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Bowe Bergdahl


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Hey everybody, I know Bowe Begdahl's case is all over the news. I understand that he was the product of "strict homeschooling" but I was wondering if anyone knew if his parents were evangelicals? I gather they live a somewhat off the grid existence. 

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I haven't read anything directly about his family's belief system or schooling, but I know that he's from a very liberal county in a very conservative state. As a stereotype or over-generalization for his hometown, hippie granola tree hugger would be more common than conservative evangelical.

If I had to guess, I would guess that his family may march to the beat of their own drummer(s) and not in lock-step with any belief system. If I find anything concrete, I'll post it.

ETA--His older sister is named Sky. It isn't conclusive, but it might fit my guess.

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According to wikipedia "the family attended Sovereign Redeemer Presbyterian Church, an Orthodox Presbyterian Church."  I don't know for sure but I think that's the fundie-leaning side of Presbyterianism. Also according to wikipedia Bowe later spent time in a Buddhist monastery. And when Bowe was being held in captivity his father studied Islam. So I don't think they were of the "you're all going to hell except us" fundie ilk. I think they just tended to become obsessed with whatever was on their mind at the time. 

So much about his behavior points to him being on the austism spectrum. Possibly that would have been noticed if he'd been in a public school. Or, perhaps, his inability to fit in with his peers was why his mother homeschooled him and his sister. 

I feel for him and his family. I do not see his actions as treasonous, rather those of a young man obsessed with what he thought were wrongs that could be righted if only he made the right people aware of them.

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Smart, idealistic, talented young guy with wanderlust.  Ski towns are full of young people like this and he got to grow up right by Sun Valley, ID.  

And the group that captured him?  Same group that captured and held Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman for five years -- the Haqqani. 

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7 minutes ago, Howl said:

Smart, idealistic, talented young guy with wanderlust.  Ski towns are full of young people like this and he got to grow up right by Sun Valley, ID. 

Who managed to get others killed in their mad search for him not being able to control his wanderlust. Poor Bowe!!

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1 hour ago, OtterRuletheWorld said:

Who managed to get others killed not risk getting others killed in their mad search for him not being able to control his wanderlust. Poor Bowe!!

(ftfy)

He screwed up plenty. But, according to Stars and Stripes:

Quote

Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Wolf had a message for the families of troops killed in Afghanistan after Bowe Bergdahl walked off his post.

“Their sons did not die looking for Pfc. Bergdahl,” Wolf said...

He deserted. He had delusions of being a one man army. Soldiers were injured and at risk of death while looking for him. But, unless Stars and Stripes and Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Wolf lied, no one died looking for him.

ETA--I was rereading about a few of the injuries sustained by soldiers looking for Bergdahl. I really have to respect people who risked so much to find someone who left of his own free will. 

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On 10/25/2017 at 3:01 PM, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

He screwed up plenty. But, according to Stars and Stripes:

He deserted. He had delusions of being a one man army. Soldiers were injured and at risk of death while looking for him. But, unless Stars and Stripes and Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Wolf lied, no one died looking for him.

ETA--I was rereading about a few of the injuries sustained by soldiers looking for Bergdahl. I really have to respect people who risked so much to find someone who left of his own free will. 

Bergdahl deserted his Outpost right before his platoon was set to leave causing the platoon to stay put while looking for Bergdahl. If he had done what he was supposed to do and not deserted his platoon, they would not have died because of his leaving his platoon behind, knowing full well that they wouldn't leave him behind. 

 Command Sgt Maj Wolf isn't the only person who has spoken out about this. Those who looked for him did what they are supposed to do. 

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Here's a very detailed account of the whole Bergdahl affair by a journalist who did grassroots investigation at the time of the events of his disappearance.

This is what it says about the militaries who supposedly died because of Bergdahl alleged desertion. There are the names listed so it's pretty easy to check for confirmation.

Quote

In the weeks that have followed Bergdahl’s release on May 31, 2014, some have claimed that American soldiers died looking for Bergdahl. That statement is hard to square up with the dates and missions related to the incident. Bergdahl was most likely inside Pakistan within the first day, and had absolutely crossed the border by mid August 2009, at the latest.

Other numbers and facts also belie this claim of life lost in the search for Bergdahl. Seven men were killed in Bergdahl’s Alaska-based unit during their 12-month deployment: First Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw (KIA June 25, 2009), Staff Sergeant Clay Bowen (KIA August, 18, 2009), Specialist Morris Walker (KIA August 18, 2009), Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss (KIA August 26, 2009), Specialist Matthew Martinek (WIA, and KIA on September 11, 2009 from injuries sustained a week before), Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews (KIA September 4, 2009), and Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey (KIA September 6, 2009).

