I’m not going to wade too deeply into the controversy over whether recently released POW Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post and unit; I’ll leave that to the professionals. But my first thought when I heard about his return and the surrounding circumstances was, “Hey, this is eerily similar to what happened to Homeland’s Brody. *SPOILERS ahead* If you don’t know the story (which writer Gideon Raff first told in Israeli series, Prisoner of War), the gist is that CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) becomes obsessed with American POW Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) returned to the United States after eight years in Iraqi captivity. The audience is uncertain whether Brody has been “turned” — knowing he became disillusioned by American drone attacks that killed civilians and children, and that Brody was subjected to torture, that possibility was real. Likewise, Bergdahl expressed his feelings about the way he perceived things in Afghanistan:
“I am sorry for everything here,” Bowe told his parents. “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…
“We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.”
Whether or not Bergdahl willingly left his post (a military report details multiple instances of Bergdahl having “wandered away” from assigned areas before, but notes he always returned), reports have him attempting to escape his captors at least twice. I respect his fellow soldiers’ beliefs that evidence points to Bergdahl leaving of his own accord, but I do wish everyone would wait to hear all sides of the story before the worst conclusions are drawn. Apparently there is a petition on the White House web site to have him immediately court-martialed; it already has over 15,000 signatures. The only presumption I’d like to make is that the real life agents who’ll investigate this will be more rational, and less likely to sleep with Bergdahl than Carrie Mathison.
Here’s CNN and Gideon Raff discussing the similarities between Bergdahl and Brody: