Bowe Bergdahl: Truth, Justice, and the Men Who Died For Him

Bowe Bergdahl: Truth, Justice, and the Men Who Died For Him

If you read the news at all, you’re already aware of the Bowe Bergdahl story, or at least what the administration wants you to know.  As the ‘official’ version goes, he was captured by the Taliban in 2009 and held ever since, only being released after long negotiations between the US government and an enemy that had already killed so many Americans.  The United States traded five dangerous terrorists—who certainly will continue their lethal work now that they are free—for someone the administration tells us is a hero, a prisoner of war who experienced unspeakable horrors after being captured while defending his country.

That story is a lie.

All over this country, there are men who have been broken by explosions and destroyed by memories who know the truth about Bowe Bergdahl and his “captivity.”  There are men who have paid dearly for the actions of one selfish person.  There are men who would tell us the truth…if they were still alive to tell it.  Truth that involves a man who spent his last months before deployment not like a soldier who may be celebrating his last months on earth, but like an enemy sympathizer preparing to join the other side.  A man who walked off his post, walked through two villages, and asked to meet with the Taliban.  A man who gave the enemy the intricate workings of American tactics, and the security procedures and vulnerabilities of the post he walked away from.

A man who, through his own selfishness, ensured his brothers would die in horrible ways…or that they’d live, in maybe even worse ways.

A few soldiers who served with Bergdahl have stepped up to tell their story, and it doesn’t match the official version of Bowe Bergdahl the American Hero.  Cody, a man who has not confirmed his last name but claims to have been in Bergdahl’s squad, spent last night on Twitter dredging up memories he had tried so hard to forget, outlining the events leading up to deployment and the day Bergdahl walked off.  From a statement analysis perspective, his account rings true.  More of his brothers have come forward as well.

Many of Bergdahl’s fellow troops — from the seven or so who knew him best in his squad, to the larger group that comprised the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division — told CNN that they signed nondisclosure agreements agreeing to never share any information about Bergdahl’s disappearance and the efforts to recapture him. Some were willing to dismiss that document in hopes that the truth would come out about a soldier who they now fear is being hailed as a hero, while the men who lost their lives looking for him are ignored.

Men did lose their lives in the days after Bergdahl’s disappearance.  Not faceless soldiers, but men with families and children, who were ordered to search for a fellow soldier who had done the unthinkable.  Even worse was that the searches, Cody said, created a routine…and turned Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers into sitting ducks.

A huge thing in country is not building patterns. Well when you are looking for a person everyday that creates a pattern. While searching for him, ambushes and IEDs picked up tremendously. Enemy knew we would be coming. IEDs started being placed more effectively in the coming weeks. Ambushes were more calculated, cover and concealment was used.

Those heightened attacks, committed against soldiers trying to find Bergdahl before he could give the Taliban the information he possessed, would cost the lives of the following men:

Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey, from Snyder, Texas, died when an IED, placed “more effectively” because of Bergdahl, blew up the vehicle he was in.  Michael left behind a wife named Ashley, a son named Jaden, and a daughter named Cameron.  He was remembered for putting his men first, and for being selfless and loyal.  He was 25.


Pfc. Morris Walker, from Fayetteville, North Carolina, also died in an IED blast.  He is remembered for his optimism, his infectious smile, and his desire to always be a part of something.  He was a college graduate who served his community through volunteer work.  Morris was 23.

Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen, from San Antonio, Texas, died in the same IED explosion that killed Morris Walker.  He was 29.

Pfc. Matthew Martinek, from Dekalb, Illinois, was mortally wounded in an attack that began with an IED and ended with RPG and small arms fire.  He hung on for seven days, dying of his wounds on September 11, 2009 in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.  He was the third generation in his family to join the Army.  Always wanting to help people, Matthew was an organ donor.  He gave his life trying to find Bowe Bergdahl, and even in death he saved the lives of other soldiers.  He was 20.

Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, from Ogden, Utah, was shot during an enemy attack.  He enlisted the day after September 11, wanting to help.  He left behind a wife and two small children.  He served two tours in Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan.  He was 27.


2LT Darryn Andrews, from Dallas, Texas, was killed when Taliban fighters attacked his vehicle with an IED and RPG.  He was known for his bear hugs, given in lieu of handshakes.  He left behind a pregnant wife and 2-year-old son.  He had a master’s degree from Texas State and was active in his church.  He was 34.

