POL103-Episodes 7, 8

In these two episodes, the hoster talked about why Bowe decided to walk away, which is the part I interested in most. Before I listen to these two, I assumed there must be something really terrible that driven Bowe to risk his life. Maybe Bowe’s leader abused this power, for example, sexual harassment, I thought. From what I heard, the first problem is that their leaders risk soldier’s life to save pieces of equipment, and the second is that they valued the appearance really strict. In addition, he thought they are doing or they will operate COIN, but they did not. All of these made Bowe distrusts his leaders and feels his life is disvalued. He feels threatened by the others, so he left. I totally understand his leaving, but Bowe did not think about the consequence, for example, the possibility he cathed by Taliban, the possibility his battle companion die for him, etc. The biggest problem as he stays in the troop is he basically does not trust anyone, even his battle companion, which prevents him to think about the consequence of leaving.

I would not blame him because of his leaving. Considering his growing environment — not like other children grow up in school and always have peer around and has teachers guiding them — Bowe figured things around by his own effort. Because Bowe did not have the experience to be in a group and fight for a common goal, he may not feel the so-called the collective sense of honor, so he may not even think about other battle companions when he left. Besides, he cares about what his families and friends see him. Bowe wanted to prove to THEM that he is strong and brave, not a failure, not to his battle companion. However, I think that kind of honor and mutual trust are what the army assume all soldiers already have. No matter what the psychologist call it, I think Bowe was the kind of person not fit the real battlefield, where people rely on each other so much. He probably can take charge some paperwork, but definitely not some job people highly depending on each other. For example, if it is a football game, I think Bowe should not be the player, but maybe the manager of a team, or the referee.

The sad part is that Bowe wants to be a hero who fights with bad guys and sacrifice himself. Also, there is no such equipment in the troop that can find out who does not have a collective sense of honor. Neither Bowe’s leader nor his friends find out his “unnormal” part. If talking about an overarching code of ethics for the U.S. military, I guess it must be unconditional obedience to command — give up all of the complaints and follow the rule — no matter whether you want to improve the system or not. I don’t think this code was violated by Bergdahl’s recruitment after the incident in the Coast Guard. At that time, he only had the diagnosis of situational anxiety. Maybe he developed his schizotypal personality disorder and paranoia later. If the army wants to avoid people have a mental illness, I think they should not only be more scrutiny during recruitment but also be careful with everyone’s mental status during the service.

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