There is not one former or present member of the military who does not have an opinion about Bowe Robert Bergdahl.
As you are probably aware, Bergdahl was the last missing soldier in the war in Afghanistan. His release from Taliban captivity was a result of the White House exchanging five Taliban detainees that were held since 2002 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. You notice that I said that the White House was responsible for this exchange, as apparently none of the members of Congress were notified before releasing the five Taliban prisoners. This is supposedly required by law, but it is certainly not the first time this administration has circumvented the law. The required procedure was to notify Congress 30 days before the exchange. This did not happen.
All the White House wanted was a huge, widely publicized photo opportunity with Bergdahl’s parents that would give all of America a warm, fuzzy feeling. ‘Look what we did. We got an American fighting soldier released after a five year captivity!’ What the White House got was an unanticipated firestorm.
Young Bowe Bergdahl had a non-conventional upbringing. He was homeschooled. He received a GED certificate through the College of Southern Idaho by the time he was in his early 20s. As an adult, Bergdahl studied and practiced fencing and martial arts before switching to ballet classes at the Sun Valley Ballet School in Ketchum, Idaho. He never owned a car. He rode his bicycle everywhere. He spent time in a Buddhist monastery between 2007 and 2008.
He joined the Army in 2008, and he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. He was described as a ‘focused loner’ by his fellow platoon members. He told a fellow soldier before their pending deployment to Afghanistan, “If this deployment is lame, I’m just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan.”
Apparently, Private Bergdahl did exactly that.
It is obvious in emails that he sent to his parents that he had become disillusioned by Army life in general and with his deployment to Afghanistan in particular. In part, one of his emails read, “The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools…….. I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live………..There are a few more boxes coming to you guys. Feel free to open them, and use them.” According to a fellow soldier, those boxes contained Bergdahl’s computer and other possessions.
Bergdahl went missing on the night of June 30, 2009, five days after sending that email.
A Pentagon investigation in 2010 concluded that there was “incontrovertible” evidence that Bergdahl walked away from his unit. Bergdahl wrote emails to his parents that he was both disillusioned by the war effort and bothered by the treatment of the Afghan people by American soldiers. According to The New York Times, a military investigation revealed that on the night he went missing, he left a note in his tent that said he was leaving to start a new life. The letter said that Bergdahl wanted to renounce his citizenship. However, according to Senator Saxby Chambliss, the White House said that there was no note during a meeting with Congress on the release of Bergdahl.
Are you beginning to see the inconsistencies in the accounts of this event? The White House says there was no note expressing his desire to renounce his American citizenship, but The New York Times says that there was indeed such a note. Hmmmm. Senator Chambliss said that there was no note during the meeting with Congress, but numerous legislators have indicated that Congress was not notified of the five Taliban detainees being exchanged. Double Hmmmm.
After Bergdahl’s capture by the Taliban, there were numerous propaganda videos released. One of these shows Bergdahl helping the Taliban with bomb-making and infantry tactics. The Pentagon dismissed this as Taliban propaganda.
The military made numerous attempts to locate Bergdahl.
CNN has reported that, according to soldiers involved in the operations to find Bergdahl, at least six soldiers were killed. A spokesperson for the Pentagon has said that it is impossible to confirm whether anybody’s death was directly linked to the search for Bergdahl.
So after much negotiating over an extended period of time, on May 31, 2014, Bergdahl was released by his captors. The release was brokered by the American, Qatar and Afghanistan governments with the Taliban in exchange for the five Guantanamo detainees. These detainees are to be in Qatari custody for at least one year.
Here is another inconsistency with this story. The Afghan government has indicated they did not know about the five Taliban detainees being released! Who are these detainees? The names are not important but their positions are. They are the Taliban army chief of staff, a Taliban deputy minister of intelligence, a former Taliban interior minister, and two other senior Taliban figures. Holy crap! No wonder the Afghan government is upset!
It is obvious that no notice was given to Congress. So the White House response? When President Obama signed the bill, he released a signing statement saying that the restriction interfered with the president’s executive power as commander-in-chief. The White House released a statement acknowledging that the release of the Guantanamo prisoners did not comply with the law but cited the president’s signing statement, and ‘unique and exigent circumstances’ as justification. Doesn’t the law apply to everyone? Even the POTUS? A year ago, Jay Carney (then spokesperson for the White House) had assured the press that the decision to free Bergdahl would only be made after consulting Congress, in accordance with said law.
In addition to circumventing the law in this entire matter, the White House has been accused of ‘negotiating with terrorists.’
But in true White House cover-up fashion, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that the release should be considered a ‘prisoner of war exchange’ since the Taliban Five were members of the government of a sovereign state, and that, “We didn’t negotiate with terrorists.”
Did you hear that? Especially all those military members who have served in Afghanistan? Those people shooting at you where not terrorists! Those roadside bombs were just fireworks gone awry! Those Taliban guys were just the product of a bad childhood! OH MY GOD! I am going to have to look in my Hammond Atlas of the World for the country of Talibanistan! A sovereign state? Their sovereign state is any country in which they can displace the existing government and impose their will!
Time Magazine has published an article stating that the Taliban are “not really a ‘terrorist’ enemy as we commonly understand the word.” What exactly does that mean? They shot at you. They try to kill you. They consort with other terrorist groups that try to inflict as much carnage on America as possible. Exactly what would make the Taliban ‘not really a terrorist enemy’?
I have a theory as to why the White House did an exchange for Bergdahl.
Firstly, what mother does not want her son returned from a war zone. This is understandable.
Secondly, I believe that the White House is attempting to be proactive in the eyes of the military after the fiasco at Benghazi. White House inaction needlessly resulted in the deaths of heroic Americans. ( I appreciate that Secretary of State John Kerry offered, then recanted his offer to be questioned about Benghazi by a Congressional committee. He was not the Secretary of State at the time. It was Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton.)
Thirdly, I believe that the White House really thought that their actions concerning Bergdahl would bring a myriad of accolades and positive publicity upon the administration before the midterm elections. That has not worked well for them. They should have consulted the Pentagon before trying to turn this event into a media frenzy.
Lastly, I believe the POTUS wanted to take a step toward closing Guantamo. This was one of his first term campaign promises. Hopefully, he did not intend to reinforce the Taliban.
What about Bowe Bergdahl?
Well, Sgt. Bergdahl (promoted after capture) is somewhere between European military and American military hospitals being evaluated for his physical and mental condition.
His ‘hero welcome’ parade and reception have been cancelled in his home town in Idaho, supposedly for security purposes.
The White House is under fire concerning this situation and is attempting to do the ‘back pedal shuffle.’ Jay Carny, the White House press secretary, has suddenly resigned.
The military has already concluded that Bowe Bergdahl willingly left his post in Afghanistan. He is a deserter. If they determine that he is directly responsible for the deaths of other servicemen attempting to rescue his sorry ass, I know of five vacated cells in Guantamo Bay, Cuba.
We are not done hearing about Bowe Bergdahl, or the Taliban Five any time soon.
PS Since writing this blog on D-Day, there is an unsubstantiated rumor that the US government exchanged prisoners, and paid monies for Bergdahl’s release. One Taliban leader has already indicated that his organization intends to kidnap more Americans, because he did not know that ‘they were worth so much.’ Do you think any ‘common sense’ was utilized in the handling of this situation?