Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, accused of desertion, told an officer interrogating him after he returned from captivity his reasons for leaving his post. And if this is the best he can do, he should start contemplating a long incarceration at Leavenworth.
Bergdahl told a general who investigated the case that he hoped to cause an alarm by leaving his post, then walk to a larger base in Afghanistan so he could have an audience with a top commander.
“So, the idea was to — it was — literally, it was a sacrificial — it was a self-sacrifice thing,” Bergdahl said, according to the transcript of a 2014 interview with Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl.
Another newly released document from July 2015 shows that an Army Sanity Board Evaluation concluded that Bergdahl suffered from schizotypal personality disorder when he left the post. A Mayo Clinic website says people with the disorder have trouble interpreting social cues and can develop significant distrust of others.
Bergdahl faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, the latter of which carries up to a life sentence. He was held five years by the Taliban and its allies before a swap involving five Guantanamo Bay detainees, prompting criticism from some in Congress that the move threatened national security.
His military trial had been tentatively scheduled to begin over the summer, but it has been delayed by disagreements over access to classified materials.
Bergdahl’s attorney Eugene Fidell said the decision to release the documents was made to fight negative publicity and because prosecutors have already entered part of the interview into the court record.
“The more Americans know about this case, the better,” Fidell said in an email.
An Army spokesman didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment about the new documents after hours Wednesday.
In the interview, Bergdahl expressed misgivings about how he and other soldiers were sent to help retrieve a disabled armored vehicle before encountering explosives and enemy fire that turned a six-hour mission into one lasting several days. None of the men was killed, but Bergdahl said an officer complained they were unshaven upon their return to base.
He said he began to worry that if he didn’t say anything, a future bad order could get someone in his platoon killed.
So his desertion was an act of “self-sacrifice”? Sheesh. I don’t think too many people will buy that explanation any more than they would accept Bergdahl going outside the chain of command to make his complaint. Leaving his post to trek across miles of enemy territory just to complain about an officer who told him he needed a shave strikes me as inadequate. There should still be a question whether he actively sought out the enemy to join them.
The only question in my mind is how lenient they are going to be on Bergdahl in sentencing. If Obama has anything to say about it, Bergdahl will probably receive little more than a slap on the wrist. The deserter is an embarrassment to the administration after the president and his people bent over backwards to portray him as some kind of hero. It’s the only way they could justify trading five violent terrorists for him in the first place.
And what are those terrorists up to? At least three of them have tried to rejoin the fight. That makes the prisoner deal one of the most lopsidedly bad deals in American military history.
A version of this piece also appeared at The American Thinker