Episode 11

Present for Duty

Look back at your response to Episode 1 Dustwun.  In what ways have you changed in your view of the case against Bergdahl? Be specific and explain the evolution of your position. Watch Bergdahl’s proof of life video in the Listening Guide.  Does this video change your opinion of Bergdahl’s Case? Why or why not?

My initial reaction to Bergdahl’s situation was skepticism and doubt of the sincerity of his reasons to leave. However, I was willing to listen to more episodes before I arrived at any conclusion to the Bergdahl situation. As I listened to the podcast, I was hoping to learn more about OP Mest and the leadership adequacy state there. Moreover, I wanted to discover all the factors that encouraged Bergdahl’s leave. At the same time, I wanted to acknowledge the courage, vulnerability, and ignorance of his initial plans. Ten episodes later, I do not believe it was a good idea for him to hike 18.6 miles to enemy territory and take a chance on his life or the safety of his platoon. I do not think he grasped the culture, the language of the place, nor contemplated the gravity of the situation that awaited him.

At this point in the podcast, I am more familiar with Bergdahl and the status of his psyche, which is why I agree with the friend from the United States Coast Guard. I do not think he mentally prepared or fit to have enlisted into the army. Furthermore, the army recruiter dropped the ball in admitting him. The consequences of this decision are not measurable, but I believe it could have prevented a lot of what occurred if Bowe was denied. The army recruiter and Bergdahl’s decision to join the army produced unfortunate consequences.

Bergdahl was captured and endured five years in Taliban custody. That is not a small point to throw aside. For this reason, a big part of me feels compassion for him. I cannot imagine what he experienced or saw in those lonely years.

As far as the death of the five soldiers are concerned and his role in that, I do not think Bergdahl is 100% responsible. Some of the soldiers and the high officials interviewed assume they perished in search of the massive efforts to look for him. However, I think soldiers lives are always at risk regardless of their mission. Additionally, their presence in Pakistan instead of Afghanistan where Bergdahl was held makes no sense. Therefore, no one should blame Bergdahl for the unfortunate result of their deaths.

In the proof of life video, I saw the heart-wrenching circumstances of Bergdahl’s situation and the things he must have experienced in the Taliban’s custody. I think this was punishment enough, and he did not deserve to end up in prison after escaping the one he was at for five years.


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