For one thing, in a unit plagued with discipline problems, Bergdahl had walked away more than once before—and had returned of his own accord, according to accounts of a classified report on his disappearance. That throws doubt on Bergdahl's intentions the night he left his unit. Additionally:
... the report is said to contain no mention of Sergeant Bergdahl having left behind a letter in his tent that explicitly said he was deserting and explaining his disillusionment, as a retired senior military official briefed on the investigation at the time told The New York Times this week.It's not that the current report is necessarily right and that retired officer necessarily wrong. It's that we don't know what the facts are. All of this will doubtless be the subject of intensive investigation, but for now, most of the reports available to the public will involve someone's description of events years in the past, or of a document they saw but do not have in front of them and cannot share with reporters. So when you hear people confidently asserting what happened leading up to Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance, remember the gaps in the available information and the conflicting reports. Remember that you don't know and neither do they.
Asked about what appeared to be a disconnect, the retired officer insisted that he remembered reading a field report discussing the existence of such a letter in the early days of the search and was unable to explain why it is not mentioned in the final investigative report.