I have no idea what to make of this Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl situation. Let me start by saying as a human being and a mother and sister, I am very happy they were able to bring him home. I am also a firm believer in leave NO man behind.
Now having said that, as the ever-questioning cynic and realist that I am, what is going on here? Why would we ever exchange FIVE Taliban commanders for one sergeant, especially after all this time? What has changed? Who is this Sgt. Bergdahl and what does he know? What has he been exposed to?
What do these Al-Qaeda guys know? Have they been given lobotomies? Have they been implanted with tracking devices so invasive that removal would cause death? (Just curious WHY we would release them if they are Taliban commanders.)
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to insinuate in any way that Sgt. Bergdahl’s life isn’t worth saving – I just don’t understand why it was done – it doesn’t make sense. What precedent does this set? This is not our government’s normal protocol, as best I can tell. Maybe I am misinformed, or maybe I don’t understand how things are done. I’ll admit, I have never been in the service, nor in a war zone.
Now I am hearing Bergdahl was a deserter, and possibly a traitor – and that this was known by those making decisions to barter his release. It was negotiated, but it was bartering just the same. Not sure what to make of that, though I am totally just thinking aloud here, as I write. Is this just a small cog in a larger machine, or is this just a simple confused young man who ended up getting lucky after all – or something in between? Yeah, I know, I should write fiction with the way my mind works 😉
I am sure there will be many new developments as time passes. In the meantime, I am off to read more about all the hoopla surrounding the execution drugs used by the U.S.
Anyway – just something I was thinking about . . .
12 thoughts on “I’m Confused – to say the least”
I wasn’t paying much attention to the Sgt’s case, so I read up after I saw your post Sadie. Confused is an understatement. The people on site and the ones having the best access to the info are all telling conflicting stories. I had a boss (a V.P.) who gave me a nugget of wisdom once. He said that when the people who know the most are confusing then they are confused. So, the issue of us not understanding is not due to any problem on our end – it is on the other end. I have to tell you a sad story which I want you to understand is NOT typical in my experience but may throw a little light on the situation. Many years ago I was hauling long haul and one particular day I had a load of French Fries from Canada to New Hampshire. Where I was unloading, the cases had to be piled a particular way on the pallets, so I had to restack the whole load to satisfy the customer. It was summertime and there were a number of students working at the warehouse, so they gave me a young lad to help me. We started to talk as we worked and he had a very disturbing story. He was a healthy young man who was thoughtful and well spoken, he had a family who loved him, his studies were going well, he had a girlfriend, a car, and was doing well in life. And he said he had decided to move to Russia and join their armed forces. I was startled and asked why. His reasons were many – he felt that he was regularly lied to by the gov’t (including elected officials who changed what they promised after election); that he was going to end up working for a paycheque with no chance of ever pursuing his dreams; that his family and he did not have sufficent funds or insurance to afford medical care if anyone got serious ill (they would lose their home and possessions -apparently this had happened to a friend’s family); he could not afford university and hs marks weren’t good enough to qualify for a scholarship; corporate America and the media regularly lied to people to the point of even poisoning the population for profit and here he listed a number of perfect and real examples; and so on, including the fact that he did not think that fullfillment could ever be achieved by the pursuit of money (apparently the dream of many of his contemporaries)..
All his arguments were solid and well thought out and unable to be denied. From this he concluded that the bad stories about Russia were likely propaganda spread by a lying American government and a lying population for manipulation purposes, so he was going to do his best to enter Russia and get citizenship status there. I tried to dissuade him but never having visited Russia myself I didn’t have much chance.
So, my guess is that the Sgt also got tired of what he saw as an untenable personal situation that would result in many atrocities in Afganastan. And he decided that the poor downtroden Taliban would make a better life and give him more purpose. My guess is that that attitude broke when faced with reality and he has likely swung back and forth in his beliefs creating the confusing situation as it stands.
That being said, it seems really odd that Obama would release such high Taliban operatives in exchange for one confused young man. I doubt the Taliban allowed him to see anything of strategic value. Akthough (and I didn’t know this until I did some searching) the Taliban have never been declared as a terrorist organization – so the “no negotiating” rule does not apply.
Anyway, I guess we will find out whatever the gov’t chooses to tell us – which will not likely be the truth. 😛
Paul – I always enjoy your perspective!! I think there are an awful lot of very lost souls out there trying to find their way . . .
I absolutely agree, whatever the government chooses to tell us will not likely be the truth . . . 😉
Thanks so much for reading & commenting!
