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Bowe Bergdahl Returning to Active Duty, Recovery By No Means Complete

It’s been six weeks since Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released from Taliban custody and returned to the United States. According to The New York Times, it seems that his initial rounds of therapy and counseling are complete and Bergdahl “is expected to return to life as a regular Army soldier as early as Monday…” He will “assume a job at the Army North headquarters at Fort Sam Houston.

The Times also reports that he is “also expected to meet with Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl” who is investigating the events leading up to and following his disappearance in 2009. The investigation opened last month and, according to POLITICO, will be paired with the findings of a 2009 investigation immediately after his capture. That investigation was “never official concluded and has remained classified.”

While incriminating statements that Bergdahl made during treatment apparently could be used to prosecute him, it seems as if he has yet to make any. Despite being essentially “convicted” of desertion and treason by ideologically-driven news media and his former comrades, the Army seems to be sticking to only hard evidence. According to The Los Angeles Times report from mid-June, “Army officials said there was no indication that Bergdahl was guilty of misconduct while he was held captive.”

What’s most troubling about all of this is that Bergdahl – if he’s not already – will most certainly become aware of the rhetoric surrounding his return. In the research for this post I found no less than a dozen “headlines” (none from any credible media) where Bergdahl was outright referred to as a “traitor.” As much as I hope he does, I can’t imagine a way in which he doesn’t take it personally.

Sure, Bergdahl may be living in the barracks now with two other soldiers, but his recovery is by no means complete. The struggle for war veterans to successfully reintegrate into civilian society is difficult enough for those who’ve not been both held captive for five years and branded a villain less than 48 hours after returning to U.S. custody.

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.