Theory: The real reason the military forced soldiers to keep quiet about desertion accusations against Bergdahl

posted at 3:21 pm on June 5, 2014 by Allahpundit

I want to add something to Byron York’s piece today noting the unusual lengths to which the military went to enforce silence about the desertion speculation within Bergdahl’s unit. We got an e-mail last night from someone claiming to have served with Bergdahl, who says he ended up spending two months searching for him. (That search, he emphasized, damaged the counterinsurgency strategy at the time because it forced troops to intrude in villagers’ homes and carry out disruptive nighttime raids at a moment when they were trying to win hearts and minds.) I can’t prove that he is who he says he is, but you don’t need to accept his credentials to see merit in his theory: Namely, the reason the military was so keen to keep the circumstances of Bergdahl’s disappearance quiet was because they feared the Taliban would kill him if word about his desertion got out. They were holding him, presumably, as a bargaining chip for prisoners held at Gitmo and/or cash; if the desertion theory was publicized, the Taliban might have concluded that there’s no way America would give up much to get Bergdahl back (wrong!), in which case they might as well behead him and get some propaganda value out of him instead. The military forced guys to sign nondisclosure agreements, in other words, to protect Bergdahl’s life, not to spare itself from embarrassment.

It’s one thing to enforce silence among the troops, though, and another to deceive Congress. What about the note that Bergdahl allegedly left, which not even members of the Senate Intelligence Committee heard about until this week? Surely wanting to tamp down public speculation about desertion doesn’t justify withholding evidence from key players in the legislature.

As it turns out, according to the White House, there is no note:

That’s verrry curious, since it’s not just the NYT that has sources claiming the note exists. Fox News was also told that Bergdahl had left a letter, one that not only supported desertion but which hinted that he wanted to renounce his citizenship. Either multiple sources are lying to multiple news agencies about the existence of a note or the White House is lying to Chambliss and Congress in denying it. And if it’s the NYT/Fox sources are lying, why didn’t they lie more brazenly? They could have concocted the text of the phony note, making it as damning to Bergdahl as they like, and then fed it to one or both of them. They didn’t. Why not?

Since we’re theorizing here, and since lefty defenses of the prisoner swap thus far have been either deeply stupid or viciously nasty, let me try my hand at a better one: What if Bergdahl had some sort of mental break that led him to try to escape the base? I don’t mean combat stress or PTSD; lots of people have mental episodes caused by factors unrelated to that. The Afghan villagers who spotted Bergdahl making his way towards the mountains told WaPo that he seemed to be “in a haze” and assumed he might have been smoking something. Maybe he was having a mental crisis that had been building for awhile, replete with increasingly urgent e-mails to his father about chucking it all before he left. I’m not endorsing this theory; logically, it seems to me, there would have been other signs of mental distress noticed by members of his unit before Bergdahl went AWOL and there have been no reports of that. My point is, if you’re a liberal stuck between arguing “conservatives hate POWs!!1!” and “maybe the men accusing Bergdahl are psychopaths,” you’re probably better off trying out a “maybe he just snapped” theory instead.

In case you missed it last night, here’s James Rosen telling Hugh Hewitt about the rumors inside the intel community that Bergdahl might have collaborated with the Taliban. If that’s true, though, how long did he collaborate? According to the Daily Beast, he tried to escape from captivity twice.


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Obama is a SCOAMF and a dictator.

jukin3 on June 5, 2014 at 4:55 PM

dreadnought62 on June 5, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Thanks for your service.

crankyoldlady on June 5, 2014 at 4:58 PM

There is nothing inconsistent about Bergdahl collaborating and later attempting to escape. As he became disillusioned with the U.S. military, under the “grass is greener” theory, and sought out the Taliban, is it not as reasonable that he became equally disillusioned with his new life living with a goat and no Internet?

In addition, what is the source for this escape attempt story? The members of Bergdahl’s platoon are openly disbelieved though they are named, quoted and interviewed, while unsourced stories about escape attempts are reported as if vetted fact.

IndieDogg on June 5, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Those are some mighty weak maybes.

More realistically, the U.S. military at first wanted it hushed up in the hopes that they could get him back before he was captured. And later to save themselves bad press and embarrassment.

Still later, once Abdullah became a political pawn, his deserter status needed to be covered up so that Joe America wouldn’t freak out when they discovered how much effort was expended and how many lives were extinguished attempting to win back an enemy collaborator. So important was the need to keep his profile clean that inconvenient facts disappeared from his file.

And if anyone believes this administration is above tampering with a soldier’s file to acheive a desired political end, well, you just haven’t been paying attention.

ROCnPhilly on June 5, 2014 at 5:08 PM

The military forced guys to sign nondisclosure agreements, in other words, to protect Bergdahl’s life, not to spare itself from embarrassment.

