Bergdahl’s Desertion and supposed Treatment while Captured tells Another Story

Can anyone remember how upset many veterans were after seeing photos of the treatment of prisoners at Gitmo and other places?  One of the biggest arguments was how we treat others will be how many of us are treated.  Those who thought they knew better than any veteran who served during times of conflict said that this was a lie and never would happen to an American and especially an American fighting man or woman.  The article titled “Investigator: Bergdahl left post to expose problems in unit “by Juan A. Lozano for the Associated Press proves what many of us was warning against and it will remain unchanged unless we began to show that how we treat other prisoners is a clear example of how we wish our captured to be treated.  Like all others things, if you want respect from the world, you must first and foremost be willing to give respect to the world. 

The article states “Terrence Russell, a Department of Defense worker who helped debrief Bergdahl after the exchange, testified that Bergdahl was subjected to worse conditions than any American prisoner of war since the Vietnam War and was "skin over bones" near the end of his captivity.  Russell said Bergdahl's captors treated him like a "dirty animal," beating him with rubber and copper hoses and giving him little food and water. He said Bergdahl was kept in a cage for three years and had uncontrollable diarrhea for years.  Bergdahl tried to resist and attempted to escape on multiple occasions, including one attempt in which he managed to elude recapture for 8½ days, Russell said. He acknowledged the public criticism leveled at Bergdahl, but said Bergdahl did the best he could under the circumstances.  "They don't know what the facts are. Nobody knows Sgt. Bergdahl's story. I hope someday the world gets to understand how difficult Sgt. Bergdahl had it," he said”.  It should not come as a surprise that this happened and will continue to happen until we take the lead as a nation and demonstrate to all other nations how and why this country has been the envy of the world for so long.

Whether you agree with the other portion of this article or not is irrelevant to the treatment received and whether you care that this is happening to many captured veterans is paramount only to your answering when it is your time to answer to your Higher Power.  For me personally, I still have questions about the route Sqt Bergdahl chose to take if he indeed wished to make a point or draw recognition to an issue within his unit.  As someone who saw things that placed my Marines in jeopardy, I stood up several times but never did I do it in the manner of Bergdahl.  There were better options and they simply were better than running away to draw attention.  I never learned that running would provide anything but make the runner tired but standing firm and refusing to shut up until the situation was fixed always worked because one of the more accurate things anyone can say about the military is that those in position of authority did not care to have their houses examined.  Standing firm and screaming at the top of your lungs brought light to the dark spaces that commanders wished to remain hidden and in order to keep the sunlight out, they would quickly and quietly fix whatever problem that existed.

For me personally, nothing rang more bells for me than the one sentence that was found in the article.  It stated “While cross-examining witnesses called by the prosecution on Thursday, one of Bergdahl's lawyers mentioned that Bergdahl had received a psychological discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard and that an Army psychiatric board had concluded that Bergdahl possessed a "severe mental defect."  Someone, somewhere ignored this and thought that Bergdahl was worthy of the rank Sergeant and to be placed in a position of authority over many other soldiers.  Soldiers who were required to follow his lead and act upon his every word.  The lives of these soldiers were placed in his hands by those who felt him worthy of promotion and now we are to believe that this lead of U.S. soldiers was not aware of the proper way to correct a problem which exists within his unit using the tools provided to him by his chain of command.  If at first you do not succeed, try, try again and each time take your concern to the next level and do not stop until the situation is fixed.   But then, again, this is only my opinion and experience, so take it for what you feel it’s worth.




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