THE BLOG
06/06/2014 11:06 am ET Updated Aug 04, 2014

On War, Desertion and Duty

There is not much to add to the media frenzy that has accompanied the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five prisoners at Guantanamo. The right, predictably, is trying to make political hay out of the anti-war sentiments of Bergdahl. Reflecting on the history of American military adventures since Vietnam, I would offer one new observation.

You might not like Bowe Bergdahl but guess what, he is your military today. These wars are a disaster and our young people sent to fight them are not idiots. They know full well that the war is aggressive, racist and counterproductive. If we face the truth, that every month the U.S. military is in Afghanistan they create more Taliban fighters, more suicide bombers.

Our military members are going to get fed up. During the Vietnam war they deserted by the thousands. There were sections in Saigon where dozens were holed up. These were not cowards. They were courageous. And they were right. The war was a crime and they chose not to participate. Heck, many troops ended up fragging their officers as the continuation of the war became untenable.

Some have asserted that a number of U.S. soldiers were killed as a result of Bergdahl walking away from his post. But let's be real. Bergdahl did not order troops out in ill-considered and dangerous patrols. That's on the commanding officer. That's who sent them out.

I know the comments that will swarm on here. "The U.S. military never leaves anybody behind." Fine. That's just the kind martial code that begins to fall apart as an occupying force is being defeated. And it's not even true. The U.S. military has left people on the field in every war. But it makes good copy for the patriotic press to claim these martial codes.

The bottom line is that Bowe Bergdahl is someone we should be proud of. He recognized how wrong the military mission was. He felt embarrassed and ashamed to be part of it. He felt it was his duty to use his mind and his heart, something that is always dangerous in a military culture.

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