Nobody knows what Bowe Bergdahl was planning when he left his post in Afghanistan with nothing but a camera and a compass. He claims he was heading to a military headquarters to complain about ineffective leadership. Others allege that he had plans to collaborate with the Taliban. Whatever the truth, Major General Dahl, who led the military investigation in to his defection describes how Bergdahl was "completely delusional"
. Evidence suggests he was in the midst of a breakdown, writing 'Velcro/zip/Velcro/zip'
repeatedly across pages of his diary.
Dismissed from the Coast Guard for being "psychologically unfit"
, Bowe joined the military after acquiring a medical waiver and was soon after deployed to Afghanistan. After being captured by members of the Haqqani Network, Bowe recounts how he would tell himself daily, “you’re not making it out of this. You’re a dead man”
. After repeatedly trying to escape, the prisoner was too weak to be beaten any more and so he was confined to a seven-by-six-foot cage for over three years.
The celebratory response to Bowe’s return to the USA was short lived as a narrative based on misinformation gained traction in the conservative media. Even his family came under attack, as his father's long beard and speaking in Pashto fuelled rumours of Islamic sympathies. "I was trying to communicate with the people holding my son. If America doesn't understand that, then f**k them”
says Bob Bergdahl, before staring down the camera lens to speak in defence of his paternal instinct to use whatever means he could to help get his son home.
Rumours of Bowe’s conversion to Islam, claims that he was responsible for the death of six fellow soldiers, and reports that he helped the Taliban attack American bases flooded the American news. “In the old days: bing bong”
said the soon-to-be President, Donald Trump, as he mimed shooting a gun in front of a cheering crowd. "We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs"
Bergdahl says. "The people who want to hang me — you're never going to convince those people."