Letters to the Editor

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s case has a different smell

As a veteran I’ve been closely following the continuing saga of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Bergdahl left his post while serving in Afghanistan. Walking off the job may work for East St. Louis teachers but not in a war zone. Bergdahl was subsequently captured by the enemy and incarcerated for nearly five years.

Since Bergdahl’s release in May 2014 there’s been more political and legal jockeying than a horse race. Meanwhile, Bergdahl is back in uniform and doing desk duty at an Army post in Texas.

Bergdahl was formally charged in March 2015 with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

The general officer who led the investigation stated that he didn’t “believe there is a jail sentence at the end of this process.”

Most recently, the military officer in charge of Bergdahl’s hearing recommended he not do any jail time. The recommendation will be forwarded to Bergdahl’s commander for final determination.

This course of action is troubling because the punishment is at the forefront yet the accused has yet to have his day in court to determine guilt.

The suggested penalty, or lack thereof, doesn’t align with the current charges. In order to meet somewhere in the middle something will have to give.

This is not how the court martial process of my era worked. There are more fingers in this pie than my mother’s Thanksgiving pastry. Unlike the aroma of baked goods this debacle has a decidedly different smell.

Bill Malec, O’Fallon

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