Three former platoon mates of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl appeared on “The Kelly File” Thursday night and cringed at the thought that he would strike a plea deal and possibly receive an honorable discharge.
Fox’s Megyn Kelly interviewed former team leader Evan Buetow, Josh Cornelison and Cody Full, who feared that a plea deal by Sgt. Bergdahl would deny them a chance to hear what was going through his head at the time of his disappearance.
“I want it to go to a trial because I believe if he pleas we won’t ever get to hear what happened. It’s selfish of me, but I want to hear from him why he did what he did. […] It’s something we’ve lived with for so long,” Mr. Buetow said.
Mr. Cornelison told the Fox host that if Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was given an honorable discharge, then it would be like spitting in the face of those who serve, Mediaite reported Thursday.
“I think that he should be prosecuted to the full extent that the [Uniform Code of Military Justice] will allow. […] I think that if Bowe Bergdahl gets out with an honorable discharge, it’s an absolute disgrace,” Mr. Cornelison said.
Fellow platoon mate Cody Full added that it was upsetting to see how the White House first handled the sergeant’s rescue.
“They paraded his parents out in a Rose Garden ceremony […] and basically called him a hero when they knew that wasn’t true,” Mr. Full said.
Sgt. Bergdahl disappeared from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban. He was held for five years before the Obama administration secured his release. Five top Taliban commanders were freed from Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba to complete the deal.
“In the beginning of my captivity, after my first two escape attempts, for about three months I was chained to a bed spread-eagle and blindfolded,” the 28-year-old soldier wrote Thursday, The Associated Press reported.
If convicted of desertion, Sgt. Bergdahl faces up to five years in prison. His “misbehavior before the enemy” charge could result in a life sentence, AP reported.
“This is a hellish environment he was kept in for nearly five years, particularly after he did his duty in trying to escape. There is no question in my mind that a convening authority would not be doing his or her duty without taking into account the circumstances under which Sgt. Berhdahl was held,” said the soldier’s lawyer, Eugene Fidell, AP reported.
• Douglas Ernst can be reached at email@example.com.
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