Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl deserves to be welcomed home

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Good afternoon:

I am surprised by recent criticism of President Obama and Chuck Hagel, the Secretary of Defense, regarding their agreement to release five former members of the Taliban in exchange for the Taliban releasing Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, whom they seized five years ago.

Republicans in Congress have criticized the agreement because they were not informed about it until after the exchange took place and they believe the U.S. gave up too much in the 5 to 1 swap.

Several members of his platoon also have criticized the agreement publicly. They claim Sergeant Bergdahl was a deserter and they resent him because six members of the platoon were killed during an unsuccessful attempt to find him.

Some Republicans have repeated this accusation when all of us should be praying for his full recovery and welcoming him home.

The response by the administration is that timing was critical, they reached an agreement with the Taliban faster than expected, and they carried out a promise to military personnel to leave no one behind by securing the release of the only soldier held by the Taliban.

The administration has announced that the Department of Defense classified Sergeant Bergdahl as a prisoner of war and he is receiving medical care in a hospital in Germany. It has promised to investigate what happened and take appropriate action after he recovers.

The plot has thickened because Sergeant Bergdahl apparently objected to the war in Afghanistan and he talked about leaving his weapons behind and walking to India.

I suspect the intense pressure and anxiety of living in a war zone where your next breath or step could be your last coupled with an escalating dislike of the war and U.S. objectives in Afghanistan could cause a psychological breakdown in anyone, no matter their toughness.

Throwing down your weapons and abandoning the relative safety of the military post to walk hundreds of miles through hostile country to reach India is not rational behavior. It sounds like he was experiencing a psychotic delusion or break and he was lucky the Taliban did not kill him when they first saw him.

Seems like everywhere I look, I find people with undiagnosed and untreated mental illness.

I am offended by the unofficial and unproven accusation that Sergeant Bergdahl, who is officially classified as a POW, was a deserter who should have been left to rot and die in a prison somewhere in Afghanistan.

The Republicans never cease to amaze me with how low they can go.

They deserve to be condemned for attacking the character of a prisoner of war who was never formally accused of wrongdoing and has been locked up for 5 years.

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20 Responses to Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl deserves to be welcomed home

  1. fauxmccoy says:

    the only mistake i can see is not trading ALL of the detainees in guantanamo. that would have solved a number of problems in my book.

    • ed nelson says:

      You’re right in my book, but to take another angle on it: Well did you factor in that Guantanamo Base is a soft touch beautiful place to do service… !

      Not that they ain’t a bunch of these bases around the world providing the best of the best for the officer class in offshore accomidations with help, and conpliant subjugated pops.

      Yet I don’t get how our people will get around the issue of putting folks in containers and riddling them with machine guns. Nor that we condone murder in our name!!!!!!!

  2. Stormwatch says:

    Very interesting article in today’s NY Times that says that according to the military’s own internal documents, the claims that 6 men died “while out looking for Bergdahl” is disputable. People performing their normal military duties who also happen to be on the lookout for someone would have been performing those duties anyway. They were not sent to specifically look for him. They were ordered to do their normal patrols and were told to be on the lookout for him. These brave men died a considerable amount if time after he disappeared. The article is titled “6 lost lives cloud return of American POW.”

    • Malisha says:

      To me it seems obvious that the planned destruction of Bergdahl’s reputation is part of the attack upon Obama for having succeeded in his “Commander in Chief” role. They can’t stand it when he succeeds at ANYTHING because it shows them up so badly.

  3. a2nite says:

    Agreed & thanks

  4. bettykath says:

    I have no problems with the trade. Congress is a bunch of whiners. They won’t let Obama close gitmo, they pass an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that take away the President’s right to negotiate for the return of prisoners as CiC, and then they whine b/c he lowered the number of detainees and asserted his right to negotiate the return of the one prisoner.

    As to the status of the Taliban, I see them as POWs. We invaded Afghanistan and the Taliban were defending against that invasion. That makes those captured on the field of battle, on both sides, POWs, not terrorists.

    Whether Bergdahl suffered a psychotic break or if he just didn’t want to continue killing innocent people, I think he’s suffered enough. He will never be the same. War does that to people.

    There is also a denial about others being killed while looking for him. I don’t know the truth of it.

    btw, it was pointed out elsewhere (I haven’t verified) that McCain blasted Obama for releasing terrorists but he didn’t badmouth Bergdahl.

    An interesting diversion from the Benghazi and VA stuff though.

    • Malisha says:

      The political “discussion” has degenerated into just so much fussing and fuming and Republican leg-humping and obstructionism. I am sick to death of these people collecting salaries for their “work” of essentially throwing wrenches into anything that still does operate while they pump up other things that do not. I can’t even think of good metaphors for it anymore, is how bad it has gotten. Most of it is them being mad that they don’t get to win every squabble they start.

      This guy was a POW, plain and simple. He was and is OURS. Getting him home was (a) honorable and (b) efficient. In fact, Obama turned currency (detainees at Gitmo) that was to be used to buy trouble into currency (trade) that was used to buy a soldier we sent to the field and WE RETRIEVED.

  5. MKX says:

    IMO, there is no legal basis or, for that matter, true justice in the Republican accusations.

    Bergdahl is an American and, as such, has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. How, pray tell, can he get a fair hearing, if we leave him “over there”. How would his counsel be able to defend him without being able to have access to the defendant?

    The “cowardly” thing to do would have been to let Bergdahl “twist in the wind” because the acts he is accused off are politically “embarrassing” So I commend the Obama administration for doing the right thing.

    As to the acts he is accused of, I defer to what my father told me about war:

    He told me that those who glorify or make judgments about individuals in a war have never been in a “shooting war”. And that, unless one has been in a “shooting war”, they really can not have any understanding of it.

    So he is a traitor and a coward because he deserted?

    One thing that has to be understood is that PTSD is not only caused by a fear of what happens to the individual, but also the “horror” of what the individual does to others.

    For example, I have read that one example of WW1 PTSD was a poor soul who could not control a facial twitch. It turned out that he could not get the image of his bayonetting a German soldier in the eye during trench combat out of his mind.

    And our great media has a multitude of TV programs shown by the Military and History channel about how great are modern weapons are. And yet we are not allowed to see what they do to human flesh.

    So I feel Bergdahl deserves to get his side of the story told.

  6. ed nelson says:

    [“The Republicans never cease to amaze me with how low they can go.”].

    It seems like it is their job to be obnoxious. Somewhat like the technique of using two interrogators on a subject/suspect, one of which plays the bad ass, and the other works from a different angle more congenial… (”good cop/ bad cop”).

    In our political system it has come to be… Stupid dumb backwards Caveman type ignoramous vs. effite softy, soo understanding and ”politically correct to a fault phoney… Cave-in a minute Democrat.

    So, the Repubs do their job of bring up the bottom by dragging down the top, and Democrats pretend to be against that while they vote for all the retrograde BS too!

  7. colin black says:

    Dave says:
    June 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm
    I fully agree wit you, Malisha and will add one point. The prisoners released from Guantanamo will be of no value to the Taliban. Even if they haven’t been turned through brainwashing, threats or bribery, the Taliban (if they are as smart as they appear to be) will assume that they have been and treat them accordingly. If they are lucky they will be sent home, maybe even with a small severance package. If not….



    Wrong thease fellas are hard core .

    There more than likely to end up on the governing council when the Taliban regain control.

    If they have been chiped so what a simple scan will locate its position and it will be removed.

    The African National Congress didnt retire Nellson Mandella after 25 Years on Robin Island.

    • Malisha says:

      I’ll tell you what: If I were not even a Taliban sympathizer or a terrorist of any sort, after they had grabbed me and kept me on Guantanamo without trial for years, I would be willing to fight for ANYBODY who was gonna kill Americans anywhere in the world I’ll be on that one.

      • Malisha says:

        I meant, “I’ll BET on that one.”

        New book out: “How to make enemies and create insoluble problems in international relations in 14 easy steps” with a new introduction on “Where to send Drones on Tuesdays”

      • Dave says:

        Again, I agree with you. However if I was in Mullah Omar’s place I wouldn’t want these guys anywhere near my organisation given what they’ve been through. Way too risky.

        Golden handshake.

        “Thank you for your service.”

        “Enjoy your well-earned retirement,”

  8. colin black says:

    America and the UK Invaded Afghanistan In retaliation for 9/11..
    They overthrew the Taliban whom were IN CHarge ,

    For harbouring Bin Laden and his cohorts not for any ideoigical motive,
    Or bringing democracy to Afhganistan.

    Now after thousands of casulltys on both sides Billions if not trillions sqaundered and frudulently eveporated dollars spent on munitions porta cabins rebuiding demolishing .
    Statue toppling …….

    We are leaveing and within Months if not Weeks The Taliban will regain power.

    And a few of the P T B will have increased there already vast wealth with a few more zeros.

    zero conciense = many zeros banked..

    Thease are the real war criminals ….

  9. crazy1946 says:

    I would have been in favor of trading all the Republicans who are so keen on talking down our President for this POW… Of course the Taliban would never have made the trade, even they know piles of camel dung when they see it…

  10. Dave says:

    I fully agree wit you, Malisha and will add one point. The prisoners released from Guantanamo will be of no value to the Taliban. Even if they haven’t been turned through brainwashing, threats or bribery, the Taliban (if they are as smart as they appear to be) will assume that they have been and treat them accordingly. If they are lucky they will be sent home, maybe even with a small severance package. If not….

  11. Malisha says:

    Trading five detainees (from an installation that should have been closed down years and years ago) who have never been tried and who can do no harm to us that cannot be done more and worse by the Republicans themselves, for the life of a soldier who was in the hands of our enemies for five years (with no assurance that he was being treated even as well as the detainees in Guantanamo) was fine with me. For years, Israel has made “lopsided” prisoner exchanges and it has never weakened her position in armed conflicts.

    The Repugnicans simply want to pretend that the guy who killed Bin Ladin is “soft on terrorism” because they — and their showcase Wobbly W prez — couldn’t take care of business for a minute or a mile.

  12. Two sides to a story says:

    At the very least, Bergdahl has served considerable time as a POW and that should be enough to balance his shortcomings, especially considering he may have been experiencing a breakdown.

    There may be information we’re not privy to regarding the 5 prisoners traded. For all we know, they’re chipped and will be surveilled.

    As far as Congress not being advised of the trade – I’ve read conflicting accounts on that regard.

    Mostly, Republicans just want to wail on Obama. Buncha whiny babies. It’s not unusual for trades of prisoners to happen near the end of a conflict, and that goes for negotiating with terrorist organizations as well as countries. Israel does it all the time.

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