Wednesday, June 04, 2014

All of our veterans...[long rant]

There are times when I would like to avert my eyes and pretend that horrible things aren't going on around me ... too many times lately.  But, holding in my feelings isn't helping me.  And I believe in standing up for what we believe in.

So, I am going to poke some holes in the hypocrisy of the moment.  [And you know what I mean because those who profit from hypocrisy move to the next *most important example* of whatever they pretend to care about at the drop of a hat.]

Bowe Bergdahl is coming home after five years in captivity.  The circumstances of how he got captured are largely irrelevant to me.  He was in Afghanistan as a member of our military -- if he were not in the military, he would not have been there.  He did not go to Afghanistan, as other American young men have done, to become a terrorist.

I am not for war -- in fact, I am emphatically against it.  It is not a secret.

However, I believe that those folks who volunteer to serve in our military deserve to be treated with respect and cared for both while on active duty and afterwards.  I believe their families should be acknowledged for the sacrifices that they make.  Though I wish that they were not asked to kill others in my name, I still believe that all citizens should support the military.

We can hate the action and still respect the actor.

In fact, my belief system allows for that to be true for all people, not just the military.

Therefore it will not be surprising that I am thankful that an accord made it possible for Bergdahl to return to his family and the long road of recovery that awaits him.

I think it is unconscionable for media outlets to speculate on the circumstances of his capture or release.  Where was this outrage when a year ago they were publishing information that was released by what the government calls a treacherous act? Interviewing people who *think* Bergdahl deserted without interviewing anyone who might actually be able to call this a desertion is irresponsible and stilted.  These are two media outlets that I regularly use to stay connected to the world -- I would say trusted media outlets, but I am not sure that we have any of those anymore -- or if we ever did.

What we know, so far, is that Bergdahl joined the military because he wanted to help the people in Afghanistan and that he had become disillusioned with the actions of the military.  We know this from private communications with his family -- snapshots of his thoughts, not necessarily explanations of actions.  We do not yet know exactly what happened on the day he was captured, or even in the days preceding that capture.

A kid in war was afraid, ambivalent about the war, worried about his part ... where is the compassion for that?  Are the journalists speculating veterans?  Can they speak to what it feels like to be in a war zone?  I cannot, therefore, I cannot presume to judge.  I can only imagine having compassion for all those in that situation.  And, again, to wish they were not there in my name.  I welcome him home and wish him the best in his recovery.

Let us remember that we have forgiven, acquitted and excused our military killing innocents in the name of war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan (lately) and many other places in the past.  We recognize how trauma from their service has caused many veterans and some active duty service people to commit crimes, inflict pain and death on others and to take their own lives.  We *know* the psychological toll that their service is taking on our military and their families.  It is not a secret or an unproven hypothesis.

So, I call those who will point the finger hypocrites.  If, as a public, we are to keep in mind the horrors of war and how they prey on the men and women in the military, then surely there is some compassion for Bergdahl.  Surely we can, at least, give him the benefit of the doubt until the investigation is complete.  I seem to recall the so-called American Taliban receiving more compassionate sentiment and treatment upon his return to the United States -- we could perhaps start that conversation with the fact that he was not sent to Guantanamo for his sentence.

Note that I am not even addressing the most egregious media outlets in the business of hypocrisy.  I cannot even stand to listen to what they are saying.  These are the folks who routinely call for our military to be sent into harm's way.   It makes my blood boil...

There is another hypocrisy that needs to be addressed that this issue calls into our consciousness: those that are now in Guantamo, for the most part, are the detainees we cannot either release or try.  We choose not to release them because we fear they are dangerous.  We cannot try them because they are more than likely victims of torture at our military's hand.  It is possible that we created the danger by torturing them as our prisoners.  If we could trade them for one of our own, why not?  It is small recompense for torture and indefinite confinement.

I reserve a considerable amount of my scorn for the *president* of Afghanistan who refuses to deal with the dangerous situations in his country because he does not want to deal with the Taliban.  I look forward to the time when none of our troops are in Afghanistan.  I look forward to a time when Mr. Karzai cannot simply point his finger at us and pretend that he has no complicity in the terrible situation he and his country find themselves in.  I don't abdicate our role, I simply refuse to give him a pass as well.


I remain thankful for Bergdahl's release and his return to his family.  May they all find peace.

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