Sound Off: Solving the ‘Mystery’ of Sgt. Bergdahl



The desertion case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has attracted the journalists behind the popular podcast Serial and it’s rumored that Bergdahl will be the focus of the program’s upcoming second series.

Wait, what?

For anyone needing some background: a podcast is a sort of on-demand radio program distributed online and Serial, created by the producers of actual public radio show This American Life, became a sensation last fall with the kind of college-educated, bearded and/or tatted-up baristas who make your $5 coffee drinks at Starbucks. The first series was about the 1999 murder of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee and questioned whether her (convicted) boyfriend Adnan Syed was actually guilty of the crime.

The hipster class went crazy, everyone talked about it around their online water cooler of choice for weeks until the series ended without a clear solution to its mystery. Since, you know, real life doesn’t usually follow a Hollywood story arc. There was a lot of complaining and disappointment, but interest now seems high in what happens next. You can think of this as the online equivalent of the True Detective obsession after season one, since the two shows probably share a fan base.

Most fans of Serial have probably heard Bergdahl’s name, but very few will have the kind of knowledge and prior interest that readers certainly have. The podcast has the potential to bring his story to a class of Americans who haven’t paid much attention to the War on Terror and generate a lot of new interest, something that doesn’t impress the men who served with Bergdahl. As one (anonymously) told the Military Times, “I think it’s the height of crassness for them to do this when it could potentially affect the legal proceedings. I assume it will be a great way to paint us as kooks and sore losers.”

Lead reporter Sarah Koenig was spotted in the courtroom at his Article 32 hearing last week, so her interest is all but confirmed. (Side note: Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal was also there. We’ll keep an eye on future developments with that guy.)

Should Bergdahl’s story be the subject of a True Crime series? Is this kind of thing journalism or is it the audio equivalent of true crime recreations that run endlessly on obscure cable networks? Take our survey below and sound off in the comments!

  • dockrick

    if he was a deserter how come he was promoted to SGT,, if this mess continues any longer he will be able to retire at E-7.

    • USAF Ret

      Because POW’s get promoted on schedule the whole time they are held. He hasn’t been convicted of anything… Yet. Don’t worry he’ll be E-1 soon.

    • Christopher

      He was considered captured and therefore eligible for promotion

  • USN Retired

    To answer the question, I do not believe his actions deserve media attention. He is a coward that got picked up by the enemy and was held as a POW for five years.
    If a solider that did the right thing in confronting a police chief is being discharged, a coward should lose all the benefits of his misdeeds too.

    • Guest

      This post hits the nail on the head. He is a coward and a deserter. He should be shot since he deserted during the time of conflict.

  • TeXan

    I think that Fox news has investigated this completely to try to embarass Obummer. I suspect that Bergdahl will do time but think he will not be executed as called for by the republicans. (actually the man must have had a mental defect to think he was going to contact the Taliban and negotiate with them..)

  • JJMurray

    The problem isn’t that it shouldn’t get coverage. The problem is you will probably have someone who doesn’t understand the military or the UCMJ or military justice reporting on this poor, lost, soul who just wanted to make things better (or some similar garbage) and will instead mostly ignore the reality that in a combat zone you don’t just walk away without putting everyone else around you in danger.

  • ron

    Any soldier, veteran, are military retiree will tell you .That you do not desert your post at any time . Especially during war time and are military action or conflict of any type. because that is desertion. the only thing worse is desertion under fire. bergdahl is a coward , a deserter. and should be busted to pvt, sentenced to what ever term of imprisonment that desertion calls for and given a dishonorable discharge and drummed out of the service . I could think of a few more degrading things too. but they would require about a week of telling you folks out there what I really think of bergdahl. And yes this needs to be made public so as any other jerk out there can see and hear what happens when you desert your unit . I just hope that the military courts marshal gives bergdahl what he deserves. and as a warning to others give it to him hard. with hard labor and a long time to think about it.



    • Larry Barrier

      I agree100%!!!

