Date: June 10, 2014
Note: I want to make clear, that I’ve viewed/read the many things linked in this post, over a span of several days. Some of my memory has eroded…I wont make individual changes below, but I wanted to clarify a few mistakes.
I refer to the captors of Bowe Bergdhal as al-qaida…but they are actually taliban…Apparently, those bozos are back at their crap, again…and they aren’t really much up for negotiating peace…like it was alleged, a handful of years back…when they supposedly were open to talks.
The “historian” is actually a reporter, who got held captive himself.
This post is not the prettiest thing I’ve ever written, and it’s been meshed together, from the content/writing of two or three settings at the PC…It’s been a busy weekend…
Wow…what a complete freakish mess…all around, and from every concievable angle…
Before you partake in any of these links, do note…I did not choose them based upon any ideological alignment of the producers. I chose them based upon what they addressed in a meaningful way. As such, I am pleased to say that more than one viewpoint is shared…and as such, a wider consideration is given to the complexity of this case.
As the link says…I’m just placing this here, because it documents the earlier periods of Bergdahl’s case.
This is an opinion piece…I included it, because it discusses the desertion charges made against Bergdahl.
Some people actually started a petition on whitehouse.gov…Obviously, there are very strong emotions surrounding this case. I am just documenting the fact, that this petition exists…and that many citizens are taking it upon themselves, to attempt influencing the outcome of this case.
I am not implying anybody should, or should not, sign it themselves.
This one is recent…and I’d like to say something here…
It does seem that Bergdahl was a genuine deserter. After a relatively short time serving in theater, in an undistinguished capacity or manner…Bergdahl decided he had emotional and ideological conflicts, with what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan. At some point, he simply abandoned his post…Strangely, it seems he had a history of doing this type of thing…It allegedly happened twice before.
What I want to know…is what these abandonments consisted of…was he actually AWOL [absent without leave], or did he just sneak off over into the bushes to take a badly needed pee, when someone higher up noticed he was absent?
That may sound corny, or like I am trying to be humorous…but remember, I was a service member myself…and I served in a theater of war, myself…I know well enough, there are some dingbats in the service, who get off on using their status and rank to screw with people.
Since I don’t know the facts about Bergdhal’s previous desertions of his post…I feel compelled to withhold comment about them…But it is troubling to know, that there seems to exist a pattern of this behavior in his history.
Strangely…Bergdhal got promoted all the way up to the rank of sergeant [generally, two promotions beyond private first class], even when all of this was known about him…which seems extremely generous…but, I understand it is not right to penalize an individual when you don’t even know exactly why he was gone…and he is still a service member, with the time put in.
I find it troubling and alarming, that some people are taking it upon themselves to allegedly issue death threats, to Bergdhal and his father. Admittedly…what little is offered here in this report, comes off questionably as being a literal death threat. We don’t get to see the larger message…and it sounds more like a briefly expressed opinion, that Bergdhal and his father should be executed. They may be applying very liberal interpretations, to anything which implies such a thing. Personally, I think there is a tangible difference between expressing such a thing, and actually threatening another person’s life…even though I think it is deplorable, that people are demonizing and dragging Bergdhal’s family into this, in that manner.
…I also find it troubling, that Bergdhal’s homecoming celebration got derailed by all of the hysteria, when most people could not even begin to know the facts of this case…Mind you…maybe he does not strictly deserve a heroes welcome…but it is his home town…and they know him as a human being…he is part of them…and they have had to go through the ordeal, of watching him for the last five years, held hostage and with his life in peril. If they want to celebrate his release and return home…that is their business, and not the business of outsiders.
I think there have been many ugly things which have boiled to the surface here.
The issue of President Obama making this trade, is still a whole other issue as well. Five top al-qaida members, for one soldier who is very likely a deserter…and we don’t even know what these al-qaida guys are even going to do, once they get back amongst their peers…Can they just walk away from their past?…Will this place a target on their heads?…How likely is it, that they wont return to al-qaida?
The trade was not even legal…even if it did “have to” be done this way, provided it was going to happen at all. It is honestly not in dispute, that Obama could not legally make a trade like this…and this is absolutely something, which a larger body of authority should have been involved in. On a personal note…I do not feel good at all about Obama’s handling of this, nor about the precedent of trading five terrorist leaders for one American deserter.
I sympathize that leaving Bergdhal to die, as the only American POW of the Afghan war, is not an easy call to make…after all…we do our best to bring our people home…and it tarnishes our image all the more, as a nation, to abandon even a soldier who behaved like Bergdhal. In reality, we could not just leave him there and do nothing.
I think what makes me feel most ill…is the way I am finding myself in agreement, more and more, with the extremist Obama haters…many of whom I think are motivated by a lot of factors, and not all of them good…But Obama is taking privileges with his status, that are not his to legally take…and that is a serious issue…
…Obama keeps granting an aura of increasing credibility…to this demographic amongst us, who’s favorite hobby in life is collecting and promoting every conspiracy theory they stumble across…no matter how ridiculous or irrelevant those theories may be…Obama’s behavior has been like a great big christmas present to these sorts, who have to constantly believe [and spread] the idea that the government wants to put all of us into concentration camps and kill us [even though if they wiped us all out, they’d have nobody left to rule over or profit off of].
Obama campaigned on transparency…but he has not made good on this promise…He has gone the other way, and given us too many surprises.
I actually want to highlight this last link, more than anything else in this post…because it discusses an issue, that never really seems to get it’s due time…yet it is very important, and a sign of our failings as a nation, that we do not confront this in a direct manner.
There are actually two parts I’d like you to watch…the first is of a lawyer, who discusses more intimately, some of the factors surrounding soldiers who become deserters. The second is a historian, I believe…who discuses the mass desertions in World War II, and the horrendous things those men were expected to endure…and just keep going.
