A military judge delivered a ruling on Friday that has caused not only Conservative outrage, but the President himself to come forward with comment.
Army Col. Jeffrey Nance issued the sentence of a dishonorable discharge, but no prison time, after Bergdahl pleaded guilty to deserting his post and misbehaving while in the hands of the enemy.
These charges allowed for life in prison, or worse, but the judge opted for a much lighter sentence.
President Trump issued his discontent on Twitter that morning:
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
“The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military,” Mr. Trump announced from his twitter account that has become a news source of its own, direct and uncut.
Bergdahl walked away from his Afghanistan post in 2009 and endangered the lives of his fellow soldiers—even resulting in horrific injury for some of his battle buddies that were harmed trying to save him.
The defense successfully argued that Bergdahl should avoid harsh punishment because of harsh criticism from President Trump.
This is confirmed by the New York Times report that revealed the judge’s stance on President Trump (keep in mind that a judge is a steward of the judicial system and must of course behave impartially and politically aloof—period):
“I will consider the President’s comments as mitigation evidence as I arrive at an appropriate sentence,” Army Col. Nance commented. And indeed, Nance felt Trump’s words tipped the scale in favor of a light sentence for military deserter Bergdahl.
The prosecution argued that Bergdahl serve 14 years in prison—still a light sentence with respect to his deeds. Ultimately the judge found that far too unreasonable.
Undoubtedly the largest damage done is the message that was just broadcasted to anyone currently in the military or looking to serve: desertion isn’t that big of a deal.
If the Pentagon’s leadership fails to take charge of the failing climate, the entire military will be forced to carry the burden of tarnished standards and respect.