Court should sentence Bergdahl to life in prison

When Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009, he put his fellow soldiers in jeopardy. At least two were wounded in firefights while they searched for him.

And though Bergdahl had no part in the ill-informed decision by former President Barack Obama to exchange five Taliban prisoners for him in 2014, there can be little doubt that action cost lives, perhaps of U.S. military personnel.

Bergdahl has pleaded guilty in a military court to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. An Army judge is expected to sentence him soon. The disgraced soldier could be sent to prison for life.

What he did was inexcusable, as he should have understood when he walked away from his post. He claims he meant to cause alarm among fellow troops, as a means of drawing attention to what he insists were serious problems — not specified — within the unit.

Not long after he deserted, he was captured by the Taliban. That resulted in the prisoner exchange.

Many veterans of the military have said the single most important facet of their service was their bond with others in their units and their determination not to let their comrades down. Bergdahl broke that bond. He knew he was doing so.

There indeed was a problem in Bergdahl’s unit — him. He should be sentenced to a prison term commensurate with his crime.

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