The Army says there is no truth to media reports claiming a decision has been made to charge Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion.
The Army continues to review the case against Bergdahl, said Paul Boyce, a spokesman for Forces Command, on Tuesday morning.
“Sgt. Bergdahl has not been charged with any crime,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby during a press briefing Tuesday afternoon.
There’s a reason I didn’t jump on reports about this last night. Until charges are in fact announced, patience is a virtue.
As far as I know, SGT Bergdahl isn’t under any form of restriction, and is reporting for duty much as any other soldier would, though I seem to recall that his place of duty is pretty much the Army equivalent of stashing him in a broom closet. He is receiving pay and allowances commensurate with his grade and time in service, and presumably receiving the same weekend passes as other soldiers.
None of which bothers me in the least.
First, the burden here, should charges be brought against SGT Bergdahl, is upon the government. And while you and I *think* he deserted, proving such in a court martial might be somewhat more difficult that just tapping into public opinion. If the powers that be want to take their time, that’s fine with me. And that brings me to my second point…
You’ll notice ONE thing that hasn’t happened to SGT Bergdahl is processing for discharge at the completion of his initial term of service, what we in the Army usually call ETS. There’s a provision of the Army regulation covering discharges that pretty much says, if for reasons of convenience of the government, they wish to keep you on active duty indefinitely, they may do so (I’m way too lazy/busy to look up the exact provision of AR 600-whatever the hell it is).
I don’t know the term of service for which SGT Bergdahl initially enlisted, but he’s doubtless past his initial ETS date. And if he’d voluntarily reenlisted, I suspect we’d have heard that. So that leaves his continued presence on active duty as convenience of the government.