These are the men who will never come home.  They are the men who gave their lives trying desperately to find a fellow soldier who had engaged in the ultimate betrayal by deserting his post to go join the enemy.  A man who had secretly planned, prepared, and executed a defection that he knew would take a heavy toll in blood from the troops who, a day earlier, would have given their lives to protect him.

Some feel that Bergdahl has paid enough in his five years with the Taliban.  I would argue that his level of “payment” is highly dependent on the definition, in this case, of the word “with.”  Was he a prisoner or a willing participant?  Many claim that his use as a propaganda tool is something he did under duress, yet his statements on the Taliban videos sound a lot like what he was already saying in letters to his parents. Contrast Bowe’s actions with that of real POWs, such as Robbie Risner, who spent seven years not only as a POW, but as the ranking officer in his camp, responsible for the welfare and morale of his fellow prisoners.  Risner spearheaded and was directly responsible for the ongoing resistance movement.  In fact, Secretary of State John Kerry made more enemy propaganda videos than Robbie Risner did in his seven years of the most horrifying captivity imaginable.

And what of the men who come forward now, who break their non-disclosure agreements to set the record straight for the sake of the men who died, for the sake of the men who are barely surviving even today?  Cody is afraid of legal action…or worse.

  All politics aside I think we can reasonably agree that if you get on the wrong side of the current admin, they can and will strike you down.

The families of Extortion 17 would probably agree.

Bowe Bergdahl’s next few months are unknown at this point.  His former squad leader mentioned that he believes “that an investigation should take place as soon as healthcare professionals deem him fit to endure one.”  Meanwhile, the White House is ramping up to present Bergdahl to the country as a returning hero.

He is legally innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, this is true.  In the memories of those who gave their all trying to find him, however, there is a deep and abiding hatred that lingers even now, five years later.  As one soldier put it, “The amount of animosity toward him is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.” And yet, between doctor appointments and surgeries, rehab and therapy for injuries they received, in this midst of the nightmares and constant pain, those who only almost died now must watch as the person directly responsible for all of it comes home, hailed as a returning hero.  Perhaps for some of them, it was better when they thought that just maybe the universe had righted the scales for them.

And what about Matt, Darryn, Clayton, Morris, Michael, and Kurt?   They are still gone, along with so many more.  Their education, productivity, optimism, class, integrity, and character…just gone.  All that is left are their broken brothers, who must conjure up dark ghosts better left behind in order to tell a truth that the administration refuses to admit, and so many of the American people refuse to believe.

I wrote elsewhere that there are beliefs, and then there are facts.  In a sane, logical world, facts trump beliefs every time, especially when those facts were paid for in blood.  In the case of Bowe Bergdahl, that’s exactly how they were paid for.  Bergdahl’s actions directly cost lives, and there is no higher cost in this life.

That’s why if he is convicted in a court-martial, he should pay with his own.

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  • Xavier says:

    Option 1: The administration knows exactly what they’re doing, and it’s all about Doing The Right Thing. They knew Bergdahl was an enemy sympathizer and deserter. They knew he wasn’t a POW in the traditional sense, and they knew that after 5 years any information Bergdahl possessed was certainly in Taliban hands. Yet they felt that bringing him home to face justice was worth breaking the law by releasing 5 high level terrorists without notifying Congress first.


    Option 2: The administration desperately wanted to divert attention from the VA and Benghazi scandals. Bringing home a POW war hero and claiming this could be the pathway to peace negotiations with the Taliban was worth releasing 5 senior terrorists from Gitmo illegally. After all, the media will print whatever they’re told to print, and there’s a new Press Secretary still in the honeymoon period. Do not adjust your set. They control the horizontal and the vertical.

    Option 3: The administration wanted to appease Muslim radicals and end the U.S. policy of “no negotiations with terrorists”. Bergdahl’s guilt or innocence isn’t a factor – the military will deal with him, which probably means no charges and permanent incarceration. He’s simply a way to justify releasing 5 high level Gitmo prisoners and open the door to bargaining with terrorists.

