This following was just reported by CNN:
“No negotiating with terrorists” versus “Leave no soldier behind.”
“With the long war in Afghanistan winding down, the plight of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has left the U.S. government trying to reconcile those two longstanding credos in a bid to win the freedom of the only American solider held as a captive.
Bergdahl has been held by insurgents in Pakistan since 2009. Extremely sensitive discussions are under way with intermediaries overseas to see if there is any ability to gain his release, a U.S. official told CNN on Tuesday.”
NOW is a really important time to let your voice be heard in Washington D.C. about these discussions.
Make it a priority to contact the following:
President Obama (CONTACT HERE)
Secretary of State Kerry (CONTACT HERE)
U.S. Department of State
Attention: Secretary John Kerry
2201 C Street NW
Washington DC 20520
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (CONTACT HERE)
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
As we’ve already seen, the Senate & House Armed Services Subcommittees on Personnel can play a really big part in making or not making discussions such as mentioned in the CNN article succesful. If your Members of Congress are on the following list, it’s very important that you contact them to let them know your opinion.
SENATE ARMED SERVICES SUBCOMMITTEE ON PERSONNEL (DEALS WITH POW/MIA ISSUES) MEMBERS (Senators)
Gillibrand, Kirsten E. (NY)
Hagan, Kay R. (NC)
Blumenthal, Richard (CT)
Hirono, Mazie K. (HI)
Kaine, Tim (VA)
King, Angus S. (ME)
Levin, Carl (MI)
Graham, Lindsey (SC)
Ayotte, Kelly (NH)
Blunt, Roy (MO)
Lee, Mike (UT)
HOUSE ARMED SERVICES SUBCOMMITTEE ON PERSONNEL (DEALS WITH POW/MIA ISSUES) MEMBERS (Representatives)
Joe Wilson (SC)
Walter B. Jones (NC)
Joseph J. Heck, (NV)
Austin Scott (GA)
Brad R. Wenstrup, (OH)
Jackie Walorski (IN)
Chris P. Gibson (NY)
Kristi L. Noem, (SD)
Susan A. Davis, (CA)
Robert A. Brady, (PA)
Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU)
Iowa David Loebsack (IA)
Niki Tsongas (MA)
Carol Shea-Porter (NH)
Also, if any of your Members of Congress are on the following lists, please be sure to get a message to them letting them know that you hope that they will support all efforts and opportunities to bring Bowe back home to his family.
ALL SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Carl Levin (MI) Senator (MI)
Jack Reed (RI) Senator
Claire McCaskill (MO) Senator
Mark Udall (CO) Senator
Kay R. Hagan (NC) Senator
Joe Manchin III (WV) Senator
Jeanne Shaheen (NH) Senator
Kirsten E. Gillibrand (NY) Senator
Richard Blumenthal (CT) Senator
Joe Donnelly (IN) Senator
Mazie K. Hirono (HI) Senator
Tim Kaine (VA) Senator Biography
Angus King (ME) Senator
James Inhofe (OK) Senator
John McCain (AZ) Senator
Jeff Sessions (AL) Senator
Saxby Chambliss (GA) Senator
Roger F. Wicker (MS) Senator
Kelly Ayotte (NH) Senator
Deb Fischer (NE) Senator
Lindsey Graham (SC) Senator
David Vitter (LA) Senator
Roy Blunt (MO) Senator
Mike Lee (UT) Senator
Ted Cruz (TX) Senator
ALL HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (CA) Representative
Mac Thornberry (TX) Representative
Walter B. Jones (NC) Representative
J. Randy Forbes (VA) Representative
Joe Wilson (SC) Representative
Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ) Representative
John Kline (MN) Representative
Mike Rogers (AL) Representative
Trent Franks (AZ) Representative
Bill Shuster (PA) Representative
K. Michael Conaway (TX) Representative
Doug Lamborn (CO) Representative
Robert J. Wittman (VA) Representative
Duncan Hunter (CA) Representative
John Fleming (LA) Representative
Mike Coffman (CO) Representative
E. Scott Rigell (VA) Representative
Chris P. Gibson (NY) Representative
Vicky Hartzler (MO) Representative
Joseph J. Heck (NV) Representative
Jon Runyan (NJ) Representative
Austin Scott (GA) Representative
Steven M. Palazzo (MS) Representative
