Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Welcome Home Bowe Bergdahl

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 America.
Here's another welcoming committee and what they have to say about your release:

Sarah Palin:“No, 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.
John McCain:“This 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.”
Michelle Malkin:“Bergdahl 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.”
Oliver North:“Someone 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.

Your 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 supplied.

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 conscience".