The best result of this Bowe Bergdahl controversy may be curtailing our national mania to readily confer heroism. Americans have been quite loose with these tributes during the 21st century. Perhaps our fulsome glory bestowal stems from a nagging feeling of inadequacy against the past, days when perils truly were existential.
As for the freed 28-year-old soldier himself, Bergdahl was a prisoner of war, not a hostage. Too many barking heads here have exerted themselves immeasurably by jumping to conclusions. The American public has only glimpsed the Idaho native and already he’s been castigated and condemned. Distant events have been recalled as fresh, though no two individuals can state with any certainty what led to his capture. His disappearance. His walkabout.
Who knew so many Fox News spewers, aided by the whole herd of right-wing nutters polluting our airwaves, and a Republican Party enthralled by their masters’ voices as well as chained to reactionary financial contributors, based themselves on the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland?
Verdict first, then the trial. Seemingly the new American Way on the selective truth and justice for some road.
By the way the last sentence will remain the sole bequeath of the Tea Party after it follows the Whigs into obsolescence.
Isn’t this why we have those illuminating processes called inquiries? Not best guesses or making it up as we go along. Left to Bergdahl’s detractors, which has grown into a surprisingly rapid legion for a man few knew and less cared less about days ago, they’d make facts fit their view.
Anyway, let’s leave military investigators to properly review and determine his status. Hopefully that can be done. The rush to spin this matter has already established a camp seeking imprison Bergdahl.
Why? He didn’t sacrifice himself that would’ve allowed nabobs here to laud him as a hero. His surviving (Imagine that? Wanting to live!) among enemies sworn against the West must be some kind of treachery, right?
The same bunch of boobs who failed distinguishing Sunnis from Shiites continues lumping the Taliban with al Qaeda. Nothing beats doubling down on ignorant.
Like Muslim sects, Muslim-based ideologies aren’t identical. And they all don’t look alike either.
The Taliban is a regional group determined to impose its doctrinaire vision of Islam on specific populations. They’ve never intended marching down any of our Main or Elm Streets. Nor steal any of our precious bodily fluids.
Al Qaeda is a loose amalgamation hell-bent on rolling up and chucking modern influences, a k a the West, from the parched sward comprising the Islamic swath. In doing so they have no compunction about inflicting as much spiritual, social and material pain and damage upon insufficiently devout believers. They won’t bother sparing Westerners, or as they see us, infidels, either.
The Taliban is a localized menace. Al Qaeda is the worst sort of franchiser.
That Bergdahl remained captive as long as he did he owes to his warders. Ragtag as the West labels them, the Taliban, despite drone attacks, does maintain an administrative structure. Much as we love denigrating them as “bandits,” theirs is an up-and-down model. If more of us looked we’d recognize it. They want to deal.
Their alliance, if that’s what it can be called, with al Qaeda, emerged from erroneous belief in mutual interests. One that became a bad match.
Osama bin Laden talked a good game, a Harold Hill of the homicidal set. However, his purposes crossed rather than paralleled his Afghan hosts. He brought a heap of unnecessary wrath. Or in easy American parlance, his version of the Westies and Winter Hill Mob did not mesh with the mullahs’ crime family vision of control and order.
Instead of being rogues, al Qaeda and bin Laden were rabid dogs. And the Taliban caught fleas big time. Too bad the last administration was preoccupied with Western Asian nations starting with the vowel “I” to make clear differentiations between true menace and shallow adventurism to the American public. And itself.
But seeing how Bergdahl’s manifestation has aroused the easily ignited, apparently presenting the nuances which would’ve avoided Iraq and properly framed Afghanistan couldn’t have dented the conscious of this generation of Americans. Ours is an advanced society compared against the one preceding it but our immediate predecessors were much smarter. Less easily misled. At least not so willingly scared astray.
Yes, Bergdahl may be a deserter. That will come out in due course. Yet his family and friends, people who know him intimately, not as a news topic, wanted to express their thanks for his safe return. A son, a friend, a neighbor absent so long under dubious circumstances, who among us wouldn’t share their sentiment?
Our country’s blinkered faction, that’s who. They’re obstinate in their utter dismissal of the communal component. One question hasn’t been asked of Bergdahl about the circumstances leading to his captivity. Nonetheless judgment has been rendered.
He’s guilty of … something. He must be. Even if he isn’t. Especially if he isn’t.
The furor of America’s bray loudest and never think segment so unnerved residents of the soldier’s hometown they were hounded into rescinding its “welcome home” for the local boy. The vocally ignorant spanning our nation neither can nor want to see the difference between what was proposed and a “hero’s welcome.” That’s how small we’ve gladly become.
So let’s wait. Let’s have Bergdahl fully before us to gauge. No clarity can emerge through grainy clips, suppositions and the beyond orbit musings of the unhinged.
No doubt he will become clearer once in our presence. We must just wait and see.