Although it is way too early to know the full story of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release by the Taliban -- if we will ever know the full story or the truth -- I have some immediate and conflicting thoughts. I am aware that what I think has no real value in this dialogue, other than mentioning some inconsistencies and concerns over this development.
Bergdahl was the only American POW held by the Taliban. He was held prisoner for five years, and I cannot imagine the joy of his family to know that he will soon be back on U.S. soil. And we can all share the jubilation felt by his hometown of Hailey, Idaho as they are finally able to remove the public display of yellow ribbons.
Images that crept out through the years were highly emotional, and patriotic Americans prayed and petitioned for his release. After all, it has long been the position of the US military that "we leave no man behind."
Yet was the price too high for Bowe to come home? In exchange for Bergdah's freedom, The Weekly Standard has reported that our nation has released "five of the most dangerous Taliban commanders in U.S. custody." Furthermore, all five are among the Taliban’s top commanders and are still revered in jihadist circles. Known as the "Gitmo 5", they became pawns in the White House's strategy to coerce the Taliban to break from their Al Qaeda counterparts. Although, the administration is offering assurances that they do not pose a threat to American national security, are you willing to take that bet?
There's a part of me that celebrates this picture of a lone American soldier being worth five evil Taliban.... that our culture would value the life of one innocent man, and that God would honor our intentions and protect us from any further injury by the Gitmo 5. But is it a picture that's even real?
Ever since Sgt. Bergdahl disappeared in Afghanistan, there have been rumors that, at the worst, he was a defector; and at the least, he was disillusioned with the Army and "ashamed to be an American." The military is abuzz in various chat rooms with theories put forth by his comrades-in-arms. The problem is that I am hard-pressed to trust any report on this situation. Information can be placed anywhere by anybody, and all of it can be false.
There have been recent reports that Bowe may struggle with the ability to speak English, after years of speaking Pashtun. And there are sincere concerns that he could have been programmed to become a Taliban sympathizer, and this is all a plot to return him to wreak havoc on the homeland. Granted, this sounds seriously conspiratorial -- and is even the plot of a major TV show -- but one has to consider his state of mind when he was captured. Whether willingly, or not, we cannot dismiss the possibility that Sgt. Bergdahl might feel empathy or sympathy with his captors after these five long years. The "Stockholm Syndrome" is a proven psychological effect of prolonged imprisonment.
But now, let's take our eyes off the freed prisoner for a moment and consider the consequences of his release. Several members of Congress are now questioning if the President broke the law in securing Bergdahl's freedom. To be exact, he failed to notify Congress 30 days before the deal was made, as the President is required to do. Further, no less than former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton has questioned the move as raising the value for future American prisoners. He points out that it is not only our military at risk, but others such as missionaries, aid workers, and tourists. And in a joint statement, House Armed Services Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., and Senate Armed Services Ranking Member James Inhofe, R-Okla., told ABC News, “Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Berghdal’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk.”
So, while I celebrate the release of Bowe Bergdahl from his Taliban imprisonment, I want to know that there won't be serious repercussions and further lives lost. I realize that this is an irrational and unrealistic expectation. And I don't like thinking that this one man's life is disposable for the greater good of the country. I believe that God views every life as valuable; every life as redeemable ... and no matter what Bowe's truth is, I pray that the fact of his release will bless him greatly and bless his family, his hometown and his country.
2 Timothy 2:25-26 "God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."
Huh, the (accused deserter) Bergdahl is officially categorized as a POW... Rules on POWs are clearly outlined in the various Geneva Conventions. Good thing we didn't "negotiate with terrorists."ReplyDelete
Of course, that must mean that all the prisoners in Gitmo' need to be officially categorized, too!! Using the Geneva Conventions, it looks like the Gitmo' prisoners fall under the Illegal Enemy Combatant category. And since they were operating in wartime outside of the laws of war, we have a very simple solution to deal with them. Bam! - straight to Paradise on the Military Tribunal Express!!
Thanks for sorting that all out SecDef...I'll gladly drop the question of legality for failing to inform Congress if we can just stick to the Laws of War.
So glad to get your perspective on this! As a lowly civilian, something just smells fishy in this whole mess... from the testimonies of Bowe's fellow soldiers to his father's tweets about trying to free all the Gitmo prisoners. I'm afraid there will be blood on many hands in this affair.Delete
You know, I once had a lady call me about the whereabouts of one my sailors who had "walked away" from the command. She wanted to know if there was a reward, and was very upset when I told her that the "Navy was perfectly willing to bide our time because sooner or later deserters always found their way into custody on their own." Well, by trading 5 terrorists (or was is POWs? -- because that poses a whole lot of other questions via the Geneva Conventions) for Bergdahl, I think we just paid a reward for a deserter. And if I have any faith in the Army performing a real investigation of Bergdahl's action, I can only look to how Maj. Hassan's actions were politically re-aligned into "workplace violence."Delete
As of this afternoon, we have not heard from Odierno. That combined with all the negative witnesses that are coming out of the woodwork, makes one suspect that the powers that be have overplayed their hand once again. I suspect they thought this would be a positive spin for the Administrative. Instead it looks as though they didn't vet the Army's 2010 investigation, or else they would have seen that their "hero's" image was a bit tarnished. Add all this to the father's questionable actions and it shows that this is one publicity opportunity that is going to backfire.Delete