Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
In more recent news, American POW Bowe Bergdahl has been released as part of a deal with Taliban sympathizers in Afghanistan. Controversially, this was the result of a deal in which the US released five Taliban operatives from Guantanamo Bay in trade for one of their own. Critics cry of the threat they may pose, of the precident this may set for abduction of Americans in the now-safe middle east, and of Bergdahl's unquestionable desertion guilt for lack of proof of innocence.
However, the Taliban fell almost 13 years ago in less than a year's time. That the US would release five Taliban-aligned captives who may never even have seen a trial back onto the still-occupied land where they were likely captured to begin with is a farce akin to the release of a fox preceding a fox hunt. In stark contrast, Bowe Bergdahl is a free man. Or at least he would be, were he not a thinking man with beliefs and ideas.
In an e-mail to his parents three days before his capture on June 30th, 2009, Bergdahl had this to say:
"The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting. [...] one of the biggest shit bags is being put in charge of the team [...] [Bergdahl's battalion commander is a] conceited old fool [...] In the US army you are cut down for being honest [...] but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank. [...] The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools [...] The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies. [...] The few good SGTs are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same. [...] I am sorry for everything here. 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 nfo idea how to live. We don't even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks [...] We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them [...] I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting [...] There are a few more boxes coming to you guys. Feel free to open them, and use them."
This, and mounting evidence that Bergdahl may have abandoned his post, has sparked outrage among commentators. Though we have seen instances of American war atrocities in the middle east conflicts being covered up (such as the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike) and later leaked, it somehow comes as a shock that any man who would offer up his life to these wars could reasonably experience the same reaction which many Americans do upon realizing that they're being lied to. So, why should America do so much to save such a traitor?
Perhaps because an America which would send Bergdahl there and then abandon him out of spite would be deserving of his words. We know the military is corrupt and that war will likely never be conducted by the righteous standards we attempt to impose upon it. We know that soldiers frequently experience shock and alienation during and after war. We know that veterans' hospitals do not adequately serve the veterans, and that veterans' benefits have been ill-handled for years. Yet Bergdahl, because he was a soldier, waives his right to be treated as a countryman for expressing his disgust with these things? His right to be freed? To be tried?
If that's America, who wouldn't want to bail out?