That’s pretty speedy. It’ll probably be a year before the Taliban Five return to duty.
Says Greg Pollowitz, “I guess this means he re-learned English.”
Sergeant Bergdahl has finished undergoing therapy and counseling at an Army hospital in San Antonio, and will assume a job at the Army North headquarters at the same base, Fort Sam Houston, the officials said.
He is also expected to meet with Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, the officer who is investigating the circumstances of Sergeant Bergdahl’s disappearance from his outpost in Afghanistan in 2009.
Sergeant Bergdahl’s transfer from the therapy phase to a regular soldier’s job is part of his reintegration into Army life, officials said. He will live in barracks and have two other soldiers help him readjust.
Seems strange, no matter what you think of Bergdahl. If he deserted, why would the Army want him back? If he didn’t desert, why not take pity on the guy and send him home after such a horrible ordeal? “First Team Tommy,” a veteran on Twitter, argues though that this is mainly a jurisdictional move by the Army to make sure Bergdahl’s still within their reach as they continue to investigate how he went missing. Military lawyers are invited to correct me, but I believe that if Bergdahl’s discharged, he can’t be court-martialed. He has to be on active duty for that. (See, e.g., section 802(c)(4) of the UCMJ.) Leaving him in the care of military doctors would also complicate the legal process, says Tommy. Moving him to a desk job at Fort Sam Houston solves those problems. And, maybe, it’ll force Bergdahl to be more forthcoming than he’d otherwise be. It’s one thing to fight military justice when you’re at home with your parents with a media phalanx around you, another when you’re a sergeant on duty being interrogated by a general on why it is, precisely, you wandered away from base looking for the enemy. Because of the politics here, if Bergdahl’s going to face consequences, the Army wants to make it happen as quickly and smoothly as possible. And then, once the court-martial happens and the sentence is handed down, Obama will pardon him and that’ll be that. (We all know it’s coming.)
All of which is to say, it’s the Army, I think, that’s driving Bergdahl’s return to active duty, not Bergdahl himself. Or do I have this all wrong? Vets are welcome to chime in below. It could also be that returning Bergdahl to duty is part of his rehab, undoing some of the trauma of the last five years by re-acclimating him to the sort of life he led before he went missing.