Last Sunday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, indicated that he expected a decision “fairly soon” on whether the Army will court martial Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan, or has cleared him, paving the way for separation from the service and back pay in excess of $200,000. Moreover, a decision to clear Bergdahl may well open the door for him to be designated a former prisoner of war, ensuring him substantial monthly pay, medical and educational benefits for the rest of his life.

In White House terms, not charging Bergdahl means that he was indeed worth the trade for the Taliban Five. But charging him on any level means that releasing the five Taliban was an error of monstrous proportions, one the administration will never be able to explain away satisfactorily.

To those who have followed all angles of Bergdahl’s case, it appears the Army has a true dilemma on its hands, as does the Obama administration. By now the investigating team has done an in-depth look into the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s disappearance from his post, has probably interviewed every witness with credible information, has looked at every piece of physical evidence and has reviewed hundreds of classified intelligence reports regarding his captivity. Its conclusions are long overdue.

In White House terms, not charging Bergdahl means that he was indeed worth the trade for the Taliban Five. But charging him on any level means that releasing the five Taliban was an error of monstrous proportions, one the administration will never be able to explain away satisfactorily.

There’s little question that Bergdahl walked away. There’s little question that he was a captive. The questions are whether, once he became a captive, he wanted to escape at any point; whether he was given preferential treatment and/or provided information to his captors as time went on; and, most importantly, whether his value was comparable to the five senior Taliban who were exchanged for his release.

The Army knows that if it puts Bergdahl up before a court martial, an astute defense attorney will claim that, once captured, he tried to escape, thereby proving his intent to return, thereby proving he was a prisoner of war despite the circumstances of his capture. It also knows that if he’s cleared, irrespective of the evidence leading to such a decision, the backlash from the military and from the American public will be intense. Military men and women, particularly those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, will feel betrayed. Rightfully so.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s depiction of Bergdahl upon his return as someone who had served with “honor and distinction” was outrageous by any measure. So was the release of five key Taliban in exchange for him. To be sure, no one wants to leave an American military man or woman behind, irrespective of the circumstances. But when he returns, the circumstances of his capture, particularly in this case, deserve investigation.

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Army Gen. Ken Dahl, who conducted the investigation, has certainly been under pressure to do it right. So too is Army Gen. Mark Milley, who, based on Dahl’s findings, will make the ultimate decision on whether to charge Bergdahl. Both generals know that the White House is watching them closely, as is America, and as are military servicemen and women worldwide. Very closely. And we can guess what the White House wants.

In White House terms, not charging Bergdahl means that he was indeed worth the trade for the Taliban Five. But charging him on any level means that releasing the five Taliban was an error of monstrous proportions, one the administration will never be able to explain away satisfactorily.

Watch for the announcement, in all likelihood on a Friday afternoon. If Bergdahl is charged, the administration will hope it’s old news by Monday. If he’s not charged, it will be big news for a long time to come.

Either way, walking away from your post and crossing to the other side during a time of war is an unforgivable act deserving of the harshest of consequences. Equating Bowe Bergdahl to the likes of John McCain would be a crime in its own right.

Bill Cowan is a retired Marine, Fox News military analyst, and founding member of the Intelligence Support Activity.  He has been to Iraq 13 times since U.S. forces withdrew in 2012.