It has been a long standing American military code that our soldiers don’t leave anyone behind, regardless of the circumstances. So it’s a bit confusing to see some of our military personnel expressing regret and dismay over the return of one of their own, and one of our own. Obviously something happened to cause these guys not to like Bowe Bergdahl, and not having been there, I can’t speculate as to the reasons behind their feeling that he didn’t deserve the attempted rescue that went after him, and that he didn’t deserve to be returned home. There’s something about those accounts, however, that just doesn’t ring true, especially when they are strung out together in a news report. To me, there’s a lack of consistency in the way the story is being presented, and there’s something under the surface that’s not coming out at this point. Something happened before Bergdahl was captured, to create the attitude of dislike that is being conveyed now. I think that’s obvious.
There is a moral principle here. How about if the soldier who was returned wasn’t Bowe Bergdahl, but instead was the ideal, boyish faced, flag waving patriot, dragged off kicking, screaming and resisting? Would his return have been worth allegedly “negotiating with terrorists and sending five members of the Taliban to Qatar? You’ll have to decide that on your own, but I know what I think.
It will be a long time before Bowe can address the issue and speak in his own defense. Years of captivity in Afghanistan, with your life in the hands of the Taliban, would have driven most people crazy. Living in fear of your live, of torment, of brainwashing, or anything else a people who have no respect for humanity would possibly do would turn anyone into a bowl of quivering jelly. His recovery will be years in the future. For now, his body is in a place where he’s safe and cared for, something that he has not experienced for a long time. Before we start judging his character or behavior, he should at least be given a chance to recover.
This deal was brokered through the small, Arabian peninsula nation of Qatar, an oil rich country that is closely allied to the US. The members of the Taliban who were exchanged cannot leave Qatar, as part of the deal. That’s not exactly negotiating with terrorists, though the hope I harbored that Americans would react with a level of decent humanity is fading fast in the wake of all kinds of judgemental criticism. Allowing him to remain with the Taliban, when the means finally existed to get him back, would have been cruelty compounded. I’m sure the mind games and cruelty were endless. It’s evident, even in the pictures we’ve seen. Getting him back was the right thing to do.
It would be the right thing to do every time we have the means available to do it with.