I’m of the opinion that the US was under no obligation to “rescue” Bowe Bergdahl.
Go ahead, be shocked. Most of my friends are when they first hear me say this. Regardless of the crimes he committed, they share the administration’s assertion that the US has an obligation to bring back every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine sent into combat. Guess what? So do I.
But Bergdahl was no soldier. Oh, he was at one point. But from the moment he abandoned his post in a hot CZ, he abandoned being a soldier – along with the rights and protections that come from wearing the uniform of a US soldier.
How do we know he actually deserted and didn’t simply wander off accidentally? Let’s review:
- There is the email exchange with his parents during the week before he abandoned his post, the one in which he declared “I am ashamed to be an american <sic>. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools.”
- He walked away from his post, leaving behind any gear that would have been useful in mounting a self-defense if attacked by enemy forces. According to eyewitness accounts from both the Afghan military and villagers he encountered on his trek, he was actually looking to meet up with the local Taliban.
- An Army review of Bergdahl’s disappearance and subsequent abduction found that he had, in fact, deserted. It also found that Bergdahl made a habit of going AWOL.
- There are the accounts from his platoon mates that characterize Bergdahl as a deserter and a traitor. There are even accounts that suspect Bergdahl of actively cooperating with the Taliban in raids against his former platoon.
To summarize: Bowe Bergdahl was ashamed of his citizenship, chose to walk away from his unit in a combat zone, chose to actively seek out the enemy while unarmed, and announced to his platoon his intention to leave. Further, there is evidence that not only did he seek out the Taliban, but went there with the intention of supplying them with critical intelligence that later helped them decimate the ranks of his former platoon.
These are not the actions of an American soldier. They are the actions of a turncoat. A traitor.
And under no circumstance should the United States ever work to “free” a traitor.