All Things Soldier: Bergdahl Is Back To Business?

7-18-2014 1-26-21 PMThe strange case of Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who was allegedly held captive for 5 years by the Taliban in Afghanistan, just took a new and interesting turn. He is back on duty, albeit he has a desk job at Fort Sam Houston. He is still in the process of re-entry and reintegration, but something quite curious has emerged, and that is that up until now he has chosen to have no contact with his parents, and not surprisingly, has hired a lawyer while his case is being investigated.

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I find the lack of contact with his parents odd, given the emails that were exchanged between Bowe and his dad, and the fact that the media blackout to which he was subjected in the early days of his re-entry are starting to be lifted. He is allegedly claiming that President Obama “saved his life,” but I would think the sight of my dad and mom in the Rose Garden, right next to the one who saved me would make me want to hear their voices. Maybe not. God only knows what is truly going on inside that kid’s head. I do want to say, though, that I understand from experience what it is like to come back from a war and not want to talk much, and so on that front I will perhaps give him a pass.

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However, his comrades at arms are not at all ready to do so. To date, not one has stepped forward to defend him or cast even a remotely understanding light on his actions that led to him becoming the object of an extensive manhunt that cost American lives. In fact, terse testimony against him was heard recently on Capitol Hill, in the form of an appearance by Specialist Cody Full in front of two Congressional subcommittees, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. He made a number of comments regarding Bowe having been identified by Afghanis in the area who were asked where he could find the Taliban, and his negative attitudes about America. But there was one that particularly stood out to me, and that was in regard to Bergdahl mailing home all of his personal belongings, including his laptop, the week before he went missing.

Let me tell you something. Ten years ago, when I first got to Iraq, it was relatively rare for soldiers to have their own laptops, which is one of the reasons why we had Morale, Welfare and Recreation computer centers for the soldiers that were always jammed full with users. By the time I came home three years later, it was far more common for soldiers to have personal laptops, and they guarded them with their lives. No one would casually part with their laptop and go back to having to sign in and out of a facility and have only a few minutes guaranteed to be online without a really good reason. In addition, one doesn’t mail stuff home on a lark, if for no other reason than that the process is a royal pain.

Specialist Full said it this way: “You don’t mail all your personal belongings home, especially your computer, if you weren’t planning to leave. He knowingly deserted.”
Hopefully someday we’ll know what in fact happened, but in the meantime Bowe is a desk jockey, 5 incredibly dangerous Taliban members are loose, and we are scratching our heads once again.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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