Lieutenant Bradshaw had been killed five days before Bergdahl disappeared. Bowen and Walker were killed by an IED while guarding election polls. Murphrey was killed on a recon mission unrelated to Bergdahl’s search. Martinek, Andrews, and Murphrey were also killed long after both the Haqqanis and the US military had confirmed Bergdahl to be in Pakistan. 

This is an interesting tidbit about desertion.

Quote

The pivotal point in Bergdahl’s damnation is not just his disenchantment with military life but his alleged desertion. You will find few Americans who would consider his tedious duty at a tiny outpost their idea of fun. But you will find even fewer who actually desert their fellow soldiers. AWOL, or Absent Without Leave, refers to when a soldier is found missing but turns up within 30 days. It’s quite a common offense and dealt with accordingly. Desertion, on the other hand, is punishable with death in time of war under Article 85. Its key determinant here is “shirking duty,” or an “intent to remain away permanently.”

Only Bergdahl can tell us whether he left the base meaning to come back by dawn, or whether he was nabbed while on guard duty, or whether he simply wanted to walk to China. My sources at the time of his disappearance told me that he would walk off the base for a short term adventure or to fraternize with the locals Afghans. 

Even the most charitable analysis of the evidence available so far shows that despite the gung ho statements made to his teammates, Bergdahl had been privately disenchanted with his service in Afghanistan, and that he was quite vocal about it among the men of his company. 

 

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Season 2 of the podcast Serial was all about Bergdahl and includes interviews with him and many others involved. I never finished it, but may go back and give it another go.

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6 hours ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

Here's a very detailed account of the whole Bergdahl affair by a journalist who didinvestigate grassroots investigation at the time of the events of his disappearance.

This is what it says about the militaries who supposedly died because of Bergdahl alleged desertion. There are the names listed so it's pretty easy to check for confirmation.

This is an interesting tidbit about desertion.

 

All from the person who advocated service members not follow orders.

Who blamed Bergdahl for Bradshaw's death? You are obviously not understanding how Bergdahl put his fellow soldiers at risk. He is certainly not a hero of any sorts. He deserted his buddies and put their lives at risk by doing so. He was well aware of risk involved with his actions.

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2 hours ago, OtterRuletheWorld said:

1-All from the person who advocated service members not follow orders.

2-Who blamed Bergdahl for Bradshaw's death? You are obviously not understanding how Bergdahl put his fellow soldiers at risk.

3-He is certainly not a hero of any sorts.

4-He deserted his buddies and put their lives at risk by doing so. He was well aware of risk involved with his actions.

1-who are you talking about? The journalist who did the reportage? He can think what he wants, it has no bearing with the facts he recounted and from his writing it is pretty clear that he doesn't have an opinion regarding if Bergdahl is a deserter or not. Neither do I.

2-you said his behaviour caused the death of other soldiers, it didn't;

3-nobody in this thread said that;

4-you're right, I don't understand when you say that his platoon was set to leave but since he was kidnapped then they didn't leave anymore. To me it makes zero sense. If they were going home to be substituted by another platoon, then the search could be easily conducted by the incoming platoon. If they were just going to be moved to another place in Afghanistan then then please tell me what was the difference, it's not like they were going to a safer place. But it makes even less sense when you consider that according to the reportage I quoted above the US military command knew full well that after the kidnapping Bergdahl was nearly immediately taken through the border to Pakistan where the US military had no authorisation to operate. With this knowledge you'd think that the US command would jave suspended searches in Afghanistan. They didn't, but whatever reasons were behind the searching missions it couldn't be looking for Bergdahl as it was said at the time, because they knew he wasn't there.

Quoting the reportage again

Quote

The local version is that Bergdahl left the base to visit with his Afghan National Police buddies, or maybe less dramatic—as his kidnappers claimed—he was nabbed outside the base mid-crap, his pants around his ankles. Later on it would be discovered that this was not the first time Bergdahl had wandered off the base, nor was it that unusual for anyone to leave the tiny enclosure.

I invite you to read the full reportage, it's really interesting.

In my opinion, a big share of the fault for what happened rests squarely on whoever deemed Bergdahl fit to serve. He obviously wasn't.

