Tag Archives: Bergdahl

Next to ‘I love you,’ ‘I don’t know’ is the best three-word sentence of all

OK, so I probably have been guilty of this myself to some degree, but there is an epidemic in the nation of individuals asserting statements of truth even after they have acknowledged that they don’t know all of the facts.

There is this from The Associated Press today:

NATICK, Mass. – A white police sergeant who arrested renowned black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. said [today] he’s disappointed President Barack Obama said officers acted “stupidly,” despite acknowledging he didn’t know all the facts.

Sgt. James Crowley responded to Gates’ home near Harvard University last week to investigate a report of a burglary and demanded Gates show him identification. Police say Gates at first refused and accused the officer of racism.

Gates was charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped Tuesday, and Gates has since demanded an apology from Crowley.

Obama was asked about the arrest of Gates, who is his friend, at the end of a nationally televised news conference on health care [last] night.

“I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry,” Obama said. “Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three — what I think we know separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact.”

In radio interviews [this] morning, Crowley maintained he had done nothing wrong in arresting Gates.

“I support the president of the United States 110 percent. I think he was way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts as he himself stated before he made that comment,” Crowley told WBZ-AM….

I don’t watch corporately owned and operated television, since it’s mostly just corporate brainwashing, but I happened to catch the end of Obama’s press conference at a friend’s house last night, and I was flabbergasted that Obama indeed first admitted that he didn’t know what happened between Gates and Crowley but then proceeded to assert that Gates indeed had produced his identification to Crowley as Crowley had asked him to do.

Fact is, this is a he-said, he-said situation. Gates says he produced identification when he was asked for it. The cops say that Gates refused to produce identification. While I tend to suspect that Gates indeed refused to show ID, at least initially, because he wanted to make the whole thing into a “racist” incident, I wasn’t there, so I can’t say for sure what happened; I can’t say who is telling the truth and who apparently is prevaricating.

When asked about Gatesgate last night, Obama should have simply stated that he wasn’t there, so he can’t take sides. That he took a side, Gates’ side, was irresponsible. It was piss-poor leadership on Obama’s part and only could serve to further stoke the flames of interracial hatred, the flames that Gates and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and their ilk seem to want to stoke.

Remaining neutral in the Gates case wouldn’t have been pussy of Obama — it would have been wise, given his admitted lack of knowledge of the facts.

And then there is Rachel Maddow. I love Rachel. She perhaps is my favorite lesbian on the planet.

But I was astounded to hear Maddow, in a clip that I recently watched on the Internet, state that of course every statement that Bowe Bergdahl, the 23-year-old American soldier being held captive by the Taliban, made in the half-hour video that the Taliban recently released was coerced.

WTF?

Fact is, we just can’t know what is in Bowe Bergdahl’s head. Yes, it’s certainly possible that everything that he said in the half-hour Taliban video, with the probable exception of the sentiments that he expressed for his family at home and his wish to go home, were coerced to at least some degree.

However, I don’t rule out that he truly believes at least some, or maybe even most of, the statements that he made. (I at least find it at least a little hard to believe that Bergdahl truly is as interested in finding out more about Islam as he states he is in the video.)

Hopefully Bergdahl will make it home safely and we will find out from him what is in his head.

Until then, each of us needs to humble herself or himself and acknowledge:

I.

Don’t.

Know.

Those are three refreshing, liberating words that we just don’t hear enough.

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Still thinking about Bowe Bergdahl

Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl worked as a barista at Zaney's River Street ...

A sign of support for U.S. Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl is seen at ...

Associated Press photos

Signs are displayed at the coffee house in Hailey, Idaho, where 23-year-old soldier Bowe Bergdahl (shown in an undated family photo below), who now is being held captive by the Taliban, worked as a barista before he joined the U.S. Army in June 2008. Will Americans disown Bergdahl if it turns out that he deserted his unit in Afghanistan? Will his case encourage more Americans to think about the U.S. war in Afghanistan, as it has for me?

In this undated photo provided by the Bergdahl family and released ...

Associated Press photo

So more inf0rmation about Bowe Bergdahl, the 23-year-old Idahoan who is being held captive by the Taliban, gradually comes to light.

