A year and a half ago, on one beautiful June 2014 morning, President Obama called the White House press corps together in the Rose Garden. There, the smiling president proudly announced that the United States had secured the release of an American serviceman held captive in Afghanistan for five years.
U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was coming home, the proud president declared, having secured his freedom after 5 years in captivity in Afghanistan in exchange for the release of five Taliban detainees. Meanwhile, six U.S. troops had died in the months following Bergdahl's disappearance during missions search and rescue missions.
Then the hammer hit: Bergdahl was a deserter and had directly endangered his fellow soldiers. The anticlimatic narrative fell apart two weeks ago when the U.S. Army announced Bergdahl will face a military court on charges of desertion and endangering fellow soldiers, and possible life imprisonment.
It was merely the latest foreign policy blunder for an administration who will surely enter the Guinness World Records in this category.
But the embarrassment - for everyone involved - does not end there.
According to the NY Post, Bowe Bergdahl - who is now the star of the new season of the iconic podcast "Serial" - details failed attempts to escape his captors after the Taliban abducted him in 2009, in the latest episode. Turns out Bergdahl was just as bad at escaping as he was at (allegedly) deserting and getting caught.
He said he was able to slip his limbs out of loose chains and unlatch his cell door when no one was looking, the New York Post reported.
He spent about 15 minutes on the run, covering himself with mud on a building’s roof to try to hide, before he was caught and whipped with a rubber hose. After that, Bergdahl said, he was moved to a much more difficult living arrangement.
“In the new place, they put me on an Afghan bed and they chained my feet to the ends of the bed and chained my hands to the tops of the bed so that basically I was spread-eagle on the bed and blindfolded. And that’s how I spent the majority of the next three months,” he said.
“The time deprivation, too much light or too much darkness and too much randomness, it just wears away at you and drives your nerves into the ground. The constant worry ‘Am I going to die today?’ or is something worse going to happen?” he added.
Thus having been placed in Afghan "isolation" largely for the duration of his stay, surely his captors were fascinated by his breadth of insight about American culture and would love to pick his brain at every possible opportunity. Indeed, Bergdahl said guards who were assigned to watch him were often bored by the job, and would pass the time by interrogating him.
And what, according to Berghdal, was the most pressing question on their mind? "They ask you, is Obama gay and sleeps with men?"
The silver lining: at least the debate about Obama's long-form birth certificate appears to have been firmly resolved, if only in Afghanistan.