We’re told that the Army has put Sgt Bowe Bergdahl back on normal duty. He is done decompressing from his five years with the Taliban, and there are no extraordinary restrictions on his movements or activities while the Army continues to investigate the conditions of his departure and stay with the Afghan ragheads.
As a veteran I have strong feelings about what went down on 30 June 2009 when Bergdahl up and walked away from his unit. And I must confess, I weigh heavily the statements made by the six GIs from his unit who were with him on that day. In their judgment, he simply deserted his post as a member of a deployed combat unit. We are also told that the Army has yet to interview the men who served with him, and were witness to his departure and the conduct that preceded it.
We do know that lives were lost and troops were wounded in the course of conducting searches for Bergdahl. We do know that his relationship with his captors changed markedly during the time he spent with them. The Army also has intelligence reports that tell of his conversion to Islam and declaring himself to be a “mujahid”. (more here)
We and the world know that Obama traded five senior Taliban leaders from Gitmo for the release of Bergdahl. The price for freeing those experienced and sworn enemies of America and western civilization has yet to be paid.
From everything I have seen and read, our Army is now conducting a politicized investigation whose conclusions are again being molded in the White House. In this regard I’m reminded of how the Army concluded that its Muslim Major Hasan’s 2009 massacre of 13 fellow soldiers while wounding 30 others at Ft Hood was termed “workplace violence” as he pumped bullets into helpless comrades while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ The record and evidence of his jihadist behavior was totally discounted in his long-planned act of terror. With this administration our insane policy toward Islam ruled the day, and the new Army toed the line.
(Readers who have paid attention know that this administration has replaced entire cadres of flag officers who could no longer stomach the course our country is taking. The current cohort of compliant senior officers have much stronger stomachs.)
But coming back to Bergdahl, some questions remain. After all these years away, why does he still refuse to talk to his anxious parents, the very same people who tirelessly worked for his release and were paraded by Obama in that now infamous Rose Garden announcement? What is the evidence that he is not a taqiyya practicing Muslim like Hasan was? Why is Sgt Bergdahl allowed to walk free within the company and respect of other soldiers; what evidence does the Army have that permits them to grant such latitude not afforded to other military personnel who deserted their post and were confined while waiting for their court martial? And there’s much more that the man has to answer before we can put Sgt Bergdahl behind us.
In the end I come back to his comrades-in-arms and the institution of the ‘buddy rating’ that is time honored in the military. In the various intense training courses that military people are put through, teamwork is the main idea that is drilled into each of us. There we are put into situations where the mission cannot be accomplished save through competence, ingenuity under stress, and selfless dedication by each member of the team. The bonds developed during such training and hardship deployments are hard to convey to those who have not had the privilege. And as the history of heroism attests, members of such units have routinely gone above and beyond the call for each other.
The other side of such bondedness is each team member’s intimate knowledge of how his comrades perform. A shirker or incompetent member may be able to hide his deficit from his commander, but never from his ‘buddies’. That is why one of the main factors in evaluating the capability, performance, and character of a combat unit member is the ‘buddy rating’ in which each team member confidentially rates (actually ranks) every other team member in the several categories important to the unit’s mission.
In combat, I am sure that Bergdahl’s mates would most certainly have risked and perhaps even given their lives for each other. But they also knew what each was ‘made of’, and would never expect or accept a team member’s defection. From the public testimony of his teammates, we know that Bowe Bergdahl failed his buddy rating.