It was a show trial, but not in the usual meaning of the term. Bowe Bergdahl was never meant to be punished. The trial was all for show.
It was not, however, mismanagement or incompetence, but arguably deliberate.
On the night of June 30, 2009, then Army Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl went missing. On July 2, 2009, the Pentagon said that Bergdahl had walked off his base in eastern Afghanistan with three Afghan counterparts and was believed to have been taken prisoner. Bergdahl’s commanding officers said that a vigorous, but unsuccessful 45-day search for Bergdahl put soldiers in danger. During his nearly five years as a captive of the Taliban, the Army twice promoted, Bergdahl, first to the rank of specialist in June 2010, then to the rank of sergeant in June 2011. On May 31, 2014, Bergdahl was released from captivity in exchange for five senior Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo Bay in a controversial deal negotiated by the Obama Administration.