Op-Ed for the Proud American Since 1988
Now comes Bowe Bergdahl
By Jeff Koopersmith
Just after Co-Presidents George W. Bush and Dick Cheney arranged to invent for us a fiction to explain Saddam Hussein -- the past dictator and, mind you, former American ally against Iran under Cheney’s previous handshake -- was building weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and nuclear bombs as their excuse to rid the world of that tyrant/workmate -- and in the process, slaughter several thousand of our boys and girls in uniform as well as uncounted then and ensuing innocent men, women, and children who “got in the way” of our own WMD.
I took a vacation from the United States at that time and moved to Italy where I remained until Mr. Bush and Cheney were gone and Barack Obama arrived and proved to at least hope to wind down these wars.
It was not, to my mind, patriotic for me, in my sixth decade of life, to recklessly participate by proxy or elsewise in actions which have colossally disrupted an almost serene world after President Reagan – also my friend – presided over the awakening in the USSR that gave Americans and most of our world respite.
I am a flag-waver, but not an unreasonable nationalist; and for that reason I moved far away so as not to witness and thoughtlessly tailback our leaders who then proceeded to engage in one “war” after another, Arab Summers that spun to Winters, and used exterminating planes, soldiers, or drones to continue to kill an additional few hundred thousand innocents while, to be fair, also executing tens of thousands of terrorists in a furious effort to wipe out that which will never be exhausted by our own terrifying and lethal response to 911, instead only intensifying it while at the same time ignoring the nationalities and unexplained purpose of those who flew those airplanes-of-death into our buildings and thus through our damaged souls. They were not Afghans nor Iraqis.
Now comes Bowe Bergdahl after five year absent as a Taliban hostage where he suffered all the tortures of body and mind one can imagine
Yet, Bowe will have no homecoming parade. It was cancelled.
It was cancelled for the same weary damage to John Kerry’s presidential hopes on the wings of venomous attacks on Kerry’s own military service that the media christened “swift boating” as a few of his colleagues attacked his service in Vietnam as essentially not as good as theirs was. Maybe that is true – but that should not be a reason to decry a man or woman risking his or her life for our sovereign democracy.
Agreeing to be put in the position of dying for our nation cannot be followed by chastisement for not doing it “right”.
Perhaps Mr. Kerry did not live up to the Swift Boat Veterans special assumptions about war and men of war, but any highly respected General (not the Fox News’ guest type) will tell you honestly that no man rains warlike mayhem in the same way or in the most threatening manner. Many flee in horror. Numerous become so terrified they run. Others find war ungodly and a sin while on the battlefield. Still others fight bravely and without care for themselves but for the men next to them, yet hardly do they do so to defend the capriciousness of someone else’s foreign policies that turn out to be blunders or victories.
No one knows yet for certain what made Sgt. Bergdahl disappear into crushing captivity, but propaganda of the Fox News variety - Yellow Journalism would be a compliment to Fox in that its “breaking news” is mostly based upon hyperbole, lurid or crude exaggeration that often turn out to be lies.
Most Fox-watchers already demand to have Bergdahl’s head making unproven accusations against him that would make Brutus look like a saint.
Sgt. Bergdahl could be “chicken” – he could be a “peace queer”, or even a co-conspirator with the Taliban.
Things like this happen in war during the course of all military history.
But today, we have heard testimony from hate-filled colleague soldiers that are angry that some “lesser” warrior has received so much attention from such high places.
The wise generals – not the retired macaws we see on Fox Cable News parroting whatever Roger Ailes tells them to parrot – are wise, and not ready to be judge and jury over Bergdahl just yet. They are soft-spoken and waiting for hard evidence that some of our men were killed looking for him, or that he helped aim mortars and other weapons at their bivouacs, or that he should “face a firing squad” as one of his fighting team has already expressed.
The several men who have openly testified unforgiving, to the likes of Sean Hannity and other cretins on “Fox and Friends” – or Fox’s “The Five” may turn out to be telling the truth, yet a truth better stated in a courtroom rather than a cable network that seems to rely on ads to sucker people into buying gold and silver rather than time to assess the situation completely and truthfully.
I do not defend Sgt. Bergdahl here, but I do rebuke all of us who are acting like a violent lynch mob – blood in our mouths – seeking judgment, while others out of power agree but seek nothing more than further influence, feathering their political nest.
That influence, because of this, should be denied them.
Shame on us all.
My heart tells me that Bowe Bergdahl began as a man seeking the excitement and valor of war only to find the day to day horrors of war; The entrails of a baby, or the burned and torn breasts of an innocent woman, or the head of the enemy all too much for him to bear.
For some reason he may have walked away from these scenes in horror, or terror, or worse. Sgt. Bergdahl could also be a traitor, a co-conspirator, a monster. We shall see.
But Americans, real Americans and patriots do not shout down a man who we put in that place to do our dirty work or protect ourselves. Instead, like Christ may have done, we should seek the truth even though it truly is staring us in the face.
War is hell.
Jeff Koopersmith began his career in politics and legislative affairs with the first Reagan for Governor Campaign in California as a teen. He later received a degree in Political Science from California State University at Northridge, did graduate work at University of Southern California (USC), and attended law school at Southwestern University while working in intelligence positions for CT Engineering Corp. and its clients. He is an award winning film producer, a strategist for both Democrat and Republican politicians as well as for uniformed unions. He later served as a primary Washington D.C. and EU lobbyist for (1) elimination the threat of radioactive gas causing cancer that was entering hundreds of thousands of American homes and business at that time, (2) championing the use of renewable fuels in the 1980s, and 1990s and (3) underscoring the importance of research and a widening investment in women’s health to the White House, Congress, and foreign capitals until he retired. He is presently the editor emeritus of American Politics Journal, author and artist.