By now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the case of Sergeant Bergdahl and his release from captivity in Afghanistan. Bowe Bergdahl was released last month in a prisoner exchange by which the United States released five detainees from Guantanamo Bay into Qatar, where they must stay for a minimum of one year, and are “subject to strict bans on militant incitement or fundraising that might pose a danger to the United States.”
Okay, granted, this raises some questions:
1. What happened to the United States’ policy of not negotiating with terrorists?
The United States has a policy of not negotiating directly with terrorists. We can, however, negotiate through an intermediary nation. In this case, it was Qatar. What the Obama Administration did is not new, nor is it “illegal,” nor is it treason.
2. What’s the deal with Bergdahl’s dad?
If you’re asking this question, then you’ve probably read and seen photos of Robert Bergdahl, the father of Sgt. Bergdahl, who tells us he grew out his hair and beard and began learning Arabic and Pashto in an effort to bring his son home. Right-wing media has been criticizing Mr. Bergdahl because his actions apparently make him a Taliban sympathizer, and a Muslim (why being a Muslim is a bad thing, I don’t get, but my guess is that stupid people think all Muslims are terrorists).
3. Isn’t Bergdahl a deserter?
Officially, no. In 2010, “the evidence was “incontrovertible” that Bergdahl indeed walked away from his unit, [however the Pentagon] did not accuse him of desertion.” There is little information on this part of the story, but earlier in the article cited by the previous link, Bergdahl is described as feeling little conviction for his assignment in Afghanistan, saying “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live.”
Here’s the issue. Those of us at home have no idea what those guys over in the Middle East have to do. We don’t see the end result of our demand for action and justice. Likewise, the grunt on the ground isn’t going to see the big picture, it’s above his pay grade. It is understandable that Bergdahl would have had some frustration, especially with the incidents he cited: “He said an Army vehicle had run over a girl, but “we don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.”” I don’t care what your mission is, that’s horrible.
4. Come on, he forgot how to speak English??
This one I’m also really skeptical of, to be completely honest. However, I think Robert Bergdahl put it quite eloquently: “The complicated nature of this recovery will never really be comprehended.” What I do know is that sassy attacks on the former POW, like the one from Sarah Palin, aren’t helping. None of us knows the first thing about what that man went through, even former POWs, because Bergdahl was the first and only American POW during this war. It’s going to take a long time to figure out why he doesn’t seem to be capable of speaking/comprehending English, and in the meantime, the rest of us should probably just shut the fuck up about it.
I understand that we all have a right to our own opinions, and we have a right to voice those opinions, but I propose that everyone stop, learn, and think for a moment about what they’re doing and the things they’re saying. So many people are simply spreading ignorance and hate when there is absolutely no basis in fact for such feelings. I don’t give a damn what country you’re from, or what rights you have, you have a responsibility as a human being, with the capability of analytical, logical, ethical cognition, to think before you speak. Think before you form an opinion. Think before you make the entire country look even dumber than we already do.