Uh … NO.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 5, 2014 at 5:09 PM

I really don’t believe a single word that comes from this administration. I would like to think that people in the Pentagon who know better would somehow get the correct information out but that’s probably too much to ask from career bureaucrats.

Wendya on June 5, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Mr. Whittle

Bmore on June 5, 2014 at 5:14 PM

…the Taliban might have concluded that there’s no way America would give up much to get Bergdahl back.,..

I wish that the guys supposedly arguing on ´our´ side would at least get it right that it was the Haqqani´s, A crime syndicate / offshoot of Al Qaeda, NOT the Taliban that had him…..

Well, in the interest of accuracy…

But now that I think about it moe, maybe saying it was the Taliban IS good propaganda, since 0bama, Reid, Pelosi & Co, and the Perfumed (Eau De 0bamabutt) Princes of the Pentagon are insisting that the Taliban are really the nice guys now, and the White House designated future ruler of Afghanistan.

LegendHasIt on June 5, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Does anyone know how many U.S. tax dollars were paid in this ransom deal? Or will we have to sift through the Friday document dump?

ROCnPhilly on June 5, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Oh, just to be clear. Its the top vid. Is he evil or stupid?

Bmore on June 5, 2014 at 5:22 PM

I’m not endorsing this theory; logically, it seems to me, there would have been other signs of mental distress noticed by members of his unit before Bergdahl went AWOL and there have been no reports of that. My point is, if you’re a liberal stuck between arguing “conservatives hate POWs!!1!” and “maybe the men accusing Bergdahl are psychopaths,” you’re probably better off trying out a “maybe he just snapped” theory instead.

The medic of his platoon (Cornelison, or I might be getting the name wrong) was in the news saying that while B was v. quiet and generally considered a bit of a weirdo, he didn’t notice anything conducive to the conclusion that he might have benn through some psychotic episode, either in the past or before leaving the base. Granted that a medic is not a shrink, but still, am sure you can oberve your mates’ behaviors and recognize something resembling a psychotic episode. Cornelison (?) reiterated that B was quiet and keeping to himself and that they had no reason to suspect he might be losing it.

jimver on June 5, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Maybe he was having a mental crisis that had been building for awhile, replete with increasingly urgent e-mails to his father about chucking it all before he left.

I personally peg him as the clueless type who sets out alone into the deep woods looking to commune with friendly bears.

ROCnPhilly on June 5, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Mr. Whittle

Bmore on June 5, 2014 at 5:14 PM
-
Yes.

diogenes on June 5, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Øbama could murder his wife, rape his daughters, and the media wouldn’t report it. America is sleeping.

Mojave Mark on June 5, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Are we supposed to forget the VA Scandal with this stunt from Obama. Never.

SC.Charlie on June 5, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Both the NYT and Fox News stories about the note seem thinly sourced to me. The Times quoted a “former senior military official” who was briefed on the investigation. When was he briefed? 2009? Could he be misremembering the email to Bergdahl’s father several days before he deserted, and turned that into a note he left that night?

Also, we’ve now heard from pretty much everyone who was there the night Bergdahl left. They described finding his rifle, NVGs, body armor… but none of them mentioned a note. You’d think they’d remember that, when they’re being asked if they think Bergdahl deserted.

I think it’s likely there was no note.

Jobius on June 5, 2014 at 7:16 PM

I think it’s likely there was no note.
Jobius on June 5, 2014 at 7:16 PM

Contemporary news reports, even the Boss Emeritus(who’s research in impeccable, IMHO), were reporting that a note had been left behind.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Contemporary news reports, even the Boss Emeritus(who’s research in impeccable, IMHO), were reporting that a note had been left behind.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Thanks, I had missed that! The reporter, P.J. Tobia, sourced that to “somebody close to the people searching for Bergdahl.” I wish somebody who actually saw the note would go on the record. Bergdahl’s squadmates haven’t been shy since he was released, and you’d think at least one of them would have seen it.

Jobius on June 5, 2014 at 7:52 PM

Mr. Whittle

Bmore on June 5, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Mr Whittle – spot on as usual

IaHerky on June 6, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Does anyone know how many U.S. tax dollars were paid in this ransom deal? Or will we have to sift through the Friday document dump?

ROCnPhilly on June 5, 2014 at 5:20 PM

It probably was a three-cornered deal. The US got Bergdahl from the Haqqani, who wanted money; the Taliban got their generals from the US, who wanted Bergdahl; and (IMHO) the Haqqanis got money from the Taliban, who wanted their generals.

And the Taliban probably got their money from Pakistan, who got it from us in the first place.

ReggieA on June 6, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Comment pages: 1 2