial, said the criticism would not help nor hurt the case.
Bergdahl’s story is already being worked into a movie deal. Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow, the team behind Zero Dark Thirty, are already working on a film of his story based on 25 hours of interviews with the soldier.
The story also was featured on the hit podcast Serial, which Boal was also involved in.
Here are some voices from the military. These soldiers posted their thoughts on Stars and Stripes:
Marine Cpl. James Hoyet also believes Bergdahl’s sentencing was too lenient
“I feel he got off too easy,” said Hoyet, who is based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. “Not only did he abandon his post, he endangered the lives of those who went looking for him.”
Hoyet believes Bergdahl should have been given a much harsher sentence.
“People were injured … on that mission.” Hoyet said. “He should be charged as if he caused those injuries himself.”
Army Spc. Tyler Lord, an infantry soldier with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of Grafenwoehr, Germany, agreed.
“I think that abandoning your fellow soldiers in a combat zone and putting their lives in danger is treason,” he said.
Lord said that in the past, charges of treason meant the death sentence. And while Lord does not believe it should have come to that, he does believe Bergdahl deserved more punishment.