The Bergdahl matter finally is moving forward; now let’s wait and see


Last week, BDN editorial page editor and blogger extraordinaire Erin Rhoda told the interesting and poignant story of a World War II prisoner swap involving 152 American civilians, including the parents of Tyler H. Thompson of Hancock. In it, Ms. Rhoda made a reference to the more recent swap brokered by the White House of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban captains.

It was an intentional connection which provided context given Mr. Thompson’s expressed views, but seemed at best tenuous, or at worst political. No matter, the blog entry was very well written and historically instructive.

It also got me thinking.

This week, in more concrete news, the Pentagon announced the appointment of Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl to lead the investigation. According to AP reports, there are no plans to interview Sgt. Bergdahl until he is deemed mentally and emotionally sound.

But that doesn’t exclude Sgt. Bergdahl from low grade or passive debriefing – at which our national intelligence apparatus is extremely adept. Indeed, this young soldier’s every utterance is almost certainly being dissected in the background, far from the bright lights and obvious chirping of the usual media suspects – and any formal inquiry into the matter.

In my Portland Sun column this week, “Bergdahl affair: far from over” I stay away from politics, and instead review the many types of military investigations, and some basics surrounding Sgt. Bergdahl’s current situation and evolving fate.

My intent was to offer up a primer based on the reality of how such matters are approached habitually, even when not receiving global news attention – or being demagogued by both liberals and conservatives.

Knowing him personally from my earliest days in uniform, (Maj. Gen.) Kenny Dahl is about as tough and honest an officer as our Army has, so I will believe everything his final report yields.

Yet there is much we will never know. Also, plenty is already known, and will be further revealed in both debriefing and investigation, that will never be told to the public.

Will some of this be for political reasons? It would be naïve to think otherwise. Do you agree, or are other motives at hand?

My money is mostly on the fact that this probe will yield sensitive and classified information beyond the public’s need to know.

Pretty unsexy.

But then, so is war.


Telly Halkias

About Telly Halkias

Award-winning freelance journalist from Portland's West End. Writes columns, features, and drama reviews for newspapers in Vermont, where he also owns a home, Massachusetts, New York and Maine.. Former weekend columnist at the now defunct Portland Sun. Longtime adjunct professor of college English/history/humanities. Has lived overseas for 15 years, and all over the U.S. Veteran. Small business owner. Published poet. ATCA drama critic. Loves all things outdoors, and Siberian huskies.