  • Gessick

    Nike social media, what I like about they posts is they are logical! It is great to be able to focus on the real issue, not the garbage.

    While I do not think there is anyway to avoid the political sideshow, I am fine with coverage if it addresses the reality of combat. In combat zones, everything is about the team, not the individual! So an individual deserting puts the whole team in danger, as the enemy will quickly torture him enough to gain intelligence on this battalion location and mission.

    Conversely, I do believe whatever his judgment is will be tempered by the 5 years of Hell he endured as a POW! I expect, he will get minimal years in jail and a dishonorable discharge! Why do I say this? Because it has gained visibility. So they will try to present their decision as fair. I am not saying I agree, just saying I think it will be political.

    • MSG Retired

      Ouch, I hate when the truth hurts so much.

  • JimmyD

    Bergdahl = Traitor. Next.

    • Bob Deschamps

      I’m a WWII Vet who will volunteer for the Firing Squad….with an M-1 with one round in the chamber…
      DONE……..without remorse.

  • haloguy628

    Problem is that these blogs and some major so called news outlets are not true news reporting organizations. They have deteriorated into leftist propaganda organizations who present opinions and outright ideological propaganda pieces as legitimate news. Their only purpose is to advance the cause.

    That’s why I believe that this blog will come to conclusion that Bergdahl was just misunderstood, possibly mentally ill guy who meant good and who was suddenly in midst of criminal killers so he decided to go and report all that evil to a General. No thank you.

  • Barbara W.

    I don’t care what his reasons were for abandoning his unit as his days to bring attention to issues within the unit, the bottom line is he deserted and caused significant disruption to the mission of his unit. He is selfish and a coward and certainly should not receive any recognition for being a POW. He wouldn’t have been in that position had he not been so wreck less to leave the F.O.B. He should be treated as s deserter, pay back all monies and dishonorably discharged. His behavior is unacceptable and should not be rewarded.

  • Jameson Pate

    There is no mystery, he’s a traitor. People died searching for this scumbag. Get this over with and lock him up or hang him.

  • Gary

    My opinion is he left his unit on his own free will, which is contrary to what everyone has in the military. You give up your free will the minute you leave for basic training. You raise your right hand and give an oath.

    The bottom line was this man walked away from his post or went on a walk about in Indian country and did not lose his scalp. He did not go on any kind of patrol because he was alone. Where was his battle buddy? He should have thought about defending those he was with instead of placing them in danger.

    I refuse to feel sorry for him when others have paid the ultimate sacrifice. He does not need anymore attention. All have given some some have given all(their life).

  • Shawn McFadden

    Mystery? What mystery? HE DESERTED HIS UNIT, PERIOD!!!!!

  • oldveteran

    The Army has a problem. For years it has tried to emphasize honor, responsibility, and loyalty as its core values. Bergdahl, for whatever reason, displayed none of these. So, for the Army to uphold its core values, it must punish Bergdahl. On the other hand, the Army also seems to want to be seen as more compassionate than in the old days, and this would require making excuses for his conduct and not meting out any harsh punishment. And of course, there is the fact that the White House has already treated Bergdahl as a victim who served with “honor and distinction”, which means that any member of the court martial board will be going against the Commander-in-Chief if he/she votes to convict Bergdahl–not a smart career move.

  • oldcoastie

    My first question is why would the US Army even reenlist this joker after he was kicked out of the USCG after just a couple of weeks in boot camp. They obviously realized very early that he was a nut case and definitely not suited for military duty, yet the Army picked him up … go figure.

  • triplediper

    He should have tried by now. Too many political changes within the services now to recommend one to a friend, male or female.

  • Retired AF

    I think he is a deserter. He left his post and caused men to be killed looking for him. He says he wanted to focus on problems by going to the enemy. He should be tried and imprisoned. He is not s victim. In my personal opinion he is a traitor.

