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Latest US Crucifixion of a Conscience-Possessor, POW Bergdahl

The Pentagon has decided to bring desertion and misbehavior charges against the former 5-year Afghanistan POW Bowe Bergdahl. The Wall Street Journal at one point published a commentary demanding a firing squad punish him. Right wing political and media operatives are still doing all they can to “swift boat” him, organizing and manipulating some of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers.

One more Orwellian act from the ethical freakshow that is America.

Patrick Martin in “The vendetta against Bowe Bergdahl” declares:

The real reason for the ferocity of the attack on Bergdahl was his public disaffection from the war in Afghanistan and, in particular, his caustic criticism of the conduct of the American military in that devastated country.


... the Obama administration, which initially hailed Bergdahl’s safe return as a diplomatic triumph, to be celebrated with photo ops with the POW’s parents in the White House Rose Garden, takes its lead from the Pentagon chiefs. It is the military-intelligence apparatus, not its nominal civilian “commander,” that calls the shots in Washington.

Behind the vendetta against Bergdahl is the fear of a Vietnam War-like growth of demoralization and opposition within the ranks, under conditions of a continuous escalation of US military operations, not only in the Middle East, but directed increasingly against major powers such as Russia and China.

According to Martin, Bergdahl was a private first class starting out a one-year tour of duty in Afghanistan. He “walked away” from his Paktika province unit in June of 2009. He was armed only with a knife. The same day he was captured by the Taliban and was held under often “barbaric” conditions. He managed to escape once but was recaptured.

Five years later, May 2014, Obama negotiated his release in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.

One of Bergdahl’s attorney’s, Eugene Fidell, explained there is Army report evidence that Bergdahl was NOT deserting but walking to another military outpost to report questionable “conditions” in his own unit.

Fidell has published a memo that declares:

“[T]he report basically concludes that Sgt. Bergdahl did not intend to remain away from the Army permanently, as classic ‘long’ desertion requires... It also concludes that his specific intent was to bring what he thought were disturbing circumstances to the attention of the nearest general officer.” This might have been a violation of military discipline, but it hardly warrants the charge of desertion.

Martin adds that two military officials have confirmed this as the truth, one explaining on CNN: “This was a kid who had leadership concerns on his mind, ... He wasn’t fed up, he wasn’t planning to desert.”

A 2012 Rolling Stone magazine article entitled “America’s Last Prisoner of War” cited emails Bergdahl wrote to his parents regarding his disillusionment with the role of the US in Afghanistan just before his departure from his unit and his Taliban capture. Bergdahl had been provoked to a “breaking point” when on June 25, 2009 a young fellow officer he was fond of was killed by a roadside bomb. He wrote his parents:

“... I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.”

“I am sorry for everything here,” ... “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live.”


“We don't even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.”

Martin sees the media, military and political right as escalating an already “vindictive and reactionary” campaign of intimidation of “rank-and-file” soldiers who DARE to react morally and courageously to the savage US wars of imperialism.

Earlier in an earlier article entitled “The US media and the release of POW Bowe Bergdahl“ Martin wrote:

The real purpose of the campaign against Bergdahl is to counter his antiwar views, which give expression to the sentiments of the vast majority of the American population. It is a continuation of the media’s efforts to conceal the criminal and neo-colonial character of the war. The witch-hunt against Bergdahl is of a piece with the US media’s campaign of denigration and slander against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Private Manning in retaliation for their exposure of war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.

As far as the media apologists for imperialism are concerned, a soldier who is horrified by crimes against humanity and refuses to participate in them is a criminal, while those who obediently carry out atrocities are heroes. It should be recalled that the defense of “just carrying out orders” was flatly repudiated by the Nuremberg Tribunal into the crimes of the Nazis during World War II. Those who would revive it today are paving the way for even greater crimes.

Martin’s latest update on the legal situation of Bergdahl:

In response to the right-wing campaign against Bergdahl, the machinery of the Pentagon began to grind out the mockery that passes for “military justice.” Lt. Gen. Kenneth Dahl interviewed Bergdahl and other members of his unit and filed a report with the top brass. Last week, Gen. Mark Milley, head of the Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, authorized charges against Bergdahl. A preliminary hearing is set for April 22 to determine whether to order a court-martial, accept a negotiated plea, or dismiss the charges.

With the epidemic of military suicides, homicides, rapes, incidences of PTSD, etc., and extreme physical injuries or deaths, with this the fifteenth year of war in Afghanistan, the tenth in Iraq, will we majority of citizens still myopically bobble our heads at another obscene military and media crucifixion of a whistle blower exercising conscience?

Have we collectively and individually no conscience strong enough to motivate our "citizen will" against this ethical freakshow? Millions died during the Vietnam War. We in the US finally grew a conscience, but it has become critically diminished. Even among some of us Boomers who managed to be moral activists then.

[cross-posted on znet (open-salon RIP])

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Submitted by libbyliberal on

Yes, DC. Thanks for commenting.

Media and government want the "idea of the heroic troops" manipulated for propaganda purposes. Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman stories twisted but later discovered. But it still works too much of the time.

Bergdahl could have been so used except once again that pesky conscience and his horror at the real situation in Afghanistan as Manning was appalled by it in Iraq. And the real story of his discontent got communicated.

Bergdahl was fresh to the toxic Afghan unit situation and tried to go off and communicate the truth, was captured immediately, escaped, captured again. Treated barbarically and now the neocons and their media and rightwing hordes want to crucify him. As for the progressives, will they once again just let it happen?

The fact that he has been traumatized by a military outfit that was murdering civilians and committing atrocities on a country for profit and traumatized after 5 years of capture by a furiously embittered by Americans enemy and now released to a crazymaking country that wants to maybe firing squad him (WSJ) for exercising his conscience and ignoring the suffering he has done because of the choices of the US government and military is so Orwellian. Like something out of Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut. Something out of Catch 22. Fahrenheit 451. I used to think fiction works like those were exaggerated for comedy. The satire is based on colossal stupidity and evil in reality.

The older I get the more gobsmacking the evil becomes imho. Or I just get it better.

Best, libby