Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. (Army via AFP)
More than 2,300 people had signed a petition on the White House’s official website as of noon Eastern on Monday demanding the Obama administration punish the man it recently traded five terrorism detainees to free.
The petition asks the White House to “Punish Bowe Bergdahl for being AWOL/Desertion during Operation Enduring Freedom.” It went live Saturday and needs 100,000 signatures by June 30 to garner a White House response.
It alleges Bergdahl violated multiple articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and is “directly responsible for several military members [sic] death.” It also says, in quotation marks, that he “did not earn the rank of SGT”; Bergdahl was promoted twice while in captivity, most recently in June 2011.
The petition is making the Facebook rounds. A post linking to the petition on the “Bowe Bergdahl is a Traitor” Facebook page, which launched Saturday and had more than 15,000 likes as of noon Monday, had been shared about 130 times. Even on a page which likely would appeal to those supportive of the petition, many commenters took issue with its tone and grammatical errors.
It’s far from the first time the WhiteHouse.gov petition program has been used for military-related issues. More than 100,000 people signed a recent petition seeking the release of a Marine being held in a Mexican prison on weapons charges, which means the White House will respond to the request. Roughly 2,400 signatures support giving free health care from all providers to veterans of foreign wars, and about 300 people have backed a proposal to nominate retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to run the Veterans Affairs Department.