WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) today penned a letter to President Obama expressing his strongest opposition to a preemptive pardon of U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl.
In 2009, Bergdahl abandoned his post while serving in Afghanistan. Bergdahl was then captured by the Taliban and held captive for five years until 2014 when the Obama Administration released five Guantanamo Bay Islamic terrorist detainees in exchange for Bergdahl’s release.
Late last week, Bergdahl, facing a court-martial for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, asked President Obama to preemptively pardon him.
“I am deeply concerned about the precedent such a pardon would set for our Armed Forces,” wrote Coffman, a combat veteran, in his letter to President Obama. “Bowe Bergdahl’s decision to abandon his post in a combat zone during the height of the Afghan insurgency was a clear violation of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice…His actions must be judged by the pending court-martial.”
Coffman is also concerned about a preemptive pardon for Bergdahl because of the high costs the U.S. Military apparently incurred seeking to rescue him when he first went missing.
“Bergdahl’s decision to abandon his post was not a ‘harmless’ act that simply led to his capture by the Taliban. It led to a major military search operation in one of the most dangerous regions of Afghanistan that I think endangered the lives of other U.S. service members and may have led to some becoming casualties,” Coffman continued. “A preemptive pardon for Bergdahl will, I am convinced, seriously undermine the military court-martial process and send the wrong message to the hundreds of thousands of men and women in uniform who have served honorably in combat.”
Bergdahl’s court-martial is currently scheduled to commence in February of 2017.
A combat veteran, Coffman serves on the House Armed Services Committee and House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
(c) 2016 Targeted News Service