    Of course, Option 4 is “all of the above”, which is probably closest to reality, except for that “knows exactly what they’re doing” bit. Cody’s caused a lot of trouble and will probably be the reason for a new Executive Order prohibiting the military from posting to social media, forcing NDA signings, or some such draconian nonsense – which of course will have the opposite effect. There’s a real potential for damage over the administration’s actions and they are probably moving to let it be handled entirely behind closed doors, after all, “most transparent administration evah”. Sadly, I’d also be willing to bet there will never be any justice for those who died because of Bergdahl – and there are probably many more, depending on what information he revealed to the Taliban.

    And Kit, according Those Who Know, that TrueCrypt shutdown’s looking more and more like a NSL canary.

    • wfjag says:

      Some other factors may indicate which Option appears most correct.

      Normally I think that conspiracy theories are more imagination than fact based. However, it seems too coincidental that Amb. Susan Rice was, again, the administration’s prime rep on the Sunday talk shows when another foreign action involving disputed facts is involved, and she, again, was dismissive of those facts; and that the day before the exchange for the Taliban leaders was announced, Jay Carney, without prior indication, decided to suddenly resign as Press Secretary. It is possible that Carney was simply unwilling to repeat the line that Bergdahl was a POW, hero saved by the administration’s prompt and selfless action, in light of other facts and that several Soldiers died trying to find him. If he deserted, then not only is Bergdahl no hero, he’s complicit in the needless deaths of those Soldiers and should face court martial for charges carrying at least life in prison without parol. Although I’ve felt that often Carney should be characterized as engaging in a profession that rhymes with “Bore”, even such persons can have moral standards that they will not cross. And, so, my question is whether Carney reached such a place?

      I expect that like so many other non-scandals of this administration, there is a lot more to come out (even if the “press” will try to ignore it).

      • Xavier says:

        The Carney resignation timing has crossed my mind too, but I suspect we’ll never know what really occurred there. The options above were written somewhat tongue in cheek – you know as well as anyone that the administration’s plans have layers within layers and they’re usually prepared for any negative reports that may come up, like Bergdahl being revealed as a deserter. “So what”, they’ll say, (to paraphrase Rice) “He’s an American and deserves to come home”, all the while denying they ever called him a hero. Now they’re claiming that they didn’t negotiate with the Taliban. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the Taliban was paid top dollar to turn over a valued comrade to U.S. forces and Bergdahl wasn’t ever a pseudo-POW. As much as I’m interested in the Bergdahl platoon members coming forward, the real issues aren’t about him – they are that we’re now negotiating with terrorists, and that five top terrorist commanders are now free and will almost surely plot terror strikes against the U.S. or her interests. In an rational world, those would be a treasonable offenses and the administration would be indicted and imprisoned.

  • Merle says:

    I would not be surprised if a friend or relative of one of the dead soldiers decided to save the taxpayers an expensive trial.


  • Jen says:

    I honestly believe that Obama and his administration believe the Taliban and AlQaeda are justified in their actions against this country and therefore, returning five high profile commanders to them was the right thing to do.
    All under the guise of obtaining the “release” of a deserter/traitor who they will use in whatever manner suits them. Since there has been so much blowback about this, he will end up being “investigated” endlessly, with no actual legal or military justice action taken against him. Otherwise, he would have been paraded around DC as a hero , met with Obama in the White House, etc. as a propaganda tool.
    Five less detainees in Gitmo gets Obama that much closer to being able to close it. He is trying to best figure a way to get the others out, whether it be through more “trades” or offering them up to other Islamist intermediaries who will certainly get them on their way to their origins.
    I seriously don’t know if this country will make two more years of this.

    • GWB says:

      Sadly, this is a very cogent analysis.

      The one good thing in all this: the military has no way to allow for a continual, ongoing investigation. At some point they will have to either say it’s all clear or actually court-martial him. They may try to cover it up and do it quietly, but it will get out and it will be a public spectacle again.

  • Jen says:

    honestly believe that Obama and his administration believe the Taliban and AlQaeda are justified in their actions against this country and therefore, returning five high profile commanders to them was the right thing to do.
    All under the guise of obtaining the “release” of a deserter/traitor who they will use in whatever manner suits them. Since there has been so much blowback about this, he will end up being “investigated” endlessly, with no actual legal or military justice action taken against him. Otherwise, he would have been paraded around DC as a hero , met with Obama in the White House, etc. as a propaganda tool.
    Five less detainees in Gitmo gets Obama that much closer to being able to close it. He is trying to best figure a way to get the others out, whether it be through more “trades” or offering them up to other Islamist intermediaries who will certainly get them on their way to their origins.
    I seriously don’t know if this country will make two more years of this.

