Serial podcast, Season 2

Is out.

Apparently, a new story.

Can’t wait!


The Bowe Bergdahl story. I’m imagining that’s a good subject to do a deep dive on. Very much looking forward to the ride again.

Am I alone in being a bit sad that the Adnan Syed saga will not be revisited?

Still excited, though.

(ETA: Sarah Koenig says the Syed case developments are too soon to be revisted. No worries; the Bergdahl story is sure to be fascinating as well.)

First episode was pretty good. Why Bergdahl left the base from Bergdahl’s viewpoint (which… some of it seemed quite a bit far fetched to me, but I can see where some of it may have made sense to a 23 year old private). Next week they seem to be talking to the Taliban (!!) to find out what happened after Bergdahl was captured.

Interesting how they got the recordings of Bergdahl and that Serial and whatever movie crew that is working on a story of his life are going to be working together. I guess it is kind of like a long form journalism ad for the future movie as well then, in some regards…

Not that it excuses from consequences but the grandiose maniacal approach to problem solving reminded me very much of how I tended to approach things when young. Fortunately I never did anything too stupid.

It was really interesting- And I certainly will listen to chapter 2, with the Taliban’s POV. That sounds awesome.

But what next? It seems like a pretty straightforward tale. There’s no big mystery here.

I haven’t listened yet, but…am I alone in being a bit disappointed that this season is covering the Bowe Bergdahl story? I loved the first season, and I think part of the interest was that it was a completely unknown story (to me, at least, and to most Americans). The Bergdahl story, however, has already been covered so much…what’s the surprise going to be?

I really liked it. I enjoy SK’s storytelling. I know I read about the story when it was big news, but I have forgotten the details since. And even if I knew more about it, I’m sure there’s going to be new information that may or not be true or impartial or important. That’s what I like when listening to S1… does this matter? did that?

Do we know how long it will take to air all the episodes? I kind of want to wait until there are a bunch of them so I can binge-listen to them during my drive to work.

Is there a schedule for their release?

Assuming it’s similar to last season, it will be a weekly podcast with a break around the new year.

Well, I’m hooked. I loved the way episode one ended.

So, you can really just get on the horn and call the Taliban?? Who knew!

The took a break last year? I thought they aired more or less straight through.

They skipped a week around either Thanksgiving or Christmas, I forget which.

Yeah, I guess I have no personal basis to know how far fetched his explanation is. It sounds like filling in with a story after the fact, but I have no real way to know. I guess I’d like to hear from the other soldiers as to whether that explanation holds up to any semblance of scrutiny.

I thought that the entire story of Bergdahl is shrouded in the mystery. There are vast gulfs of disagreement on why he did what he did and whether he should be considered a traitor or not.

I don’t know. It sounds like a kid who just lost it and did something really dumb. I mean, I’ve been there.

But yeah, maybe there’s more to it.

Loved Serial but failed to complete episode one of this one. So I’m done.

I liked the first episode and I think this has more potential and Season 1.

Yeah, I think the “mystery” will be the question of whether or not he was justified in doing what he did. Was he a traitor? Did he go AWOL? Does he deserve to be punished?

Well, IANA soldier, but I did spend over a year working with the military in Afghanistan at a base not unlike the one Bergdahl was at. (Not like the little outpost, but like FOB Sharana, the one he was supposedly trying to walk to.) So for whatever that’s worth (and I know there are other soldiers or ex-soldiers here who will have more direct experience)… I thought he sounded full of shit. He doesn’t sound dumb enough to have actually believed that what he’s now claiming his motivation was would actually work, or not to have known that there was a better way to draw attention to the supposedly poor leadership he was under. Whether his motivation was simply thrill-seeking, disenchantment with the war and/or sympathy with the locals, or something else I have no idea, though I expect all those possibilities will be explored in coming weeks. But from what we’ve heard so far I think he’s trying to retroactively apply the best-sounding rationale to his actions.

Anyway, I enjoyed the episode and am looking forward to following the story. I said upthread that I was disappointed to hear what this season would be about, but I have to confess that SK’s storytelling skills go to me. Also, it unexpectedly brought back memories of my own time down there, hearing the soldiers talking about it.

I haven’t listened to Ep. 1 but will soon enough, but I was career Army–I will say that Bergdahl is a combination of illogical and stupid, or is simply lying, based on the justifications for his actions that went to the press after Ep. 1 aired.

If he really felt there were serious problems at Mest-Malak he could’ve gotten word out, he could’ve gotten sent back to FOB Sharana for various reasons with appropriate permission etc. This isn’t WWII or I where we’re throwing men into the grinder and don’t have time for belly aching, a soldier out somewhere like OP Mest who becomes a trouble maker and tells his CO he wants to leave for various reasons essentially get what he wanted. He’d certainly have a chance to report any illegal/improper leadership actions at OP Mest. None of these behaviors would be good for his career and could have themselves resulted in minor charges, but there’s no logical scenario where the only way to get back to FOB Sharana to report allegations against your CO is by covertly walking the 18 mi yourself through hostile country.

Some details of this case are still unknown but we have actually seen some released reports and debriefings. Bergdahl’s earliest account was that he fell behind on a patrol, and was captured. That’s basically known to be a lie, and establishes Bergdahl as a liar. It’s pretty well demonstrated now that he walked under his own power (not as part of a patrol) out of his outpost and was subsequently captured. I don’t know that there’s convincing evidence of what his intentions were–which is important, he’s undeniably guilty of going AWOL, but not necessarily with desertion. He often did walkabouts, was learning Pashto, and was spending a lot of time with some local Afghans. It’s entirely possible he was just doing one of his unauthorized walks (which he reportedly did regularly), and since he had spent a lot of time with locals maybe one of them was connected to the Haqqani network and sold him up the river–telling them “hey I know this dumb American soldier who walks around by himself away from base all the time” and they captured him. Or he may have just gotten unlucky on this particular walk and stumbled into the wrong guy’s line of sight.

However he also is known to have made statements indicating he might desert, claims that he might walk into the mountains of Pakistan or something and never return. That’s where a lot of the stupidity comes in, the Pakistani border with Afghanistan is among the worst places in the world to be an American soldier wandering around alone, without the knowledge of command and without permission. If his desertion plan was really to walk into Pakistan he’s deeply stupid. He may be deeply stupid either way.