Like so many Americans, I was happy to see Bowe Bergdahl released from being held hostage by the Taliban. Then, within 24 hours, it was brought to light that Bergdahl actually provoked his own capture by wondering off his military base. Supposedly, this was the second time that happened, but the military kept quiet about the first episode. Yes, that "wondering" off the base is somewhat of a game-changer for me and many other Americans. Even the rally for Bergdahl in his hometown has now been called off because , at least partly, because of this fact. The bottom line question: was it worth trading five Taliban terrorists for this soldier who apparently deserted his own post? I'm not so sure, and neither are countless other Americans.
On the one hand, it's better to have Bergdahl back on home soil even if it means a court martial, but the lingering question will be about those five terrorists. Should they come back in the future to harm any American, then the answer to my previous question is no. It's too early for a rush to judgement, but it's clear Bergdahl left the base on his own. There has already been some rumors that Bergdahl had a change of heart about military service, about the war itself, and who knows what else. The other question is whether soldiers were killed in the search for Bergdahl. I've heard the answer is no, but I also heard six soldiers were actually killed in the hunt for Bergdahl and his captors. The real answer should be somewhat easy to find. If the answer is yes, then any court martial sentence should carry some harsh time in prison, regardless of time already spent as a hostage.
I'm not sure about President Obama's decision to make this trade, but maybe he has information which made it seem reasonable. Israel makes trades from time to time, and it may actually be better to have no soldier left behind as a result of this longest war ever fought by America. Regardless of all that's happened, Bowe Bergdahl needs to explain everything, and let the chips fall where they may. One thing is for sure, this guy was no rocket scientist when it comes to making decisions. His decision to join the army seems to have been a mistake, and his choice to desert was a reckless and foolish move which may have led to getting his compatriots killed or wounded: all because this dimwit didn't have the presence of mind to know what he wanted to do with his life.
This being America, Bergdahl will probably end up getting a book and movie deal. In fact, he'll probably spend his time in jail-should he ultimately get some for desertion, writing his memoirs. We now live in a country where twenty-somethings write their memoirs, and one hit wonders end up with a greatest hits CD. On the day his release was announced, some people already were using the word "hero" when speaking of Bowe Bergdahl. Even if he didn't desert, would he still have been a hero? Frankly, this word has been overused and abused for years.
I have to admit, with his poll numbers at a low point, President Obama must have done what he honestly felt was right because, knowing this soldier deserted his base, trading him for five upper echelon Taliban officials would surely not be a ratings winner to much of America. Frankly, knowing what I now do-Bergdahl, as far as I'm now concerned, could have been left behind. Sometimes in life, when a bad decision is made by an adult-they just have to live with it. One day we will find out what the five released terrorists went back to. When that day comes, and it may be years from now-this story will resurface. For many involved, I just hope their freedom doesn't ultimately result in someone else's death.