Response to Episode 2 of Serial 2

Wikileaks has come into the eye of the media very often in recent years, especially with the 2016 Election. But Wikileaks has always been quite scandalous, and important. Wikileaks is essentially an online database that releases exclusive, secret documents from anonymous sources. Many of these documents don’t appear in the daily news people see. This makes them controversial, and I would argue that it makes it vital to get the full image of a story. In the case of Bowe Bergdahl’s story, the Wikileaks war diary of the days Bergdahl went missing and was captured by the Taliban is vital. It gives the public a more filled-out image of what had happened, and I’m sure it was beneficial in his case, although that could have been done without it being posted on Wikileaks.

Wikileaks could be considered a form of cyber-organization. Millions of documents have been released on the platform. I don’t know if I completely agree with the mission of stealthy cyber-organization, but it does seem as though aspects of it are a good idea. For instance, if cyber-organization did not exist, and the military communications were not posted on Wikileaks, much of Bergdahl’s story would be unknown. It would be a case that resolved around one man’s story and another’s; there would never be a resolution to the case, and what truly happened may never have been known.

In Episode One of Serial Two, it was said that a whole hour passed before the soldiers’ superior took them seriously regarding the missing soldier. This Wikileaks report of the communications proves that to be the truth. At 0430z, it was reported that a soldier was missing. It took until 0535z for DUSTWAN to be called into effect. This proves that the story of the soldiers’ superior truly wasn’t working in the best interest of his men, as Bergdahl gave as the reason for his venturing out on his own.

To me, and I’m sure most other citizens of the U.S., the communications are difficult to read because of the military lingo. I’m not sure what a whole lot of this is saying. That being said, it is clear by the reports that the military did acknowledge that a soldier was captured and looked into the villages in an investigation, getting what he had been wearing and asking; a piece of it states that a soldier in dark clothing was asking for someone who spoke English, and it also shows the moment he was captured by showing what people had seen. The Serial report said he had a large cloth wrapped around his head, but the Wikileaks communication document said he had a bag over his head; little details like that could easily be confused, which could make some of the details of the communications of the people interviewed a bit unreliable, not necessarily completely wrong but not completely correct either.

One thing in the communication really caught my eye. It was even mentioned in the brief highlights presented on the Serial Podcast’s page: 1012z GUARDRAIL REPORTS PICKED UP LLVI TRAFFIC AT GRID VB 6597 3366 THAT STATES (UIM INDICATES THAT AN AMERICAN SOLDIER IS TALKING AND IS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH. INDICATES AMERICAN SOLDIER HAS CAMERA. My big question is this: Why did Bergdahl have a camera? He did his best to fit in with the society, was trying to flee to another military base under the radar, so why did he have a camera? That doesn’t make sense to me. He wore his uniform underneath his Afghani garments, so did he wear the camera on the garments? Were the people scared and lying about what they saw? Who reported that he was wearing a camera? Bergdahl seems like a fairly smart man, although the way he decided to leave his post was a bit of a bravely idiotic move. I don’t understand why he would wear a camera while he was trying to move from his post. I don’t think he would have anticipated his capture, because he seems really distraught in some of the Serial Two clips. I know this seems like a lot of thought for one small detail, but it just doesn’t add up. I don’t understand why Bergdahl would have a camera if he was trying to keep under the radar, knowing that if he was caught, it could and would be used against him. If it weren’t for the Wikileaks report of the communications, this small detail that is such a head-scratcher would not be known.

By reading the full document, it is a bit easier to see why Bergdahl was not liked by his fellow soldiers. In Serial Two, Episode Two, it was reported that many soldiers wanted to kill him, and one man wanted to be on the Blackhawk when he got captured. Personally, like the reporter, I don’t agree with killing him. However, these soldiers had to forget about Bin Laden searches and get one-on-one with the Afghani people and the Taliban in order to find their fellow soldier—that could put so many of the armed forces in danger, including at least one of the booby traps that was in one of the locations where they were looking for Bergdahl, where dozens of men could have been killed. The frustration that Bergdahl caused could have all been prevented had he kept his post and made a formal report upon returning home.

Without the Wikileaks document, the situation would be much more black and white. Although it is a bit difficult to understand, it is important to look at the document and try to make sense of the situation. At the end of the first episode of Serial Two, I felt terribly for Bergdahl. Now, after listening to the second episode and looking at the document, I feel as though I’m still gravely trying to understand Bergdahl and his actions, and I can sympathize not only with him, but also with the soldiers who were desperately trying to find him.

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