Last week brought us news that Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is coming home, and the reactions have been wide and varying. CNN is calling him a deserter and a coward, while Fox News is calling him a victim of overpowering shame of being American. Bergdahl’s parents aren’t exactly the kind of media darlings that you might hope for them to be during this whole episode, because the elder Bergdahl doesn’t look much different than the people who have been holding the younger Bergdahl captive for the last five years.
The elder Bergdahl’s curious transformation following his son’s disappearance is interesting to say the least, but the man’s motivations and intents should not have been a consideration in securing the younger Bergdahl’s release. O’Reilly can go cut his own tongue out for saying otherwise.
The question that has been swirling around from the time of his disappearance in June, 2009 until today is why did he desert? Bowe looks to have had a fine enough of an education having been home-schooled where he had the time to learn fencing, martial arts, and, even …. wait for it…. wait for it…. ballet. Then, of course, he joined the Army. Comments and disagreements about ballet aside, this is a guy who could be the poster child for any kind of iconically American genera. He might still be able to, but his involuntary public relations moonlighting for the Taliban over the last five years is something he’ll have to deal with in the meantime.
The details surrounding Bergdahl’s release have brought up a lot of other questions, most of which are not being answered in any detail. The inner workings of Obama’s prisoner swap are of much debate, even to suggest that Obama violated some sort of requirement for communication with congress. In the end, the price to release one American soldier from captivity was five Guantamo Bay prisoners. Maybe Bergdahl should be insulted, because frankly our soldiers are worth a lot more than five dusty prisoners who’ve spent only god knows how long in a metal box at Gitmo.
Whether or not Bergdahl was a deserter or just a mixed up kid who was ashamed of his country, there’s no reason to get bitter over the mysterious conditions of his release. In the end, we got our man home. So, do we really need to know what strings were pulled to get him back?
The other big news over the last week has been that Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi is still stuck in a Mexican jail for making a wrong turn while driving along the U.S.-Mexico border. The official charges are something related to illegally transporting weapons into Mexico. The truth is probably that he was heading out to the range to meet some friends. Either way, the guy has been stuck in a Mexican jail for more than a month.
I’m not entirely surprised that Tahmooressi has been stuck in Mexico this long, but I don’t see it going on much longer than another month and a half at the longest. I’m not particularly concerned about why this Marine is in a Mexican jail, rather I’m more interested to see how many of our prisoners it will cost to get him out of jail.
Securing the release of not one, but two American servicemen in as many months would be a public relations wet dream. The Obama administration will get to make another international policy slam-dunk, and all they have to do before the victory dance is release a handful of Los Zeta’s drug cartel members stuck in American prisons.
But, never mind the price of an American POW. Bergdahl’s choice of how to get away from the war is the only point of contention, not what it cost to get him back. Nobody wants war in the Middle East (except for Israel and America’s war hawks…), and almost everybody (except for Israel and America’s war hawks…) wants to bring home our troops. Deserters of today will be remembered in the same way as yesteryear’s draft dodgers. The only people who will have anything bad to say about Bergdahl will be other servicemen, and the civilian community won’t care because he will have essentially gotten a free pass.
If our politicians won’t bring our troops home we shouldn’t be surprised what happens when our servicemen realize that the reason behind the war is a complete lie, and we shouldn’t punish them with a “patriotism crime” for refusing to make war for Israel. Don’t get bitter over Bergdahl, because in times of universal stress the most patriotic acts can be the most controversial.