Viewer weighs in on Bergdahl release

Viewer weighs in on Bergdahl release

As a combat veteran and former soldier with over 26 years of service in the U.S. Army, I did not have the honor and pleasure of serving with Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews; Staff Sergeants Clayton Bowen, Kurt Curtiss, and Michael Murphey; Private First Class Matthew Martinek and Morris Walker.

Six of America's fallen warriors from 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry, who were killed in action or died of wounds received after Sergeant Bowe Bergdhal walked away from a combat outpost in Afghanistan.

I did serve with a number of America's sons and daughters who reflected the same values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage as they did. Values that as Americans and Texans we hold dearly. Their selfless service and personal courage in Afghanistan, serves as an example for present and future generations the risk and sacrifice that is required to insure our freedoms.

The Bergdahl prisoner exchange reconfirms that America will not leave a service member behind regardless of the circumstances surrounding the individuals capture. That being said I do not believe that the prisoner swap was in the best interests of the country or the right thing to do; neither would have been a raid to get him back.

Since late 2009, early 2010 the U.S. Army has known that Bergdahl had deserted his post. It is unclear what his motivations or intent was at the time. Soldiers from his unit have been "gagged" to talk about his disappearance since redeploying. With his release they have been speaking out with courage, candor, and competence.

Bowe Bergdahl is not a hero; he has done nothing heroic; further he has not served with honor and distinction; and needs to answer the questions concerning his disappearance.

The Army will conduct a comprehensive review to learn the circumstances of Bergdahl's disappearance and captivity.

This prisoner swap specifically, is not a good deal for America and our fellow citizens because by releasing five former senior level members of the Taliban we set the conditions for at least two of them to return to their former way of life; potentially setting the conditions of increasing the threat to U.S. citizens. Safeguarding U.S. citizens should be the national interest of highest importance, not reconciliation between the various segments fighting in Afghanistan, the hope for greater regional stability, or any other reason the administration can come up with.

The backlash among a myriad of individuals and organizations to this swap should have been anticipated, to include those who have changed their position as the truth comes out.

I would like to charge my fellow Americans and Texans not to waver from and strive to maintain the courage, commitment, and sacrifice in your daily lives, that our fallen warriors exhibited in theirs.

-Mark Olinger
Mount Vernon, TX