Mo Brooks (AL) Representative
Richard B. Nugent (FL) Representative
Kristi L. Noem (SD) Representative
Paul Cook (CA) Representative
Jim Bridenstine (OK) Representative
Brad R. Wenstrup (OH) Representative
Jackie Walorski (IN) Representative
Bradley Byrne (AL) Representative
Adam Smith (WA) Representative
Loretta Sanchez (CA) Representative
Mike McIntyre (NC) Representative
Robert A. Brady (PA) Representative
Robert E. Andrews (NJ) Representative
Susan A. Davis (CA) Representative
James R. Langevin (RI) Representative
Rick Larsen (WA) Representative
Jim Cooper (TN) Representative
Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU) Representative
Connecticut Joe Courtney (CT) Representative
David Loebsack (IA) Representative
Niki Tsongas (MA) Representative
John Garamendi (CA) Representative
Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (GA) Representative
Colleen W. Hanabusa (HI) Representative
California Jackie Speier (CA)Representative
Ron Barber (AZ) Representative
Andre Carson (IN) Representative
Carol Shea-Porter (NH) Representative
Daniel B. Maffei (NY) Representative
Derek Kilmer (WA) Representative
Joaquin Castro (TX) Representative
Tammy Duckworth (IL) Representative
Scott H. Peters (CA) Representative
William L. Enyart (IL) Representative
Pete P. Gallego (TX) Representative
Marc A. Veasey (TX) Representative
Featured here is a new video of Senator Jim Risch of Idaho discussing Bowe with members of the Select Committee on Intelligence.
Today is the twenty-eighth day of March. Twenty-seven years ago today Bowe Robert Bergdahl was born into a loving family living in a small town in rural Idaho. Life was good in Idaho and Bowe grew up to become a kind, intelligent, adventurous young man.
Fast forward to today. Bowe’s family still lives in Idaho and they still love him dearly. Bowe, however, is being held captive somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan by insurgents who are allied with the Taliban.
While it’s shocking enough to learn that a United States Army soldier has been taken prisoner by those who are fighting against America, it’s even more shocking to know that one has been held captive for nearly four years. As of today, Bowe has seen four birthdays pass since he was taken captive on 30 June 2009. We wonder if Bowe knows that he turns twenty-seven today. We pray that next year that question won’t even need to be asked. It is our greatest hope that in 2014 he will be able to celebrate his birthday, celebrate his life, with his loving family in that small town in Idaho.
What people are doing
Bowe’s supporters have made extra time today to tell others Bowe’s story. Many have distributed flyers and brochures to tell people about his plight. We have a free downloadable brochure that you can get HERE to use to spread the word about Bowe. Facebook users and twitter users are sharing posts about Bowe via social media. We have posts that you can share from our FACEBOOK PAGE “Waiting and Advocating for Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, US Army – POW”. Also, please take a minute to SIGN Bowe’s Guestbook.
Dayle Ohlau of Idaho’s KECH-fm 95.3 interviewed Bowe’s parents, Jani and Bob Bergdahl, today. In an in-depth session she finds out more about how the Bergdahls are able to manage through and cope with the crisis of their son being held as a prisoner of war. Also discussed is how Bob Bergdahl is studying the culture in which Bowe finds himself in order to help to bring his son home. Separately there is also a short segment that features Bowe’s family wishing him a happy birthday.
FOLLOW HERE to listen to the in-depth interview with Bowe’s parents.
FOLLOW HERE to listen as Bowe’s family sends him birthday greetings today.
From us to Bowe
We will end our post today by saying “Happy Birthday Bowe! We are standing strong for you until you come home. God willing, may you celebrate your day next year in Idaho surrounded by those who love you.”
