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
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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.

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