There are the little details, such as that his middle name is the same as my first name, and there are the larger details. There are a lot of missing details, in no small part because Bergdahl’s family members aren’t talking to the media.

I was surprised to read that before he joined the U.S. Army in June 2008, Bergdahl was involved in ballet and fencing. (But especially ballet — I mean, in Idaho. And not many young American men go from ballet floor to the battlefield.)

I wonder why Bergdahl — who, I have read, was home-schooled (which does sound Idahoan…) — joined the U.S. military, especially when the military has been so active in the Middle East since the unelected Bush regime launched its illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War in 2003.

Was Bergdahl a True Believer in The Cause? If so, is he still a True Believer, or did he mean at least some, if not all, of what he said in the video that the Taliban released — that the U.S. military should pull out of Afghanistan and that the United States should focus on solving its own serious problems at home before attempting to meddle in other nations’ affairs?

Or was it that Bergdahl saw no other financial future for himself other than the U.S. military? Did he drink the military recruiters’ Kool-Aid?

Why is Bergdahl’s family being so quiet? Has the U.S. government strictly instructed them to be? Or are they just private people? Or do they know or do they suspect that he deserted his unit in Afghanistan — if that is what happened — and therefore they don’t want to talk about it? 

I even wonder if my understanding of Idaho has been wrong. It’s one of the reddest states — Wikipedia notes that Idaho has not gone to a Democratic candidate for president since 1964 — and so I have been surprised to hear about Bergdahl’s involvement in ballet (considered to be an effeminate pursuit) and fencing (considered to be hoity-toity if not also effeminate).

I was surprised even to see the peace symbol displayed in the coffee shop in the news photo above; I mean, Idahoans are for peace? Idaho was one of the few states where former “President” George W. Bush still could go as his popularity plummeted, knowing that he’d always find an adoring crowd there, usually a military crowd. (They loved him even though he was sending them off to slaughter in Vietraq for BushCheneyCorp’s obscene profits — go figure.)

OK, so after some quick Internet research just now, I see that, per Wikipedia, Blaine County, the county in Idaho where Bergdahl was raised, “has a reputation as a Democratic Party enclave in strongly Republican Idaho.”*

This factual tidbit makes me suspect even more strongly now that Bergdahl meant at least some, if not most or even all, of what he said in the half-hour video that the Taliban released. (Most of which I agree with, by the way, although with the exception of gaining more cultural knowledge, perhaps, I have little to no interest in learning more about Islam, as I have little to no personal interest in the three Abrahamic religions, which only seem to want to war with each other.)

What if Bergdahl did desert his unit in Afghanistan? How would he be viewed then?

Fox “News” guest pundit retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (yet another stupid white man — surprise!) posits that Bergdahl definitely is a “liar” (at least about how he came into the hands of the Taliban) and probably is a deserter, and the Fox “News” bitch interviewing Peters smugly notes that Fox “News” won’t show any of the Taliban’s half-hour video featuring Bergdahl because that would be to help the Taliban, you see.

(No, that would be to counter the steady stream of pro-war propaganda for the stupid white men’s military-industrial complex that Fox “News” spoon-feeds the nation a la “The Matrix.” Yes, let Fox “News” decide what you should and should not see and hear! Trust them! They have only your own best interests at heart!)

Peters posits on Fox “News” that the Taliban is unlikely to kill Bergdahl because Bergdahl has “tremendous propaganda value” (although probably not nearly as much as Fox “News” does, of course), although Peters indicates that if Bergdahl is a deserter, then he (Peters) is perfectly OK with the Taliban slaughtering Bergdahl to save the United States the trouble of dealing with Bergdahl. The Fox “News” bitch quickly disowns this sentiment (wink-wink!), but the sentiment is put out there nonetheless.

We can have sympathy for Bergdahl as a fellow human being whose life has value only if Bergdahl is in complete agreement with the stupid white men who steal presidential elections, who run Fox “News” and who send our young people off to slaughter in bogus wars for their own personal riches, you see. 

