Ok. I've read the email he sent to his dad and the one that his father sent back. It all seems pretty coherent. He also seemed intent on walking to Pakistan if and when the deployment became boring (which any grunt knows, is like 95% of a deployment). I'm not sure how he was allowed to enlist with that kind of discharge from the coast guard; that was a failure. But im not sure that he is actually crazy either. His bio read like that of some kind of hippie.
There was 100% failure in his leadership, especially seeing that he was discharged from the coast guard in 2006 for psychological reasons. You may not give a poo about mindset, which would mean you aren't alone. If somebody gave a poo about mindset, the situation would have been averted.
I have seen nothing that leads any sort of credibility to the story that he set out to join the Taliban. His squad and platoon mates, relatives, friends, and anyone else with whom he kept contact all concede he set out to walk to China.
Do you believe terrorists would be released back into the wild without some sort of telemetry precautions taken? Do you believe such precautions would not lead to bigger fish? You never, ever take out the little guy. You let him lead you to the big guy.
He seems like someone who is categorically unfit to be an infantryman. The impression I'm getting is that he was a weird ass and a loner when he was in the Army. Once they let him in, I'm not sure his immediate superiors could see anything other than another oddball; there's plenty of those in the military.
You made a good point about the prisoner exchange as well. I didn't think about it like that. I still feel no pity for Bergdahl. I'm not sure if he can accurately be described as crazy or if he was just an extremely misguided person. He got people killed. He should pay.