Discussing issues that The United States face both foreign and domestic. A Non-partisan viewpoint where we believe in right and wrong not right and left, hopefully forming a more UNITED States of America.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Mysterious Case of Bowe Bergdahl

Source: AP/U.S. Army
This past week it was announced that the United States agreed to a Prisoner of War swap for America's only POW in either the Iraq or Afghanistan War, Sgt. Bower Bergdahl, in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders that were detained in Guantanamo Bay. It's great news that we were able to secure one of our captured soldiers who is actually coming to San Antonio (presumably Lackland Air Force Base in the southwestern part of the town) to begin recovering from being held captive by the enemies for approximately five years. One of our armed forces motto is "never leave a man behind" and it is clear we have never forgotten Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

With Bergdahl coming home, some serious questions must be answered about this entire case. The first question is what events caused Bergdahl to be captured? The first allegation is that he actually deserted his post to actually search/possibly join the Taliban. One of his last emails home was "I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools...I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.” After that email, apparently all he took with him as he left his base was a knife, camera, a journal, and a compass. This could very possibly be a terrible case of PTSD, however, unconfirmed reports from other soldiers who served with Bergdahl indicate something much more nefarious.

The timeline of @CodyFNfootball on twitter (who served with Bergdahl) even if only partially true is very disturbing. He is convinced Bergdahl deserted because one of his comments was he was going to go into the mountains to get to the Chinese border and all of his military equipment went missing. Prior to deployment, Cody claims Bergdahl always wanted to train with an AK-47 instead of the US military issued M-16 (or civilian version AR-15). Once they noticed Bergdahl went missing, they immediately began a search and rescue operation and local kids reported "an American crawling in bushes" as they were looking for him. Once they got to the next town, people reported an American "wanted to meet with the Taliban" and later radio traffic indicates terrorists finally picked up Bergdahl. As the rescue mission lasted for weeks, many Americans died trying to find Bergdahl as ambushes and IED attacks skyrocketed.

In one of the videos after Bergdahl's capture, he claims he got lost from his patrol and hence became a POW once the terrorists found him. This story is quite the opposite of Cody's account. Another soldier, Nathan Bradley Bethea gave his account which is very similar to Cody's timeline. An investigation must happen in order to finally determine if Bergdahl did desert his post.

What is even more disturbing is the twitter timeline of Sgt. Bergdahl's father. Bob Bergdahl made this (and later deleted) tweet:

Other tweets are just as disturbing as well such as:
Glancing at @daqeqa's timeline clearly shows he is not a friend of the west. Now, I cannot imagine what the past five years have been for the Bergdahl family, however, these trends are clearly disturbing.

The next few questions pertain to the release of Bergdahl. Why are five senior and notorious Taliban leaders being released from Guantanamo Bay and have all ready been sent to Qatar when it was the Haqqani Network who always held Sgt. Bergdahl? While the Haqqani Network may be similar to the Taliban or Al Qaida, these are different organizations and we have Haqqani members at Guantanamo Bay.

My next questions are why was the law broken in this swap and did President Obama's recent trip to Afghanistan finalize this swap? Congress must be notified at least thirty days in advance before any detainees leave Guantanamo Bay. Congress was never notified about the "Taliban Five" being transferred to Qatar in advance for the trade to receive Bergdahl. Once again, the Obama Administration selectively chooses which laws it will follow. Negotiations should be held in secrecy instead of being open to the public, yet the law is the law and the administration could have told Congress about this deal and waited thirty days before sending these terrorists to Qatar.

My last question is as a nation, should we negotiate with terrorists? One popular misconception is America began fighting the War on Terror in the late 20th or 21st century when this statement is inaccurate. The first abroad conflict the United States was ever involved in was against Islamic terrorists known as the Barbary Wars in the early 1800s. The conflict helped build our navy and is referenced in the Marine hymn "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli." The United States refused to negotiate with terrorists over American merchants and that has been our policy for the past 200+ years. The reason is simple. It gives terrorist more leverage in the future. Now American soldiers and civilians abroad are potentially in more danger as their capture can be used as bargaining chips to release even more terrorists. Bergdahl's swap undermines a once firm policy by western governments.

I am glad Sgt. Bergdahl is coming home. Serious questions remain though and they must be answered. This could be a terrible case of PTSD which caused him to leave his base (and Stockholm Syndrome for his father), but it could also be a case as to where he is sympathetic toward the enemy's side of this battle. Five years is a long time and if they kept him alive, he must  have at least appeared to convince the Haqqani Network that he was sympathetic toward their viewpoints. And if that is true, the television show Homeland on Showtime just became a reality.

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