Slightly OT, the more I read about US military actions in Afghanistan the lower my opinion regarding the US stance in Afghanistan is. And it wasn't very high to begin with.

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2 minutes ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

1-who are you talking about? The journalist who did the reportage? He can think what he wants, it has no bearing with the facts he recounted and from his writing it is pretty clear that he doesn't have an opinion regarding if Bergdahl is a deserter or not. Neither do I.

Nobody needs to have an opinion on this. He has plead guilty to desertion and faces life in prison for doing so.

2 minutes ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

2-you said his behaviour caused the death of other soldiers, it didn't;

It did. Possibly not directly (but possibly directly) The outpost was set to close entirely. The search efforts delayed the closing of the outpost.

2 minutes ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

3-nobody in this thread said that;

Nobody?

2 minutes ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

4-you're right, I don't understand when you say that his platoon was set to leave but since he was kidnapped then they didn't leave anymore. To me it makes zero sense. If they were going home to be substituted by another platoon, then the search could be easily conducted by the incoming platoon.

Platoons don't leave "their own" behind. Even if they did and another platoon replaced his platoon, the replacement platoon would have also been put at risk and likely also lost soldiers.

2 minutes ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

If they were just going to be moved to another place in Afghanistan then then please tell me what was the difference, it's not like they were going to a safer place. But it makes even less sense when you consider that according to the reportage I quoted above the US military command knew full well that after the kidnapping Bergdahl was nearly immediately taken through the border to Pakistan where the US military had no authorisation to operate. With this knowledge you'd think that the US command would jave suspended searches in Afghanistan. They didn't, but whatever reasons were behind the searching missions it couldn't be looking for Bergdahl as it was said at the time, because they knew he wasn't there.

The US military doesn't simply suspend search efforts. That doesn't happen. That is where the "no man left behind" stuff comes from. It isn't done.

2 minutes ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

Quoting the reportage again

I invite you to read the full reportage, it's really interesting.

 

2 minutes ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

In my opinion, a big share of the fault for what happened rests squarely on whoever deemed Bergdahl fit to serve. He obviously wasn't.

Regardless, his actions are still his actions. He deserted. Fact.

2 minutes ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

Slightly OT, the more I read about US military actions in Afghanistan the lower my opinion regarding the US stance in Afghanistan is. And it wasn't very high to begin with.

I understand you have a very low opinion of US service members. You don't need to hide behind not liking there being a US presence in Afghanistan. Heck, you met a couple US service members stationed in Italy and left with no opinion other than that "They should not be there."  As if you couldn't think of these people as individuals.

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Apparently my fault is refusing to worship the US military. I'll own it, no problem. Btw you misquoted me, or better, you didn't fully quote me. No wonder. 

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2 hours ago, OtterRuletheWorld said:

I understand you have a very low opinion of US service members.

One can respect US service members and still think that it is fairly ridiculous to have all these bases all over the world where the other countries really don't need us. If another country had a base near me and I bumped into some of their service men my thought would be "They shouldn't be here." because they shouldn't. 

And our involvement in the Middle East has been a hot mess forever. 

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The issue is that it was not initially known if he had left or been taken.  He wouldn't be the first young Soldier to be kidnapped and killed because he made an unfortunate mistake.

While no one may have been killed searching for him, a fair number were wounded - one is now paralyzed.  But it's what we do.  We don't leave people behind, even if it takes us 18 years to prove what happened.

I personally think that he definitely didn't get what he bargained for, and that he did suffer while the Haqqani held him - but he still deserted and should be punished appropriately.  At the least, a bad conduct discharge.

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I don't entirely disagree with not needing US bases in Italy. However, that came to be because Italy was an Axis power with the Nazis. Now, US bases in Europe decrease the military spending needed by the host nations, The US carries out multinational training, it is showing US commitment to NATO. It is larger than defending the Fulda Gap. Base closures often hurt the local economy (including in some places overseas) There are a lot of reasons for the US to be there and a lot of reasons for the US to not be there. Suggesting these countries "don't really need us" is one opinion and not everyone (including those in nations with a US military presence) wants the bases closed. Some LOVE the US being there.  I can appreciate both view points. There are US bases that should be closed too if we want to get down to it, but you have certain politicians who don't want to have a base close down in their state. Our current duty station is very expensive and is almost entirely a place service members are here for school. Our housing allowance is nearly 4k a month. That is outrageous.  I live in a beautiful area and some (there are a few politically powerful people involved) do not want to see our location shut down. 

