Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Low Point For Bowe

There have been some low political moments recently in America, such as the Benghazi witch-hunt, the ongoing Obamacare war... but I think this may be the lowest I've ever seen.

As a result, or perhaps symptom, of the toxic atmosphere caused by the deal to free Bowe Bergdahl from Afghanistan, the Bergdahl family has been on the receiving end of death threats recently. Isn't it ironic that these people who sent these death threats, people who no would doubt self-identify on the high end of the "love America, hate the terrorists" scale, are themselves employing terroristic acts against the Bergdahl family?

These are also likely to be people who hold America's justice system and due process of law in the highest regard. Yet they've already convicted Bowe Bergdahl without even letting Bowe get well enough to tell his side of the story; the right to confront one's accuser is central to our justice system, but these people are ready to say Bowe's guilty (and threaten his family's lives!!) before even hearing him speak. So hypocritical.

If it turns out Bowe has committed some sort of crime, he should be punished. But if not? Who are we to assassinate his character at this point? I've seen people defend the rights of those Obama strikes with drones, saying we're "killing them without the due process of American law"... but somehow Bowe Bergdahl, a soldier and American, doesn't have that same right? It just doesn't make sense to me.

I've seen people say this will encourage terrorists to kidnap more people for ransom; however, isn't this already standard operating procedure for terrorists? They've always kidnapped Americans given the opportunity; this is (unfortunately) nothing new that will be caused by the Bergdahl deal.

It's been said that Bergdahl willingly provided information to the Taliban on how to more effectively attack Americans, and that the Taliban's attacks became more precise shortly following this. I don't claim to know exactly what happened, but do the people who argue this not realize that the Taliban would have gotten this information from Bergdahl whether he wanted to give it up or not? He was a prisoner of war; the Taliban would have gotten their information out of him one way or another. It being willing on Bowe's part is merely one plausible explanation, and doesn't really seem any more plausible than anything else at this this point.

I've seen people of the opinion that this deal is a slap in the face to the families of soldiers who died searching for Bergdahl after he disappeared. This is an absurd notion in at least two ways: First, the sad deaths of these soldiers happened long before any deal to free Bergdahl was even considered (and maybe it's just me, but isn't it possible that the fact that our men died trying to find him gave the option of negotiation a bit more merit compared to rescue?), and one can't possibly be linked to the other. Second, I would imagine that the soldiers that gave their lives trying to save Bergdahl would be happy to see their mission finally completed, regardless of what they think of Bowe personally. I honestly can't come up with a good rationalization for why finally securing Bowe's release should be in any way insulting to those who died; in fact, I'd say that leaving Bowe in Afghanistan forever would have been the real insult. It would have sent the message "Yeah, you died trying to save him, but he's actually not that important."

Finally, it's been argued that the five released men will return to the fight and attempt to kill Americans again. This unfortunately cannot be guaranteed against, but, I ask, forgetting the Bergdahl situation, what IS the ultimate plan for these people at Gitmo? Indefinite detention with no trial, again ignoring the due process of our justice system that is held so dear? Better would be an actual trial and conviction, but there seems to be no hurry for that (why would there be when we can just hold prisoners forever though). We parole murderers from regular American prisons every single day, and we KNOW there is a massive danger that they will reoffend. Yet we act like it's nothing; "well they did their time". But the men we released to Qatar likely won't have much chance to hurt many Americans, since we are supposed to be leaving Afghanistan soon; yes, the random murderer or rapist we parole from prison here has a higher chance of succeeding in hurting Americans than these 5 Taliban do, in my opinion. Again... hypocrisy.

I guess I just don't get the speed and contradictions of the judgment against Bergdahl... okay that's not totally true; I definitely understand that some of it is political, as far as anything involving Obama becomes immediately politicized. But that certainly cannot be the extent of it, because I've seen plenty of "average" people around the internet claiming that Bowe should have been left in Afghanistan, should be executed, or any other number of extreme punishments. Is it just that Obama made this deal? Is Bowe Bergdahl collateral damage of the partisan hatred toward Obama? Or is there a deeper reason that people are outraged?

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