Serial Season 2, Episode 1: Dustwun

Picture loneliness. Imagine fear and frustration. Taste the isolation of being a lone wolf in a sea of blind followers. The anger. The desire for rebellion that permeates your very being and shoves you towards revolution. Feel the sting of the burning knowledge that you may be what stands between those you care about and their continued mistreatment. Can you feel it yet? If your answer is yes, then you are prepared to empathize on a deeper level with the plight of Bowe Bergdahl. A soldier, dressed head to toe in army gear, who is unable to exude the pride he would wish to in America because of what he has endured in his training. You see, Bergdahl recognized early on that the training he and his men were receiving was in a word, inadequate. The tactics they were being taught were shotty, subpar, and could inevitably have gotten them killed. Despite his best efforts, trying to work directly with his superiors was not effective. Complaints don’t bode well in the U.S. Army. Soldiers are subordinates and must traditionally prove their worth through blood, sweat, and obeying orders. What was he to do, as a lone wolf trying to protect his people? Bergdahl decided that the only step he could take was a very radical one: become the whistle blower. But not only would he blow the whistle, he would do so in a way that was unprecedented, a danger to his own life, and to his career as a soldier. He would leave base and make it seem as though he had been captured by the enemy in order to reflect poorly upon those above him. This way, no one would actually have been harmed, and the inadequate leadership of his superiors would not have an opportunity to leach it’s way into the battlefield before being exposed as potentially life threatening. In theory, this is an extremely noble premis. He was willing to sacrifice his own future as a soldier in order to protect the lives of others. So in that sense, I completely understand his rationale. However, I need to know more about his plan of execution and how/ where things went wrong.
Daugherty | 2 Before delving further into the discussion on whether or not Bergdahl’s decision was justified, it would help us as outsiders to have a snapshot of his environment. And thanks to the good folks at The Guardian, we have just that. In the first (and arguably most striking) photograph, we see soldiers on a dirty, dilapidated base. To the far right stands Bergdahl, smoking a pipe. As the developers of The Guardian pointed out, it truly speaks to the type of unruly, undisciplined lifestyle the soldiers were being allowed to live. This speaks to a much deeper issue than simple regulations such as no recreational smoking during training hours being broken. It speaks to a lack of order and the haphazardness of their training regiment. More importantly, it reaffirms observer’s understanding of Bergdahl’s fear for his and other’s lives. Remember that information we were so desperately seeking about Bergdahl’s plan of execution? The writers of The Plan have expelled our confusion. The idea was simple: he would travel from the OP Mest Outpost at nightfall and travel quickly to the base in FOB Sharana. In theory, this is rather reasonable, as it is a short distance (for a soldier… those of us who hadn’t undergone relentless training regimes probably would find 20 miles to be a bit of a challenge). However, there were other challenges to consider. In example, there were natural barriers along the path that could have not only deterred him, but caused him to suffer from serious injuries had he not been careful. On top of this, he was on foreign ground. This land was not one that he was entirely familiar with, and the enemy could lerk around every bend. The base he was attempting to enter was extremely active, difficult to infiltrate, and dangerous to enter alone. With all of this new information, my question is simple for the next installment: what will our dustwun do next?

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