Trump criticizes Bowe Bergdahl's Honorable Discharge as a disgrace to the country
Sgt Bowe Bergdhal, who walked off his Army base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban for five years, was ordered to be dishonorably discharged from the Army by a military judge on Friday, but received no prison time for desertion or endangering troops.
At a sentencing that took only minutes, the military judge, Col. Jeffery R. Nance of the Army, also reduced Sergeant Bergdahl’s rank to private and required him to forfeit $1,000 a month of his pay for 10 months. Prosecutors had sought 14 years in a military prison.
President Trump, who has labeled Sergeant Bergdahl a “dirty rotten traitor,” quickly criticized Friday’s sentence, calling it “a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military.”
Colonel Nance did not explain his reasoning for the sentence, which will be reviewed by Gen. Robert B. Abrams, who convened the court-martial, and has the power to lessen the punishment. If the final sentence still includes a punitive discharge, it will then automatically be reviewed by the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
Politics have dogged the case from the start. The Obama administration embraced Sergeant Bergdahl — the national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, said that he had served with “honor and distinction” — a portrayal that angered many Republicans. Then, last year, Donald J. Trump made Sergeant Bergdahl a staple of his campaign speeches, denouncing him and calling for him to be executed.