Did Bowe Bergdahl Purposefully Offer Himself as a Bargaining Chip?

According to friends, Bowe Bergdahl enlisted in the Army to provide philanthropic support to the war effort.  I can only presume that means to the people of Afghanistan.  The U.S. Army is not a charity, and while it does remarkable things because it is staffed by brave and selfless Americans, those Americans' first service is to their country, not to provide philanthropy.

Let us presume that Bowe Bergdahl already knew what the Army was for, despite his supposed purpose in joining, since none of that is hidden from the public.  No one joins for philanthropy.  

Before he disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in 2009, according to Daily Mail quotes from a Rolling Stone magazine article, Bowe Bergdahl is alleged to have written e-mails to his parents that not merely questioned policy, but are said to have included “I am ashamed to be an American.  And the title of U.S. soldier is just the lie of fools.  I am sorry for everything.  The horror that is America is disgusting.”  His father, about whom much is coming to light, is quoted in a reply telling his son, “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”  This was before the disappearance.

In 2009, according to accounts of fellow soldiers, Sgt. Bergdahl failed to show up for morning roll call after guard duty the prior night at their outpost.  They found his body armor, rifle, helmet, and web gear neatly left behind.  It is reported that at least 6 soldiers were killed in subsequent efforts to find him, and those who survived were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Contrary to Bergdahl’s own account, he was not lagging behind on a patrol and got nabbed by the Taliban.  He went to them.

This is the same Taliban that has an affinity for cutting off the heads of American soldiers.  Somehow, Bergdahl’s useful head remained attached throughout his time as a visitor with the “captors” who did not actually capture him.  Thus far, there is no evidence whatsoever that Bergdahl’s account of being captured is credible in any way.  He volunteered. 

While he was away, Bergdahl was reported by the Taliban to have converted to Islam in 2010, and to have learned Arabic, which is not a commonly used language in Afghanistan, where the primary languages are Pashto and Dari.  It seems that Sgt. Bergdahl was an exceptionally easy guest.  Meanwhile, Bergdahl’s father is on video referring to the Taliban as the “Islamic Emirate,” which is the terminology of a sympathizer. 

Certainly there are those who might cry foul over such a connection.  After all, this was a father trying to save his son, right?  Except that there is no appearance that his son was in any immediate danger.  I have not seen accounts, contemporaneous or since his release, suggesting that Bergdahl was tortured or otherwise abused.  His videos do not suggest he has been maimed or disfigured, or that he has actually resisted the enemy he sought out in any known way.  Like the U.S. Army, the Taliban does not exist for philanthropic pursuits, especially toward Americans.  Yet, this American was protected, fed, sheltered, nurtured, and supported by those who have a political and religious reason for everything they do, and none of it involves the notion of Christian charity.  It seems the treatment reserved for a special case.      

It would have looked exceedingly odd in the United States had the father not made a show of asking for his son’s release, and publicly at least, overtures would have to be made lest one wonder why not.  But the video of Bob Bergdahl speaking to the “captors” in English, and to his son in a Central Asian dialect, was jarring.  What kind of proud American father of a proud American son feels the need to speak to his son in the language of his son’s jailers?  Why the familiarity and seeming adoption of the ways of the alleged aggressors? 

Despite the public comments, Bob Bergdahl has been quite happily waging his own personal war of deeds and words in favor of the radical Islamists who had supposedly captured his son and were keeping him safe, while slamming the United States.  CNN reports that Bob Bergdahl grew his beard in a way typical of converts to Islam out of solidarity with his son, but why do that if even the son was presumably forced to do so only under threat of harm if he did not?  I doubt many parents of GIs in POW camps in Germany grew little black mustaches during World War II, or took to speaking German, because of what their sons were forced to endure.  One does not adopt the traits of the enemy, unless the enemy is not actually an enemy.

Bob Bergdahl’s Twitter postings during his son’s alleged captivity have been widely reported, and are damning of the United States while offering praise to Taliban detainees at Guantánamo Bay.  And there are his comments praising Allah in the Rose Garden press conference.  If ever there was a case study in conflicting loyalties, he might take the prize.  Unless we give him too much credit, and there really aren’t any conflicts. 

There is much that is not yet clear, since this happened only in the last couple of days, but there are some things I’d like to know more about.  I’d like to know when Bob Bergdahl converted to Islam.  I’d like to know whether Bowe Bergdahl had either already converted before he enlisted, thus believing he could provide philanthropy to fellow Muslims while there, or actually waited until the Taliban got him to a cave immediately upon his inquiring whether they might like a handy propaganda tool. 

I’d like to know whether Bergdahl’s surrender was pre-arranged.  I’d like to know whether he and his so-called captors regularly discussed the greatest use to which he could be put in service to Islam.  After all, the United States honors and prizes its servicemen and women and, short of negotiating with the terrorists, has worked under prior administrations to get them back, dead or alive.  It might take some time to maximize his potential, but what else was Bergdahl going to do?  After all, if he returned and failed to account for his neatly arranged gear and his own absence, he would erase all doubt that he had deserted. 

If Bergdahl was already a loyal servant of Islam, and thus believed it to be his duty to sacrifice himself for the ideology, how far-fetched it is to question whether he did not offer himself as a bargaining chip to be used as the Taliban saw fit?  In exchange for time spent being fed, watered, and applauded by his handlers, he would eventually be put to a greater use in the destruction of the United States, the Taliban’s greatest enemy.

Still, even if all of this is true, the last piece of the puzzle was a president happy to play his own part against the Taliban’s enemy.  How else to explain the thousands of American lives, and those if its allies’ citizens, that will be forfeited to achieve the supposed victory of liberating one America-hating deserter?

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