Bergdahl May Have 'Hopelessly Misread' His Situation
He gave interviews to a journalist who was himself a former Taliban hostage
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2017 4:40 PM CDT
Updated Oct 23, 2017 12:37 AM CDT
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl returns to the Fort Bragg courthouse after a lunch break on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, on Fort Bragg, NC.   (Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer via AP)

(Newser) – On Monday Bowe Bergdahl learns his fate, which will come at the hands of a military judge. Bergdahl pleaded guilty last Monday to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy for walking off his military base in Afghanistan in 2009, and he faces five years for the former and up to life in prison for the latter. On the eve of his sentencing, the Sunday Times is out with the result of what it says is "the only face-to-face interview in the world" with Bergdahl, a piece by journalist/one-time Taliban hostage Sean Langan titled "Bowe Bergdahl: the homecoming from hell." Their first meeting was in March 2016, in the privacy of the tool shed of a farmhouse located near the base Bergdahl has been stationed at in San Antonio, Texas. Bergdahl "told me [coming home has] been worse than his time as a hostage," writes Langan.

Says Bergdahl, "At least the Taliban were honest enough to say, 'I'm the guy who's gonna cut your throat.' Here, it could be the guy I pass in the corridor who's going to sign the paper that sends me away for life." But his time as a hostage was certainly hell. He describes pulling out the hairs of his beard, of being kept in a steel cage suspended off the ground. "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." But Langan notes it's possible "Bergdahl endured such bad treatment ... because he hopelessly misread the situation." Bergdahl told Langan, "I can't say for certain, but they may have been poisoning my food." Langan sees that as ludicrous—if they wanted him dead, they would have executed him—and "by rejecting their offers of cooked food, Bergdahl committed a sin in Pashtun culture. ... So they treated him like a dog." Read the full piece here.

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