We have updated this article to include Donald Trump Jr’s tweet at the end. It’s a good one.
Bowe Bergdahl pled guilty to desertion in 2009 and misbehavior, an act that led to the serious wounding of two soldiers searching for him. Both had life-changing injuries and one is paralyzed.
He now faces a possible sentence of life imprisonment.
Bergdahl continues to say he left his unit because there were problems in his unit he wanted to report to a commander in another unit. The evidence points otherwise. His team members say something very different.
As he did before he left his post, he is attacking the Army. He said sardonically they are not as “honest” as the Taliban because at least they told him they were going to slit his throat.
The deserter was promoted to Sergeant after his release from Taliban custody and was given $300,000 in back pay indirectly by Barack Obama. He was called a man who “served with honor and distinction” by Susan Rice, despite all the testimony from his fellow soldiers and commander. that said he hadn’t.
This man who served with distinction is now claiming the Taliban “captors” were more “honest” with him than the Army has been since his release three years ago.
“At least the Taliban were honest enough to say, ‘I’m the guy who’s gonna cut your throat,” Bergdahl told British TV journalist Sean Langan during an interview for the Sunday Times Magazine of London. The piece is titled, “The Homecoming from Hell”.
The “administrative duties” the Army assigned him while awaiting trial upset him more than the Taliban telling him they were going to cut his throat.
He says the Army never let him know where he stood as he awaited his desertion trial. “Here, it could be the guy I passed in the corridor who’s going to sign the paper that sends me away for life. We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs.”
Bergdahl told Langan, “I’m hurt when they say string him up.”
“The endless weeks, months, years on my own,” Bergdahl told Langan. “One, two, three years in a cage. In the end my mind became a broken record. Small things like staring at walls and staring at bugs on the ground — your mind becomes your own worst enemy and starts to go numb. And those moments, when I would pull the hairs of my beard out. I used to pull the hairs when I was itchy and it became strangely fascinating.”
Did he cry often?
“Crying doesn’t help. I mean, it hurts so bad you wanna cry, but it’s just so overwhelming you can’t. It’s like a pain that goes so far beyond anything I’ve ever experienced …” He trailed off into silence, then eventually said: “I wanted to scream out. But I couldn’t. The guys on the other side of the door, they don’t just cut people’s throats — they delight in cutting people’s throats. And they don’t use particularly sharp blades. They showed me those videos where they string someone up by their arms and legs and then begin to saw away at their throats.”
“I’d seen those videos myself.,” Bergdahl said. “My captors made me watch the beheadings on a constant loop for hours on end. “My greatest fear,” I told him, “was having my throat cut in the dark.”
He was rarely out of the cage, he said and has permanent nerve damage. Langan asked if he could exercise and he responded:
“Not really — the cage was suspended off the ground and the bars cut into my feet. That’s why I ended up having permanent nerve damage. After the first winter in the cage, I lost the feeling in my feet.”
‘Bergdahl told Langan his coming home was worse than his captivity because it was so political’, The Sunday Times of London report said.
“The only time I’ve been able to breathe was when I was released and picked up by US special forces in the helicopter. I had a brief moment of liberty. It’s been hard since then.”
Before he left, he emailed his parents with a long rant about life in the US army, in which he said “one of the biggest shit bags is being put in charge of the team” and “I am ashamed to be an American”. His father replied to him, with a brief email entitled “Obey your conscience!”
Major-General Kenneth Dahl, who led the military investigation, said he believed Bergdahl’s account but he was Obama’s man so who knows. Dahl also concluded Bergdahl was “delusional” and had “outsized impressions of his own capabilities”. Bergdahl said he wasn’t looking for the Taliban to join them but rather got lost and captured. Bergdahl is said to have left his gun and helmet behind with a note indicating he was joining the Taliban.
Then again, he does appear to be delusional by all accounts and compares himself to Jason Bourne.
Dahl believed he had a breakdown when he deserted.
There were reports he helped train Taliban fighters, converted to Islam and declared himself a soldier for Islam. That all came from a Haqqani terrorist and Bergdahl says it’s not true. The reporter for The Sunday Times said the Army has found no truth to it.
During his nearly five years as an unwilling guest of the Taliban, he said, he was kept in a steel cage and tortured.
Bergdahl complained to Langan — who himself was held by the Taliban for three months in 2008 — about the “endless weeks, months, years on my own.’’
There are conflicting reports that six soldiers died searching for him. The reporter said their deaths are not tied to Bergdahl.
Does Bergdahl care that at least two men were seriously wounded searching for him? Has he asked after them? Is he at least grateful five terrorists were traded for him? The reporter didn’t ask those questions.
When the search parties went looking for him, some soldiers said he hid from them. He left his fellow soldiers in danger. Many believe he aided the enemy though the reporter said there is no evidence he did.
At the time Bergdahl was traded for the five Taliban commanders, the Obama administration was under heavy criticism for the extreme failures of some offices of the Veterans Administration. Perhaps he thought this would improve his image as he greeted Bergdahl’s parents in the Rose Garden to announce the return of their son. The father appeared looking like a Taliban, speaking Pashto, and soon became well-known on Twitter for condemning the U.S., especially over GITMO.
Bergdahl has not seen his parents to this day according to some reports though he is in touch by email.
The Army bears some responsibility for taking him in the first place. He was not fit and had been thrown out of the Coast Guard after 23 days as “unfit” with “adjustment disorder with depression”. The Army chose to give him a medical waiver.
The White House said Friday that any military justice case must be “resolved on its own facts” after Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl argued that President Donald Trump’s past criticism – made before he became President – prevented him from receiving a fair sentence on charges he endangered comrades in Afghanistan.
The White House statement did not mention Bergdahl by name but appeared to address questions related to his case. It said Trump “expects all military personnel” involved in the military justice process “to exercise their independent professional judgment.”
“There are no expected or required dispositions, outcomes, or sentences in any military justice case, other than those resulting from the individual facts and merits of a case.” It added, “Each military justice case must be resolved on its own facts.”
Bergdahl admitted guilt without any agreement to a lesser sentence. He will be sentenced Monday at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The Sunday Times report is very sympathetic. Read it for yourself but consider it is intended to draw pity.
While the report tells a different story, his platoon mates say he is no hero.
Donald Trump Jr. owns Bowe Bergdahl:
How does the Taliban treat their deserters? I imagine it would be different if you got 6 of their guys killed. https://t.co/72OgC4CRZ2
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 22, 2017