OUR VIEW: Questions remain over swap
It should be of no surprise to Americans who strive to review current events through a prism of objectivity that the main point behind the controversy now raging regarding Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been lost.
Surprise, hopefully, won’t evolve into disgust, but, since we live in the current political climate, anything is possible.
Bergdahl’s negotiated release triggered debate, finger-pointing and — you guessed it — plenty of politicians jockeying to position themselves in the right light as questions regarding the sergeant’s status — was he a deserter or something else — gained
There isn’t much of a debate regarding some facts.
For example, the United States exchanged five detainees — all of them considered to be dangerous to the security of America — to retrieve Bergdahl. And there some other known facts too. For example, in 2009, Bergdahl disappeared from his infantry unit in Afghanistan. Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time in Iraq or Afghanistan understands that leaving the safety of Forward Operating Base (FOB) in enemy controlled country — alone — is not just a bad idea it is nearly unthinkable. In 2010, the Army determined he left his post voluntarily. That fact alone, if true, pretty much makes all the other political white noise irrelevant. He left his post without permission. He is — under the rules of the military — either AWOL or a deserter.
Other facts are not so well explained. Why did the sergeant leave his post? Was the swap for him a good idea?
The list could be — and probably will be — endless. What is discouraging is that the fate of this young man has been turned into what is now standard operating procedure within this nation’s political forum: the marquee member of a circus.
That fact is not only disdainful but frustrating.
What needs to be done is a concerted effort of separating facts and then deciding on a course of action. One fact that is, or should be inconvertible, is that America doesn’t leave its warriors behind. Regardless of his motives, notwithstanding his status, he disappeared while on active duty in a combat zone. Then he was paraded by the Taliban on videos like a carnival attraction. America has, in the past, sort of allowed that dictum — leave no one behind — to fade into the background. All one has to do to find proof is delve into the factual swamp of the still missing American POWs from Vietnam.
The second fact is that if, indeed, the Idaho soldier walked away from his post, then the code of Uniform Military Justice is fairly straightforward on that issue. There isn’t much debate.
We should always do everything possible to find our POWs — whether they deserted or were captured — and bring them back home. If the sergeant committed a crime under military law, then he should be afforded a trial and either exonerated or punished under those mandates.
Beyond that, most of the political bickering is yet another large example of what occurs a lot in modern American politics today: An example of a colossal waste of time.
Yet there is a lingering question and that is this: How much of an impact will the five detainees traded for Bergdahl have on the ongoing war on terror? It is a question with no answer. At least not yet.