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Jul. 20 2009 - 12:21 pm | 564 views | 2 recommendations | 16 comments

Source: Bergdahl Deserted

Captured US Army soldier Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl (True/Slant screengrab from ABC News YouTube video)

Captured US Army soldier Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl (True/Slant screengrab from ABC News YouTube video)

I’ve been reporting for over a week (along with the AP and WaPo) that Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier who’s gone missing in eastern Afghanistan, walked off the base on his own accord.

Now, somebody close to the people searching for Bergdahl has repeated this assertion saying that the soldier left “a note behind that said he was going to the mountains to find himself. He took a journal and 4 or 5 knives with him.” My source tells me that Bergdahl arrived at a village and asked if anybody spoke English. That’s when he was captured.

My source tells me that there is no doubt Bergdahl deserted, which in a time of war is punishable by a court martial at the least, or even execution.

I’m not the only one saying this. Lt. Col.  Ralph Peters (Ret.) told Fox News that Bergdahl is  “an apparent deserter,” and intimates that he wouldn’t feel badly if the Taliban killed Bergdahl. At the end of the segment he does say that we should wait until all the facts come in to pass judgement, but even Michelle Malkin smells something fishy.

I spoke with US Col. Greg Julian about an hour ago and he would not answer questions about the curcumstances of Bergdahl’s dissapearence.

Back in the 80’s Russian soldiers  defected regularly. Artyom Borovik’s fantastic book “The Hidden War” talks at great length about Soviet soldiers who fled thier bases and joined the Mujahidin. Many of them fought alongside thier former enemies for years. A few even stayed here in Afghanistan. One of them is a well-known cab driver here in Kabul, though I’ve never met him. I’m told that another was a body guard for Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Afghan hero and Northern Alliance leader who helped drive the Russians out of this country. Massoud was killed on 9.9.01 by a Taliban suicide bomber.

If the Taliban can get this US soldier to accept Islam and wage jihad, that would be a tremendous coup for the insurgency, especially given the election here on Aug 20. On the other hand, when Charles Robert Jenkins defected to North Korea in the early 1960’s, he instantly regretted it. Perhaps Bergdahl is feeling similar pangs this very minute.

I’ll keep reporting this and give you updates as soon as I get them.


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    My question is how many tours this young man has under his belt. It sounds like he is dealing with a moral question of killing his fellow man. This is a question that every person in combat has to deal with whether they hold a rifle or are in an aircraft or on board a ship. Bowe is no different than you or me, but what does make him different is how dealt with the question–walking off base. If there was a competent NCO or CO on base that was aware of Bowe’s problem, they should have talked with him and sought appropriate medical help for him. I have seen this same symptom in my husband, going out into the desert during high times of stress after the Vietnam Conflict. He was a FMF Combat Corpsman with the Marines–Semper fi

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    About Me

    I’m a writer and reporter living in Kabul, Afghanistan. For the past four years I’ve been an investigative reporter at various Village Voice Media weeklies, and before that I worked on documentary films in New York City.

    I am currently a journalism mentor and news editor for The Killid Group, a not-for-profit radio and print organization based in Kabul, with five radio stations and many bureaus throughout Afghanistan.

    My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Christian Science Monitor, Village Voice, Modern Drunkard and other fine publications.

    Originally from Philadelphia, I’ve also worked in south Florida and Nashville, Tennessee.

    See my profile »
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    Contributor Since: June 2009
    Location:Kabul, Afghanistan