Bowe Bergdahl

Bergdahl podcast looks at immediate aftermath of his return to U.S.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. AP

Producer Sarah Koenig poured over the ramifications of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s return to the U.S. in the tenth episode of the second season of ‘Serial,’ the popular ‘This American Life’ spinoff podcast.

Koenig examined President Barack Obama’s address in the Rose Garden, and the political impact that had on prisoner exchanges. How Bergdahl’s release was announced played a critical role in how his return was perceived, she argued.

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She also showed what was going on behind the scenes with Bergdahl while he was “reintegrating.” The soldier — who walked off his base in 2009, was captured and held by the Taliban for 5 years — was disoriented at first. But though he struggled with basics like language and sleeping on a bed, he was reportedly very cooperative and eager to help U.S. officials.

“Bowe (Bergdahl) didn't end up being a model soldier. But he'd been, by all accounts, a model POW and now a model returnee,” Koenig says in the podcast.

Erin Fenner: 208-377-6207, @erinfenner

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