BOISE, Idaho (AP) — In Facebook posts written before he vanished from his military base in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl spoke of his frustration with the world and his desire to change the status quo.
He criticized unnamed military commanders and government leaders and mused about whether it was the place of the artist, the soldier or the general to stop violence and "change the minds of fools."
In his personal writings, he seemed to focus his frustrations on himself and his struggle to maintain his mental stability.
Together, the writings paint a portrait of a young man who was dealing with two conflicts — one fought with bullets and bombs outside his compound, the other fought within himself.
Bergdahl's Facebook page was found by The Associated Press Wednesday, and it was suspended by Facebook for a violation of its terms a short time later. Bergdahl opened the page under the name "Wandering Monk." His last post was made May 22, 2009, a few weeks before he was taken prisoner.
Bergdahl, the only U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan, was recently released after five years as a prisoner of the Taliban. In exchange, the U.S. released five detainees from a detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The circumstances surrounding the prisoner swap and Bergdahl's capture in 2009 have raised a national debate, with Bergdahl's supporters and friends joyous at his rescue, and some members of Congress — and some of his own platoon members — calling him a deserter.
Mary Robinson, a Facebook friend of Bergdahl, worked with him in a massage center and tea house near his home when Bergdahl was in high school. Robinson said she didn't know why Bergdahl chose the Wandering Monk moniker.
"He was really, really grounded. He was curious. He wasn't one who was partying as some kids do," Robinson said while verifying it was Bergdahl's Facebook page. "He was going over there with all the good intentions of serving his country."
In his May 22 post, Bergdahl described what was supposed to be an 8-hour mission in the mountains of Afghanistan. The mission instead took five days after vehicles in the convoy became disabled from roadside bombs. The group had to camp outside a small mountain town, Bergdahl wrote in the frequently misspelled posting.
When the convoy finally started back to the base, they traveled along a creek bed in a long, deep valley lined with trees and boulders. Again one of the vehicles hit an improvised explosive device, according to Bergdahl's post, and as the soldiers tried to hook the vehicle to a tow strap they began taking fire from people hidden on the hillside.
Enemy combatants "begain to splatter bullets on us, and all around us, the gunners where only able to see a few of them, and so where firing blindly the rest of the time, up into the trees and rocks," Bergdahl wrote.
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