Surely you’ve seen the media coverage that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was the only American in Enemy captivity in Afghanistan, was released in a prisoner exchange four days ago.  Some people who, just a few months, or even weeks ago, praised him as being a Hero, appear to have changed their tune–now claiming that he is a Deserter.  The considerable hearsay, innuendo and political aspects of this controversy are described in the linked article, from the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/us/us-soldier-srgt-bowe-bergdahl-of-idaho-pow-vanished-angered-his-unit.html?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults&mabReward=relbias%3Ar&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DSectionFront%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3Dus%26t%3Dqry684%23%2Fbergdahl+vanishes.

Before anyone considers the political rhetoric, it is important to remember several aspects of this situation, and perhaps the decision to swap Bergdahl for five senior members of the Taliban:  first and foremost, the U. S. Military always brings our Troops back; Sergeant Bergdahl is an American Citizen and is entitled to his Day-in-Court (if necessary), once all the facts are known and evaluated; many of the assertions are either short-sighted, inaccurate or bended toward the political goals of the accuser.  Also, they are premature and are, as yet, unproven.  Once Sergeant Bergdahl is back home and is de-briefed, if the facts then warrant Courts Martial, so be it!

Here are a number of specific points that, I believe, are worth considering before deciding whether the Administration should or should not have made the swap:

1.  The War in Afghanistan is winding-down and both sides in Warfare always tend to exchange the Prisoners at the end.  Why keep them once the War is over?
With regard to the freed GITMO Detainees, how do we make them out to be terrorists, just because they rebelled against their country’s Invaders–the U. S. and our NATO Allies?  Why hadn’t they had been tried for any crimes in twelve years at GITMO?
2.  During the George W. Bush Administration, just over 500 GITMO Detainees were freed.  Why only now are there accusations about Negotiating with Terrorists?  President Bush declared a “War on Terror”: wouldn’t that mean that the recently-released Detainees were actually Enemy Combatants?
3.  The Emirate of Qatar has been a very reliable ally throughout the two Wars in the Middle East.  The U. S. had previously started to arrange a Peace Treaty with the Taliban; so, there is a history there, and Qatar could be very helpful.
4.  Of the previously released Detainees, only approximately twelve percent have returned to the Battlefield.  Qatar has agreed to restrict them to Qatar for one year and, of course, we could have drones monitor their activities, but only to an extent.
5.  Besides, developing somewhat of a working relationship with the Taliban might have benefits in winding-down the presence of the U. S. and its NATO Allies in Afghanistan. That might help lead to a more peaceful exit, rather than violence against the Afghan People, once we leave.
6.  The Taliban has never been included in the State Department’s “List of Designated Terrorist Organizations”.  So, how is the recent Prisoner Swap “Trading with Terrorists?
7.  Was Congress given the proper 30-day advance warning?  According to the Administration, it was informed that something was in the works; however, historically, some similar activities had been reported again and some have not been. Timing can be most important during a constantly-changing Wartime Environment.
8.  And, let’s not forget the Iran-Contra Affair in 1985, during the Administration of Ronald Reagan.  Robert C. McFarlane, then head of the National Security Council, negotiated the sale of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Iran under the mistaken belief that that would, in turn, result in freeing Americans held hostage in Lebanon, by Terrorists who were loyal to Iran.  That and subsequent arms sales were in violation of  U. S. Laws, and that resulted in John Poindexter and Oliver North going to prison.

The U. S. has been involved in numerous Prisoner Exchanges, going all the way back to the time of President George Washington.  The linked Times article above is quite interesting, because it debunks a number of the allegations made about Sergeant Bergdahl, to include some of those by former members of his Army platoon in Afghanistan.  According to the article, some of the TV interviews were arranged by Republican Strategists. HMMM!  Were these enlisted men distracted by their few moments of fame?

Going back to my very first point: Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesman, said that there was a larger matter at play:  The American Military does not leave their own behind.  “When you’re in the Navy, (for instance) and you go overboard, it doesn’t matter if you were pushed, fell or jumped,” he said.  “We’re going to turn the ship around and pick you up.”

NOTE: Jut to provide some of the flavor of the conflicting comments about the whole situation surrounding Sergeant Bergdahl’s release, one of the FOX “News” commentators referred to the “Bearded Father”.  What does that have to do with anything?


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  1. #1 by maxcat06 on June 4, 2014 - 7:40 PM

    Duck Dynasty beards, okay. Bergdahl beard, not. I never knew that beards had a political agenda.

