Letter: Deserter, not prisoner
“We bring our boys home” has been an important goal of our military for captured POWs. But it makes little sense in the case of a deserter who chooses another “home.” A man who leaves his post, weapon and gear behind is not a prisoner of war but a deserter under Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
As a former judge advocate general for the Army Guard, I know that article also provides for the death penalty if desertion occurs during a time of war, which it clearly was five years ago in Afghanistan.
Of the five Taliban commanders President Obama traded for Sgt. Bergdahl, two were wanted by the United Nations for international war crimes for the killing of thousands of Afghan civilians. Does anyone think President Truman would have traded two Nazi war criminals for a deserter?
(The writer is a former congressman for the New Hampshire’s 2nd District and a former New Hampshire Supreme Court and superior court judge. He also retired as a colonel from the New Hampshire Army National Guard.)