I hope that Bergdahl comes home alive — if indeed he deserted, is the U.S. government really working all that hard to recover him, as they have promised they are doing? — and I hope that his story gets out, that the U.S. government doesn’t do everything that it can to avoid embarrassment if indeed Bergdahl is a conscientious objector and the Taliban doesn’t kill him like the Fox “News” “experts” want the Taliban to do. (Fox “News” won’t tell Bergdahl’s story, because that would be to help the enemy, dontchya know, but there are plenty of satanic and socialist and anti-American news organizations [a.k.a. actual news organizations] that will.)

The best-case scenario is that the case of Bergdahl brings the misguided U.S. military operations in Afghanistan to a grinding halt through a sea change in public opinion that makes a continued war in Afghanistan too much of a liability for the Obama administration (although I’m not holding my breath on that one). But in any case, it’s a war that the United States cannot win, a war that benefits only the greedy traitors who comprise the military-industrial complex who don’t care about the death and the destruction that their wars create for others, a war that the United States cannot afford to continue, financially, militarily, psychologically or spiritually. 

If Bergdahl did desert his unit, I find little to no fault with him. The U.S. military is in Afghanistan primarily to protect corporate interests, just as it has been the case in Vietraq.

Long gone are the days when the U.S. military was used to protect the United States from actual harm from enemy nations. The members of the U.S. military now are used as thugs for corporations to steal what they want from other nations. We, the American taxpayers, foot the bill for the corporations to have their thugs, and it is the children of us, the American people, who die in the bogus wars that are waged for corporate interests.

There is a word for that travesty, for that misuse of the U.S. military, for the theft of Americans’ children and the theft of their tax dollars for the benefit of the filthy-rich few: treason.

Bergdahl was not sent to a legitimate war, a war to protect the security of the United States of America. He was sent to a foreign nation to protect corporate interests, and although Fox “News” would have you believe that corporate interests are our national interests, corporate interests are only corporate interests, and as the state of the U.S. economy for the average American attests, the spoils of war never trickle down from the corporate fat cats to us, the people, who pay for those wars with our tax dollars and with our children’s blood.

Although the story still is unfolding, Bowe Robert Bergdahl is a sort of a hero to me, a symbol of what the greedy motherfucking baby boomers have left for our young people (which is literally less than nothing), and I hope that he does not end up like so many of our precious young people have these past several years, sacrified like a lamb to the greed of the corporations that knows no bounds.  

*The Wikipedia entry continues:

The Democratic candidate for president of the United States has won [Blaine County] in every election since 1992, when George H. W. Bush finished third behind Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. Blaine was the only Idaho county carried by Al Gore and John Kerry in 2000 and 2004, respectively. In the 2008 election, Barack Obama carried the county by a 33.2-percent margin over John McCain, while McCain won statewide by a 25.3-percent margin over Obama. It was by far the Democrat’s best showing in Idaho.

In 2006, Blaine County voted 66.3 percent against HJR 2, which amended the Idaho Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage; the measure passed with 63.4 percent of the statewide vote….

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Whom to believe: the Taliban’s video — or my own fucking lying government?

Berg and Bergdahl: Above is a video grab of Nick Berg, the 26-year-old American civilian who was held captive and slaughtered by al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq in May 2004, and below is a video grab of Bowe Bergdahl, the 23-year-old American soldier who now is being held captive by members of the Taliban in Afghanistan. I’m hoping that Bergdahl’s fate turns out to be better than that of Berg.

This video frame grab taken from a Taliban propaganda video ...

Associated Press image

So I read in the news today that a 23-year-old American soldier from Podunk, Idaho named Bowe Bergdahl is being held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and I see his image, and he eerily reminds me, way too much, of Nick Berg, the 26-year-old American telecommunications entrepeneur who was captured and slaughtered by al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq in May 2004.

Not only are their surnames too similar, but their images are too similar, and I hope that Bergdahl, unlike Berg did, comes home safely, in one piece.

The Associated Press reports today of a 28-minute Taliban video of Bergdahl:

In the video, Bergdahl had his head shaved and was seen with the start of a beard. He was sitting and dressed in a nondescript, gray outfit. Early in the video one captor held the soldier’s dog tag up to the camera. His name and ID number were clearly visible. He was shown eating at one point and sitting cross-legged.

He said the date was July 14 and that he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol. It’s clear the video was made no earlier than July 14 because Bergdahl repeated an exaggerated Taliban claim about a Ukrainian helicopter that was shot down that day.