  • Kelley Kruse says:

    Excellent post, Kit.
    He betrayed his country, he betrayed the men he was serving with, and his continued breath is a betrayal of those that died in the quest to look for him.

    Jen- You are right, now that the 5 Taliban Masterminds the worst of worst at Gitmo have been released, the rest may be considered inconsequential to Obama so he might as well let them go as well. Who the hell knows what is in that guys head. His end game always has been to close the facility.

  • Xavier says:

    Cody’s going to be on The Kelly File tonight. From Twitter:

    @CodyFNfootball is organized and will be on Megyn Kelly tonite, has interview coming out with WSJ and WaPo – he served w/ Bergdahl & talking

    I don’t usually watch network television but will make an exception for this. Apparently it’s on at 9 PM EST.

  • VALman says:

    It’s an “in-your-face” by this administration, once again. Having been previously advised by congressional leaders not to engage in such negotiations, they did so knowing the very predictable reaction it would draw. They decided upon what amounts to an most controversial, inflammatory action which would have little in the way of ramifications on them. How high is the mountain of accusations against this administration? And, when it is all said and done, what has it amounted to? The so-called “transformation” of the country continues, nearly unimpeded.

    • Xavier says:

      Warning: Trollbait

      There must be something in the D.C. water that emasculates men. You wouldn’t be able to tell with liberals, but the GOP once had, er, “nerve”. I sure hope Sarah Palin weighs in on this; she thinks clearly and people connect with the way she expresses herself. (And apparently she hasn’t been exposed to the water, or she’s immune)

      • VALman says:

        It’s the power. And, sometimes sex. Once they get there, different game for most of them. Yet, these are storage and difficult times. So, that Bo hasn’t been regularly called to task for his infractions with regard to the Constitution and law just baffles me.

  • Instead of holding off on the Bowe Bergdahl party, I suggest you STOP jumping to conclusions and wait for the verified facts in this manufactured news story to come out. I am fully aware that news organizations like Fox News tell us six soldiers died as a result of efforts to find and rescue Sgt. Bergdahl, but new information is emerging that could say something very different. One of my sources tells me, when you examine the unit combat logs for the missions these men died on—NONE of them mention any link to Bergdahl!
    In fact, the region in which Bergdahl was captured has long been an insurgent hotbed as well as a safe haven for the Taliban. It is true that six brave American soldiers did die in Afghanistan in August and September–and I grieve for their families, because I live overseas, next to a U.S. military base and have regular contact with the brave and underpaid men and women who serve our country. But we may not yet have all the facts.
    According to one of my sources, TWO of these men died in a roadside bombing while on a reconnaissance mission, a THIRD was shot during a search for a Taliban political leader and THREE others DIED while conducting patrols — two in an AMBUSH and one who STEPPED ON A MINE… Given the fact that 520 NATO soldiers died in Afghanistan in 2009, I am surprised news organizations like Fox don’t claim Sgt. Bergdahl was responsible for all of these deaths, too. The entire way this story has been distorted and misrepresented does not surprise me, because when you look up synonyms for the verb – FOX—you find words like CHEAT, DECIEVE and SCAM.
    I am a life long Republican, but as I have said before, this entire story as reported by news organizations like Fox could be a scam, or a firestorm deliberately created by political extremists in the Republican Party who are TERRIFIED over the success Obama is experiencing as the first African-American President: he killed Osama bin Laden; his economic policies have restored growth to the American economy; and he is ending the longest war in American history—a war that he DID NOT START! Now, he plans to close GITMO, because it violates the U.S. Constitution as well as international law. These same extremist elements in the Republican Party LOST the last two presidential elections, and now that Hillary Clinton is organizing a serious drive to become the first female President in the White House – they are terrified and FRANKLY, they should be TERRIFIED, because this means the super-rich people who control this extreme right-wing fringe group will finally have to pay their fair share of taxes. Even better, congress could amend the tax code and include large incentives for these billionaires to use their money to create union scale jobs IN THE USA! Hoorah!!!!

    • GWB says:

      “I am a life long Republican”
      “Hi Rush! I’m a life long Republican, but…”

  • Rhonda says:

    Wow! We try and convict people on Twitter now.

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