Sgt. Bergdahl: A Lightning Rod for America's Afghan Legacy

Thursday, June 05, 2014

A sign showing support for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl sits along Main Street on June 2, 2014 in Hailey, Idaho. (Scott Olson/Getty)

The release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has demonstrated that many lawmakers in Washington, and perhaps others, are quick to judge whether or not the POW deserved to be freed.

On Wednesday it was announced that Bergdahl's June 28 homecoming event would be cancelled. City administrators in his hometown of Hailey, Idaho said the town would be "unable to safely manage the number of people expected."

Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel defended the sergeant and his family in a news conference yesterday.

“It's not in the interest of anyone and certainly I think a bit unfair to Sgt. Bergdahl's family and to him to presume anything," said Hagel.

But beyond the chatter of traitor or hero, the swap has become a symbol of the give and take, the battles won and lost in a war that while finally ending has little to show in the form of victory. An American prisoner returns, five Taliban members we once fought so hard to capture are let go.

Joining The Takeaway is Vanessa Gezari, a journalist who has reported from Afghanistan on and off since 2002. She weighs in on why Bergdahl's release has become so sensitive.


Vanessa Gezari

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman


T.J. Raphael

Comments [3]


Look to past wars when some of the soldiers were confused about how to handle their confusion, and how their situations were handled by superiors. We know for a fact that drug and alcohol can be a problem, but seldom are soldiers condemned for this behavior although it is not "best behavior"; yet,often, bonds are formed over such behavior.

It's easy to say that every soldier should be held to the highest standard, but all cases are not equal. If there are no questions, and no doubts about what's going on then you don't have the best soldier, but what do you have? Being a follower, being led blindly, is Nazi behavior.

Whatever steps were taken for, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl sake, would hopefully, give him the benefit of the doubt rather than to jump to the conclusion that he had deserted to the enemy. That should be the last thought.

Jun. 06 2014 01:26 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Obama made this trade for a reason, and I am sure he was advised to make this trade.

I like to think that there's a secret file that only our President gets to read. It's the file that turns his hair white. In the secret document , it explains why this trade was needed to be done.

Perhaps, the trade for five dangerous guys for one possible traitor, only seems dumb:

Perhaps Bergdahl has information about his captors that we need. Perhaps, the five guys we released have been brainwashed by the C.I.A. and now work for us. Perhaps, The Taliban is teaming up with The U.S. altogether and we will fight on the same team from now on.

We probably got more than Bergdahl...Who knows, another terrorist attack might have been averted...or an agreement for no further attacks for now.

My hair is turning white just thinking about "the behind the scenes" of all this crap that happens but I do now, that Obama had to do this for the best interest of our country. And he doesn't care if you know it or not.

Would you be able to do what you believed was the right thing for this country, even if you knew you were going to be condemned for some action? That is what the job of the President of the United States is and has always been.

Jun. 05 2014 12:56 PM

The war is over?

On May 29 President Obama addressed the West Point graduating class and stated " For the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America, at home and abroad, remains terrorism". Two days later he turns over five of the most dangerous terrorist being held in GITMO.

Jun. 05 2014 10:33 AM

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