cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
We have a new top-of-the-page story and it is a difficult story with which to deal. It involves the trade of five senior Taliban captives for Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who had been held for years by the Taliban.
There are so many aspects to this story that it will almost certainly stay at the top-of-the-page for quite a while. The parents, understandably, are elated at the prospect of seeing their son again but seem to be carrying some baggage that will add to the story. The young man has been, in some stories, suggested to have simply walked off the base and was subsequently captured. That has been referred to as desertion by those choosing to characterize the story in that manner.
The father’s lengthy statement yesterday in front of the TV cameras seemed to be suggesting that he might find himself sympathetic with the captors of his son. He expressed concern that his son might’ve lost his command of the English language having been exposed to Pashtun for the five years of his captivity, and that seemed a bit strange. He complimented his son on his apparent support of the Afghan people and that didn’t seem to make much sense. There seem some underlying issues, thoughts, and possibly some support for the Taliban on the part of at least Bergdahl’s father.
Talking heads yesterday found it possible to take sides suggesting, first, that the bargaining for prisoner release simply adds to the danger experienced by all those in uniform. Among those was a senator who spent years in a Hanoi prisoner-of-war camp and who suffered tremendously at the hands of his captors.
Congress had been ‘informed’ of these talks some time ago but seemed to have resisted the temptation to give consent for more discussion. The Administration appears to have ignored those feelings by the Congress and continued the discussions that ultimately led to the release and return of the five senior Taliban commanders in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl.
Some critics immediately called this simply a diversionary tactic given the bad press suffered by the Administration especially over the VA debacle. Other critics said this was simply a means to rid Guantanamo of these five senior Taliban people.
I confess to being suspicious, but I also confess to being unable, at this point, to form a hard opinion of my own.
As a former member of the military, I fear that this action will make the members of our military establishment more likely to be captured and held for ransom of some kind. I fear that the Taliban leaders released will again be fighting against us and killing more of our military people. I wonder why the government has spent this level of energy on this situation when it cannot find the time to pick up a telephone and tell Mexico to simply release the young Marine who strayed across the U.S./Mexico border.
There are simply too many inconsistencies, and, frankly, the Administration hasn’t earned my unthinking trust given its other actions and/or lack of actions.
Of this I have little doubt: we’ll all have formed an opinion very soon unless we burrow deeply into the ground and stay there for a year or two.