What Bergdahl Was Thinking Before He Disappeared

Hearing testimony paints him as 'naive,' 'unrealistically idealistic,' 'remorseful'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2015 11:24 AM CDT
What Bergdahl Was Thinking Before He Disappeared
This undated file image provided by the US Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner for years by the Taliban after leaving his post in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/US Army, file)

Stories of Bowe Bergdahl's brutal captivity by the Taliban are already well-documented, but it's what was reportedly going through his head before his 2009 disappearance from his Afghanistan base that emerged at a hearing last week at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. Specifically, that he didn't feel fellow soldiers were being aggressive enough in going after the Taliban and that he had hoped to reach another larger base nearly 20 miles away and "demand to air his grievances with a general," the Washington Post reports. These revelations came to light based on a senior officer's investigation and extensive interviews with Bergdahl, charged with desertion and "misbehaving before the enemy"—with Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl concluding jail for Bergdahl would be "inappropriate," per the Los Angeles Times.

Part of the reason for Dahl's assessment: Bergdahl was an "unrealistically idealistic" soldier who was "naive" when he was captured and "remorseful" when asked about the soldiers forced to look for him, the Los Angeles Times notes; Dahl added that no soldiers died during that search. Dahl said Bergdahl—who was raised "at the edge of the grid" in Idaho—was enamored by things like the "samurai code," which holds that one acts immediately, whatever the consequences, when presented with a "moral wrong." The Post has details on a few things about the Army that allegedly bothered Bergdahl, like the fact that he was told to lock his wall locker to deter thieves. A hearing officer will soon recommend whether Bergdahl will be court-martialed. (More Bowe Bergdahl stories.)

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