Bowe Bergdahl and Family Need to Be Left Out of This

I’m really angry with the extremely uncivil way puppet pundits, talk-pieces, internet jocks, web bullies, and other idiots have been treating Bowe Bergdahl and his family. It wasn’t but a few days after his release before the entire conservative world was dumping on Bergdahl and his father for what seemed to me to be tenuously supported (at best) reasons. We did this same thing to Vietnam veterans. And for the same reasons. And they’re as rotten now as they were then.

Listen, I understand there’s real shady business in this prisoner swap as far as the Obama administration is concerned. But that doesn’t mean Bowe Bergdahl is to blame. That doesn’t mean he should be included in the general outrage over Obama’s lawlessness. Bergdahl and his family should be allowed some peace. Even if he turns out to be a traitor.

For the sake of decency, people! What has gone down is just disgusting. From commenting on Bob Bergdahl’s beard, to dredging up every ounce of anecdotal evidence that Bowe Bergdahl was a deserter, or a Muslim convert, or whatever. Some even claim that Bob Bergdahl’s little scattering of Arabic phrases was somehow a Muslim way of claiming the White House for all Islam. Sheesh, people. Please!

I frankly don’t care about any of that. None of it. It shouldn’t matter to you or me. Bob Bergdahl is not a raging militant jihadist Muslim.  He’s a father who really missed his son, and was attempting to show solidarity. The fact is that he would have gotten in more trouble (separation of church and state and all that) if he had said in English what he said in Arabic: “In the name of God, the all gracious and all merciful.” Yes, “Allah” is the Arabic word for “God.” Most Arabic Christians still use the word Allah to refer to God. Get over it. That doesn’t mean the Islamic God and the Christian God are one and the same. But the word “Allah” and the word “God” most certainly are.

Bob Bergdahl claims to be a Christian. By all accounts he is an educated, eccentric, homeschooling, hardworking, thoughtful man. And as far as his beard is concerned, I like what Jon Stewart had to say about that: “My guess is that if you gave Bob Bergdahl a bandana and a duck, you’d like him just fine.”

Is public opinion a military court of law? No. So it doesn’t really matter if you are convinced Bowe Bergdahl was a deserter. That’s not what his superiors are saying currently. They may try him for treason. That’s their business. It’s their responsibility to deal with it. Not ours. But what if Bowe isn’t guilty? What if the explanation for all of this comes out, and he was actually an American patriot much maligned by jealous co-workers who didn’t like him, or something along those lines? We have treated a returning POW and his family badly. That is the real story here.

Let’s just say you had served in the military in a terrible, interminable war with no clear goals, no clear enemies, and no clear course of action. And you get taken hostage in a place where being rich affords you fewer conveniences than being destitute in the US would.  But you’re not even with rich people. You’re with poor, brutal terrorists. You’re a prisoner/hostage—an ambassador of the one institution in the one country your captors hate with all the pith of their substance. And then you’re stuck there for five years. That sucks. And frankly, at that point, I don’t care what you you may have done beforehand or what you did or said after in order to survive. You already paid for it.

We never should have put Bowe Bergdahl or any other soldier in Afghanistan. What are they doing there? Protecting us? From whom? This is Vietnam all over again. And we’re treating our vets and POWs the same way the previous generation treated theirs. It’s tragic. We have to stop lumping our veterans in with our politicians when we vent our frustrations with the policy failures that have created such international turmoil and discord.

Give Bowe Bergdahl and his family a break. Let the proper military authorities deal with questions of treason. But let’s keep this story focused where Obama doesn’t want it focused. On his failure of leadership, on his broken promises, and on this country’s precipitous decline.