Every pundit, politician, official, press hack — everyone — who regurgitates the mantra that the United States “leaves no man behind” either deceitfully knows better, or is ignorant of American military history.
Sadly, in the Twentieth Century alone the United States left men behind in World War I, afterwards when our troops fought the Bolsheviks in Siberia, in Europe following WW II, during the Cold War, after the armistice in Korea, and without doubt again when America ignominiously pulled out of Vietnam in the mid-1970s.
The “no man left behind” mantra is an obscene slogan designed to assuage the consciences of too many of our countrymen, for example Secretary of State John Kerry. (Did you know he spent a couple of months in Vietnam?) For more on the abandonment of Americans to its enemies, see my lengthy essay Archangel 1918 to Hanoi 1972.
The two heavy charges levied against alleged deserter/coward Bowe Bergdahl likely preclude a sweet plea deal, for example AWOL. He will have to do time. I predict no less than 5 years, perhaps as much as 10.
For the same reason, the New York Times-floated idea that in a plea deal Bergdahl could receive an honorable discharge is as fanciful as the notion floated by his defense lawyer that the soldier left his unit in Nowhereville, Afghanistan, in search of a general officer to whom the accused could complain about something or other. This is a confession that there is no defense.
Then there is the suggestion that Bergdahl should receive leniency and be sentenced to “time served.” This is so absurd that I’m embarrassed to repeat this perverse idea, even as I debunk it. The suggestion means that deserter/coward Bergdahl should be credited with the 5 years he spent with the Taliban savages to whom he defected, erasing the distinction between incarceration in a United States prison (which he richly deserves) and his at least initial desire to make common cause with murders who were killing his countrymen and many others. One wonders whether if Bergdahl had been held, say, 20 years, he would have been entitled to a pension.
Lastly, for now, if even a single American fighter was even wounded in searching for Bergdahl, let alone killed, he should receive the death penalty. That would be appropriate justice. Indeed, it would be lex talonis: "An eye for an eye."
Even the Taliban would understand that.