Virtually nobody, is actually cut out for the purpose of thriving in a theater of war…In fact, it is a severely devastating experience for many…and it is no surprise, that many do run away when things get too horrendous for them to cope with. To stay, is counter to human nature in most people.
…so they flee…
There is a tremendously heavy question here, where it comes down to how justified we even can be, in punishing people who have been pushed past their mental capacity to cope, while in a setting we have forced them into, and while they are merely attempting to escape from what they can no longer psychologically handle.
…Is it right, to punish anyone who is seeking self preservation, and seeking to avoid suffering further injury?
Most people don’t even understand what they are walking into, when they join the military…not honestly, they don’t…and we accept untold numbers, who are ill equipped to face the reality…Many of them are there, because of social inequality issues, no fault of their own…and this is their only viable way forward in life…Some of them are bullied into the military, by a parent who wants them out of the house…
These are some of the hard realities, of many people who end up in the military…and who end up either dead, or maimed and traumatized.
I want to make one thing clear…
…I am not terribly sympathetic to a soldiers plight, where it can be proven that he/she intentionally abdicated his/her duties, placed others in greater danger, and in the process of doing such…caused their own ill set of circumstances [which others are forced to rescue them from].
Leaving your post, abandoning your duties and wandering off aimlessly into the Afghan frontier, is a very, very, very serious matter.
Whether or not it can be proven that six [or more] men died while searching for Bergdhal…there is still the matter that when posts are abandoned, a new vulnerability has been created for the rest of the group…and a vulnerability which they have been left oblivious to.
Maybe Bowe Bergdhal has mental issues he was dealing with when he went into the military…I don’t know…But he was considered competent enough to be there, doing what he was doing…and when he chose to fail doing those things he agreed to do…he betrayed the very people he was serving with…and by extension…if these allegations are true…he betrayed our nation.
Potentially…a lot more people could have ended up dead, over what Bergdhal did…So his actions should not be taken lightly.
There needs to be an investigation…If evidence shows that Bergdhal willfully deserted, then he needs to be tried under the UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice]…If found guilty…he needs to be sentenced, and sent to Fort Leavenworth…
…And no…the al-qaida group that abducted and held Bergdhal for at least five years, is in no way representative of the U.S. military justice system, nor is it authorized to carry out any punishment on behalf of the U.S. military justice system…Therefor, his time in captivity should have no baring on any criminal culpability, nor the legal consequences of said culpability…
That he was a prisoner of al-qaida, is no excuse for a light slap on the wrist, nor for claiming that Bergdhal has “suffered enough already”…
…And if anybody in government attempts to play that card…even I will join in with the voices who are yelling “Foul!”
I just wanted to make this point clear…
…As a war vet myself…I don’t look favorably upon those soldiers, who are presently “on the front lines”…who quite possibly don’t even have it bad, as daily life goes [all things considered]…when they decide suddenly, that they are ideologically unsatisfied with the war and their place in it…so they decide to take some dingbat, treasonous action, in hopes of getting out of it…
I know it can be high stress, being in a situation like that…But I also know, you can go your entire time in some places, without ever seeing combat at all.
Bergdhal does not come off as someone, who was suffering from getting shot at for too long…He comes off as someone morally outraged, who had this insane notion…that it would be better to walk into the very dangerous unknown, than to just ride out his tour of duty and make some sort of stand once he returned to the U.S.
Bergdhal chose the worst possible time and place in his life, to throw his fit over what all is wrong…and the consequences of his choices have been nothing but a disaster, all around.
…Such naivety…Nobody in their right mind believes it will turn out well, wandering alone in an al-qaida infested Afghanistan…
…Maybe he was suicidal?…
Really sad for him…If he’d have just done his duty, he’d have probably spent a lot of time setting in a bunker…and eventually [maybe long before this], he’d be out of the service…honorable discharge, and all…
…Now he has to live the rest of his life, with this chained around his neck.
I do not believe he should be spared from facing the consequences of his actions…but, what shortsighted naivety…
If he is, indeed, guilty of the charges…then this is epic Darwin Award behavior…and it is a wonder that he even survived it all.
Bergdhal already “won the lottery”, by surviving the insane situation he is alleged to have caused…If guilty…that is his grace and mercy [the fact that he is even alive, at all]…and we should not be soft on him, when it comes to him standing before a military court.
Given the circumstances…if he is guilty, then this is fair.
If those six [or more] soldiers really did die directly because of Bergdhal’s actions…and this can be established…then they should throw the book at him, with prejudice.
I know the political and social circumstances were a lot different, when I served in the first gulf war…but we were being told, that we were being sent into another Vietnam…If you think any of us over there wanted to be there…you are wrong…But nobody I knew deserted…It never even crossed my mind, to attempt running away from all of it. I wont call that bravery…I’ll just admit, it was realizing the reality of the situation I was in.
Bowe Bergdhal joined the U.S. military at a time of war…years into an ongoing war…two of them, even…U.S. culture and media had been ablaze for years, with heated debate over the rightfulness and morality of these two wars…and we are expected to believe, that Bowe was oblivious to all of this moral conflict…until that moment, while standing [or setting] in an Afghan desert, where he had some sudden epiphany?
…I don’t know…It just seems like anybody going into the U.S. military today, has little real excuse for not understanding what they are walking into…or for not understanding what sorts of things they are agreeing to be part of…There are so many outlets, which expose the realities…and this is not even remotely a new thing.
If you are that big of a conscientious objector…you don’t join the military so that you can be sent smack dab in the middle of everything, just to throw a fit and cause a lot more problems [possibly getting yourself and others killed].
I cannot respect that sort of behavior at all.