Eating Our Young

In the advent of President Obama working the prisoner exchange of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, we once again see a nation divided.  I will certainly say that the Obama Administration should not have, *ahem*, exulted the career of SGT Bergdahl (which drew parallels to Bush gassing up Jessica Lynch’s story) and should have kept the exchange on the down-low.  Politicians need to understand that careers and behaviors of Soldiers and other military personnel can be fact-checked.

Whether you agree with the handling of the situation or not, if Bergdahl actually left his element as a Taliban sympathizer, his status changes from “deserter” to “defector”.  And if he is a defector his issue raises this question:

Should the United States always gain back it’s fighting men, regardless of the situation?

or

Should the United States abandon it’s core principle of “leaving no man behind?”

I find myself torn down the middle in the face of this question.  First, I see NO issue with a President handling POW exchanges.  Every president in war does this, especially when wars are ending.  Nothing spells closure of war better than allowing no fighting men or women left in the hands of the enemy.  Second, there’s a difference between a terrorist/hostage situation and a prisoner of war situation.  Bergdahl was a prisoner of war (POW), not a hostage in a terror crisis.  Thus, the “never negotiate with terrorists” deal doesn’t apply.  There’s a difference between an actual terrorist, and an insurgent who employs terror tactics… in the same manner there’s a difference between a basketball player and myself employing a full court press.

Bergdahl’s situation is incredible.  The kid might have been insane to actually WALK off of base in a province on the Af-Pak border and actively look for the Taliban.  He couldn’t be more “fucking nuts” had he stuck his dick into a pecan pie.

It should be noted, that desertion on the battlefield is a crime. But that doesn’t mean that we as the United States of America should NOT attempt to get our war fighters back — regardless of their personal sentiment.

“I think the key thing in a case like Sgt. Bergdahl’s is you first understand there’s a responsibility to our service members and that’s very clear-cut and nobody should argue about that. We know we have a responsibility to get them or their remains, and we go to great efforts to do that.

And then, there’s a responsibility on individuals, service members, back toward their nation and their comrades and we should demand that and we should check into that. But we as a nation, instead of politicizing something like this, we as a nation, should look at it and say: OK, it’s a complex problem, how do we handle this in a way that brings us together? Because it actually makes us look weaker to our allies, it makes us look confused to our foes, and if we were very united on something like this and we just said: ‘America doesn’t leave its people but we do have a high standard,’ then I think we’d come out better.” ~ General Stanley McChrystal, retired

So our politicians at home are playing a dangerous game.  A President skips Congress to get the LAST American POW back from enemy grasp (because we know how well they block/politicize everything he does) and actually got the Soldier home.  Multiple Republicans who first tweeted nonpartisan “welcome home” messages deleted those initial statements and went full retard in attacking the President…  by means of attacking the Soldier, the Soldier’s family, and even the principle of NEVER leaving an American war fighter behind.  I marvel at the notion of a party who once saw the military as a positive voting block choosing to now attack principles that enable our young to take up arms on foreign lands.  Flawed as it may be, the long lasting principle of “never leaving a fallen comrade/never leave anyone behind” is what empowers our young men and women to join our expeditionary fighting force and defend American ideals and assets without second thought.

General McChrystal is by no means a man who always agrees with the President. But if he can make a point to remain civil in this issue, so should our politicians. There are two great things you can do in your youth for your country: [1] fight our wars, and; [2] win our gold medals. Now when you begin to question whether we should bring back our captured troops or not, you begin to eat away at our young.

 

Photo credit: Johnny Silvercloud
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