The Warrior Ethos, Politics, and Bowe BergdahlSubmitted by Flack at 2014-06-11 14:25:28 EDT
Rating: 1.69 on 13 ratings (22 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
I was in Afghanistan in 2009 when Bowe Bergdahl went missing. At the time, most of the guys I talked to about it had pretty much the same view of the situation: The guy got fed up with the Army, noped the fuck out and now was chilling with the Taliban. I have to admit, I thought very little about the entire situation over the next 5 years.
When I heard that Bowe Bergdahl was returned to the United States, I admit I smiled. I couldn't imagine having to deal with 5 years of living in Pakistan, let alone being babysat by the Haqqani Network and the Taliban the entire time. I thought about how nice it was that he was coming home for about 5 minutes and then realized that a massive political shitstorm was going to brew within the next 5 minutes.
I was wrong. It only took 3 minutes.
First, the GOP started getting all butthurt that Congress wasn't notified, then they started getting all butthurt about how 5 members of the Taliban were traded for the guy. Then the bullshit about how he deserted and shouldn't be returned anyways.
And then soldiers...SOLDIERS.... started saying he should have been left there to rot and/or die. And I shook my head in shame.
When I was in the Army, I had to be able to recite the Soldier's Creed on command, from memory. Part of that Creed has 4 lines in it known as "The Warrior Ethos."
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
That last part was always the most important part to me. I certainly never wanted to be left behind, and I couldn't begin to imagine how I would feel if I left any of my buddies behind. I was taught that this Ethos is the embodiment of what it means to be a soldier. If that's the case, soldiers can;t be selective about it.
I get why people are mad. The guy, most likely, deserted. While reports have been conflicted, the general consensus is that one night he stacked his gear into a neat little pile, left a farewell note, and fucked right off into the mountains. Desertion? Yup. Grounds for Court Martial? Absolutely. Justification to leave an American behind? I say fuck no.
Despite the politics and the reasons why and the true story and what happened those 5 years ago, the one thing that can't be disputed is that an American was held captive. And we, as Americans, are supposed to pride ourselves on 2 things:
1. We don't leave soldiers behind
2. Everyone gets their day in court.
I'm not worried at all about the "Taliban Dream Team" as the chicken-hawk conservatards like to call them. They've been rotting away in Cuba for over a decade and I highly doubt they're suited to the task of going right back into the fight. I'm also not worried about a "Homeland"-style brainwashing where the kid becomes a war hero and it turns out he's a terrorist sleeper agent. The kid is going to be investigated and, most likely, court-martialed.
Will he go to prison? That's not really for me to decide. Does he deserve to go to prison after 5 years as a POW? Still not for me to decide.
But if it was up to me, I would gladly trade 5 Taliban faggots for one American any day. This shit used to happen all the time in WW1 and WW2. We called them "prisoner exchanges." But I guess when the people we exchange are brown and hairy, we get all bent outta shape about it.
I'd honestly like to know what you guys think about it. Or you could tell me I'm completely full of shit and I should just go fuck myself.
Thanks for reading.