Friday, June 13, 2014

Bowe Bergdahl--Who Knows?

Photo-whiteoutpress / flickr
Ever heard the story of the man sitting at the football game who couldn’t scream enough. A real fan—he pulled for the home team. But—he kept yelling at the opposition: “Kill him. Take him down! Ha—he’s a fool! Tear his head off! You must be stupid!” The woman sitting behind him had enough. She tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Mister that’s my boy you’re yelling at.”

I couldn’t help but think of Bowe Bergdahl’s parents when I remembered that story. I do hope they aren’t reading many newspapers or watching too much TV these days.  My problem with this whole mess is that most folks have rushed to judgment much too soon. Who knows?

We do know he walked away from his post. We also know that he had walked away two times before: once during training in California and once in Afghanistan. He returned both times. Maybe he is just weird or downright strange. I find it hard to believe anyone would wander into Taliban territory in his or her right mind. He could be mentally ill. He could also be a coward and a deserter. We just do not know. Yet—the outcry has been stupendous. My problem is that we need to give this soldier the benefit of the doubt until we know the truth. Which we do not know. Where do we get the idea that any of us are guilty until we are proven innocent?

If we had left Bergdahl behind—the howling will probably be more that all the noise surrounding this man and his actions. Some imply that he was not in danger and that he was not sick. Who knows? We are pretty sure the place where he was incarcerated was not a health spa. He was in prison behind enemy lines for over five years. Who knows what happens to anyone in that kind of terrible situation. Remember Daniel Pearl and a great many others who have had their heads chopped off by the Taliban?

Why do we have to politicize everything? Some folks seem to be more concerned about releasing those five Taliban detainees than they have been about this American who spent all these years in prison. Clarence Page recently wrote, “...Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners—many of them terrorists responsible for hundreds of Israeli death—to free Gilad Shalit, an Israeli sergeant held captive by Hamas for five years.”

We have jumped to conclusions much too soon. Let the process do its work. If this soldier deserted he needs to pay for his actions—and will. But we need to give one another the benefit of the doubt—even the President, especially the President. Don’t you think we send a powerful message to our enemies when our Commander in Chief is vilified and demeaned and his integrity questioned.

Whatever the reasons like that woman at the football game that tapped the yelling man on the shoulder—I feel for this soldier’s parents. Guilty or innocent whatever joy they may have had by the release of their son has been muted by the press and social media. Do we have our priorities jumbled?

(With all the media hoopla over the Bergdahl affrair, Joe Klein of Time has written a piece  that is fair about Bowe Bergdahl's parents. It is called, "Sacrificial Lambs." I recommend this wise piece to all.)                                 

                                              --RogerLovette /

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