Friday, June 13, 2014

'No Man Left Behind' isn’t up for interpretation

**Disclaimer: This post isn't about sports. But as a person who loves our military and has personal experience with our troops, I've been wanting to write about the Beau Bergdahl situation, and this is my avenue to do so.

One of the U.S. military’s mottos is “No Man Left Behind.” With the controversy surrounding the trade for Sgt. Beau Bergdahl recently, this motto has been uttered over and over. But here’s the thing: It’s not up for interpretation. The motto isn't “No Good Soldier Left Behind,” or even “No Good Man Left Behind.” It is “No MAN Left Behind.”

This matter shouldn't be about politics but, sadly, that is what it has become. Getting Sgt. Bergdahl back was, and is, the right thing to do. My politics don't generally align with the President’s, but I'm glad he got this Soldier. No matter why he left the base, it was America’s duty to bring Beau Bergdahl back to the U.S.  Leaving him in the hands of the enemy because we think he chose to walk off base isn't what Americans do—we are better than that. Bergdahl is innocent until proven guilty, and only a trial at which he is present, and where he has the opportunity to defend himself, can he be judged.

Most of our military are great men and women; but sometimes, a Soldier (or Marine or Airman) can make bad decisions, or even do bad things; but that doesn't mean we let someone else deal with them. It is our responsibility to take care of our Soldiers and it is our responsibility to discipline them when necessary. Now that Bergdahl is out of the enemy's hands, we can try to figure out what happened. Letting the Taliban deal with a U.S. Soldier is just something we don’t do. Those who say we shouldn't have traded for him are just plain wrong. We might not like the trade itself or how it was handled, but it was the responsibility of our Commander in Chief to get our Soldier back – and the only way he was able to do that was this specific trade. Congress wanted 30 days’ notice – I find it hard to believe the Taliban is reasonable enough to leave an offer on the table for that long. Obama acted as he saw fit, and that is what he was elected to do (even if you didn't vote for him).

The way the situation has "backfired" on Obama has been interesting; he thought there would be universal celebration and praise, and instead half are kind of pleased, half are up in arms. Perhaps it's just a sign of our times; perhaps it's Bergdahl's behavior prior to being captured; or perhaps it's that, no matter what, the side I tend to lean to could never praise anything this president does. In this case, I believe the action was just and necessary and that's where it ends. Why can't we put aside our feelings about Obama and be glad one of our own is home, no matter how he got captured?

Quite frankly, I'm SHOCKED at the ferocity in which other service members—past and present—are treating Bergdahl. Do we think this hasn't happened before? Disillusionment can lead us to do strange things. A man is a man and we brought this man home as we promise that we will always do; we lived up to our motto and I, for one, am proud of it ... No matter what I think of Obama (or Bergdahl, for that matter).

Now that Bergdahl is back on U.S. soil, I hope people who don’t wish him well leave him alone. No matter what you think of him, we all have to agree he’s been through a lot – things I wouldn't wish on my greatest enemy. People who have threatened his family are a disgrace to our country; we are better than that! A U.S. Soldier is home after five years captive in the Middle East. His family has been through hell and back during those five years, and instead of being able to celebrate that their son is alive, well and home, they are in hiding and fearful for their safety. I find that incredibly disheartening. We all have a piece of the story; only one man has the whole story. Let’s let him tell it before we condemn him. 

No matter our opinions of him, Beau Bergdahl is a U.S. Soldier and leaving him behind was never a possibility.

1 comment:

Sharon Pinney said...

You are so right. We should not try and convict someone who could not speak for himself. A great article.