Forrest Gump said, “I am not a smart man, but I know what love is.” In that vein I say, “I don’t fancy myself a super smart man, but I know idiocy when I see it.” Oh my, what in the heck is going on in this country and with this administration? Every day now it seems as though they are embroiled in yet another scandal. From Lois Lerner and the IRS, the sudden surge of illegal immigrants (undocumented Democrats), to the meltdown in the Middle East, I have to shake my head in disgust almost every day. Even my dad, who voted for President Obama twice (sigh) will not even talk to me anymore about him and what he is doing. When pressed, my dad just huffs and quickly changes the subject. But let me just go into a topic that should have every American troubled and demanding of answers. It is a topic I am sure every reader out there has an opinion on.
SERGEANT BOWE BERGDAHL.
Okay, so let me get this straight. We released five senior Taliban leaders for one American soldier. And this was good in what way? Before anybody starts throwing things and stabbing my picture, let me start by saying that on a personal level, I am happy for Bergdahl’s family. I am glad that they have him back in American hands, although at the time of this writing, as far as I know, he has not yet even talked to his parents. But before the tickertape comes flying down Broadway, there are many troubling questions yet to be answered.
What we do know about Sgt. Bergdahl is that without a doubt, 100% he deliberately walked away from his unit in Afghanistan. Heck, he left a note behind confirming his intentions and the fact that he wanted to renounce his citizenship because of his shame of being an American.
What his true intentions were have not been made public but in a nutshell, if he indeed walked away from his unit, he deserted. Period, dot. End of discussion really on that matter. It is an ugly word with an ugly connotation but it is what it is. What I find really disturbing about this is not just that he likely deserted, not all people are cut out for combat, but how lightly many people view his actions. It is treated almost as if it were stealing a piece of candy out of a candy store.
Desertion is a serious offense in the military. Really serious. Did you know that historians estimate that in WWII, up to 25,000 German deserters were either shot or guillotined and tens of thousands more died alongside Jews and other “undesirables” in concentration camps. Others were sent to ''punishment battalions" where they were always assigned the most hazardous tasks; an almost guaranteed death sentence.
Likewise, we had some 21,000 deserters during WWII and out of 49 death sentences handed out, only one man, Private Eddie Slovik was shot for his “purely military crime” of desertion.
Yes I hear heads popping out there and NO I do not necessarily advocate such an extreme punishment for Sgt. Bergdahl but if he did indeed desert, he must be punished according to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) even if it just means a courts martial. If his desertion included instances of aiding and abetting the enemy (as has been suggested), who knows what the punishment will be. As an American, I believe Bergdahl deserves his time in court before any real judgment can be levied and his innocence remains intact until proven otherwise.
Where I am going with this is the oft quoted “leave no man behind.” In normal circumstances I would agree 100% but if a man willingly goes to the enemy, does he still deserve the same unwritten rule? I’m just asking. Many military people I have heard on television believe the answer is, “no.” But if the answer is yes, so be it, but should that also include the release of 5 senior enemy commanders in time of war? This I will answer, NO.
THE TALIBAN FIVE: WHO ARE THESE GUYS
According to Wikipedia, here is the low down on the bad guys given up in the trade. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban_Five
1. Mohammad Fazl – Fazl served as Chief of Staff of the Taliban Army. He was associated with terrorist groups opposing US and Coalition forces. According to documents from the Joint Task Force Guantánamo, Fazl is "wanted by the UN for possible War crimes including the murder of thou sands of Shiites". The document stated Fazl has become a recruiting symbol for the Taliban.
2. Khairullah Khairkhwa – Khairkhwa was the interior minister under the Taliban. He helped found the Taliban in 1994. He was directly associated with Osama Bin Laden and Taliban Supreme Commander Mullah Muhammad Omar. Likely involved with militant training, he was also "a narcotics trafficker and probably used his position and influences to become one of the major opium drug lords in Western Afghanistan", and probably used profits from drugs to promote Taliban interests.
3. Norullah Noori – Nori served as the governor of Balkh and Laghman provinces in the Taliban regime. He was a senior Taliban military commander in Mazar-e-Sharif. Nori is "wanted by the United Nations for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims" along with Fazl. According to Barnett Rubin, they were "responsible for ethno-sectarian massacres in northern Afghanistan" along with their enemies.
4. Mohammed Nabi Omari – Nabi was the Taliban's chief of communications. Nabi had "operational ties to Anti-Coalition Militia (ACM) groups including al-Qaida, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin". He also "maintained weapons caches and facilitated the smuggling of fighters and weapons".
5. Abdul Haq Wasiq – Wasiq was deputy chief of the Taliban regime's intelligence service. Wasiq had direct access to Taliban and Hezb-e-Islarni Gulbuddin leaders, and was "central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against US and Coalition forces after the 11 September 2001 attacks".
As we look at these lovely men, let’s take a look at some other fairly evil men who held similar positions within the Third Reich.
1. Wilhelm Keitel – Field Marshal and chief of staff of the Armed Forces High Command 1938-1945
2. Wilhelm Frick – Reichs Minister of Interior (1933-1943) and Reich protector of Bohemia-Moravia 1943-1945.
3. Arthur Seyss-Inquart – Governor of Austria and Reich Commissioner of occupied Holland or Hans Frank – Governor General of Poland (Responsible for ¾ of the Jewish deaths in that country).
4. Alfred Jodl – General, Chief of Operations High Command of Armed Forces.
5. Ernest Kaltenbrunner – Chief of Security Police.
Let’s say the year is 1944 and we were in possession of these Nazis (who btw were each tried in Nuremberg), do you think for one second we would have released them back into the fight for the release of one soldier? Again, let me answer for those who may be struggling with this one. “NO!” I heard some folks on the news talking about how prisoner swaps have happened throughout history in time of war and that is true. No doubt. But I defy somebody to find me an actual historical case where during a time of war, several senior enemy leaders were traded for one soldier; especially a soldier who was captured under such questionable circumstances.
Whatever the political reasons were that pushed this trade forward, in my opinion, were an abomination. As my wife says, “If we are to keep fighting politically correct wars, then it is the politicians that need to go over there and fight.” How true. Again, on a personal level, I am glad Sergeant Bergdahl is back in the states (if this is where in fact he wants to be) and he will see his family again. I would never want to see an American languish amongst our enemies. But the manner of his repatriation must be looked at closely and not flippantly signed off as “the right thing to do.” Once again, we are left scratching our heads at something our current administration has done seemingly contradictory to common sense. If they had to bring Sgt. Bergdahl home immediately, there had to be another way other than putting bad guys back into the fight. And I wonder what this administration is going to say after Americans are killed at the hands of or by the planning of one of these guys. Will they still say it was worth it? Will they say it was the only course of action they had? Will they argue it was the right thing to do? Of course they will but we all know the real answer to that question, don’t we?