This is 28-year-old Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Bowe Bergdahl had a variety of interests before joining the U.S. Army. Mr. Bergdahl tried out fencing and martial arts for a while before trying out ballet classes at the Sun Valley Ballet School in Ketchum, Idaho. He never owned a car, he just rode a bicycle wherever he had to go.
Interestingly, Mr. Bergdahl, who seems to have had quite an identity crisis growing up in Idaho, spent time in a Buddhist monastery between 2007 and 2008.
Somehow, he got it in his head to join the military. Showing a bit of trepidation about what he might actually be doing “over there,” Bowe Bergdahl told a friend:
If this deployment is lame, I’m just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan.
Well ok then.
While stationed in Afghanistan, P1C Bergdahl was viewed as a strange guy, a loner who wouldn’t really talk or hang out with the other men in his unit. Instead, he stayed in his bunk, learning Pashto and Arabic with Rosetta Stone.
On June 27, 2009, P1C. Bowe Bergdahl sent a final e-mail to his parents. It read, in part:
The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.
In the US army you are cut down for being honest… but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank… The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools…I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live. We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks… We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them…I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting…There are a few more boxes coming to you guys. Feel free to open them, and use them.
With that, P1C Bowe Bergdahl left his equipment on his bunk and walked off into the Afghanistan countryside with a compass, a knife, some water, a camera and a diary. He had mailed his other stuff to his parents a few weeks prior, including an Apple laptop.
In hindsight, his fellow soldiers said it was obvious that Bowe Bergdahl was planning on leaving. At the time, they treated the situation like he’d been captured. Rescue units were scrambled and between 6-8 lives were lost in the search for Mr. Bergdahl, who, it would turn out, the Army investigation decided had deserted.
Former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow, the team leader the night of Bergdahl’s disappearance, told news reporters that the Army intercepted radio and cellphone conversations from a nearby village that described an American soldier who wanted to talk to the Taliban.
According to another soldier who was at the base at the time:
We had all known that he had deserted his post and there was never anything about him getting captured or a POW until a little while later when it came down from the chain-of-command that we needed to keep quiet about it, not say anything and that we’re going with the narrative that he’s captured.
Whenever he went and walked off the base, only stuff that we know, that we trained for, that the sports that we know on vehicles, how are moves are, stuff like that, they were getting hit very precisely. And the ambushes we used, the certain tactics that we used, the Taliban was picking up on those things and the Haqqani network started using the same things as well. So they were very precise and very accurate. You could tell it was somebody on the inside that had that info.
Bowe Bergdahl was promoted to sergeant on the 17th of June, 2011.
On the 31st of May, 2014, Bergdahl was released by his captors and recovered by U.S. special operations forces in eastern Afghanistan. The release was brokered by the American, Qatar, and Afghanistan governments with the Taliban, in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred to Qatari custody for at least one year.
Nebraska’s own Chuck Hagel, who will support whoever is paying him at the time, has announced that he thinks leaping to conclusions about Bowe’s behavior isn’t fair. Just because it looks like Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a traitor who, it seemed, was trying to join up with a bunch of primitive sheep and boy lovers, we shouldn’t leap to conclusions.
Yeah, we definitely don’t want to leap to conclusions.
According to Hagel:
We don’t do that in the United States. We rely on facts. I don’t know of any circumstances or details of U.S. soldiers dying as a result of efforts to get Bergdahl.
Five terrorists released back into the wild. 1 terrorist brought back home. Several soldiers dead in the search for what appears to be a traitor.
Because the Army never filled out paperwork to classify Bowe Bergdahl as a deserter, he will receive back pay and benefits. The Army will undoubtedly give Sgt. Bergdahl about 5 years worth of back pay. It should be a nice check. Maybe now he can get a nicer bicycle.