Bowe Bergdahl’s Prison Letters Reveal His Frustrations With the Army

“Please tell D.C. to wait for all evadince [sic] to come in.”

National Journal
Emma Roller
Add to Briefcase
Emma Roller
June 12, 2014, 12:07 p.m.

The Daily Beast has ob­tained cop­ies of two let­ters Bowe Ber­g­dahl wrote to his fam­ily from a “Taliban pris­on” in 2012 and 2013. The web­site re­ceived the let­ters from “sources in con­tact with the Taliban.”

The first let­ter, dated Nov. 27, 2012, is more philo­soph­ic­al and en­cour­ages his fam­ily to en­joy the free lives they lead.

“I pray every one is well. I think about you all every day. And all the things that happened in my life. I miss you all, but as papa says, God’s will be done. All things hap­pen for a reas­on. Math­mat­ics is full evid­ence of this, just be­cause we can­not un­der­stand the mas­ter equa­tion, does not mean it is not there. Math is God’s code for this Uni­verse and bey­ond. I miss you all,” he wrote.

“The beauty of God’s work goes bey­ond any­thing we could ever think of! Though I stand in this Uni­verse and with these eyes I see, ah, but so little do I see of all the beauty that is here. And all the beauty, simply, God’s work. But though I see so little, it is bet­ter then to see noth­ing at all. I look for­ward to hear­ing of all the things you have all done in the time I’ve been in pris­on. Have some good ad­ven­tures for me, and learn + do as much as you can. Nev­er stop mov­ing.”

In his next let­ter, dated March 23, 2013, Ber­g­dahl im­plores gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to wait un­til all the evid­ence comes to light be­fore judging his ac­tions:

To Fam­iely and Friends

Tak­ing care and well. months in­to 2013, winter over and worm weath­er here. Let­ter from dad came today. Missed thanks­giv­ing, won­der who is win­ning the race now, good hunt­ing to you and our friends, won­der how the weath­er was South­land and house big the herds are now.

Thanks for go to d.c. know it is long way to go. If this let­ter makes it to the U.S.A. tell those in­volved in the in­vest­ig­a­tion that there are more sides to the cit­tuwa­tion and ori­ganal plans nev­er came clear. the cer­com­stance from the be­gain­ing of my time in Aphganistan from Imme­det top to bottum where bad for troop­ers es­peshly in my PLT. Or­ders showed a high dis­con­cer for safty of troop­ers in the field, and lack­ing clear minded lo­gic­al and com­mon­sence think­ing and un­der­stand­ing from top­sides. The cer­com­stance showed sighns of go­ing from bad in­to a night­mar for the men in the field. Un­ex­cept­able con­di­tions for the men work­ing and risk­ing life every mo­ment out­side the wire. There are some risks that are forced to be taken, however it was made clear more then once that clear minded un­der­stand­ing from lead­er­ship was lack­ing, if not non-ex­ist­ent. The con­di­tions where bad and looked to be get­ting worce for the men that where ac­tuly the ones risk­ing thi­er lives from at­tack as well as aphgan el­la­ments. Please tell d.c. to wi­at for all evadince to come in.

things well. take care.

Keep powder dry. Miss Id. N. Bowe Ber­g­dahl PFC 2nd PLT B Co. 1-501st U.S. Army.

Ber­g­dahl was cap­tured by the Taliban after walk­ing off his base in 2009, and held in Pakistan for five years. Now, he’s com­ing home, in ex­change for five mem­bers of the Taliban who were pris­on­ers at Guantá­namo Bay.

As Mi­chael Hast­ings wrote in 2012, Ber­g­dahl’s unit in Afgh­anistan suffered from in­com­pet­ence:

The unit, for its part, con­tin­ued to bungle even the most ba­sic as­pects of mil­it­ary duty. Dur­ing the last week of June, the pla­toon spent a day re­sup­ply­ing at For­ward Op­er­at­ing Base Shar­ana. When someone in the unit lost his weapon, every­one in the pla­toon had to drop what they were do­ing and look for it. To make mat­ters worse, on an earli­er trip to Shar­ana, 10 mem­bers of the pla­toon had been poached to pull guard duty at an­oth­er base, leav­ing the unit even more un­der­manned than usu­al.

Ac­cord­ing to U.S. of­fi­cials, Ber­g­dahl was held in a cage in the dark for weeks at a time. However, he was able to re­ceive let­ters from his fam­ily sent through re­li­gious lead­ers in Pakistan. In their let­ters, (which The Daily Beast is not re­leas­ing out of re­spect for the fam­ily’s pri­vacy) Ber­g­dahl’s par­ents sound des­per­ate for their son’s re­turn.

“There are many people on your team across the coun­try, but you know it is hard for every­one to come to an agree­ment,” they write. “We hope the dip­lo­mats who have worked so hard on your be­half will have a chance to fin­ish their work and bring you home,” they add.

Soon, their wish will be gran­ted. And when he comes home, they’ll face an­oth­er struggle.

What We're Following See More »
FCC Tightens Internet Privacy Standards
1 hours ago

Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."

Obama Commutes Another 98 Sentences
2 hours ago

President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.

DOJ Busts More Than 50 for Call Center Scam
2 hours ago

The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."

Johnson on Ballot Everywhere, Followed by Stein, McMullin
4 hours ago
Is McMullin Building the GOP in Exile?
6 hours ago

Evan McMullin, the independent conservative candidate who may win his home state of Utah, is quietly planning to turn his candidacy into a broader movement for principled conservatism. He tells BuzzFeed he's "skeptical" that the Republican party can reform itself "within a generation" and that the party's internal "disease" can't be cured via "the existing infrastructure.” The ex-CIA employee and Capitol Hill staffer says, “I have seen and worked with a lot of very courageous people in my time [but] I have seen a remarkable display of cowardice over the last couple of months in our leaders.” McMullin's team has assembled organizations in the 11 states where he's on the ballot, and adviser Rick Wilson says "there’s actually a very vibrant market for our message in the urban northeast and in parts of the south."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.