By Thomas Madison
It looks like Bowe Bergdahl’s defense will be that he never intended to desert his unit. Heck no, that was simply a misunderstanding. He claims what he was really doing was being a whistleblower, yeah that’s the ticket, seeking out higher headquarters where he planned to reveal morale and discipline problems in his unit.
“He had concerns about certain conditions in the unit and things that happened in the unit and he figured that the only way to get any attention to them would be to get that information to a general officer,” Bergdahl’s lawyer, Eugene Fidell, told me Thursday. Based on that, Fidell could argue that Bergdahl was thus technically “absent without official leave” (AWOL), rather than a deserter. The distinction could mean the difference between one month of confinement or life in prison for his client.
1. Bergdahl left his weapon and his protective gear, something no one wandering away from the safety of his unit into enemy territory would do, unless he was suicidal or seeking to befriend the enemy.
2. There are lots of ways to communicate with higher headquarters other than by walking away from your unit. In this day and age we have email, radios, telephone, and old-fashioned written communication (snail mail).
3. Bergdahl headed directly in the known direction of the Taliban.
4. Bergdahl’s emails prior to his disappearance were extremely incriminating. He was openly anti-American, claiming that he was “ashamed to be American” and “the horror that is America is disgusting.” That should serve him well in a military court-martial.
5. Very important – Bergdahl found a village along the way and asked specifically for someone who spoke English so that he could find the Taliban.
(CNN) “Within days of his disappearance, says Buetow, teams monitoring radio chatter and cell phone communications intercepted an alarming message: The American is in Yahya Khel (a village two miles away). He’s looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban.
‘I heard it straight from the interpreter’s lips as he heard it over the radio,” said Buetow. “There’s a lot more to this story than a soldier walking away.'”