The same thing happens in Europe, but at least I can come up with various reasons for the US to have bases overseas. Still, I can see both sides of this. We have a lot of foreign military at our duty station as well and the discussion of US bases in overseas has come up more than once. I have yet to come across a foreign military member that thinks the US should leave. I am sure there are some.


Just remember, US bases wound up in Italy because Italy was playing buddies with Nazis. I by no means mean to single you out for being Italian nor do I place any blame on you for Mussolini being a disgusting dictator, but that paved the way for the current situation.

Bowe Bergdahl left his outpost, is a deserter and by doing so he put people in very real danger. Your point about a new platoon just coming in and replacing the old shows your lack of understanding of the situation and that you couldn't even be bothered or concerned with the idea that just because soldiers from Bergdahl's platoon would not have been at risk, the following would have and in an outpost that was ready to close down. There is absolutely no excuse for what Bergdahl did.

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2 hours ago, OtterRuletheWorld said:

I don't entirely disagree with not needing US bases in Italy. However, that came to be because Italy was an Axis power with the Nazis

 

2 hours ago, OtterRuletheWorld said:


Just remember, US bases wound up in Italy because Italy was playing buddies with Nazis. I by no means mean to single you out for being Italian nor do I place any blame on you for Mussolini being a disgusting dictator, but that paved the way for the current situation

Bullshit. You are very ignorant my dear. Italy isn't Germany we weren't occupied nor militarized after the war. We signed an Armistice on September 8th 1943 and were subsequently occupied by Germany. Our Army fought along with the Allies in Southern Italy under the command of a new government (that declared war against Germany on 13th October 1943) once the king had finally removed Mussolini (July 25th 1943), the rest disbanded (soldiers entered in the resistance or once captured were jailed and then sent to concentration camps in Germany) or, a minority, stayed in the Army commanded by a Germany's puppet government headed by Mussolini in Salò (think like the Vichy puppet government).

All this meant that the status of Italy at the end of WWII was quite different from Germany's or Japan's. So when the resistance hero Alcide de Gasperi negotiated the peace treaty on our behalf we ended up with much more lenient conditions. Did I say MUCH more lenient? We paid 360m $ to the nations we had invaded, we lost territories (some rightly as the colonies, other much more painfully like Istria and Dalmazia) and had limitations imposed to our military.

Those limitations fell in 1951 because the other NATO (we entered NATO in 1949) nations (US in primis) decided that we had better be able to defend ourselves since we had borders in common with Tito's Yugoslavia. And later the iron curtain ran along our eastern border.

For similar reasons US bases were built on Italian soil. Sigonella in 1957, when the air base in Malta was insufficient and more room, unavailable on Malta, was needed. Aviano is a NATO base since 1954 under italian command, but with a big presence of US military. Similarly Camp Ederle hosts US military since 1955, after Austria's was demilitarized, as a reinforcement for the cold war.

All in all, the presence of US military in my country was tied to cold war era necessities. Can you please tell me how this justifies the presence of 11 000 American militaries in 8 bases in 2017? Note that Camp Ederle is undergoing renovations to double its capacity. The local population was very much against it.

2 hours ago, OtterRuletheWorld said:

The US carries out multinational training, it is showing US commitment to NATO

The US commitment to NATO would be better showed by a cleverer POTUS, possibly more collaborative with allies and less keen to become Putin's lapdog.

Local economy can cope without your bases thank you very much. And the fact that some countries may beg you to stay has zero bearing with what I think about American militaries in my country. As I said the local population protested vehemently against Camp Ederle enlargement.

Also, people here are still pissed that those who killed 20 skiers at the Cermis walked away scott free. And I, personally, was even more pissed when I watched the JAG tv series episode based on the Cermis accident. In the reinterpretation the accident was ultimately fault of an underage Italian civilian that illegally flying on a little plane provoked the disaster crashing against a USAF plane. The spin was unbelievable.

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13 hours ago, OtterRuletheWorld said:

The US military doesn't simply suspend search efforts. That doesn't happen. That is where the "no man left behind" stuff comes from. It isn't done

I know and I respect it. But can you please tell me in what universe keeping open an outpost to search for a person you already know isn't there makes sense? The command knew Bergdahl was held in Pakistan since nearly immediately. The "no man left behind" makes sense if the man is still there, somwhere, not if you know he is in another place altogether.

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10 hours ago, OtterRuletheWorld said:

Just remember, US bases wound up in Italy because Italy was playing buddies with Nazis.

