On Wednesday the military officially announced that they would be charging Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion for his actions while serving in Afghanistan.
The Army said today Bergdahl has been charged with two counts under the Uniform Code of Military Justice: one count of “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty” and one count of “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.”
The second count is the more severe of the two, carrying a potential sentence of “confinement for life” should Bergdahl be convicted. Both charges also potentially carry a dishonorable discharge, a reduction in rank to private, and a total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
Interestingly, Bergdahl could still receive an honorable discharge from the military though a guilty verdict would likely preclude such a decision.
Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham respond to the news:
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Arizona, called the charges an “important step” on Wednesday.
“This is an important step in the military justice process towards determining the accountability of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl,” he said in a statement. “I am confident that the Department of the Army will continue to ensure this process is conducted with the utmost integrity under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, meanwhile, lambasted the “unevenness” of Obama’s swap of five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl.
“I wouldn’t have done this trade for a Medal of Honor winner,” he told CNN. “No military member should expect their country to turn over five Taliban commanders to get their release. Nobody should expect that. It’s not the nature of his service that drives my thinking it’s just the illogical nature of the swap”.