Archive for September, 2013

The Sad Story of Bowe Robert Bergdahl


2013
09.06

In an Email message the other day, my friend Quinn commented that probably 95% of Americans know what Kim Kardashian had for dinner, but they have no idea about the situation involving Bowe Bergdahl.

My immediate thoughts were this:

1) She probably had sex for dinner, which seems to be her only claim to fame.

2) Who the heck is Bowe Bergdahl?

Since Quinn is a former soldier and veteran of the war in Iraq, and since our conversation was generally about the Wounded Warrior Project, my curiosity was piqued. I immediately turned to Google, and was stunned by Bergdahl’s story.

Bowe Bergdahl is a 27 year old former farm boy from Idaho who joined the U.S. Army in 2009. That much I know for sure. What happened after that is a story of wild online speculation, just like the story of the Kardashians, but infinitely more interesting. Bergdahl was called to service, and he went. He was stationed in Afghanistan, and after becoming disenchanted with US policy and the things he saw happening, he chose to walk away. He gathered his stuff together one fine day, and he left. Shortly afterward, he was captured by the Taliban (a word that puts an icy grip on any heart) and has been held prisoner since that day.

Nothing is ever that simple, of course, and the details of his life and inner workings of his mind are unknown to me.

At some online sites, he is labeled a traitor and an anti-American crackpot who ended up exactly where he belongs and got what he deserved. More sites side with Bergdahl, and many are signing petitions while others are working harder to get him back to America.

I asked Quinn, who has served in Iraq, what his thoughts were about Bergdahl. He’s read a lot of the same things I found.

“Who is the real traitor?” Quinn asks. “I feel it is the U.S. for not bringing him home yet. I believe most everything said about him has been propaganda. If it is true that he is helping train the enemy, he probably has no choice. Nobody can judge Bergdahl unless they are in his shoes.”

My own thought is less complicated: He is an American. He belongs in America. We can deal with the rest once we get him back.

Does Bergdahl have psychological problems? Surely by this time he must, whether he had them in the beginning or not. His own father is quoted as saying Bergdahl was “psychologically isolated.” Couldn’t the same be said for many of us? What does it even mean, given Bergdahl’s actions? How might any of us react in the same situation?

You can find a million links to Bowe Bergdahl online, and you can make your own decision. But either way, I hope you will make his name known to everyone around you, who may not have heard about the one lone young American who, to this day, remains the only American prisoner left in Iraq or Afghanistan.

* * * * *

Much of the information I used here was taken from a June 21, 2012, Rolling Stone article written by Michael Hastings and Matthew Farwell.

You can read the entire story here:
www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-2012060

A “Support Bowe” site can be found here: http://supportbowe.org

The photos I used were taken from various Google’d sites.