Sometime on Friday....the Pentagon wrapped up the Army investigation of Bowe Bergdahl....the Army NCO who deserted his post in Afghanistan...leaving his rifle and unit....and going off to be captured by the Taliban of the region. Over the past six months, the Obama Administration traded five bad guys out of Gitmo.....to get Bergdahl back. No one associated with the Administration will speak publicly over the money involved.....but it's figured to be around one million dollars that we gave as part of the deal.
The investigation concluded....yes, he deserted. End of the story. Concluded and signed off.
Next? Well.....the Secretary of Defense (Hagel) is handing it over to his unit commander and they will determine charges, or maybe no charges. You can figure this will take three months to work out.
There are several scenarios. The worst case is a full-up court martial.....which I seriously doubt will occur. There could be just some administrative action to dump Bergdahl immediately with a general discharge....but get a lot of Army folks frustrated and hostile that he just gets off easily. So I'm going for the likely scenario of Bergdahl getting a Article 15 situation....losing most of his stripes....getting ninety days of some jail....and then discharged with a Bad-Conduct Discharge.
Converting it back to a general discharge? Maybe. Getting the VA to grant PTSD? Very likely. The $350,000 of back-pay from the period held by the Taliban? Zero chance of the money coming to him now, my humble opinion.
Normally, a guy like this would get several years (minimum of one-year) for a simple case of desertion. There's been cases where no time were awarded, our nut-case who ran off to North Korea and stayed twenty-odd years ended up with no time in jail....simply because he suffered enough. They may see the same logic in handling Bergdahl the same way.
What does all this say? If the White House had realized the full consequence of getting Bergdahl back and having this amount of negative attention, I doubt if they'd done it and just let him sit there. It's another sign of how they aren't capable of grasping the problems and consequences of bad decision-making.
As for what happens to Bergdahl in the future? I'll predict he gets PTSD paperwork and a military disability situation ($30,000 a year). I'll also predict he writes a book, which generally doesn't sell. I'll predict some idiot ten years from now will make a movie over the episode. And I'll predict that Bergdahl ends up packing a bag and leaving for El Salvador or some marginal third-world country within five years....admitting that he can't handle life in the US.
A nutcase? Yeah. Based on everything written of his youth.....I'd say that the Army should have reviewed his entry and stopped him at the front door. This was predictable. Sadly, there's probably a thousand Bergdahls in the Army today.