Americans need look no further than the controversy surrounding the U.S.-brokered release of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been in terrorists’ custody in the Mideast for five years after walking off of his post, to understand how miserably the U.S. has failed in its recent military misadventures.
Since Bergdahl was traded by the U.S. government for five former top Taliban officials who were held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, there has been a great deal of talk about what the Nation’s top leadership’s motives were in securing his release.
The Obama Administration has been criticized for trading dangerous terrorists for a soldier who is largely thought to have abandoned his duties as a soldier—especially since it did so without notifying members of Congress.
And while Bergdahl’s story is a complicated one, one thing can be garnered from the reports of his disappearance and return: It’s a story of the Nation’s broad failures in the wars in the Middle East.
Bergdahl abandoned his duty at a time when troop morale about the U.S.’s mission in Afghanistan was already largely in decline as soldiers realized that many in the region had no desire for help from the U.S.
As Rolling Stone, in a 2012 write-up about Bergdahl, noted:
The unruly situation was captured by Sean Smith, a British documentary filmmaker with The Guardian who spent a month embedded with Bowe’s unit. His footage shows a bunch of soldiers who no longer give a shit: breaking even the most basic rules of combat, like wearing baseball caps on patrol instead of helmets. In footage from a raid on a family compound, an old Afghan woman screams at the unit, “Look at these cruel people!” One soldier bitches about what he sees as the cowardice of the Afghan villagers he is supposed to be protecting: “They say like, the Taliban comes down and aggravated their town and harasses them… Why don’t you kill those motherfuckers? All of you have AKs. If someone is going into my hometown, I know my town wouldn’t stand for that shit. I’d be like, ‘Fuck you, you’re dead.'” Another soldier laments, “These people just want to be left alone.” A third agrees: “They got dicked with by the Russians for 17 years, and now we’re here.”
But, unlike Bergdahl, many Americans finished the tours they signed up for despite their disillusionment. For that reason many of the men who served alongside, and subsequently searched for, Bergdahl have decried the White House’s actions. Some are calling for the soldier to be disciplined for walking off of his post.
The New York Times reported this week:
The furious search for Sergeant Bergdahl, his critics say, led to the deaths of at least two soldiers and possibly six others in the area. Pentagon officials say those charges are unsubstantiated and are not supported by a review of a database of casualties in the Afghan war.
“Yes, I’m angry,” Joshua Cornelison, a former medic in Sergeant Bergdahl’s platoon, said in an interview on Monday arranged by Republican strategists. “Everything that we did in those days was to advance the search for Bergdahl. If we were doing some mission and there was a reliable report that Bergdahl was somewhere, our orders were that we were to quit that mission and follow that report.”
Sergeant Bergdahl slipped away from his outpost, the former senior officer said, possibly on foot but more likely hiding in a contractor’s vehicle. “He didn’t walk out the gate through a checkpoint, and there was no evidence he breached the perimeter wire and left that way,” the ex-officer said.
Still, the White House decided to trade five former top Taliban members to secure Bergdahl’s release.
”Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity,” Obama said defending the action.
But, if the Afghan war was about quelling the threat of terror sparked by Islamic extremism, even the President realizes that the decision was self-defeating for U.S. interests. The President acknowledged Tuesday that there is no way the government can promise that the terrorists will not rejoin the effort to kill Westerners in the name of Allah.
Furthermore, Taliban leader Mullah Omar delivered a statement Sunday calling the trade a “great victory.”
“We shall thank almighty for this great victory,” said the statement. “The sacrifice of our Mujahedin have resulted in the release of our senior leaders from the hand of the enemy.”
He also thanked the “faithful Muslim nation of Afghanistan,” Bergdahl’s captors and the Amir of Qatar for his “tireless efforts” to move the deal along.
“May Allah grant all of them with rewards,” the statement says.
Of course, the Taliban official wasn’t the only one talking to Allah after the soldier’s release.
Clare Lopez, “a former CIA operations officer, a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on Middle East, national defense, WMD, and counterterrorism issues,” and a friend of Colonel Allen West, relayed in an email to the conservative commentator:
What none of these media is reporting is that the father’s (SGT Bowe Bergdahl’s father Bob) first words at the WH were in Arabic – those words were “bism allah alrahman alraheem” – which means “in the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful” – these are the opening words of every chapter of the Qur’an except one (the chapter of the sword – the 9th) – by uttering these words on the grounds of the WH, Bergdahl (the father) sanctified the WH and claimed it for Islam. There is no question but POTUS knows this.
Does anyone remember what supposedly got us involved in this Afghanistan bullshit in the first place?