Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release this week has posed more questions than answers, answers that will have to wait until Bergdahl speaks up about the 5 years he spent in Afghanistan as a prisoner. The debate over Bergdahl's actions and President Obama releasing 5 top Taliban captains, 3 in Intelligence and 2 high ranking military officers, have become tangled as anything where Obama is involved gets tangled, polarizing the nation and clouding Bergdahl's return to the United States.
Though the two incidents are connected, keeping the issues separate is important. No sense tarring Bergdahl and Obama with the same brush.
Bergdahl walked off his post 5 years ago and was reportedly asking questions of people in the nearby town how to find the Taliban. He found them, but he may not have found what he went looking for. His sympathy for the people and his feelings about US military forces being in Afghanistan seem to be tangled together. What he felt when he walked off his post, what he was trying to do, and what he actually found are serious questions at the heart of the matter.
People all over the country have mixed feelings about Bergdahl returning home and he has been characterized as a traitor to his country. Traitors seldom get welcome home parades and people lining up to shaek their hands and pat them on the back. How could they when Bergdahl's actions have put him under a very dark and dangerous cloud? I sympathize, but at some point people need to be willing to sit back and wait for answers, listen to Bergdahl's story, and reserve judgment until he has faced a military tribunal.
I welcome Bergdahl home and I hope his health improves. He may not have found the welcome he expected when he walked off his post. He made a mistake.
There is also the possibility that Bergdahl has gone over to the other side and is now working for the Taliban as a sort of Manchurian Candidate. It is a possibility that cannot be excluded.
Trust is a hard thing, especially when someone tramples your trust under foot, as it seems Bergdahl did when he walked off his post to find the Taliban. Used to a different diet, he may simply have lost weight because food is scarcer or was less palatable to Bergdahl. The reports that show him cradling one of his arms could be a fake or it could be evidence of an injury. How many times have people allowed themselves to be injured or hurt or even shot and stabbed in order to give credence to the story that they were tortured or harmed? Maybe Bergdahl did try to escape because he became disillusioned by what he found when he encountered the Taliban or maybe that is another fake piece of the story so Bergdahl can come back to the United States and feed information back to his Afghan friends. All of this must also be considered.
Knowing all that, how can people not be reserved with Bergdahl? How can they trust him when he betrayed their trust -- or at least seemed to have betrayed the trust of his comrades in arms, his country, and his government? The Taliban is not beyond using such methods to gain the advantage. The Taliban created the fiction that an Afghan who was helping the US military in brokering a peace with the Taliban was actually a spy and had him arrested by the CIA. No Afghan peacemaker, no peace, and the CIA did all the dirty work. Is Bergdahl just another pawn in the Taliban's game? How will we know?
I read an article this morning that did its best to emotionally manipulate people by calling shame on Americans for not welcoming back Bergdahl with open arms and sweet forgiveness and blamed people for their cold reception of Bergdahl because of their hatred for Obama. That's going a bit far with the tar brush and feathers. Nothing like emotional manipulation to get your point across.
Obama's actions, though connected to Bergdahl, have nothing to do with Bergdahl and everything to do with releasing 5 Taliban captains to Qatar where Noorullah Noori has already said he will return to Afghanistan to continue fighting U.S. soldiers to force them out of his country. That was not a surprise and Obama, yesterday in Poland, already said he figured the released GITMO detainees would not stay in Qatar. Obama knew he was returning dangerous men back to the Taliban in Afghanistan by so doing. That constitutes actions that may finally end with Obama in prison for 10 years to life, as Judge Napolitano believes.
Obama ignored the law when he failed to notify Congress that he was spending U.S. tax dollars to send the 5 Taliban terrorists to Qatar and let them know he was trading the Taliban captains for Bergdahl. Once again, the focus is on Obama's actions and not Bergdahl. Obama ordered the release of the 5 Taliban terrorists and paid their way to Qatar with U.S. tax dollars without informing Congress of his plans. Using Taliban threats to kill Bergdahl if news was leaked is another red herring, especially since this deal has been in the works since December 2013. Good thing Obama didn't release the 15 Taliban prisoners at GITMO instead of just 5 or the American people would have stormed the White House and lynched Obama at Hell's Corner in front of the White House.
No, we don't leave Americans behind on the battlefield, but that is not the point here with Bergdahl. He chose to leave his post to find the Taliban; he wasn't captured at his post. He did not fall in battle nor did he die attempting to save one of his comrades on the field of battle and ended as a hostage. He CHOSE to leave his post. He CHOSE to join the Taliban. He CHOSE to turn his back on his friends, his family, and his country. Bergdahl's father knew of his son's beliefs and feelings and told him to go with his heart. Bergdahl's heart was obviously not with the country that people would have us all believe he is returning to with relief and joy. That is part of the problem and why people are backing away from the Bergdahls, and not just because Bowe's father called down an Islamic blessing when addressing the country from the White House standing next to Obama. A person's religious beliefs are his own even when they make people wonder whose side the Bergdahls are on. Mr. Bergdahl certainly did not do Bowe any favors there and may be a good part of the reason why people are angry and turning their backs on the Bergdahls and on Bowe, the suspiciousness of Sgt. Bergdahl's actions aside.
No, people's anger at Obama and Bergdahl stem from separate actions. Do not mistake that. Forget all the emotional manipulation and look at the situations dispassionately, examine the facts. Most people were angry at Obama long before he traded 5 Taliban captains for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Those people, and the growing number of people who bought the whole hope and change mantra, have been angry for a while and every one of Obama's actions serve to deepen the anger and the rage that Congress has not impeached him or put him on trial for treason and malfeasance in office.
Bergdahl's actions as they come to light create a different kind of anger in people who believe in this country and loathe deserters. Bergdahl has not been committed of desertion, but if he is, it is a good thing war was never declared in Afghanistan or he would be put to death, cutting short the celebration of the returning prodigal son, and that may be what Bergdahl is, the proverbial prodigal son. Or he may be a traitor and an agent for the Taliban. The facts are not all in.
Until they are, welcome home, prodigal son, but be ready to answer for YOUR actions as Obama will have to answer for HIS actions. Though you and Obama are connected by circumstance, the future awaits the truth -- and the verdict. Trust must be earned, Sgt. Bergdahl.
As for Obama, he never had my trust and earning the trust of the people who have been lied to, cheated, and disillusioned may never return.