The Bittersweet Return of Bowe Bergdahl

I’m glad to see that Bowe Bergdahl, the Idaho soldier who was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2009, is going home. Regardless of the circumstances that led to his capture, it’s important that we leave no soldier behind. That being said, I wish the families of the soldiers who died looking for him could have been home with their families as well.  Furthermore, I personally hope a full investigation is conducted that will examine the true nature of the circumstances that led to Bergdahl’s capture.   

There are also now questions as to whether his release, and the release of “the worst of the worst” Taliban terror detainees from Gitmo, will put even more soldier’s lives in jeopardy.

Since I served in that same region of Afghanistan in 2008-2009, I can tell you that the anger being expressed by many soldiers (and airmen) who served with Bergdahl is real and widespread.  They feel he deliberately walked off his post, and good soldiers died in the process of searching for him.    

Some of those accounts are now making the mainstream media. 

CNN: Fellow soldiers call Bowe Bergdahl a deserter, not a hero

“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

Said Bergdahl’s former squad leader, Greg Leatherman: “I’m pleased to see him returned safely. From experience I hope that he receives adequate reintegration counseling. I believe that an investigation should take place as soon as healthcare professionals deem him fit to endure one.”
Another senior Defense official said Bergdahl will not likely face any punishment. “Five years is enough,” he told CNN on condition of anonymity


The UK Daily Mail: ‘Bowe Bergdahl deserted and these Americans lost their lives searching for him’: The bitter backlash from soldiers who served with Taliban POW as the SIX men who were killed looking for him are revealed   (h/t The Drudge Report)

The men who are said to have died looking for Bergdahl are: Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, and Private First Class Morris Walker, 23, who were killed in an IED explosion on August 18, 2009.
Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, a 27-year-old father of two, who died in a firefighter on August 26, 2009.
Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, and Private First Class Matthew Michael Martinek, 20, died after a rocket-propelled grenade ambush on September 4, 2009.
Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, was killed in an IED blast on September 5, 2009.

The New York Times: Administration Defends Swap With Taliban to Free U.S. Soldier

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who himself was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for six years, welcomed the return to American custody of Sergeant Bergdahl, who had spent five years in Taliban hands in conditions that remain unclear.

But Mr. McCain said he had serious concerns about the release of the five Taliban detainees, calling them “the hardest of the hard core.” He added, “It is disturbing that these individuals would have the ability to re-enter the fight, and they are big, high-level people, possibly responsible for the deaths of thousands” of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan.

The Wall Street Journal added:

They also said that President Barack Obama “clearly violated laws which require him to notify Congress thirty days before any transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.”
Similarly, Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, called the move a “fundamental shift in U.S. policy” that “will threaten the lives of American soldiers for years to come.”

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