Bo Bergdahl back on active duty; still won't see or talk to parents
Deserter and former POW Bo Bergdahl has been cleared for active duty and has been assigned a desk job at Fort Sam Houston. His duties are unspecified.
Bergdahl's status as an active duty soldier means he could still be charged with desertion.
“In order to charge him or deal with him in the military justice system, he needs to be a uniformed and serving member of the Armed Forces,” Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and a member of the House Armed Services Committee said Monday.
Mr. Hunter said the timing of the Pentagon’s announcement regarding Sgt. Bergdahl’s status was “really odd,” and that the development could best be explained by concern among senior military officials that discharging the soldier from the Army could complicate the Defense Department’s ability to pursue potential charges against him.
The Pentagon promoted Sgt. Bergdahl in rank during his five years in captivity and never discharged him. It was unclear Monday whether an official discharge would have precluded the Army from pursuing a future court martial against him.
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren pushed back against Mr. Hunter’s comments, saying that military officials are merely moving Sgt. Bergdahl through a regimented Army-led reintegration process.
They wouldn't need to place Bergdahl on active duty to "reintegrate him." In fact, his readjustment to society might have been easier if he were discharged.
Regardless, Bergdahl has still refused to see or talk with his parents
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl hasn’t spoken to his family since he was released from captivity in Pakistan, according to an Army official.
Sgt. Bergdahl has refused to see his parents or speak to them on the phone, the official said. The decision by Sgt. Bergdahl, who returned to regular duty on Monday, suggests a deeper estrangement between the soldier and his parents than the military understood when he was released. Still, officials said, they don’t know the precise cause of the tension or when it began.
Sgt. Bergdahl’s father, Robert Bergdahl, emerged as a fierce advocate for his son during the five years that Sgt. Bergdahl was held in Pakistan by the Haqqani Network, pushing for action to get his son released. When Sgt. Bergdahl was released to U.S. Special Forces following a prisoner exchange that freed five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Mr. Bergdahl and his wife appeared at a White House announcement alongside President Barack Obama.
Since then the decision to trade Sgt. Bergdahl for the Taliban detainees has become deeply controversial.
The family has put sharp restrictions on what information can be released about Sgt. Bergdahl’s condition and has asked the military not to give updates about communication between him and his family, according to another Army official.
This is quite odd. Surely he's been told by now about the fierce advocacy for his release carried out by his father. Perhaps he was sickened by his father's identifying with his captors. Or perhaps he's feeling enormous guilt and shame at what he did. Or, as the Journal story suggests, there's more to he relationship with his parents than we know.
The army investigation into the possible desertion of Bergdahl is continuing, but it is likely that their last step will be to interview Bergdahl about his intentions when he deliberately left his post. That won't happen until military doctors give the go ahead.