Bowe Bergdahl's bondsman
The odds are very high that Bergdahl, if found guilty of charges filed against him, will be relieved of his punishment by Barack Obama.
The president will have a pocket full of pardons in about 12 months, and it is likely that in order to smooth out the wrinkled mess of exchanging five high-profile Guantánamo prisoners for a convicted deserter, Obama will issue a pardon to Bergdahl. Presidential explanation will clarify the complexities for the history books and in so doing attempt to exculpate himself and his administration from a chain of bad decisions, inaccurate commentary, and blatant illegalities.
In response to what must be an embarrassing situation for the president and Susan Rice and others, the pardon with a paragraph of empathy will intend to put the issue to rest in a very political fashion. The good intentions will be amplified and set up to displace what was illegal release and exchange conducted without the required legal approval of Congress.
The authorizing of the exchange and subsequent release violated a U.S. law that requires the administration to give Congress notice 30 days before releasing any detainees from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay.
Congress did not authorize spending for the exchange, it also violated the Antideficiency Act, a law intended to protect Congress's power of the purse. The Department of Defense spent $988,400 on the transfer, the Pentagon told the GAO. An intentional violation of the Antideficiency Act is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison[.]
What is a proper and diligent legal pursuit by the Army regarding military conduct, in conflict with the wishes of the administration, may likely result in nothing more than procedural imagery.
An act passed by Congress and signed by the president was violated, five high-profile detainees were exchanged for a deserter, Susan Rice referred to the soldier in question as serving with "honor and distinction," and the effects may be washed clean by a presidential pardon.
If this plays out as suspected, if Bergdahl is convicted and then pardoned, will history remember what transpired? And will history ever determine what was the greater violation? Was it Bowe's or Barry's? A more salient question may be, who continues to pardon this president?