How Must Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl
Feel Right Now?

The Rebumpkinlicans Are Really Blowing It

According to the Guardian, the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been the cause of an ugly partisan non-sequitur by Republican congressmen Ted Cruz and Mike Rogers, those old reliables for nonsense politicking. With Rogers in the homestretch of his term, their combined stupid rhetoric is a clear demonstration of their total disregard for the sanctity to bring a single junior solder home to his family. This is what Saving Private Ryan Unplugged looks like.

When I watched a video interview of Bergdahl's father, which was also produced by the Guardian, I learned what kind of man his father is. Bowe is a very lucky person. Bob Bergdahl, a retired UPS employee, is a soft-spoken 54-year-old man and who lives close to the earth in Idaho. There's footage of the senior Bergdahl snowshoeing in a remote field of snow and bare trees. He owns horses. At one point, we see him light what turns into a roaring campfire, without using matches. If there is a message of self-sufficiency, that is it. This is a family of survivors.

I learned that the Bergdahls had home-schooled their son, and so our young soldier never was jacked into the popular culture that is normally force-fed to American children these past 20 years or so, through television, movies, and other forms of pop culture. Bowe had a lot of exposure to books while growing up. I also learned, as told by the father that his son:

"... was not there for national security. He wasn't there because he lost a personal friend on 9/11. He was there because the way he was raised forced him to have compassion."

Our Sergeant Bergdahl, who is finally coming home, wanted to help the Afghan people, as a member of a "peace corps with guns." Yet that was not the real mission as he came to live it. The last email his parents received from their son before being captured in 2009 explained  how "you're being told you're helping but you know in the inside, you're not."

For any Afghan people, those who might understand English and who have Internet access, possibly a totally unrealistic expectation, might watch this video and understand that his father lives as simply as they do. He is humble. He is studying Pashto so he can speak to the captors of his son. What kind of man is this? What kind of Abu Bowe is this?

May the Afghans see that while Bowe is a soldier and an agent of the US Government, he is also an ordinary person driven to do good in the world, which was to return sovereignty to the Afghan people taken from them by Taliban jihadists with the leadership of Osama Bin Laden. Isn't that why we went?

I am certain it is a far more complex idea to communicate to these same imaginary English-speaking Afghans, but one I would just the same hope they could hold with more compassion in their minds, is that the desire to serve in the American military by ordinary American young people, like Bowe Bergdahl, now comes with the risk today, with the corporatism of our government, the Orwellian speak of politicians like Cruz and Rogers, that being a prisoner of war will transform a soldier's life into a silly political football instead of a life of service, honor, and integrity. Were an Afghan politician to insinuate such low value to his countryman soldier's life, would such words have ended up procuring a death sentence on his head? with the result of repairing the soldier's family honor? In such a tribal society, don't such things happen? These are rhetorical questions. Cruz and Rogers do not understand how lucky they are, that they are American, so free to say stupid things.

The 5 captives traded for Sergeant Bergdahl were held in Guantanamo Bay for the past 10 years without due process and likely with worse treatment than what the American People have been led to believe.

As the senior Bergdahl observed:

"War is not a good way to govern."

And yet, the politic-speak of Republican partisans Rogers and Cruz illustrates they have every motivation to trumpet their hurt chickenhawk pride into a kind of perverted jingoism. It reminded me of Hitler's insults upon his own German people during the very last days of World War II, while they suffered from hunger and years of war's devastation. Rogers and Cruz govern through war behind their velvet green curtain in Oz.

How utterly horrifying it is that these congressmen have so little value for the life of one single POW soldier, who did not go to fight, to risk life and limb, in order to burnish politicians' reputations or to become a fragile pawn in political interpretations of the rules of war. Regardless, war is ugly and one can never prepare for all that follows, which we now know includes the wide display of stupidity by government representatives of our own people.

These congressmen worry Taliban will "take more hostages," but Bowe was not a hostage. He was a prisoner of war. Were the 5 Guantanamo prisoners our hostages? I'd say so, since they were given no trial, were not treated as prisoners of war, were likely tortured and then were left in limbo for 10 years in chain-link cells no different than dog kennels. Cruz and Rogers worry for the wrong reason. It is we who have set the precedent for taking hostages.

Despite this, I must focus on greater, not cowardly, concerns: I am pleased that Bowe is returning to his family. He is coming home! May all soldiers who serve up the bread of their lives with identical intentions as Bowe's, may they know that their country will always work to bring them home safely. We are united and reunited states of America.

"This has been an education, I'll tell you that." --Bowe's Dad


First Published: June 02, 2014