Sunday, June 08, 2014

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl



















As I looked up at the imminent sacrifice of Isaac, portrayed in Victorian stained glass, my thoughts went to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the line impressed itself upon me:  lay not thine hand upon the lad.

I am at best a disinterested observer of the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl affair.  It's happening a long way away.  And it's not really anything to do with me.

But I was shocked at the haunted face of the American soldier when he was held in captivity by the Taliban.

And I watched the news reports of his parents' relief when it was announced that he was being exchanged for a number of suspected terrorists.

And then I heard the stories circulating that he was a deserter (or worse, he had gone to the Taliban voluntarily).  And that other American soldiers had been killed looking for him.  And that the celebrations over his release were being called off.

Sergeants are not supposed to desert.  In any army it's the sergeants and the corporals that make things happen.  If the sergeants start deserting things are in a serious way. 

Undoubtedly Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl needs to be investigated, and perhaps punished.

But I think it is too harsh to say he should have been left with the Taliban.

He should not be sacrificed on the altar of military honour.

And the Taliban having nothing much to crow about.  They have announced to the world that one (rather pathetic looking) American soldier is worth five of their top generals.  As a ratio of prestige that will not have gone unnoticed. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/us/politics/bowe-bergdahl.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

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