We keep Searching for Answers: Bowe Bergdahl

I had been blogging for about a year or so when I first heard of Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance.  My interest in the war in Afghanistan was constant, so I was very much impacted by his possible kidnapping by the Taliban.  At the time, my blog featured a ‘Prayer Request’ section in its sidebar, and Bowe was placed at the top of it…and remained there.

I remember an uncertainty in the details of his disappearance.  That seemed odd to me. What also seemed odd, and troubling, was that there seemed not to be too much attention being paid to it, after the initial reporting.  Maybe I’m remembering the events incorrectly…


Now, suddenly, plenty of attention is being paid to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.  My sudden joy at seeing his name in the news again, paired with the word ‘release’, was quickly eclipsed by consternation and sadness over the emerging details of his story.  Daily, we are learning more, and perhaps understanding less. My sadness grows.


Back then, it was suspected that Bowe may have just walked off.  Now, reading his fellow soldiers’ opinions  of him, there seems no doubt.  The fog surrounding the circumstances of his disappearance is lifting.

…and when I saw with my own eyes what is being presented as tweets by his own father, Robert Bergdahl, in apparent sympathy with the detainees at Guantanamo, everything began jumbling in my head.  What?  Couple that with one look at his father’s choice of beard, and it becomes even harder to ignore the picture that seems to be actually taking shape.  Emails reportedly sent by Bowe to his parents, right before he went missing, expressed Bowe’s disillusionment with the Afghan war. Sources familiar with intelligence report that, soon after his disappearance, Bergdahl stopped in a local village and asked how to find the Taliban, so…putting it all together….it just seems to gets worse. At this point, there are plenty of articles out there with damning information on the details, and they multiply before your eyes.


A 2012 Rolling Stone article quotes other soldiers & associates of Bergdahl’s, who reported that Bergdahl said he might walk to Pakistan if his deployment was “lame”.


Nonetheless, I cannot judge Bowe.

It occurred to me that he somehow became an unwitting pawn, easily deceived. Our adversary the devil prowls about, seeking whom he may devour. Brutal circumstances in a hostile environment, that many of us will never know or understand, may have made Bowe Bergdahl ripe for the kill.  It appears he made a disloyal decision, and walked away from his battalion, deserting his brothers in arms and breaking his oath. This, if true, is serious. But all are not as stalwart as others. Some are immature. He, perhaps, fell prey.

I understand he attempted escape twice. Whatever his reasons were for leaving his post, if it was voluntary, he came to regret that action at some point.

If Bowe had a plan, he did not think it fully through. Men were lost in rescue operations.  Families and lives have been painfully torn, and their sorrow and loss cannot be measured. May those brave and selfless soldiers know glory eternally for who they are and what they attempted to do. We need to pray for their families.

I know justice must prevail.  ‘Court martial’ is trumpeted across the land . Bowe will need to answer for his part in these events ; they had consequences. And I know it is easy for me, who lost no one because of these events, to make this point, but “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:10) There must be room for mercy, as well.  For people to heal and move on, there needs to eventually be forgiveness.


Further investigation into his father’s appearances of alignment with Taliban beliefs and/or practices have shown me a scenario perhaps not quite what it seemed. The man wanted his son back. “Bergdahl’s parents, {are} afraid of the Taliban, of the drone warfare in the tribal areas, and frustrated because they don’t feel the U.S. is doing enough to try to free their son…They feel the White House is afraid to make a deal with the kidnappers in an election year…” So Robert Bergdahl contacted the Taliban himself. Whether a wise or foolish move, his motive seems very understandable. (Bowe Bergdahl: Prisoner of war, politics and diplomacy)

What I don’t see a reassuring explanation for is why Robert Bergdahl uttered a Muslim invocation in Arabic when meeting with President Obama, which traditionally would ‘sanctify’ and claim the White House for Islam.  Why claim the leadership of America for the very ones who had held your son hostage for 5 years? Unless the senior Bergdahl believed that a continued show of support for Islam was somehow still necessary…or, similar to Stockholm Syndrome victims, he as well as his son, succumbed.


The issue of the President’s alleged illegal actions in effecting this prisoner exchange outside of the knowledge of Congress is a whole other matter. “White House officials say Bergdahl’s deteriorating health necessitated the rapid action.” is the reason being given.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee, in a CNN interview, said that “…we had intelligence, from everything I understand…that this was our last, best opportunity, that he was potentially on death’s door …”


The issue of releasing 5 Taliban-related Guantanamo detainees in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl is also another matter. I understand that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists? But…we did. And this deal was not suggested at the last-minute, either, even though Congress may not have known about the final absolute decision until after the exchange was accomplished. “The U.S. government says that it ‘does not negotiate with terrorists,’ yet there have long been reports that the U.S. has tried to talk with Haqqani, and that in its talks with the Taliban they have discussed, in a confidence-building measure, a possible prisoner swap from Guantanamo for Bergdahl.”  “Bergdahl is the subject of a proposed prisoner swap in which he would be traded for five Taliban adherents imprisoned by the United States at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”

These quotes are from CBS News articles published online in May and June, 2012.


I have constructed in my mind other, more nefarious & convoluted scenarios.  Maybe the goal all long was the release of Gitmo prisoners.  Maybe Bergdahl’s disgust with the Afghan war made him an easy mark, luring him to the other side…at first.  Betrayal might have played a part.  I’ve seen the word ‘ransom’ floating by a few times.  Could this whole incident have been staged?

I have chosen to disregard these possibilities, for now.  But…Official: Bergdahl Details Don’t Add Up…..

It has been suggested that we may never know the full truth about Bowe Bergdahl’s ‘kidnapping’. At present, I see it as a kaleidoscope – when handled & shaken, the pieces shift & change shape. But perhaps a moment will come when it becomes instead a puzzle – a puzzle solved, indisputable pieces forming a definite, final shape.

Until then, I am guided & fortified by the Word of God that tells me to judge nothing before the time: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts…” (1 Corinthians 4:5)


Bowe Bergdahl

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