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Bowe Bergdahl: Friend or foe?

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On Nov. 3, 2017 Bowe Robert Bergdahl received a dishonorable discharge in front of a military judge, a $10,000 fine, and was demoted from the rank of Sergeant to Private.

After enlisting in the Army in 2008, Bergdahl was sent to Afghanistan in May of 2009. Soon after arriving overseas he was captured by the Taliban in the Paktika province. This is where the controversy began; is Bergdahl a victim or a deserter? What should have been done with him?

It is reported that Bergdahl was on patrol with his infantry unit when the incident occurred. Regardless of the means, Bergdahl was imprisoned by the Taliban for a total of five years. He was kept in a cage, tortured in numerous ways, starved, and isolated. A series of interview videos from his captors were released over the time of his incarceration. One of these interviews showed a healthy Bergdahl speaking down on U.S Military operations in the area for almost an hour.

The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of ‘U.S. Soldier’ is just the lie of fools”

— Bowe Bergdahl

“The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of ‘U.S. Soldier’ is just the lie of fools” stated Bergdahl in one of the videos.

In May of 2014, President Barack Obama negotiated the release of Sgt. Bergdahl in exchange for five prisoners from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay. These detainees were released in Qatar. President Obama gave Bergdahl a warm welcome home and praised his courage. The President’s actions and remarks sparked controversy on whether or not we should praise this man as a hero or condemn him as a traitor.

“Simple possession of marijuana will get a soldier kicked out of the military with more consequence than Bowe Bergdahl face, where Bowe Bergdahl knowingly and willingly risked the lives of his fellow soldiers and ultimately cost multiple lives” shared Denny Farrell, Naval Petty Officer First Class from 1986 to 1994 and Ethics teacher at SHS.

Reports began to surface that up to 6 U.S Military members lost their lives in search of Bergdahl. In March of 2015, Bergdahl was formally charged with desertion, and misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of the unit. Around a year later, he was put before an Army Sanity Board and was diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder and PTSD. This information was released by Bergdahl’s defense team on a website called the Bergdahl Docket in order to educate the public on the situation. He gave firsthand accounts of what he went through in captivity in a podcast series named “Serial” in 2015. This and the Bergdahl Docket were two large facets of information the public used to take a stance.

The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and our Military”

— President Trump

The media still can not even agree on how they feel about Bowe Bergdahl. CNN sources shed him in the light of a victim, while FOX sources show him as more of a deserter. This disagreement is still at large today, and is getting back into the headlines because of his official sentencing.

“The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and our Military” tweeted President Donald Trump, who has taken a strong position on how he feels about the ruling.

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The student news site of Summerville High School.
Bowe Bergdahl: Friend or foe?