“‘At least the Taliban were honest enough to say, ‘I’m the guy who’s gonna cut your throat,’” Bergdahl said in an exclusive interview with The Times’ journalist Sean Langan, who had also been held captive by the Taliban.
Bergdahl last week pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after deserting his post in Afghanistan and being held captive by the Taliban for five years. He is expected to be sentenced today in a military court at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Bergdahl also told Langan and The Times that he didn’t know where he stood with the U.S. Army while he has been performing “administrative duties,” awaiting his desertion trial.
“Here, it could be the guy I pass in the corridor who’s going to sign the paper that sends me away for life,’’ he told The Times. “We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs.”
Bergdahl, now 31, is scheduled to be sentenced today. He faced charges of desertion and endangering fellow soldiers, and misbehavior before the enemy.
He could face a life sentence for the misbehavior charge, and up to five years for the desertion charge.
A guilty plea meant Bergdahl would not face a trial. He had already decided to let a judge – and not a military jury – render a verdict. It is not clear if Bergdahl’s lawyers have a plea agreement in place to limit his punishment.
After Bergdahl left his post in 2009, he was held as a Taliban prisoner until 2014, when the Obama Administration was able to get him back to the United States through a prisoner swap. Bergdahl was released in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said Bergdahl was “a dirty rotten traitor” for leaving his post and endangering the lives of others, and that he should “face the death penalty.” Five soldiers died while looking for Bergdahl.