Why was Sgt Bowe Bergdahl saved
US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Taliban three days ago in exchange for five prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay. Since then he has been the victim of an increasingly violent smear campaign by right-wing political circles and the media, which denigrate him as a deserter and traitor. There were calls to accuse him or even to shoot him.
His father, Bob Bergdahl, was also vilified for his efforts to get his son released - among other things, he learned Pashto and Dari, the two most widely spoken languages in Afghanistan, communicated with the Taliban over the Internet and grew a long, unshaven beard indicate how long his son was held.
The media, from CNN to NBC and the other major networks, have shown multiple interviews with soldiers who served with Bergdahl and accused him of having fled his post. Some of them blamed Bergdahl for the deaths of six U.S. soldiers allegedly killed during a six-month intensive search for the missing soldier.
The media also exploited some recent Twitter posts by Bob Bergdahl expressing sympathy for Afghans and their families killed in the war and demanding the release of all prisoners in Guantanamo.
Before his disappearance, Bowe Bergdahl expressed his disgust for the American war in Afghanistan and his sympathy for the Afghan people in letters to his family and in conversations with comrades. Undoubtedly the main reason for hating the Bergdahls is their anti-war stance and fear in ruling circles that they will reinforce the already widespread popular opposition to the war in Afghanistan and generally the warmongering policies of the Obama administration.
Bowe Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban on June 30, 2009 while his unit was on patrol in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika. The Pentagon promoted Bergdahl twice during his captivity, first from private first class to corporal, then to sergeant - the military leadership would hardly do such a thing with a convicted deserter. At the same time, the military obliged soldiers who had served with Bergdahl to sign confidentiality agreements.
The Pentagon and State Department campaigned aggressively for Bergdahl's release, first through a series of military searches designed to save him, then through occasional negotiations with the Taliban, through which the Sheikdom of Qatar acted as mediator.
Negotiations resumed last autumn after a Taliban commander who had long rejected any deal resigned and Islamic fundamentalists provided video of Bergdahl as evidence that he was still alive. In February the press spoke of negotiations suggesting the deal to release one for five would eventually be finalized. But it was only finally sealed last week. The actual exchange took place on Saturday May 31st.
The initial criticism of the deal came from Republicans in Congress and the right-wing press, including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal and corresponded to the foreseeable party political attitudes. The deal has been portrayed as another example of the Obama administration's alleged foreign policy weakness, along with Syria, Ukraine and Benghazi.
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The Republicans are clearly hoping to use the Bergdahl case to incite their right-wing supporters and sections of the military ahead of the November congressional election.
The White House's response was also predictable. It cited the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the escalation of the drone war as evidence that the government was not "too soft" on terrorism, and cited Israel's similar prisoner exchange deals - for example, 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were taken against a single soldier named Gilad Shalit, who was detained in Gaza for three years.
The focus of the right-wing campaign shifted to attacks against Sergeant Bergdahl and his family on Monday and Tuesday. The comments grew increasingly wild. For example, Fox News claimed, "Many members of the intelligence community suspect he was actively collaborating with the Taliban." The Wall Street Journal published a column suggesting that the appropriate treatment for the returning soldier would be civil execution.
The circumstances under which Bergdahl was captured remain unclear. The returned prisoner of war is being treated in Germany in the most important American military hospital and has not yet made any public statements.
Several former members of his unit were quoted in the media as saying that Bergdahl had left his post in the middle of the night without his rifle and went into Taliban-controlled area. Tens of thousands of approving comments appear on Facebook pages with titles like "Bergdahl is a traitor" and "Bowe Bergdahl is not a hero".
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said in a comment on his Facebook page on Thursday that the issue of Bergdahl's rescue was completely separate from any subsequent investigation into his conduct while on patrol in Afghanistan. Dempsey stated, "Like any other American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our military leadership will not ignore misconduct if there has been any. In the meantime, we will continue to take care of him and his family."
Anonymous representatives from the Pentagon later told the press that there would be a "full investigation" into the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's disappearance and capture.
According to the New York Times Bergdahl left a note in his tent that he was disaffected with the military, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was on his way to start a new life.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "A military investigation into Sergeant Bergdahl's resignation was never completed because officials were unable to speak to him. However, a senior Defense Department official said many officers were leaving Considering the material collected for the investigation that he left the outpost because he was disaffected with the war.
In 2012, Rolling Stone Magazine wrote, based on an interview with Bergdahl's parents, that he had emailed them three days before his disappearance stating that he was "ashamed to even be" American "and" The horror starting from America is disgusting. "
Sergeant Bergdahl wrote: "I'm sorry for everything here. These people need help, but instead the most arrogant country in the world tells them that they are nothing, that they are stupid, that they don't know how to live."
He described how an Afghan child was run over by an American military vehicle. "We don't even care if we hear our armored trucks run over their children on the dirt roads."
Bowe Bergdahl's father, despite his conservative religious views - Bowe was homeschooled by his mother in her hometown of Hailey, Idaho, instead of going to school - became a fierce opponent of American imperialism's foreign policy in the Middle East and Central Asia. He openly sympathized with other longtime prisoners, including those in Guantanamo.
Of the five prisoners released from Guantanamo, four were high-ranking officials in the Afghan government under Taliban rule. You were arrested during the US-led NATO invasion at the end of 2001. It is the Deputy Minister of Defense Mohammad Fazl; the Governor of Balkh Province, Mullah Norullah Noori; the governor of Herat Province, Kharullah Khairkhwa; and Deputy Secretary of Intelligence, Abdul Haq Wasiq. The fifth prisoner, Mohammed Nabi Omari, was a military commander with ties to the Haqqani network, established under the auspices of the CIA in the 1980s to fight Soviet troops.
They were public officials of a state whose government was overthrown by an American military action and were therefore entitled to treatment as prisoners of war. Instead, they have been detained, interrogated and probably tortured indefinitely as "terrorists" - all clear violations of the Geneva Convention. About twelve years later, the Obama administration suddenly declared them prisoners of war in order to exchange them for Bergdahl.
Part of the bitterness in the right-wing campaign against the prisoner exchange comes from the fact that the Obama administration is no longer authorized to detain Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo with the official end of the American combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. According to international law, prisoners of war must be released back to their home countries after the end of the fighting, and if the senior Taliban in Guantanamo are now regarded as prisoners of war, all other Afghans held there would have to be released as well.
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