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June 12, 2014

Bergdahl Was Released from Coast Guard Due to Psychological Unfitness;
Bergdahl's Letters from His Period of Taliban Captivity Released

So, he had a screw loose.

AllahPundit notes this might be a mark in his favor -- because he never should have been let into the Army at all. He seems to have been unfit for duty from the start, but given the strains our all-volunteer army were under in Iraq and Afghanistan, recruiters got less choosey than they might otherwise have been.

The Coast Guard decided he was not psychologically up for the job of protecting the nation's shores. Obviously then he's not up to toting a gun in a barbarous mountain wasteland.

“I’m worried,” Bergdahl wrote in journals before he deployed that were obtained by the Post. “The closer I get to ship day, the calmer the voices are. I’m reverting. I’m getting colder. My feelings are being flushed with the frozen logic and the training, all the unfeeling cold judgment of the darkness.”

“I will not lose this mind, this world I have deep inside,” he wrote a few pages later. “I will not lose this passion of beauty.”

...

“Trying to keep my self togeather,” Bergdahl, who intentionally misspelled words [???!?!], wrote at another point. “I’m so tired of the blackness, but what will happen to me without it. Bloody hell why do I keep thinking of this over and over.”

...

A senior Army official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the Army was aware of a prior “administrative discharge” when Bergdahl enlisted. A separate Army official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Bergdahl would have required a waiver to enlist under such circumstances. The official could not immediately confirm that Bergdahl received one....

But if you read the article you can draw your own conclusions, or, as Bergdahl might write, your own kihnclyoosians.

“A wolf, mutt, hound, dog, I’ve been called these from my childhood,” he wrote in the first few pages. “But what good am I, my existence is that of exile. To live on the fringes of this world as a guard . . .”

Another entry cited by the Post: “Puddle of mud, skitsafrentic phyco.”>

Bergdahl continues his lunatic rules of spelling in the letters he wrote to home from his period of Taliban captivity.

He loses some sympathy points for blaming his unit for everything.

“Leadership was lacking, if not non-existent. The conditions were bad and looked to be getting worse for the men that where actuly (sic) the ones risking thier (sic) lives from attack,” he writes in a letter dated March 23, 2013...

“If this letter makes it to the U.S.A., tell those involved in the investigation that there are more sides to the cittuwation (sic),” he adds. “Please tell D.C. to wait for all evadince (sic) to come in.”

...

The handwriting in the two letters—one from 2012 and one from 2013—does not match, and the 2012 letter in particular transitions from greetings to the family into a long, rambling, almost lyrical philosophical missive about God and nature. But U.S. and Western officials say the family told administration officials that they believed the letters to be genuine....

It's possible one of the letters was dictated. When I first saw the misspellings, I thought it might have been a Taliban barbarian writing them. But then, Bergdahl deliberately misspells things.

Because, you know, he's got a screw loose.

The following I would take to be potentially insightful, if not for the fact that it was written by a guy with a screw loose:

...

The letter shifts into musings about faith, philosophy and more. “All things happen for a reason. Mathematics is full evidence of this. Just because we cannot understand the master equation does not mean it is not there,” he writes. “Math is God’s code for this Universe and beyond. I miss you all.”

“So take a breath with the wind on your face and feel the life flow through you,” he writes...

....

In the 2013 letter, he seems to be well aware the U.S. army was investigating his disappearance from his base—which was officially termed “absence without leave” because he was captured shortly after walking away.

...

“The cercomstance from the begaining of my time in Afghanistan from immedet top to bottom (spelling typed as per the letter), where bad for troopers espeshly in my PLT. (Platoon.) Orders showed a high disconcer for safty of troopers in the field, and lacking clear minded, logical and commonsense thinking and understanding from the topsides,” he writes.

“The cercomstance showed signs of going from bad into a nightmare for the men in the field. Unexeptable conditions for the men working and risking life every moment outside the wire,” Bergdahl adds.

This guy's starting to remind me of the Woody Harrelson character in Wag the Dog.

By the way, Bergdahl's platoon did not see much actual military action -- the worst travail he faced was being lost in the mountains for four days (with other men), but they were all safely recovered.

The Washington Post broke the journals, and has more.

On June 9, 2009, two weeks before he walked away, Bergdahl sent an e-mail to a friend.

“l1nes n0 t g00 d h3rE. tell u when 1 ha ve a si coure 1ine about pl/-\ns,” read the partly coded message, one of Bergdahl’s many references to unspecified plans and dreams of walking away — to China, into the mountains, or, as he says at one point, into “the artist’s painted world, hiding from the fields of blood and screams, hidden from the monster within himself.”

There has been some debate over whether there was "a note" that Bergdahl left specifying his intention to desert. I don't know if this is The Note alluded to, but certainly this counts as a note in which he confesses his intent to desert.

So that should be case closed.

So why did the administration claim there was no such note?

...

Harrison said she decided to share the journal and computer files with The Post because she is concerned about the portrayal of Bergdahl as a calculating deserter, a characterization she says is at odds with her understanding of him as sensitive and vulnerable.

Well, he calculated how to desert so I still think he's a calculating deserted -- even if he is, um, "sensitive."

Here Bergdahl descends into Scott Beauchamp level bathos:

“Really, how pathetic i feel as i listen to people talk of the hell I will be heading to . . . ” he wrote in a computer file titled, “my army memories.” “Compared to hell of the real wars of the past, we are nothing but camping boy scots. Hiding from children behind our heavy armored trucks and our c-wire and sand bagged operating post, we tell our selves that we are not cowards . . . ”

Another wannabe tough guy, in between his bouts as a tortured artist.

He also tried being a Goth, apparently:

After growing up as a home-schooled kid in the rural fringe of Hailey, Idaho, Bergdahl was drawn to an artistic, free-thinking crowd in the nearby ski town of Ketchum, where he met Harrison when he began taking ballet and fencing lessons at an arts center she ran...

They described Bergdahl as an introspective young man who sometimes painted his fingernails black and identified with Japanese samurai warriors and medieval knights. He was often seen writing in a notebook and reading. He liked to portray himself as a dark, adventurous soul with a chivalrous spirit, a dramatic persona his friends often teased him about.

And this isn't a Red Flag or anything:

...

Soon after he left Ketchum for basic training [in the Coast Guard], Bergdahl sent her a dozen or so notebook pages filled with tiny writing diatribes against the rigors of military life.

Nor is this:

As he prepared to deploy to Afghanistan, Bergdahl began making long lists, including one labeled “Movies 4 My Insanity,” which included the Cary Grant film “Houseboat,” “Mary Poppins,” “The English Patient” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” He wrote about his fantasies and goals.

And if that isn't alarming enough, how about this?

...

In a file dated a few days later, repetitions of the phrase “velcro or zipper/velcro or zipper/velcro or zipper” cover nearly two pages.

It's worth reading. He writes more to his friend Kayla back home, frequently talking about inchoate plans to desert.

One thing I found interesting: The Army was giving waivers to people who seemed psychologically unfit, but would not give such waivers to people with low IQs.

Now, having a low IQ is definitely an impediment. And the modern soldier is definitely hampered by having a low IQ.

But given the choice-- I think maybe the armed forces might want to reexamine this policy of giving waivers to the psychologically "fragile," as they call Bergdahl, rather than the slow.


digg this
posted by Ace at 06:44 PM

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