The things Bergdahl carried reveal a fragile, troubled mind

Matt McClain/The Washington Post


Matt McClain/The Washington Post

In the Washington Post, a look at what the diary of recently-freed Taliban hostage Bowe Bergdahl, an Army soldier captured in Afghanistan, might tell us about his state of mind before he walked away from his post.

“I am the lone wolf of deadly nothingness,” he wrote in his diary. Before Bergdahl joined the Army, he was reportedly discharged from the Coast Guard "for psychological reasons."

The camouflage case shown here "arrived at the home of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s friend Kim Harrison several days after he disappeared in Afghanistan," reports the WaPo. "Inside was Bergdahl’s laptop computer, a journal, a copy of Ayn Rand’s 'Atlas Shrugged' and a cracked Kindle, as well as military papers in which Bergdahl named Harrison as the person who would receive his body should he be killed."

“I’m worried,” he wrote in one journal entry before he deployed. “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.”

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

At another point, using his often un­or­tho­dox spelling, he wrote: “Trying to keep my self togeather. 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.”

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.”

"Bergdahl’s writings reveal a fragile young man" [washingtonpost.com]

Notable Replies

  1. Well, I'm glad the army helped him straighten up and fly right!

  2. Fragile...? I don't flaming well think so. More like sane in an goddamn insane world. The guy has my respect for walking away from the most fascist force that has ever existed on this planet - the good ole US and A.

  3. So, do the army and the coast guard just not talk much, or is enlisting someone with a psych discharge from another branch one of those things we started doing when meeting recruitment numbers and adhering to admissions standards were starting to become incompatible goals?

    I do not wish to imply that what the coast guard does is trivial, risk-free, or without physical and psychological hardship, because it isn't; but "couldn't hack it in the coast guard" does not sound like an endorsement for "frontline infantry posting, with an army that only PNAC thought was large enough, in a notoriously hostile environment".

  4. Uthor says:

    New York Times took a look at those soldiers claimed to have died "searching".

    Bascially, there were eight deaths in the entire province shortly after Bergdahl left/desertted/whatever in a time period that was especially intense all over the country.

    Two were defending an outpost, not out searching.

    The other six deaths were months after the initial intense search was ended: one while looking for a Taliban leader, two doing recon, three during patrols in a historical "hotbed" of insurgents.

    Yes, they were on the lookout for Bergdahl, but it's not like they wouldn't have been out there doing the same thing anyway. Kind of hard to make a cause and effect case.

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