These days politics enters into the picture in a huge way. They consider the “political fallout” of not retrieving an American and the effects of the Taliban continuing to use him as propaganda and make what normal, sensible people see as strange or incorrect choices. Given the growing idiocy of the world, they may, in fact, be strange or incorrect choices. (It still boggles my mind how much I’ve come to hate that guy I helped elect in 2008 — most disappointing President in my history.)
Something to consider: we may have wrung those five Taliban guys dry and are now faced with the cost of their continuing incarceration. They may have no further strategic value to us, so we’re trading something of no value for a perceived political value.
If this were the movies, one of those five guys would now be working for us! 🙂
“If this were the movies, one of those five guys would now be working for us!” RIGHT!!! I am not super savvy on politics, so usually I never understand why they do what they do – most times it seems to defy common sense, & I typically tend to be a common sense kind of girl!! Thanks for commenting!!
Very interesting situation. I am glad they got his release. The administration would be getting just as much criticism if they had not negotiated or even if they had traded him for one Taliban POW. The war is winding down or perhaps over, prisoner exchanges are common during war end negotiations. Vietnam POW’s were released for years after that conflict ended. And we never did hear of what they were exchanged for each time and never will. Also remember there is a difference between the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Blurry line as it is, we mustn’t confuse the two. I have heard on the AP news that Sgt. Bergdahl was the only American prisoner held by the Taliban. This was their only opportunity for any exchange. Who knows what else we got or gave in the exchange, usually there are a number of concessions. I’m sure we will never know. We are dealing with the military and probably the CIA. So what we are hearing probably is not true or has a spin to it. We need to remember the tragic Pat Tillman incident. I’m sure there will be ample congressional hearings. I’m just glad we got our one American back and his family can now rest a little easier.
The question is, did the President break a law by releasing a prisoner from Guantanamo. Congress made it illegal and did add that to a Military Appropriations Bill a few years ago which the President signed but with a signing statement that it may be unconstitutional for Congress to interfere with the Executive branch’s constitutional instructions of duty as Commander in Chief during time of war..
DSS – thanks so much for reading & commenting! I agree – regardless which way this played out, there would be criticism . . . ☮
I do have an issue with this guy, and I really don´t feel pity for him. As a former soldier myself, you do go there as a volunteer. You may not really know at first what is really like but you have trained and then you adapt and put your training to use once the shit hits the fan. Yes, no man left behind. But I saw in the news the amount of effort that was put on finding this guy. In a matter of hours you had all the soldiers in his base looking for him. They send his own fellow soldiers of his platoon to go out into the Taliban territory to search for this guy, bad enough they have to fight those nuts every other day but for a specific mission. Not to search for a guy that has wondered outside the base possibly a deserter and if he has mental problems, don´t know, but seems the reports from the generals now evaluating him and treating him psychologically, which he´s been treated much better than all the other soldiers who have fought bravely.
Anyways, in matter of hours you had his platoon buddies looking for him, putting their life on the line, you had special operations guys doing the same, you had manned and un manned aircrafts doing the same. The search was incredible just to find this guy, and the life´s put at risk to find him.
Is not like they where in a firefight and got over run. I could understand the no man left behind theory in that case but not for this guy. And trading those Taliban commanders….what the hell is you´re president thinking after all the other brave soldiers who are doing their job bravely and now the Taliban get´s back their 5 top guys for one fucked up soldier. War is tragic, whoever has gone through it knows it, no glory. At the same time we go and do the job because it´s what you have signed up to do and you do it the best you can but you just don´t wonder out of the base because you say one day “holy shit, this is scary” or go figure what this idiot was thinking. So I have no pity for this guy, and no wonder as reports say that he´s platoon buddies are pissed at the situation. If one of our guys would have done that and he made me and others go out just for search him and put our life´s at risk we would probably find him just for the fact no to shoot him but stone him to death.
Charlypriest – I am not surprised by your sentiment, and certainly understand it. I have many friends who have served & are serving now & most feel the same way as you. Thanks for continuing to read my musings & commenting!! Appreciate that more than you know 🙂 Here’s to Peace – though we know that’s just a drunken toast . . . ☮
Peace would be great, if somebody tells me he is for wars then I would tell him he´s nuts and go fight then he can return and talk to me about it, but then there is reality and we all know that wars have been going of for centuries and is unlikely to ever change.
I have some very strong opinions on this, but I am gonna sleep on them before I express them.
There is one, however, that I can freely express right now without sleeping:
‘We never leave anyone behind.’
Looking forward to reading your opinions, should you decide to share. This situation was one that definitely had a couple double-edged swords. I’m still confused . . . but I have been so damn busy washing dishes by hand haven’t had a lot of time to ponder it LOL 😉
Sometimes I wash dishes to take my mind off of things.