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Bergdahl And the Fear of God

Lt. Colonel, US Army (retired) Ralph Peter on the deserter Bergdahl, from Fox News [1]:

The sentence the military judge will impose on Tali-Bowe Bergdahl isn’t about one self-centered deserter. It’s about our national defense. The judge’s decision will decide the state of discipline on battlefields for decades to come. Bergdahl has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He has pleaded guilty to both charges.


One need feel no personal animus toward Bergdahl to recognize that the proper punishment for his misdeeds would be the death penalty (his behavior condemned better men to death). But we no longer punish deserters that way.

The heaviest sentence that could be imposed upon Bergdahl is life in prison—to make the point to all those contemplating such crimes in the future that there will be grave penalties.

Bergdahl’s lark in the park cost the lives of six of brother soldiers. Our nation needs a clear message to our current a future soldiers that Bergdahl’s behavior will not be tolerated.