A four-star general will determine whether the Army will take any punitive action against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban and held for five years, the Washington Post reported Monday. Some soldiers died and others were wounded in the subsequent search for Bergdahl, and while some said he went absent without official leave (AWOL), others accused him of desertion, a more serious offense, NPR said.
Now it is up to Gen. Mark Milley, the commander of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to decide if charges will be brought against Bergdahl. Milley would determine "appropriate action -- which ranges from no further action to convening a court martial," the Army said in a statement. “We cannot discuss or disclose the findings of the investigation while disciplinary decisions are pending before commanders.”
One of the things that will be analyzed is the manner in which Bergdahl disappeared and how he was treated while in enemy hands. “I think the best thing for all involved is if they concentrate on the matter at hand and sort out as best they can where the facts, circumstances and equities point,” said Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, according to the Post.
“It would have been nice to be able to close the book on this case before Christmas,” Fidell said, according to the Washington Times. “That’s obviously not in the cards. I think everybody probably thinks it’s time to get this thing over. That’s what I hope the future will be.”
Five Taliban leaders who were held captive at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were exchanged for the sergeant’s release. The deal sparked sharp criticism of the Obama administration.
Bergdahl could receive $300,000 in back pay for the five years he was held, or could lose his military benefits and be forced to leave the Army if he is convicted of desertion or going AWOL, the Associated Press reported.
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella