This Bergdahl situation pushes a lot of personal triggers, let me try to explain the things that hit me all wrong.
1. Murky circumstances under which Bowe Bergdahl was captured. Before we can move any further in laying this matter to rest, the US Army has a duty to investigate and determine whether this soldier intentionally deserted his post. This CINC spinning Bergdahl as some brave soldier, the photo-op with the parents in the Rose Garden, the promise to the parents that Bergdahl will get the best medical care, and a full-court press effort to silence any in the military from telling the truth indicate that the President wanted this to be a “positive” military story in the wake of his bad week of VA scandals last week. Regardless of the President’s political calculations, the US Army has a duty to investigate and ascertain the facts in this case and if warranted, act in accordance to the UCMJ. Every other soldier who has raised his/her right hand needs to have full faith that every soldier will be held to the same standard for conduct, particularly in a war zone. Desertion is one of the most egregious crimes a soldier can commit – it goes to the heart of trust, the first building block of any team, but a matter of life and death in military units.
2. Trading Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl’s release. Outside of Bergdahl’s questionable conduct, making deals with terrorists and/or enemies who have no intention of keeping promises encourages more American hostage-taking, because the message has been sent that the President of the United States will negotiate. Yes, the Israelis do it and while they achieve the short-term benefit of the release of an Israeli soldier, in the long-term they’ve set in motion an incentive for more hostage-taking, sending a clear message to their enemies that this tactic yields results. President Obama has put a price and target on the back of every American traveling abroad, because imagine if Al Qaeda decided to kidnap, not only US soldiers, but American civilians, to include children, what then? Gitmo could empty out quickly that way, which this President made a high-priority in campaign promises, putting his goals in line with our enemies goals. For a clear-eyed strategic assessment, Michael Ledeen at PJ Media wrote an excellent piece, “Mirrors and Veils: The Bergdahl Perplex”.
3. Media gullibility and culpability in being used as willing dupes to left-wing political propaganda. Afraid to come out sounding mean or callous, the initial reporting on cable news of Bergdahl’s release was sympathetic to Bergdahl, casting him as a returning war hero. The 2012 Rolling Stone exposé cited in my post yesterday offers many clues as to where the facts lie in regards to the White House spin, the truth behind Bergdahl’s actions and his parents odd behavior. Here’s a hint as to how the WH plotted this prisoner exchange for years, quoting from that 2012 Rolling Stones story:
“U.S. officials working on the negotiations call it – that could finally end the longest war in America’s history. Bowe is the one prisoner the Taliban have to trade. “It could be a huge win if Obama could bring him home,” says a senior administration official familiar with the negotiations. “Especially in an election year, if it’s handled properly.””
Even on FOX news, where the President gets tougher scrutiny, Major General Bob Scales, discussed Bergdahl.… “this poor man was all alone, blah, blah, blah” If anyone should be informed on the murky circumstances about Bergdahl’s capture, it should be Scales, but he nervously played along with the happy horse shit the WH spun. Never trust that man again, is my motto – he played politics with the truth, knowing full-well that determining “if Bergdahl deserted” is more important than reuniting him with his family. The news anchor, Arthel Neville, gushes on about Bergdahl’s oddball father being so proud of his son sacrificing so much for trying to help the Afghan people. Scales says, ” if you want to know what makes America great look at Sergeant Bergdahl’s parents.” Shut-up already, next up those parents -let’s take a closer look at those parents and what they know about their son’s ending up outside his base in Afghanistan.
4. Yes, let’s take a closer look at Bergdahl’s parents, who come across as kindred spirits of 60’s hippies. The 2012 Rolling Stone piece linked in my post yesterday throws out so many red flags in that 7 page exposé , that even the most obtuse person should be saying, “something is afoul in this story!” From the parents description of their son trying to join the French Foreign Legion and living in some sort of fantasy world of thrill-seeking to his peculiar behavior recounted by his fellow soldiers, to the quotes Bergdahl’s father provides taken from Bowe’s emails. Bergdahl’s father takes great pride in his son following his conscience and spoke of being so proud of how much Bowe sacrificed to try and help the Afghan people. What does that mean? Was he praising his son for deserting? Fellow soldier accounts mention Bowe being engrossed in reading “Three Cups of Tea”, the lie-ridden accounting of an American do-gooder helping set up schools in Afghanistan. Let me read those three cups of tea leaves and ponder, did his parents encourage him to desert? His father is speaking Pashtun to his son, what is that all about? His mother spoke yesterday, asserting her words were for her son, when she told him to”trust them’, referring to the soldiers caring for him in the US Army medical facility in Landstuhl. Why did she feel it necessary to tell her son that? Why is she reassuring her son to trust US soldiers? Then there’s the weird twitter message on Bob Bergdahl’s account that was later deleted, which is located in my previous post. All these questions, but no General Scales, I have my reservations that what makes America great are people like Sergeant Bergdahl’s parents.
5. CNN makes an attempt to redeem itself as a news organization, will miracles never cease. Yes, unlikely as it is, CNN offers up this report by Jake Tapper, where he interviewed soldiers from Bergdahl’s unit, “Fellow soldiers call Bowe Bergdahl a deserter, not a hero”, where soldiers describe Bergdahl’s behavior, they talk about resources that were diverted to search for Bergdahl after his capture and how six other soldiers died searching for him. More to come from the soldiers who were there, you can count on it and no matter how hard the CINC tries to silence them, I suspect they will speak out. This action by the President may be the one that completely alienates him from the vast majority of the rank and file in our US Armed Forces and among veterans.
Now a personal note as to why this whole dog and pony show this President orchestrated infuriates me. First, it’s a terrible precedent. Next the murky circumstances and the CINC’s failure to assure the troops an investigation to ascertain the facts will occur. Instead, this CINC is assuring Bergdahl’s parents that their son will get the best medical care possible. In the wake of the VA scandal, that statement infuriated me. Luckily, my husband has medical insurance that he pays monthly premiums for, despite being promised free medical care for life for his 24 1/2 years of active duty service, so he gets excellent medical care from civilian doctors. My husband served in Grenada and Desert Storm. Years ago the DoD sent out letters to Gulf War veterans about Khamisiyah,which my husband received one. Of course, actually determining that being in the vicinity of Khamisiyah caused my husband’s neurological condition is impossible, but I have suspicions. The neurosurgeon told us they rarely know the cause of this condition and a shunt is the only treatment option – there is no cure. It took two years to get my husband’s VA disability rating changed a few years ago, before he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Now, it’s back to the same old submit documentation and wait, then the run around to travel an hour and a half to the VA hospital for more evaluations. But rest assured this Bergdahl family can sleep easy knowing the President of the United States has given their son’s medical care his personal attention. Yes, the kid who wrote to his parents, “The horror that is america is disgusting.” and walked away from his post, will get royal treatment and his dad, who should be called Bagram Bob, hinted at a book deal. As for the rest of those who sacrificed and served, get in line, your needs fall way below a cheap Presidential political stunt using “Bowe Bergdahl, American hero” as a prop.