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Get ready for some exploding conservative heads: Bowe Bergdahl, the POW returned to America last year after a swap for Taliban prisoners, will be charged with desertion for walking off his base in Afghanistan in 2009, according to unnamed defense officials who spoke to NBC:


According to the officials, the desertion charges would be based on allegations that Bergdahl abandoned his remote outpost in June 2009 to avoid hazardous duty or important service, which are grounds for charges of desertion under the Uniform Military Code of Justice, or UCMJ. According to one senior official, Bergdahl's actions in Afghanistan go well beyond the lesser offense of AWOL, absent without leave, because he allegedly abandoned his post "in the middle of a combat zone, potentially putting the lives of his fellows soldiers at risk."

The news is pretty much guaranteed to reignite the rightwing argument that while The Troops are to be loved and honored at all times, some of The Troops ought to be left to rot in enemy hands.

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A U.S. Army spokeswoman, Lt Col Alayne Conway, denied that a decision had yet been made in Bergdahl's case:

"We are aware of the inaccurate media reporting. To be clear there have been no actions or decisions on the Sgt Bergdahl investigation."

For what it's worth, that report is from Sky News, the British satellite network owned by Rupert Murdoch -- and Murdoch's Fox News, citing a former Army officer who appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, is reporting that the charges are all but certain. Deep rifts in Murdochland!

In a potential disappointment to rightwingers who are certain that Bergdahl deliberately defected to the Taliban, NBC says the charges will reportedly "not allege that Bergdahl left with the intent never to return," although we can expect that detail to be overlooked, because as one Breitbart commenter adroitly summed up the wingnut case against Bergdahl, the stakes are actually much higher than simply the question of why Bergdahl walked away from his post:

Valiant soldiers lives were lost trying to rescue the coward and deserter son, of Obola loving commie hippies. Obola released known terrorists, against standing US law, in order to assist the new Caliphate springing all over the ME thanks to his malice towards America and the West. O is a traitor and should be tried and jailed; if we had an opposition party, that would be going on right now.

Twitter is already weighing in, as armchair JAGS pronounce sentence:

In reality, while soldiers have indeed been charged with desertion, the United States hasn't executed anyone for desertion since Eddie Slovik, in 1945. And Slovik was the only soldier executed for desertion since the Civil War.

NBC reports that, rather than being shot, drawn and quartered, tried for treason, or even sentenced to being Bill O'Reilly's butler, Bergdahl's court martial could result in a prison sentence, although sources said that Bergdahl is likely to be "given consideration for the 5 years he spent in captivity and be permitted to leave the Army with a "less than honorable discharge." If he accepts such a plea deal, Bergdahl would lose up to $300,000 in back pay and would be busted down from Sergeant to Private First Class or lower. His promotion to sergeant while in captivity was one more "scandal" for the right, although such promotions are actually routine based on time in service.

On the positive side, at least Fox News will have something other than American Sniper to talk about for the next few weeks.

[NBC News / Breitbart / Business insider / Sky News / Fox News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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