First published on 6/11/2014 in DelwareLiberal by ProgressivePopulist
Let me be among the first admirers of Veterans For Peace(VFP) to
welcome you home. As the third generation in my family to serve as an
officer in the U.S. Army, I was privileged to rejuvenate the Houston
Chapter and serve in its leadership for a number of years. I am certain
that on your return, your comrades in arms in VFP will provide you a
warm welcome and the support you'll need to re-adjust to Tea Party
Here's another welcoming committee and what they have to say about your release:
Mr. President, a soldier expressing horrid anti-American beliefs – even
boldly putting them in writing and unabashedly firing off his messages
while in uniform, just three days before he left his unit on foot – is
not “honorable service.” Unless that is your standard.
decision to bring Sgt. Bergdahl home – and we applaud that he is home –
is ill-founded … it is a mistake, and it is putting the lives of
American servicemen and women at risk. And that to me is unacceptable.”
is still scheduled for a promotion. For those who served with Bergdahl,
I can only imagine this feels like a slap in the face. Many believe the
move, and subsequent WH Rose Garden announcement, was timed to knock
the VA scandal — a slap in the face to America’s veterans — out of the
headlines. A cruel irony if true.”
paid a ransom. Whether the Qataries paid it, or some big oil sheik, or
somebody used our petrodollars, but there was a ransom paid in cash for
each one of them, my guess somewhere in the round numbers of $5 or 6
million to get Bergdahl freed. I know that the offer that was on the
table before was close to a million.”
I'm pretty sure these cranks
and others like them fueled the death threats your parents have
received on the news of your release. I wish them well, these good
people of conscience who raised a thinking, son of conscience. Your
letters to them and their public statements make that very clear.
return, I fear, will not be any easy road for you. You'll have to face
your issues of compliance with the military code, a task you seem well
up for. But the America you're returning to is quite different from the
one you left.
Violence is everywhere; an epidemic of mass
shootings; roving bands of right wing haters just spoiling for a good
fight. A political class, including even some Democrats who oppose
basic American values of bringing our battlefield warriors home,
excepting those coming home in pine boxes. A government that is only
now facing up to its responsibility to make life as whole as possible
for veterans who served.
That facing up still does not address the
rank stupidity and immorality of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.
The welcoming committee above would love to add Iran and Syria to that
list of utterly dishonorable wars. But if you choose to hook up with
VFP and/or Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), which includes veterans
of the Afghanistan fiasco, you'll find other people of conscience and
thought who comprehended like you that they were being used as cannon
fodder by the Bush/Cheney cabal.
Complicit with them were the
military recruiters who conned them into believing that their service
would involve honorable peace making missions. Yes, the old myth of
making war to bring peace. More culturally ingrained violence as a
solution to making things right. We haven't gotten things right with
the military since WWII.
As for the Guantanamo prisoners released
with your homecoming, the nut cases in the welcoming committee have a
beef about them too. Never mind that apparently few remember that the
U.S. and our CIA basically created the Taliban and Al Qaeda in
Afghanistan as a way of proxying our opposition to the Soviet
engagement in that country, a war that contributed to their ruin too.
Yes you and your comrades in arms were in effect fighting a group the
good old U.S.A. fueled, funded and empowered.
Never mind that the
Guantanamo five had never been tried, some likely tortured and were soon
to be released anyway. Not to excuse the violence they allegedly did,
but they learned their violence in training camps we financed and
I hope your release will not be the last we hear from
you or your great parents. Evidence by the welcoming committee quoted
above, America needs to hear your family's message...."Follow your