MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., June 5, 2014 — It didn’t take long after Bowe Bergdahl’s release for the chicken hawks and the media to start quacking. The one “percenter” Bill O’Reilly immediately attacked the decision of President Obama to bring a captured American soldier home.
President Obama made the correct decision to bring Bowe home. He also was smart in the other decisions he made about the negotiations and final agreement:
- The clamor after the return of Bowe reflects the kind of noise that the Republicans would have made if they would have been consulted. The information would have been leaked to discredit the president and the exchange would not have been made;
- The claim that we never negotiate with terrorists is false. We have in the past many times negotiated with terrorists. Does anyone remember the Iran-Contra affair? These negotiations made Oliver North a darling of the right;
- Returning five enemy captives was appropriate. We had already gotten all the information that would have benefitted us from them. These former combatants are a decade older and chances that they will become significant in any action against America is nil. On the other hand, questioning the exchange before we have all the facts can only play into the hands of those that hate America;
- Any charges against Bowe will be investigated and hopefully we will learn the truth about his capture by the Taliban. To judge him in the media before all the facts are known serves only to polarize us more;
- The complete disrespect for Bowe’s family and their efforts to bring him home are unfair and mean-spirited. Accusations that they are more like “radical islamist” than Americans have already done a lot of harm. They are a family desperately trying to bring their son home and deserve compassion.
It has become the norm that when there is some patriotic string to pull, those who have never served in combat are the first to grab it. Over the years people like O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Cheney, Rumsfeld and “W” Bush who either never served or served during peace time, have been the first to wave the flag.
Not that everyone has to serve in combat. There is no shame in being against war and not wanting to die in one. Let’s face it, the wars that we have conducted after World War II have not been about National Security. Catchy phrases like the “Domino Theory” the “War on Terror” were used to make wars more about real threats to our country than they really were.
While the war in Afghanistan was started to bring al-Qaeda to justice after the 9-11 terrorist attack, it was soon relegated to a secondary position after the invasion of Iraq. Cynics would say that Iraq, with its fossil fuel riches, was much more attractive to Bush, Cheney, Halliburton and Rumsfeld than a country still entering the 20th Century.
The result was that the only conflict that had anything to do with our security was forgotten until we found ourselves in a bind. Even with this failure, we are fortunate that we haven’t suffered any dire consequences.
While in the past our gaffes in entering conflicts under false pretenses were soon felt by a majority due to the universal draft, today only those associated directly with the volunteers and their families feel the pain.
Let’s see President Obama’s actions regarding the recovery of Sgt. Bergdahl for what they are: An American held captive by the enemy is returning home.
Proper analysis of the evidence will let us know what happened. In the meantime let’s not make a painful episode even worse.
Remember the real enemy is war, unless it is to protect our country and not just those who will benefit from it.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is a combat infantry veteran (don’t blame me, I was drafted). You can follow Mario on Twitter (@chibcharus), Google+ and Facebook (Mario Salazar).