  • Ray

    This blog perpetuates the problem. He will be tried, and judged by a panel (who I suspect he will elect to include enlisted members), and they will decide his fate. Until then, everything else is irrelevant. The sensationalism and reckless reporting of this case before it takes its course will only hurt the process. There is no way he will get a fair trail with all of the lies, half truths, and irresponsible reporting going on, which is further compounded by the political agendas working in the back ground. I have no love for SGT Bergdahl, but he deserves his day in court to defend himself, because that is the values and processes our country was founded on. What goes on now would sicken our founding fathers, and has evolved into something they definitely would never have approved of.

    • Roygee

      Finally a voice of reason. Let the process work and stop with vitriol.

  • Jim Darby

    I think that we should all wait until the facts are released. Twice, during peace time, I just wandered off when the stress became unbearable. The first time, I woke up about 3 days later in LA County Jail charged with drinking under age – had been in the USMC for 3 yrs. 2nd time, if I could have gotten my M-1 out of the rifle rack and had ammo I would have shot my gunny, 4-5 days later I wound up in Walnut Creek CA – 600 miles away – and was taken by friends to Oak Knoll then to TI to await a medical – diagnosis was Major Depression now 100% for Major Depression and PTSD. Last time I blacked out I remember nothing for almost 2 months and found myself in at FCI Butner, NC for a psych evaluation – had gone off on the phone to the IRS.
    From what I have heard so far, he may have done the same. No intent to do anything except the situation. Now, with further research on mental health this may be common across diagnoses.

  • Geeman

    No lives were lost looking for him. Don’t belie everything you read on the Internet.

    • Smallest Sparrow

      Can we believe Time magazine? Six good men were killed while in patrol searching for this deserter. He should be required to spend six hours every day looking at their photographs and reading about their families’ loss.

  • james frazer

    He deserted his fellow warriors. He should be hung until dead immediately. This is a wartime crime. What happened to the UCMJ ????

  • secone

    I knew by the end of my first week in boot camp not to walk away from my post. There is no excuse.

  • ray

    why is the military acting this way to this traitor. is obama now dictating military justice to us. our the generals afraid, they may not get their star if they hang this person. he should have been court-martialed and sentenced long ago.

  • Myles Gill

    he should be shot. this would time and money!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Don

    Why would his fellow soldiers lie about what happened? They get no money or fame for it. He abandon his post ( for some odd reason) and wandered away. It is what it is, but in the end I have a feeling this will come down to his word against the others. It cannot be proven so therefore he will win out.

  • Bob

    I feel BERGDAHL should have been shot dead in front of his captors right after the turnover! He’s a traitor and this circus has to end.

  • 1isnone2isone

    Nope. No Courts martial. straight to the firing squad. His cohorts are witness enough and the Casualties left in his wake of cowardness, conspiring with the enemy, betraying His Oath and Desertion of His post are Proof and the outstanding warrants for His whereabouts. Yah, tell the world we Will Not be PC on this and any other slacker who is representing the Freedoms with his very life, will not be tolerated. it gives our Ememy’s the front row seat as to how we handle and support the bravery of those in His chain of command doesn’t just reside @ 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Send a message.

  • it is clear from seeing his parents in action that they are traitors as well and that they contributed heavily in influencing their confused son to be an enemy sympathizer. they should be dragged through the dirt along with him. remember his daddy rattling along in Arabic? He clearly wrote a note and gathered his things and departed to join up with the enemy and apparently they were not interested in taking a traitor on board. nobody wants to trust a traitor. a good rule of thumb: If the U.S. administration endorses it and promotes it, you can be assured it is the wrong position to take and has little to do with the truth.

  • Leon Suchorski

    His intention to desert was obvious when he did not take his rifle with him when he left. No soldier leaves their rifle when they go someplace in a war zone, EVERY SOLDIER KNOWS THAT. His rifle is necessary in case he confronts the enemy, and has to shoot them. But since he never intended to shoot them, we see why he left his rifle. The distance that he was going to traverse to “LODGE HIS COMPLAINTS, AND INFORM HIS SUPERIORS”, was just to far that he should not have his rifle with him. He ruined every excuse that he could come up with, when he did not take his rifle with him. Every combat veteran knows that.