by Terry Plotkin
People who should know better, who have lots of privileges, who never want for a need, for some reason keep getting meaner and uglier in their politics. Take the recent disgrace over a prisoner of war, Bowe Bergdahl, who gets exchanged for 5 Afghanis after spending 5 years in a Taliban prison. You would think people would be happy and relieved that one of our own is coming home. I am. His patriotic parents get their boy back. Small town Idaho plans a hero’s return. Terrific. But all you hear is outrage from the right wingers. All this trumped up ugliness about him surfaced, and his home town celebration was cancelled due to fears of violence and actual death threats to the family. Even Vietnam veterans were not treated so badly. The source of the right’s fury? The man might have left his post when he was apprehended. Some suggest he even was disillusioned with the war, couldn’t find any meaning in it, and didn’t understand the mission. Sounds like a smart, sensitive young man to me. It reminds me of a career soldier I know who had 4 tours of duty in Afghanistan, and told me the very same thing and said that most of the troops in Afghanistan he knew felt the same way, but weren’t allowed to talk about it. He confirmed what I know in my gut, safe at home 6000 miles away, and that is that we should not be there.
More fury from the right: They assert that the Taliban hate us, they are terrorists, and these five will join the fight against us. I think rather than call them names it would be better to put yourself in their place for a moment. Maybe those Taliban don’t like their country being occupied by superpowers, like the Soviet Union and the USA, for imperialistic ends. (Please tell me you don’t really believe we are there for Democracy and Freedom.) Maybe the Afghani resistance wants to run their own affairs as they see fit. Don’t you?
Here is my solution to the potential problem of them joining the fight against us: Leave. Obama is ready to go now after 12 years of trying to occupy a country that does not want us there. This even though AL Quida has longed since left that country. If Obama had pulled out 6 years ago a lot of trouble, death, hatred, and treasure could have been spared. The results will be the same as they will be next year when we finally go. The President has a way of dragging things out so in this case when we finally do leave even those against the war will feel more exhaustion than happiness. And what will the right wingers say about the end of the war? Well, they will do what they always do: spew words of scorn and hatred to poison the well of civilization.
It seems the right wingers, who have never met a war they didn’t like, as long as some poor kid has to go fight it for them that is, wants that boy from Idaho to rot in Afghanistan prisons to the end of time rather than do what it takes to free him. Meanwhile, those Taliban prisoners at Gitmo, subjected to 12 years of torture and deprivation, must rot there as well or until their ongoing hunger strike kills them. Nothing can ever be resolved to the right’s satisfaction. That is their credo. They feed on anger now. Yoda would observe that they have gone to the dark side, and without it they would have nothing.
What I wonder is where is their humanity?