On May 31, President Barack Obama announced that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a prisoner of the Taliban since 2009, was coming home after the U.S. agreed to exchange five high-value terrorists held at Guatanamo Bay. Since his release, reports have emerged that Bergdahl voluntarily walked off base before his capture. Several of Bergdahl’s platoon mates say this was an act of desertion, although the Pentagon has not officially labeled him a deserter. Assuming these accounts are true, was the exchange a wise decision? Should he be court-martialed? Or has he suffered enough?
Why even question bringing home an American soldier?
If he is a deserter, he’ll face the consequences.
— Julie Bishop, Weatherford
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Bergdahl should most certainly face a court-martial.
There is too much damning evidence that he deserted his post and fellow soldiers.
There is also evidence that he may have sympathized and possibly collaborated with the Taliban.
There is also evidence suggesting American soldiers were lost trying to find him.
Considering the deal that was made to release five Taliban war criminals for his release, I believe the American people deserve to know the truth.
— Skip Richardson, Bedford
No doubt the sergeant has suffered a lot, but it was his own doing.
Did he think the enemy would welcome him?
If he deserted his unit in wartime he should definitely be court-martialed.
I speak from experience, since I am a veteran of World War II. His behavior should not be tolerated without punishment.
— Tom Quigley, Bedford
Of all the sacred trusts between the U.S. and its military, the trust that the government will do everything in its power to secure your release from captivity is paramount.
As to whether he deserves court-martial, no one can answer right now.
A push from either side for political gain to railroad guilt or innocence is not acceptable.
— Bob Dorcy, Fort Worth
Bergdahl should be demoted to his initial rank, private first class, before his wandering off base, with no retroactive pay and a medical discharge.
He’ll likely get on disability status from his post-traumatic stress disorder and the taxpayers will absorb the costs.
— Sharon Barrow, Fort Worth
The military has a code of honor; front-line soldiers practice it daily.
The military should be allowed to independently investigate his actions, but I have no faith in the administration allowing that to happen.
The honorably serving current and former veterans deserve nothing less than a complete accounting of Bergdahl’s actions.
— Jeff Murray, Weatherford
I’m not afraid of those middle-aged Taliban poster children living in luxury in Doha, but I do fear for a family, a small town, and the American sense of fair play and justice.
— Sarah Dolbier, Fort Worth
Five years as a prisoner is enough payment.
We should always work as hard and as long as needed to get our service men or women back.
President Obama’s negotiating skills are in question, though.
To trade five “high-value” terrorists for one is not a very good trade for the “good guys.”
— Lynn Miller, North Richland Hills
Right now it appears that by all indications, Bergdahl is indeed a deserter. However, even under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he deserves his day in court.
So bring him back, court-martial him, and then send him off to Leavenworth for the rest of his miserable life.
— Con Shuck, Granbury
Bowe Bergdahl is a disgrace.
He made a conscious decision to walk away from his unit.
He said he was ashamed to be an American.
Susan Rice, speaking for America, said he served with “honor and distinction.” Hearing that made this veteran’s stomach churn.
He dishonored his country.
That is the legacy he deserves.
— Jim Walton, Stephenville
Until the full story of Bowe’s account is known, everything else is nonsense and should be stopped.
At the moment he is still an American citizen, and should be provided all the rights thereof.
(At least, while they are still in existence, with all the effort in process to take them away.)
He is neither a hero nor traitor. He is simply a returning prisoner of war.
— Clay Riley, Weatherford
I am finding it very difficult to understand why our government would ever negotiate with terrorists!
What a dangerous precedent this is setting!
If it is determined that Bergdahl is a deserter, he should be allowed to explain his actions. The families of the soldiers who allegedly died looking for Bergdahl should have a voice in deciding whether he should be court-martialed.
— Angela Benvenuto, Arlington