- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2017

President Trump slammed a military judge’s decision Friday to spare Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl from prison time.

“The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.

Sgt. Bergdahl walked off his Afghanistan post in 2009, endangering and resulting in grave injury to comrades who went looking for him. The former sergeant then spent five years in captivity with the Taliban.

Instead of jail time, Sgt. Bergdahl will receive a dishonorable discharge, lose rank and forfeit pay as part of his punishment.

He pleaded guilty to desertion charges last month in a military hearing at Fort Bragg and said Mr. Trump’s words referring to him as a “traitor” prevented him from receiving a fair trial.

“The people who are to the point of saying, yeah just shoot him, you can never convince those people to change their minds,” Sgt. Bergdahl said in an interview recorded last year that was obtained by ABC News. The interviewed was aired Monday.

“It does hurt,” he added, referring to people who call him a traitor and say he should be punished.

Sgt. Bergdahl spent five years as a Taliban prisoner after he walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009. He was released in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.

“It’s very insulting, the idea that they would think I did that,” he said, referring to reports that he was a jihadi sympathizer who tried to fight against the United States.

Mr. Trump said on the campaign trail that Sgt. Bergdahl was “garbage” and suggested that in “the old days,” the soldier would have been shot.

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