Bowe Bergdahl, Arraigned

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Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl faces court martial for deserting his post in Afghanistan. This case — this whole story — is anything but simple. Plus: Back in Afghanistan, conditions are brutal for troops and residents alike.

Sgt. Robert Bergdahl leaves the courthouse Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, after his arraignment on Fort Bragg, N.C. (Andrew Craft / Fayetteville Observer / AP)
Sgt. Robert Bergdahl leaves the courthouse Tuesday after his arraignment on Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (Andrew Craft/Fayetteville Observer/AP)

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was arraigned yesterday at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on charges of desertion and endangering U.S. troops. In 2009, the Idaho boy-turned-soldier walked off his remote base in Afghanistan to, he said, report leadership failures. He was picked up and held for five years of brutal captivity by the Taliban. This fall, the Army’s investigating officer essentially said Bergdahl should be let off. Now he’s potentially facing life in prison. Donald Trump suggests execution. The podcast “Serial” is on the case. This hour On Point, what’s happening with Bowe Bergdahl?
-- Tom Ashbrook


Yochi Dreazen, managing editor for news at Foreign Policy Magazine. Author of the book, "The Invisible Front." (@yochidreazen)

Gary Solis, adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law School and the George Washington University Law School. Former Marine Corps Judge Advocate General.

Richard Benedetto, professor of journalism at American University. (@benedettopress)

From Tom’s Reading List

Fayetteville Observer: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl defers plea at Fort Bragg today — "Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl deferred making a plea during a brief arraignment hearing at Fort Bragg this morning. Appearing before a military judge for about 12 minutes, the soldier facing charges for walking off base in Afghanistan in 2009 gave simple replies to questions. His lawyer, Lt. Col. Frank Rosenblatt, told the judge, Col. Christopher T. Fredrikson, that he would wait to offer a plea and motions. Another hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12."

Serial: DUSTWUN — "In the middle of the night, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl grabs a notebook, snacks, water, some cash. Then he quietly slips off a remote U.S. Army outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into the dark, open desert. About 20 minutes later, it occurs to him: he’s in over his head."

Rolling Stone: America's Last Prisoner of War — "Bowe's own tour of duty in Afghanistan mirrored the larger American experience in the war – marked by tragedy, confusion, misplaced idealism, deluded thinking and, perhaps, a moment of insanity. And it is with Bowe that the war will likely come to an end."

The Current State Of Play In A Ravaged Afghanistan

Ben Watson, news editor for Defense One. (@natsecwatson)

NBC News: Afghanistan Attack: 6 NATO Troops Killed Near Bagram Airbase — "A suicide bomber drove a motorcycle into a joint convoy of U.S., NATO and Afghan forces on Monday, blowing himself up and killing six Americans, a brutal sign of deteriorating security in a region where Western troops are trying to help locals overtake the Taliban."

This program aired on December 23, 2015.


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