Sargent Bowe Bergdahl, in captivity. Looks more like a convert to me (Photo courtesy: http://www.mirror.co.uk)
By now, virtually nobody believes that Staff Sgt Bowe Bergdahl fell behind on patrol one afternoon in June 2009 somewhere in Southern Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban, against his wishes. Many of his colleagues, to some of whom he had repeatedly voiced his disenchantment with the army, are certain he deserted.
In the morning of the day he disappeared. Bergdahl asked his commanding officer a curious question, “If I were to leave the base, would it cause problems if I took my rifle and my night-vision goggles with me?”, to which his team leader replied yes, it would. That night he gathered up a flask of water, a knife, his digital camera and his diary and stole out into the thickets.
Bergdahl’s curious behavior as well as radio traffic between Taliban units in the hours after his capture, point pretty strongly toward the theory that he actually left his guard post and made his way out alone, searching in the nearby villages for someone who could speak English.
In the search effort that was mounted in the weeks following his disappearance, 6 of his colleagues sacrificed their lives, falling prey to ambushes and IEDs.
I am not suggesting Bergdahl wanted to switch allegiance. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. His formative years were spent, drifting from one dream to the next and included a hair-brained idea of joining the French Foreign Legion that failed. The French saw through the goofball that he really was and denied his application. Later on, he grew tired of all the evangelical bullshit that his father, an equally corny individual with a freakish beard, tried drilling inside him.
All this turned him into a screwball who thought he was destined for something big but had no idea of how to get there. The typical story of the standard young macho high-school-passed American male, out to prove his masculinity.
I want to tell the US President, “Mr. Obama, Sir, you got it wrong this time. At worst, Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter who was, in his own words, ‘ashamed to be an American’. At best, he is an ars—le. Either way, you should not have exchanged him for five dangerous dudes. You should have paid the Taliban to keep him, instead.”