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'We Swore to an Oath and We Upheld Ours. He Did Not.'

The soldiers in Bowe Bergdahl's platoon speak up.

3:45 PM, Jun 2, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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But others wonder whether Bergdahl helped the Taliban, either willfully or under duress. In the hours after he disappeared, according to sources familiar with the intelligence, U.S. troops received an intelligence report that Bergdahl stopped in a local village and asked how to find the Taliban. That report, if it exists, is not mentioned in the Wikileaks documents related to Bergdahl's disappearance. But several sources with knowledge of the case insist that the report is true.

Says one platoon mate: "He's friends with the delivery driver, he's friends with the goat farmer, he's got relationships with all the locals—and he stops to ask how he can find the Taliban? He could have just gone to Habib the local goat farmer and floated along with the locals."

Whether a deserter or collaborator, the mere mention of Bergdahl's name generates the strongest of human emotions among those who served alongside him or participated in attempts to rescue him. "Guys are dead because of him," says one soldier involved in recovery operations. "Several KIA and others severely wounded." 

"The amount of pain he's caused," says one of Bergdahl's platoon mates, his voice trailing off. After a long pause, he resumes. "The time he was DUSTWUN was the most miserable time of my life. It was absolute hell. A bunch of us had a pact if we found him. We'd each get him in a room for five minutes and short of killing him we could do what we want."

"There were times—there are still times—when I turn on the TV and I wish they'd just beheaded him on TV and gotten it over with." 

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