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US Army flubbed the Bergdahl screening

Bergdahl unfit for service
Bergdahl unfit for service
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The US Army blew it when they recruited Bowe Bergdahl. He had been discharged administratively from the US Coast Guard for psychological reasons. Then, he showed up at the US Army as he was a person lost on life, and had no where else to go. The US Army ask questions when you sign up. If the recruiter had been listening or simply looking at Bergdahl’s application, they could have justly concluded that he was a reject.

Instead, they brought him on board. They invested in his training and apparently found no reason not to deploy him to Afghanistan. In the meantime, he was talking to a lot his friends in ways that revealed his unhappiness and fragile state. No one came to help him. Most important, his military chain of command didn’t understand the problem that they had, one that jeopardized his fellow soldiers.

Bergdahl must be held accountable for part of his problem, but there are others responsible for his situation as well. Surely, any reasonable investigation would have revealed his state.

It was inappropriate for the President of the United States to trade five of the highest value and most dangerous Taliban leaders for this “mental case.”

You can't just keep coming up with excuses for people. They must share in the responsibility:

  • Bowe Bergdahl
  • US Army
  • President Obama

“Bergdahl’s writings reveal a fragile young man


Before he became a Taliban prisoner, before he wrote in his journal “I am the lone wolf of deadly nothingness,” before he ever joined the Army, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard for psychological reasons, said close friends who were worried about his emotional health at the time.

The 2006 discharge and a trove of Bergdahl’s writing — the handwritten journal along with other essays, stories and e-mails provided to The Washington Post — paint a portrait of a deeply complicated and fragile young man who was by his own account struggling to maintain his mental stability from the start of basic training until the moment he walked off his post in eastern Afghanistan.

“I’m worried,” he wrote in one journal entry before he deployed. “The closer I get to ship day, the calmer the voices are. I’m reverting. I’m getting colder. My feelings are being flushed with the frozen logic and the training, all the unfeeling cold judgment of the darkness.”
“I will not lose this mind, this world I have deep inside,” he wrote a few pages later. “I will not lose this passion of beauty.”

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