Three days before he went missing, Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier freed in exchange for five Guantanamo detainees, expressed disgust with the United States in an email sent to his parents, the New York Post reported Saturday.
“I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools,” he said. “I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”
He also complained about fellow soldiers, the Post added, calling his battalion commander a “conceited old fool.” The only “decent” sergeants, in his view, were planning to leave the platoon “as soon as they can.” He also claimed they told other soldiers, himself included, “to do the same.”
His father, Bob, reportedly responded: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”
Shortly thereafter, he left camp with a knife, some water, his diary and a camera after being told there would be a problem if he left camp with his rifle and night vision goggles. He was reported missing the next day, prompting searches that returned no results.
"The military pushed his parents and fellow soldiers to sign nondisclosure agreements. But before everyone signed, a comrade from his unit publicly called on Facebook for Bergdahl’s execution as a deserter," the Post added.
On Monday, Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a soldier who served in Bergdahl's platoon when he went missing, told CNN the missing soldier was no hero and deserves no praise.
"I was pissed off then, and I am even more so now with everything going on," he said. "Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him."
A soldier who served in the same battalion and participated in the search, said Monday in an article at the Daily Beast that soldiers died as a result of Bergdahl's action.
"The war was already absurd and quixotic," he wrote, "but the hunt for Bergdahl was even more infuriating because it was all the result of some kid doing something unnecessary by his own volition."
Vierkant said Bergdahl needs to face the consequences of his actions, including a court-martial for desertion, but Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel refused to say if Bergdahl deserted his post.
"Our first priority is assuring his well-being and his health and getting him reunited with his family," he said. "Other circumstances that may develop and questions, those will be dealt with later."
What's next for Bergdahl? A senior Defense official said Bergdahl will probably not face any punishment, CNN said. Moreover, Jake Tapper added, Bergdahl is set to be promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
"Sr defense official tells @barbarastarrcnn that Bergdahl is scheduled to be promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant later this month," he tweeted.
News of Bergdahl's promotion prompted a flurry of anger on Twitter.
"This makes me angry and physically ill," one person tweeted.
"How do you promote someone who was planning desertion without investigation?" another person asked.
A White House petition demands Bergdahl be punished for desertion and a Facebook group called "Bowe Bergdahl is NOT a hero" has garnered support from over 8,000 users. Meanwhile, Bergdahl's father is calling for more terror detainees to be released from Guantanamo Bay.