I’m having feelings of ambivalence here. Five years ago, Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan, and he has been held captive by the Taliban since then. Today he has been traded for five Gitmo prisoners.
The prisoners that will be exchanged for Bergdahl are Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa, Abdul Haq Wasiq. There are now 149 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay.
According to NBC, Bergdahl will be at Bagram for medical care, and then will be flown to Landstuhl, Germany.
Why the ambivalence? The guy is back from five years with the Taliban. He will eventually be reunited with his family, and we have our Soldier back – the only prisoner of war since this abortion of a conflict began. We should be thrilled to have our troop home.
There’s a part of me that is. But then, there’s that other part of me that is concerned about this, from a friend’s Facebook post:
“We were at OP Mest, Paktika Province, Afghanistan. It was a small outpost where B Co 1-501st INF (Airbone) ran operations out of, just an Infantry platoon and ANA counterparts there. The place was an Afghan graveyard. Bergdahl had been acting a little strange, telling people he wanted to “walk the earth” and kept a little journal talking about how he was meant for better things. No one thought anything about it. He was a little “out there”. Next morning he’s gone. We search everywhere, and can’t find him. He left his weapon, his kit, and other sensitive items. He only took some water, a compass and a knife. We find some afghan kids shortly after who saw an american walking north asking about where the taliban are. We get hits on our voice intercepter that Taliban has him, and we were close. We come to realize that the kid deserted his post, snuck out of camp and sought out Taliban… to join them. We were in a defensive position at OP Mest, where your focus is to keep people out. He knew where the blind spots were to slip out and that’s what he did. It was supposed to be a 4-day mission but turned into several months of active searching. Everyone was spun up to find this guy. News outlets all over the country were putting out false information. It was hard to see, especially when we knew the truth about what happened and we lost good men trying to find him. PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Murphrey, 2LT Darryn Andrews, were all KIA from our unit who died looking for Bergdahl. Many others from various units were wounded or killed while actively looking for Bergdahl. Fighting Increased. IEDs and enemy ambushes increased. The Taliban knew that we were looking for him in high numbers and our movements were predictable. Because of Bergdahl, more men were out in danger, and more attacks on friendly camps and positions were conducted while we were out looking for him. His actions impacted the region more than anyone wants to admit. There is also no way to know what he told the Taliban: Our movements, locations, tactics, weak points on vehicles and other things for the enemy to exploit are just a few possibilities. The Government knows full well that he deserted. It looks bad and is a good propaganda piece for the Taliban. They refuse to acknowledge it. Hell they even promoted him to Sergeant which makes me sick. I feel for his family who only want their son/brother back. They don’t know the truth, or refuse to acknowledge it as well. What he did affected his family and his whole town back home, who don’t know the truth. Either way what matters is that good men died because of him. He has been lying on all those Taliban videos about everything since his “capture”. If he ever returns, he should be tried under the UCMJ for being a deserter and judged for what he did. Bergdahl is not a hero, he is not a soldier or an Infantryman. He failed his brothers. Now, sons and daughters are growing up without their fathers who died for him and he will have to face that truth someday.”
I know we should be celebrating the safe return of a U.S. Soldier right now, and there’s a part of me that is. But this is what gnaws at my very guts.
PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Murphrey, 2LT Darryn Andrews, were all KIA from our unit who died looking for Bergdahl. Many others from various units were wounded or killed while actively looking for Bergdahl.
He walked off, without his weapon, leaving everything and everyone behind. He went looking for the Taliban, and he was with them for five years.
And people died. People died looking for him, and we have released five scumbags from Gitmo in exchange for him
I realize that in the coming months he will be debriefed, interrogated and prodded. He’s got five years’ worth of information to give up, and I hope he does so willingly and completely. But I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t nervous. If he did, in fact, go off looking for the Taliban, it would not have been difficult to turn him, return him to his country and just wait a bit before giving him orders to murder innocents.
So yeah, my joy at getting our troop back is tempered somewhat.
What about you?