Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl should be given the "benefit of the doubt" before people come to conclusions about whether he deserted his post while serving in Afghanistan, said former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Bergdahl returned to the United States on Friday for medical treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He will continue the reintegration process after being held captive by the Taliban for nearly five years.
"I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But at a minimum, he walked away, which he's AWOL. Maximum, he's a deserter. Somebody's got to figure that out," Giuliani, a Republican, told "Fox & Friends" on Friday.
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Bergdahl reportedly left his post in Afghanistan in 2009. Giuliani said that action was not justified even if Bergdahl didn't "like the conditions" of his unit, and said he would have to face prosecution for his actions. Other soldiers didn't walk away, and faced the same conditions Bergdahl did, Giuliani said.
"He's got to be put on trial of some sort. He's got to have a court martial of some kind to figure out ... the reason why he left," he said.
The United States secured the release of Bergdahl in exchange for five high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Giuliani predicted the prisoners, currently required to stay in Qatar for a year, would return to the fight in Afghanistan.
"The reality is they now realize that some of their key people are going to be back to help them, assuming Qatar is able to keep them there for the next year. They could be back faster," he said.
"It's hard to figure out what [President Barack Obama] was thinking to give these five people back, knowing Afghanistan will be under tremendous stress and some kind of internal conflict," he added.
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