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Bowe Bergdahl Is Expected To Plead Guilty To Desertion And Avoid A Trial
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Army soldier who walked off his outpost in Afghanistan and into Taliban captivity for five years before his rescue and controversial return to the United States, is expected to avoid a military trial by pleading guilty to "desertion and misbehavior before the enemy," military sources told the Associated Press Oct. 6.
Bergdahl faces up to five years' imprisonment for the desertion charge and a possible life sentence for the misbehavior charge. The AP's sources told them that Bergdahl's sentencing phase would start on Oct. 23, and that "U.S. troops who were seriously wounded searching for Bergdahl in Afghanistan are expected to testify."
Bergdahl disappeared from his post in Paktika province on June 30, 2009, and immediately became the subject of a military and media shitstorm that continues to this day. He was quickly captured by Taliban fighters, who held him hostage for half a decade before his release in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, who were sent to Yemen.
The public response to Bergdahl's captivity shifted with time and political winds. When he was captured, he got broad support on airwaves and social media as an American prisoner of war.
But as the Obama administration worked to secure Bergdahl's release to the United States, public opinion against Bergdahl swiftly turned. Details of his apparent desertion, and of casualties reportedly taken by soldiers on patrols to find him, emerged from veterans of the war in Afghanistan.
Some anti-Obama commentators, led by paid political consultants, trotted out those veterans and called for Bergdahl's execution for treason — a move that that tapped into real anger in the veteran community.
(Some of those same commentators, however, had earlier praised Bergdahl as a brave POW and assailed Obama for not doing more to get him home.)
The case against Bergdahl, most veterans agree, was always strong and obvious. "He deserted," Nate Bethea, an Afghan veteran who served in Bergdahl's battalion, wrote in 2014. "I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon — including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened."
But desertion was also the tip of an iceberg in an eight-year story that seemed to carry all the confusion and mystery that comes with America’s wars. A trial could have turned up new details, not just on the case, but also on mismanagement of the war effort, according to Matt Farwell, who spent 16 months as a soldier in Eastern Afghanistan and whose book on the Bergdahl case, "American Cipher," comes out next year.
"In a system with actual justice, the Bergdahl case wouldn't have just put a wayward private who never should've been in the Army on trial," Farwell told Task & Purpose.
The case, he added, "was like a tuning fork striking bone, revealing stress fractures in the Army and war in Afghanistan."
Top Navy official calls out government lawyers for spying on legal team of Navy SEAL accused of war crimes
In a scathing letter, a top Navy legal official on Sunday expressed "grave ethical concerns" over revelations that government prosecutors used tracking software in emails to defense lawyers in ongoing cases involving two Navy SEALs in San Diego.
The letter, written by David G. Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Navy's Defense Service Offices, requested a response by Tuesday from the Chief of the Navy's regional law offices detailing exactly what type of software was used and what it could do, who authorized it, and what controls were put in place to limit its spread on government networks.
"As our clients learn about these extraordinary events in the media, we are left unarmed with any facts to answer their understandable concerns about our ability to secure the information they must trust us to maintain. This situation has become untenable," Wilson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Task & Purpose on Monday.
Those really sweet, hand-held drones that the Army bought in January were finally put to the test as they were fielded to some lucky soldiers for the first time at the beginning of May.
For many people, millennials are seen as super-entitled, self-involved, over-sensitive snowflakes who don't have the brains or brawn to, among other noble callings, serve as the next great generation of American warfighters.
Retired Navy Adm. William H. McRaven is here to tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about.
Supreme Court refuses to hear yet another challenge to the controversial Feres Doctrine on military medical malpractice
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition to hear a wrongful death case involving the controversial Feres Doctrine — a major blow to advocates seeking to undo the 69-year-old legal rule that bars U.S. service members and their families from suing the government for injury or death deemed to have been brought on by military service.
FORT IRWIN, California -- Anyone who's been here has seen it: the field of brightly painted boulders surrounding a small mountain of rocks that symbolizes unit pride at the Army's National Training Center.
For nearly four decades, combat units have painted their insignias on boulders near the road into this post. It's known as Painted Rocks.