Bowe Supporter Tommy Straight has started an online petition for SGT Bowe Bergdahl. The petition is designed to meet two goals. First, to raise awareness about Sergeant Bergdahl’s plight. Second, and most important, to send the message to Washington D.C. that many Americans believe that it’s well past time to bring Sergeant Bergdahl home. The petition is titled “President Obama: find and free SGT. BOWE BERGDAHL P.O.W. SINCE JUNE 30 2009 AFGHANISTAN”. (Of course, the petition’s title might need to be altered slightly in November depending on the outcome of the national elections.)
The short-term goal for the petition is to get as many signatures as possible by September 21, 2012, which is National POW*MIA recognition day. The long-term goal is to reach at least 100,000 signatures.
You will find links to the petition, as well as a downloadable flyer and a brief tutorial on what to do when signing the petition, by following HERE. There is also a Facebook page called “SGT Bowe Bergdahl’s Online Petition at change.org” that you can join to keep posted on the progress of the petition.
Please show your support for Sergeant Bergdahl by signing this petition and sharing it with others. Please use it as an opportunity to speak out for him as he cannot speak for himself.
The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives will be in session for another two weeks before they go on break. This would be a very good week to leave a phone message for your Senators and Representative. The U.S. Capitol Switchboard can be reached by calling (202)224-3121. When you call, give them your Senators’ names or Representative’s name and tell them that you wish to be connected to their office. Be sure you jot down what you want to say beforehand so that you can get in everything you want tell them. Keep it brief. Be sure to let them know that you are counting on them to do everything in their power to see that Bowe’s release is obtained. Tell them that you want to be able to depend on them to support any effort brought before them to rescue him from his captors. Follow HERE to confirm who your Members of Congress are. If you use this link, you will be able to find the direct lines to your Members of Congress. The main switchboard will get you there also, they just have to connect you.
Please help to raise awareness about Bowe’s captivity by changing your Facebook profile picture today to one that brings attention to Bowe. Please make a special post asking your friends to also make a call to their Members on Congress. And PLEASE share this post. And when you share on Facebook, you’d be amazed at how many shares happen just because you shared on your timeline. And if you actually state on your post PLEASE SHARE, you’ll dramatically boost the chances of having someone else share your post. We all need to get Bowe’s name in front of as many people as possible. Follow HERE for our BOWE TUESDAY post on Facebook.
We continue to ask Twitter users to send out some tweets during the day to tell others about Bowe using hash tags #Bergdahl #bowetuesday #supportbowe #POW. You can top by Twitter and retweet some of ours: https://twitter.com/WaitingForBowe OR https://twitter.com/POWMIAvoice
If you’re new to BOWE TUESDAY, follow HERE for a little info that you might find interesting:
If you are interested in helping to get Bowe’s name out on Twitter, please follow this HERE for more information.
The June 21, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone offers an article by written by Michael Hastings, whose “Runaway General” profile in 2010 led to the dismissal of U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is the most revealing to date about the circumstances before and after Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was taken captive by members of the Haqqani network. “America’s Last Prisoner of War“ includes details of the undisciplined state of the U.S. Army unit that Sergent Bergdahl assigned to, the political maneuvering occurring in Washington D.C. and how it is impacting his possible release, and excerpts of the last email that he sent to his parents before he was captured.
From the article:
The discipline problems that had plagued Bowe’s unit back home only got worse when immersed in the fog of war. From the start, everything seemed to go wrong. In April, Lt. Fancey was removed from his post for clashing with a superior officer. He was replaced by Sgt. 1st Class Larry Hein, who had never held such a command – a move that left the remote outpost with no officers. According to four soldiers in the battalion, the removal of Fancey was quickly followed by a collapse in unit morale and an almost complete breakdown of authority.
