Response to Episode 11 of Serial 2

From Episode 1 to Episode 11 of Serial 2, there was a lot to learn about Bowe Bergdahl. There’s a lot of details that have been revealed about Bergdahl and the men he was working under and with. There were various sides to the story and different beliefs and opinions involved. There were families involved in the chaos of the search for Bergdahl, which is something that I hadn’t thought about prior to the podcast.

Bergdahl caused the DUSTWUN to get the attention of the leaders in the military, the superiors to his superiors. In one of the episodes, this was defended; Bergdahl and his platoon were on a mission, stuck for a long time, and upon returning, their superior only cared about their appearance. He didn’t care if they lost any men or if anyone was injured—he didn’t care about the well-being of the platoon he was put in charge of leading. By doing so, he put his men in greater danger. Perhaps, in more grave danger than what Bergdahl had done with his DUSTWUN. Although all of the platoons had to search for him, putting their lives in danger, it was an indirect effect of Bergdahl’s leaving of his station. His superior’s lack of good leadership was a direct cause of Bergdahl’s leaving of his platoon, which could mean he is the reason so many men died in searching for Bergdahl, because he was the reason Bergdahl left his post. Bergdahl felt lie he had no other option, so he left his post.

Bergdah;’s proof of life video doesn’t change the way I think about his case. What I don’t understand is why he told them so much about the military, about what they were doing overseas, but I don’t know what was scripted. Many of the answers, like Obama’s intentions in Afghanistan, can’t really be answered by Bergdahl, but it makes sense that he gave them an answer, told them what they wanted to hear. He may have believed that being over there was a waste, but it probably helped him that he said it to them. In the video, Bergdahl doesn’t say he left his post. He said he was “lagging behind a patrol,” which everyone within the military who were searching for him knew it was a lie. The typical citizens who saw the video, however, don’t know that it was a lie. He also most likely had to say it until he got the opportunity to speak with superiors and tell them what really happened; in admitting to leaving his post, it would have been incriminating himself, and he probably anticipated that they wouldn’t want to search for him if they knew the truth. There are a lot of probabilities, but Bergdahl seemed to be a smart man, according to his platoon he was a unique and excellent soldier. In his video, he even mentioned that you can’t judge something before you understand it; he was speaking of Islam, but I think the same could go for Bergdahl. I stand with my belief that no one should judge him unless they understand him. Although his actions put his fellow men at risk, in his mind, he was looking out for his and their best interests.

According to one of the men Bergdahl was with in the Coast Guard when he had his “panic attack,” he couldn’t believe Bergdahl was allowed in the Army, a much more dangerous branch of the military. He couldn’t handle the Coast Guard, so why the Army? But Bergdahl wanted to fight on land. If there’s anything that Bergdahl’s case has solidified, it’s that the Army needs to thoroughly screen their men and acknowledge everything—no part of their medical history or examination should be overridden. Everything should be in consideration, because if something were to go wrong, it’s on the Army. If Bergdahl had been thoroughly looked into, he may not have been in Afghanistan in the first place, and the DUSTWUN would never have been called into effect.

The search for Bergdahl was attached to many missions overseas. People died and were injured, but I don’t think that should be put on Bergdahl. When it comes down to it, there were other ways in which he could have reached out to higher superiors, but it makes sense that he didn’t feel like they would listen. Why would they have taken his word over his superior’s? For that, I empathize with Bergdahl. At the end of the day, he was still taken by the very enemy they were sent there to defeat, so maybe Bergdahl’s capture could have benefited that by leading them to the Taliban. The whole story has so many positive and negative possibilities. Although there’s so much made known through the Serial 2 podcast, there still could be more that could be understood. Because of that, my views on Bergdahl’s case haven’t changed, because his side of the story hadn’t changed. It caused a lot of issues, but I can understand where he was coming from. He did end up being a prisoner of war for his actions, and I think that was paying the price for leaving his post. Any other punishment would simply be unjust, because he still is a U.S. soldier, doing his best to not only protect the country but to look out for his fellow men who were doing so.

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