Well if this is your justification for still having bases there, then a military base needs to be set up inside the Oval Office. A current person playing buddies with Nazis is our very own president. Clearly a military base to watch over you is what you get when you play buddies with Nazis, right? 

7 hours ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

Also, people here are still pissed that those who killed 20 skiers at the Cermis walked away scott free.

Holy shit no wonder you guys don't want American military there! 

 

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10 hours ago, OtterRuletheWorld said:

(snip)

The same thing happens in Europe, but at least I can come up with various reasons for the US to have bases overseas. Still, I can see both sides of this. We have a lot of foreign military at our duty station as well and the discussion of US bases in overseas has come up more than once. I have yet to come across a foreign military member that thinks the US should leave. I am sure there are some.

(snip)

I am very glad to hear that you can see both sides! Being a native of Germany, I am personally not overly fond of the continued presence of allied military forces on German soil. Lost WW2, so fair enough. The the Cold War came, still fair enough. The French, the Canadians and the Russians left, after that came to an end, but the US and the UK retain bases.

Since we're all friends now, I am as okay with the presence of foreign military on German soil as I ever will be. I have nothing against individual service members, but find the presence of the institution jarring.

Here's a small example for what I find jarring: The US military police used to patrol the streets of a nearby town to my home, on weekend nights. I don't know if they still do, since it's been a while since I went out there for a night on the town, but two years ago, I still found it uncomfortable to see foreign military police patrolling.

Now, it's a pragmatic solution to a simple problem. The local German policeforce simply does not have enough personnel to police "the party mile" as effectively as the US MP. And with the amount of mainly young army personnel sampling a little too much of the local beers, it's just very pragmatic to have the US MP taking care of their own.

What is problematic is that the US MP a. basically become law-enforcement for the entire town over the weekend, and not every local speaks English, b. obviously, the US MP have few means of telling civilians and US army personnel in civvies apart and c. thanks to unclear jurisdictions, a simple disagreement can turn into an international incident. Then, there are the unintended consequences of this pragmatic solution. The German style of policing the general public differs from military policing, for obvious reasons. The US MP that I have come into contact with weren't into the German style de-escalation tactics, but more into providing a kind of menacing deterrent via their presence.

All of it made going out there on a regular Saturday night feel tense and alienating. Add to that that I'm biracial and the US MP kept on thinking that they were responsible for me. On one occasion, they tried to take me back to base, after I'd had a few glasses as a teen. While we all saw the funny side of it, after I brandished my German ID, I still felt needlessly harassed by a force that has no jurisdiction over me.

Can you see where I am going with this? It's a bit like, say, the Norwegian army sets up base outside of, say Ellsworth, Kansas (I randomly picked that off the map), and then proceeds to patrol the streets every weekend. Suddenly, Norway is in control if you want to go out for the night. Local customs and styles of policing be damned, you are now under Norway's jurisdiction. And if you get into the mildest form of trouble, even through no fault of your own, you had better know enough Norwegian to explain that the Norwegian MP can do eff all to you. (With my apologies to Norwegians, who mostly speak excellent English).

Another issue with having - in particular- US military on foreign soil is that US bases are small microcosms that create "little America" on foreign soil. Of course that isn't anything I hold against individual personnel! And I certainly understand issues of security. What I am saying is that it creates a disconnect between the local population and the personnel stationed there, which fosters misunderstandings and sometimes resentment.

It is illusory to expect an individual soldier who's stationed in this country today and that tomorrow, to integrate into a culture seamlessly. But it is not too much to ask the institution to give their personnel a cursory introduction to the culture of the country they'll be living in, especially in manners.

I'll stop here, after having written a novel.

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1 hour ago, formergothardite said:

(snip)

Holy shit no wonder you guys don't want American military there! 

 

There's also this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yangju_highway_incident

For those not wanting to click the link: An US army armoured vehicle killed two children on a public road. Those involved got acquitted. Needless to say that the S Korean population wasn't happy.

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The UK was obviously not a Nazi country, but we still have USA military bases here, still, and I don't like it.  As others have said, I can't imagine USA citizens liking it if there were UK/Italian/German/Japanese military bases on USA soil, whose occupants weren't accountable to local laws - in the same way as I can absolutely see why countries like Germany and Cyprus don't want the British military there. 

I guess it felt a little different during the Cold War, but now that the USA President is hand-in-hand with Russia, while Putin has stated his goal is a de-stabilized Europe?  It doesn't feel great, knowing that President Trump could command the troops to do what he wants over here. 

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