The unruly situation was captured by Sean Smith, a British documentary filmmaker with The Guardian who spent a month embedded with Bowe’s unit. His footage shows a bunch of soldiers who no longer give a shit: breaking even the most basic rules of combat, like wearing baseball caps on patrol instead of helmets. In footage from a raid on a family compound, an old Afghan woman screams at the unit, “Look at these cruel people!” One soldier bitches about what he sees as the cowardice of the Afghan villagers he is supposed to be protecting: “They say like, the Taliban comes down and aggravated their town and harasses them… Why don’t you kill those motherfuckers? All of you have AKs. If someone is going into my hometown, I know my town wouldn’t stand for that shit. I’d be like, ‘Fuck you, you’re dead.'” Another soldier laments, “These people just want to be left alone.” A third agrees: “They got dicked with by the Russians for 17 years, and now we’re here.”
During the middle of May, Bowe went out on one of his first major missions. He described it in a detailed e-mail to his family dated May 23rd, 2009. What started as an eight-hour mission, Bowe recounted, ended up taking five days.
While another unit was setting up a night ambush in the mountains, an MRAP – the $1.5 million armored vehicle designed to protect soldiers from the roadside bombs being used by the Taliban – got hit with an IED. Bowe’s platoon was deployed to escort a tow truck to get it down off the mountain. But on the way to escort the truck, an MRAP in Bowe’s own platoon was hit by an IED. The unit found itself stuck in the mountains for four days, guarding the wreckage while their commanders debated whether to fly in the parts needed to fix the vehicles. Some of the time, Bowe wrote his family, was spent near a village that “was not too friendly to Americans” because it had been attacked by the Taliban. “So the elders were telling us to leave,” he reported, “because the taliban was there, and we couldn’t leave because command finely decided that they would fly in the parts (one MRAP needing a new engine) and would rebuild the MRAPs up there.”
Once the MRAPs were finally fixed, the unit started to leave the mountains, only to be hit by yet another IED – the third of the mission – and to come under a blistering attack from rocket-propelled grenades. “It was at the point that the guys where beginning to climb into the trucks that the first RPG hit about 30m away from them,” Bowe recounted, “and then the RPKs and the AKs began to splatter bullets on us, and all around us, the gunners where only able to see a few of them, and so where firing blindly the rest of the time, up into the trees and rocks. The .50 went down on the first shot on the truck i was in, and i had to hand up my SAW for the gunner to use. I sat there and watched, there was nothing else I was allowed to do.”
No soldiers were killed in the ambush, but Bowe blamed the screw-up on his superiors: “Because command where too stupid to make up there minds of what to do,” he wrote, “we where left to sit out in the middle of no where with no sopport to come till late mourning the next day.” He concluded his e-mail with a nod to the absurdity of the situation: “The end of the 8 hour mission that took five days, and so here i am. But Afghanistan mountains are really beautiful!”
It wasn’t long, though, before his parents began to grow frustrated by how the government was treating them in the midst of the ordeal. The Army, they felt, was subtly pressuring them not to speak to the press, and they were required to sign a nondisclosure agreement with the National Security Agency in order to view classified and top-secret material. In addition, Bob believes the military began monitoring their phones in case the kidnappers called – standard procedure in a hostage situation, but one that also enabled the U.S. military to keep tabs on the family.
Things soon got worse. Ralph Peters, an action-thriller writer who serves as a “strategic analyst” for Fox News, took to the air to condemn Bowe as an “apparent deserter.” The Taliban, he declared, could save the United States on “legal bills” by executing him. Horrified by such comments, Bob and Jani told their military liaison that they didn’t want the Army to mount an operation to rescue Bowe, fearful that he’d be killed – either by accident, or even on purpose, by an aggrieved soldier or the U.S. military itself. There have certainly been soldiers who have joined the drumbeat of hatred against Bowe: A recent Facebook post from one soldier in his unit called for his execution. Worried that any further public attention might put Bowe at greater risk, his parents decided to remain silent, releasing a statement to their local newspaper asking the press to respect their privacy.
