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Bergdahl: His disappearance and the aftermath......

Amy Goodman, writing in "Bergdahl, Afghanistan, and the Darkening of the American Soul" on truthdig, about the now re-appeared Bowe Bergdahl......

"When Bowe Bergdahl was reported missing in Afghanistan on the morning of June 30, 2009, a crack formed in the U.S. narrative about the longest war in our nation’s history. Bergdahl’s release this week, as part of a prisoner-of-war swap with the Taliban, has provoked the partisan pundits to hurl invective at the American POW, his family, and at President Barack Obama. Far removed from the din of these professional Beltway hecklers, though, in Hailey, Idaho, Bob Bergdahl, the young prisoner’s father, has been struggling for his son’s release. The ordeal of the son, and the disciplined, contemplative activism of the father, projects the U.S. war in Afghanistan through a different lens.

We know little yet of what exactly led to Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance that night in Paktika province. Sean Smith, a filmmaker with The Guardian, met him the month before his disappearance. “Bowe was a softly spoken, intelligent and thoughtful guy,” Smith wrote. Smith produced two remarkable videos, one with footage shot in Afghanistan, another in Idaho, showing Bob Bergdahl’s personal efforts to not only free his son, but to understand the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Bowe himself is not interviewed in Smith’s films, but two fellow soldiers, in their tightly-knit group of five or six, were:

SOLDIER ONE: “These people just want to be left alone.”

SOLDIER TWO: “They got dicked with from the Russians for 17 years and then now we’re here.”

SOLDIER ONE: “Same thing in Iraq when I was there. These people just want to be left alone. Have their crops, weddings, stuff like that, that’s it, man.”


****

"The late Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings reported on Bowe Bergdahl, quoting emails from Bowe to his parents that were very critical of the U.S. occupation. Bowe wrote, “I am sorry for everything here.” At the end of Sean Smith’s video shot in Idaho, we hear Bob Bergdahl quietly remark about the U.S. war in Afghanistan: “I think this is the darkening of the American soul. It is where the guilt comes from, because you are being told you are helping, but you know on the inside that you are not.”

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