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Another 'No Easy Day' revelation: dramatic SEAL search for POW

The Pentagon and US government have been tight-lipped about Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only POW in the Afghanistan war. 'No Easy Day' sheds light on SEAL efforts to rescue him.

By Anna MulrineStaff writer / September 6, 2012


Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only POW from the Afghanistan war, went missing from his fortified base on June 30, 2009, under circumstances that are not entirely clear before being captured by the Taliban.

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Sergeant Bergdahl, now thought to be in the hands of a terrorist network, is hardly a household name in America. The Pentagon for its part rarely discusses him, and the US government has been criticized for lack of attention to his case.

In May his mother, Jani Bergdahl, told The New York Times that President Obama “has never contacted us. We haven’t gotten a Hallmark card, we haven’t gotten a note signed by an aide, nothing.”

Now “No Easy Day,” the controversial new book by Matt Bissonnette, a former member of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 that killed Osama bin Laden, is giving a gripping insider account of the Pentagon’s behind-the-scenes efforts to rescue Bergdahl.

“When an American soldier went missing at the start of the summer,” writes Mr. Bissonnette, who wrote the book under the pen name Mark Owen, “we dropped everything to find him.”

The book sheds light on the issue of POWs, a seldom-discussed topic today, particularly in comparison with the Vietnam War era. 

In part, this is because there were far more POWs in Vietnam than in Iraq or Afghanistan, where US troops have largely been confined to heavily-fortified bases.

In 1973, in keeping with the peace accords, Hanoi returned 591 American POWs to the United States. Today, there remain 1,660 US troops who are unaccounted for, according to Department of Defense (DOD) statistics.

Each year, the DOD’s Prisoner of War/Missing Person’s office hosts “family updates” to discuss ongoing efforts to find the US military’s missing with relatives. 

Attendance at these events has been growing steadily from 645 in 2001 to 1,161 in 2011. 


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