On the basis of charges of desertion and endangering troops, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will face court-martial — and a possible life sentence. Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban after he left his combat outpost in Afghanistan in 2009, and was rescued five years later through an exchange deal made by President Obama. Now, Bergdahl is the subject of Season 2 of Serial, the podcast made famous for taking an in-depth look at the case of Adnan Syed.
Exchanging Bergdahl for five Taliban detainees saw controversy, as fellow soldiers claimed that his desertion of his post and the ensuing search for him resulted in the loss of American lives. Bergdahl has largely kept quiet on his reasons for his actions, but Serial looks to delve into them, and to explore both sides of the story.
Opinions on what charges Bergdahl should face have varied. The original testimony by Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl declared that a prison sentence for someone who spent five years in Taliban captivity would be "inappropriate," and until recently, the recommendation was that Bergdahl face an "intermediate tribunal" called a special court-martial that could, at most, serve him with one year of confinement. But with the decision to bring Bergdahl to a general court-martial, he's looking at a maximum of life in prison.
The exact charges Bergdahl is facing are "Desertion with Intent to Shirk Important or Hazardous Duty" and "Misbehavior before the Enemy by Endangering the Safety of a Command, Unit or Place." The date of the arraignment has not yet been announced, but it will take place at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where the United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) has its headquarters.
As the Army Times reports, it is the first time the public will hear directly from Bergdahl — barring, of course, the interviews he did with filmmaker Mark Boal that are currently being released through Serial.