For a while it seemed that the matter of Sgt. Bergdahl's unilateral decision to leave his post in Afghanistan in the dead of night was going to be conveniently forgotten.
General Robert Abrams, head of U.S. Forces Command, however, rejected the recommendation of a lower officer and opted for a general court-martial for Bergdahl.
No doubt, the Obama administration, which hailed Bergdahl as a hero after swapping five Taliban prisoners for him and giving his parents a Rose Garden moment with the President, would prefer the matter to have gone away. But that would be bad for military order and virtue.
The Wall Street Journal writes:
Gen. Abrams’ decision is not hard to understand. No army can allow its soldiers to leave the battlefield when they decide. There may well be mitigating circumstances regarding Sgt. Bergdahl, from the harsh treatment he endured under the Taliban to delusions that by walking off his post he could inform a general about problems in his unit. He will now get to make these arguments before a military court, and we have confidence in the Army’s commitment to fairness and justice.
One of the great ironies is that Bergdahl's lawyer is complaining about all the publicity surrounding his client, but, as the Wall Street Journal asks, "Whose fault is that?" The case assumed national significance from the second President Obama welcomed Bergdahl's parents to the Rose Garden to announce their son's release. Bergdahl wrote his parents that he was “ashamed to even be an American” and that “the title of US soldier is the lie of fools” three days before he left his post. Now, he is telling a different story on Serial, a popular podcast.
General Abrams is to be commended for giving Sgt. Bergdahl his day in court and for assuring us all that the military still believes in honor.