In what appears to be an unprecedented move, the Pentagon also scrambled to shut down any public discussion of Bowe. Members of Bowe’s brigade were required to sign nondisclosure agreements as part of their paperwork to leave Afghanistan. The agreement, according to Capt. Fancey, forbids them to discuss any “personnel recovery” efforts – an obvious reference to Bowe. According to administration sources, both the Pentagon and the White House also pressured major news outlets like The New York Times and the AP to steer clear of mentioning Bowe’s name to avoid putting him at further risk. (The White House was afraid hard-line elements could execute him to scuttle peace talks, officials involved in the press negotiations say.) Faced with the wall of official silence, Bob and Jani began to worry that the Pentagon wasn’t doing all that it could to get their son back. As Bowe’s sister, Sky, wrote in a private e-mail: “I am afraid our government here in D.C. would like nothing better but to sweep PFC Bergdahl under the rug and wash their hands.
Read the FULL ARTICLE at Rolling Stone online.
EARLIER ARTICLES AND VIDEOS
These articles and videos have been published over the last thirty days beginning with the video that broke three years of near silence by the Bergdahl family regarding Bowe’s capture and captivity.
VIDEO from the Daily:
ARTICLE “Idahoan’s Unlikely Journey to Life as a Taliban Prisoner” from The New York Times:
Last week his anguished family broke a yearlong silence and announced that their son had become the centerpiece in secret but stalled negotiations between the Obama administration and the Taliban over a proposed prisoner exchange. The deal, which would trade five Taliban prisoners held in Guantánamo Bay for Sergeant Bergdahl, is considered a crucial first step toward striking a broader political settlement with the Taliban to bring the decade-long war to an end.
Sergeant Bergdahl’s father, Robert Bergdahl, who said he went public to try to push the Obama administration to revive the talks, has in the meantime reached out to the insurgents. He is now in regular e-mail contact with a man he believes is a member of the Taliban with accurate knowledge of his son.
Read the FULL ARTICLE at The New York Times.
ARTICLE “Waiting for Bowe: America’s Last Captured Soldier” from TIME magazine:
Robert and Jani Bergdahl, parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in Hailey, Idaho, May 12, 2012. Bowe Bergdahl is America’s only known current prisoner of war.
Nearly three years ago, Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, a machine gunner with the 4th Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, disappeared from his outpost in eastern Afghanistan. A short time later, the military learned that Bowe had been captured by the Taliban.
For every parent who sends their son or daughter to war, the ultimate nightmare is seeing a uniformed officer walking up to the house to tell you your child is dead. For Bob and Jani Bergdahl, the nightmare has no end, as their son has been held by the Taliban for nearly three years.
Late last week, I had the honor of meeting with Bob.
Since his son’s capture, he’s become a student of the history, politics and religion that permeates Afghanistan and Pakistan. He taught himself Urdu and Pashto so he could read from news reports and chat rooms in the area, and so if it ever came to it, so he could talk with his son’s captors. Nearly two years after Bow’s capture, Bob made a video he posted on Youtube where he appealed directly to the Pakistani military for Bowe’s release.
Read the FULL ARTICLE at TIME online.
ARTICLE & SLIDESHOW” America’s Last Living POW: Christopher Morris Photographs a Family in Waiting” TIME magazine:
After their son was captured, the Bergdahls kept their silence. Intensely private, devout Presbyterians, they chose to work behind the scenes to try and bring their son home. But a week ago, an interview Bob had given was published in a local newspaper. It said that he was frustrated with the government for not doing enough to bring Bowe home. Bob decided to break his silence. “We do not want the American people to think we are dissatisfied with the way our government has proceeded,” Bob says. “The problem is this is extremely complex. It involves several different parties—state actors and non-state actors. This is going to be difficult to reconcile, which is why we believe diplomacy for the hostages—and Bowe’s not the only one, there are other hostages—negotiations, diplomacy are the window of opportunity here.
Read the FULL ARTICLE at TIME online.