  2. #2 by cheekos on June 4, 2014 - 11:25 PM

    Thanks, MaxCat. I started growing a short beard about eight months ago, and a neighbor did too. I have no idea what the grooming standards in the rural areas of Idaho would be; but, how many of our Presidents have had beards? But again, what does having a beard say? Nothing! Hey, didn’t that J.C. guy have one, as well? Those on the “Right” also envision Moses and Abraham as having them too. But, hey, you can’t wear a beard to the crucifixion.

  3. #3 by James Kennon Sharpe on June 10, 2014 - 4:21 AM

    People of America, when are you going to stop listening to this political crap the Republicans continue to dispense? President Obama made the right decision. Whether Bergdahl is mentally ill, a deserter, an actual POW or just confused, if he is any of these things we cannot leave him to rot in captivity in a foreign country. We bring him home and investigate the allegations. If he is guilty of a crime, we punish him in America. We don’t judge him first to determine his worthiness before we bring him home. Come on people, this is just another attempt by the Republicans to discredit President Obama, aren’t you wise to this by now? All of the accusations that have been politicized by the Republicans against President Obama have been done by previous Presidents. Democrats didn’t politicize these issues then when it was a Republican President, and Republicans didn’t politicize them when it was a Democratic President. This one is simply hatred by the Republicans that has cost the American people billions of dollars and virtually stopped legislation to be passed that the American people need. Don’t you think it is time to put an end to this stupidity?

  4. #4 by David Hollenshead on June 10, 2014 - 1:19 PM

    This attempt to Publicly Lynch Sgt. Bergdahl before he is even tried, and to suggest that his father is a Taliban Sympathizer is the sickest thing I have ever seen my country do in almost 50 years.
    Sgt. Bergdahl has a right to representation from the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and to a fair Court Marshal, if the J.A.G. Corps finds one warranted, and if the Officers at the Military Hospital treating him decide that he is fit for Trial.
    Speech which presents a “Clear and Present Danger” to others is not Protected Free Speech under the U.S. Constitution, and is in fact a FELONY. (For example FOX and Friends “apparently” committed this crime when they suggested that both Sgt. Berdahl, and his father were Taliban Sympathizers, which should result in Criminal Charges and pulling the entire FOX Network from the public airwaves, cable and satellite. For Example:If FOX let’s Bill O’Reilly “apparently” strongly suggest that Bob Bergdahl was a Taliban, so that the Berdahls get death threats, then the charges should be conspiracy to First Degree Murder. It’s not like the employees at FOX didn’t realize that they were putting this Military Family at risk. They knew it and chose to do it anyway, which “apparently” makes this Corporation a Criminal Enterprise. If we only respected and enforced our laws we would charge all Media Outlets Regardless of their Political Bias which crossed this line.
    To my knollege this line has “apparently” been crossed by FOX, National Review, Real Clear Politics and Western Journalism )

    • #5 by cheekos on June 10, 2014 - 1:44 PM

      Mr. Hollinshead, I agree wholeheartedly; but, I don’t recall–even on FOX “News” (notice the quotes)–ever hearing or reading about O’Reilly’s and Hannity’s War Exploits. Now, in all fairness, you have to remember that their programs only represent The Facts–whose ever they might happen to be. Death threats to the Bergdahl Family and forgetting their own embracing of the Beard Culture on Duck Dynasty kinda makes me wonder what their End Game is?

      Let me paraphrase the words of John Adams, Co-Author of our Constitution, before he was President. When he successfully defended the British Soldiers who killed six unarmed Colonials at the Boston Massacre: What does our (whole) Rule of Law mean, if we do not provide the Redcoats with a Fair Trial–under Our Laws?

      Let me focus on the accusations regarding Bowe Bergdahl’s Father, Bob. I have read that, sometime in the early stages of His Son’s Captivity, he started to change–becoming withdrawn. He started to grow a beard, perhaps in solidarity with his Son. He learned about the People who held his Son captive–their culture, practices, language, etc. As the years passed, and he might have lost faith in what Washington was–or was not–doing to rescue his Son, he allegedly decided to circumvent them. Now, tell me frankly, who could possibly have much faith in Washington these days–Administration, Congress, Courts, etc?

      One of the knocks given by member’s of Sergeant Bergdahl’s Platoon–retroactive though that may be–he was a loner. In a low-ranking group of young men, that generally spend more time playing grab-ass that engaging in rational thought. He actually read, studied the People whose country he was living in, maybe learned a bit about the local language.

      So, I see a similarity, between Bowe and Bob Bergdahl. They were both thinkers, perhaps even cerebral. Once Sgt. Bergdahl was in captivity–to remain there for almost five years–I believe that whatever insight Bowe had picked-up ahead of time might have helped him maintain his sanity. Think so?

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