The release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban combatants held at Guantanamo Bay has dominated the news cycle, but so too have the controversial circumstances leading up to his disappearance.
Accounts from fellow soldiers that Bergdahl went missing of his own volition have persisted in the five years since he disappeared, and emails sent to his parents beforehand suggest he may have been contemplating desertion.
“I am ashamed to be an American,” he wrote in his final email to his parents, a 2012 Rolling Stone article reported. “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.”
The email indicated Bergdahl had lost faith in the U.S. effort in Afghanistan.
“I am sorry for everything here,” he said. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.”
CBS News reported that Bergdahl mailed home boxes containing his uniform and other belongings before he disappeared.
“The future is too good to waste on lies,” he further wrote. “And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.”
The Associated Press and CBS News reported that the authenticity of the emails cannot be independently verified, and Bergdahl’s parents have not commented on them.
According to Rolling Stone, Bob Bergdahl responded to his son’s final email, complete with the subject line: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”