Former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is claiming he abandoned his base in Afghanistan in 2009 in order to travel to the nearest military outpost so he could report wrongdoing within his unit, a senior Defense official reportedly told CNN.
This undated image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The Taliban proposed a deal in which they would free the U.S. soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of their most senior operatives at Guantanamo Bay, while Afghan President Hamid Karzai eased his opposition Thursday June 20, 2013 to joining planned peace talks. (AP)
The official said Bergdahl argued he didn’t trust the commanders on his own base to address his complaints about "order and discipline," so he left his post and sought to take his grievances to another outpost.
Bergdahl has been charged with Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty,” and with Article 99, “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.”
If CNN’s source is reliable, the new information could be the first glimpse into Bergdahl’s defense against the charges.
Another official apparently told the news outlet, "This was a kid who had leadership concerns on his mind. He wasn't fed up, he wasn't planning to desert."
Before he left his post, Bergdahl reportedly neatly stacked up his equipment and left it behind. Emails reportedly sent to his parents would later reveal that Bergdahl said he was “ashamed to even be American” and adamantly against the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
"I am sorry for everything," he reportedly wrote in an email to his parents. "The horror that is America is disgusting."
It will be up to military authorities to decide whether Bergdahl is guilty of desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy.”
(H/T: Bloomberg View)