Bo Bergdahl was a soldier at a military base who seemed to have walked off of his post & into oblivion one day in 2009. Two days before his disappearance, he sent his parents an email that seemed to indicate that he was disillusioned with the U.S. Military. Teams of soldiers were sent to find him. Apparently some of them never made it back alive.
Then, about a month after his disappearance Bergdahl appeared in a Taliban video as a prisoner. As time when by he showed up in more Taliban videos. As with most was prisoners, he was moved around a lot. As with most prisoners he looked more frail every time he showed up in a video.
In the intervening years, information leaked out that Bergdahl was an “odd” and didn’t really fit in with the others in his military unit. The U.S. military concluded that Bergdahl had walked off his post and decided not to risk any more soldiers in an effort to free Bergdahl. The State Department sought his release through a prisoner exchange with Taliban members held at Guantanamo Bay Cuba.
Flash forward to 2014. The Obama Administration was winding down and so was America’s military commitment in Afghanistan. President Obama felt an obligation to push to get Bergdahl back so as not to “leave a man behind” when the U.S. military totally disappeared from Afghanistan. He was released and with his release began a flood of controversy as to whether the 5 senior Taliban officials exchanged for Bergdahl were to high a price to pay to get back a possible disillusioned deserter.
There will be many who will condemn the action. There will be some who will defend it. But the debate itself says a lot about America. There are questions that will have to be answered. Did Bergdahl desert his unit? Was he suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or was he mentally unstable? Does the U.S. Military tradition of “not leaving a man behind” include people who don’t fit into the traditional concept of an ideal soldier?
And finally, Will any of the Taliban members exchanged for Bergdahl take actions that result in the deaths of Americans? I know that perhaps at the moment the release is a public relations disaster for the Obama Administration but if the exchanged Taliban members are involved in killing Americans, it will be a guilt that President Obama will never outlive.
In True Faith,
The Prophet of Life
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