But was America's only prisoner of the Afghan war a hero or a deserter?
While tattered yellow ribbons adorned utility poles in his native Hailey, Idaho, many people are expressing conflicting thoughts about Bergdahl's actions.
They are convinced that on June 30, 2009, just a few months after he arrived in Afghanistan, Bergdahl willingly walked away from his unit, which was deployed in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, adjacent to the border with Pakistan. While they certainly wanted Bergdahl home, they think he should now have to answer allegations that he deserted his unit.
This week the Army announced that Bergdahl has returned to regular duty and has been assigned a desk job. This has outraged many of those who viewed his actions as desertion and treason. On Fox’s “The Five”, several comments were made expressing the opinion that he should not be returned to active duty. He should be barred from wearing the uniform. He should not receive his pay and he should not be receiving treatment for the trauma he may have suffered as a result of those years he was a Taliban prisoner. And they said they thought these things should happen now -before he is charged, tried and convicted.
I don’t get it. I understand the desire to have this investigated and for him to be held fully accountable for his actions. But I don’t understand, nor approve of this rush to justice. This is still America and Bergdahl is an American citizen. One of our most important principles in this country is the belief that a person “is innocent until proven guilty”. And that can only be done in a court of law –not on TV or the radio or in the papers by pundits who have little or no access to the facts or evidence.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not defending Bergdahl. If he is a deserter or a traitor I am the first to want to see him locked in a tiny little cell and the key made into paper clips. No, I am actually defending all of us. I am saying that we (you and I) have rights as Americans and those rights must always be defended and respected –or we all start losing them.
Let’s just wait for this to be investigated –and if the Army or the Federal Government attempts to white wash this or make it disappear for political reasons (which I think they might very well try to do) –then let the media get outraged about that. Let’s keep the pressure on to do this right and find out what actually happened –and then to hold this man fully accountable for whatever he may have done.
But, in the meantime, let’s put the torches and pitchforks away and wait until his guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt before we call for his hanging. Let’s show a little respect –not for Bergdahl – for ourselves and good old fashioned American Principles.
People say everything happens for a reason. So, remember that when I slap you up side the head it was for a reason!
Live Long and Prosper...