He was interviewed in English by his captors. He was asked his views on the war, which he called extremely hard; his desire to learn more about Islam; and the morale of American soldiers, which he said was low.

Asked how he was doing, the soldier said: “Well I’m scared, scared I won’t be able to go home. It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.”

He later choked up when discussing his family and his hope to marry his girlfriend.

“I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America. And I miss them every day when I’m gone,” he said.

He was prompted by his interrogators to give a message to the American people.

“To my fellow Americans who have loved ones over here, who know what it’s like to miss them, you have the power to make our government bring them home,” he said. “Please, please bring us home so that we can be back where we belong and not over here, wasting our time and our lives and our precious life that we could be using back in our own country. Please bring us home. It is America and the American people have that power.”

Of course the U.S. military was quick to imply that Bergdahl couldn’t possibly have said anything like that on his own accord, but that of course he was coerced by his captives to say that. Reports the AP:

“I’m glad to see he appears unharmed, but again, this is a Taliban propaganda video,” spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker said. “They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law.”

Like the United States never violates international law (such as with the unelected Bush regime’s launch of the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War in March 2003 against the wishes of the United Nations Security Council and against world opinion) and like the U.S. military doesn’t produce propaganda videos (such as with its G.I.-Joe-like recruitment ads targeted at our young cannon fodder for the military-industrial complex).

And the members of the Taliban are exploiting Bergdahl no more than the U.S. military has exploited Bergdahl.

Bergdahl is, after all, fully expected to die for the obscene profits of the stupid greedy rich white men who send our precious young people off to their wars for their obscene profits, if it comes to that. And in Bergdahl’s case it just might come to that.

How does Sidenstricker sleep at night, being a spokesnake for the military-industrial complex, I wonder? (And doesn’t Sidenstricker sound like a great surname for a spokesnake, kind of like sidewinder?) How does Sidenstricker feel, I wonder, selling out her own comrades to those greedy, evil overlords who so casually put them into the meat grinder to which they never would subject their own cowardly selves?

The sad thing is that I don’t know whom to believe: the Taliban, who put out the video of Bergdahl apparently saying of his own accord that he and his comrades want to come home — I mean, what 23-year-old lower-to-middle-class American male used as a pawn in a war in the Middle East would not want to die for the obscene, oily profits of the stupid greedy rich white men who sent him there without a second thought but who never would put themselves in harm’s way? — or the U.S. government, even when it is under Barack Obama.

Perhaps even especially when it is under Obama, because at least when it was under the auspices of the BushCheneyCorp, the fascism was rather evident, but under the auspices of the Obama administration, fascism wears a happy face.

P.S. I just watched the entire video of Bergdahl (via this web page), in which he responds to a series of questions by an English-speaking inquisitor who remains off-camera.

It is difficult to say what Bergdahl actually believes and what he might have been coerced by his captors to say, such as when discussing the allegation that the U.S. government has underreported the number of deaths of American troops in Afghanistan (and misinformed the American people on the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan in general), the suicide deaths of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, U.S. troops deserting in Afghanistan, and scared American troops “hiding behind” their superior military technology, whereas the low-tech Taliban fighters cannot do so, but must rely on their bravery.

In the video Bergdahl states (whether it is what he actually believes or whether it is what he has been coerced to state): “My message to my government is to remove Americans from Afghanistan, because that’s not where we belong…. My county’s first concern should be its [own] people…. We can’t go around fixing other countries … when we haven’t removed our own problems. When our [own] country is failing, we can’t help anyone else….”  

I can see Bergdahl genuinely believing that — because it’s an oft-ignored-in-the-United-States thing called the truth.

I won’t just assume, like a good little brainwashed American is supposed to, that because he’s being held captive, Bergdahl believes none of what he said during his half-hour interview with his English-speaking inquisitor.

I don’t know enough about Bergdahl and his beliefs and the circumstances of his capture, which differ wildly based upon who is relating those circumstances.

“On July 2, two U.S. officials told the AP [that Bergdahl] had ‘just walked off’ his base with three Afghans after his shift,” the AP notes, adding, “On July 6, the Taliban claimed on their website that five days earlier ‘a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison’ and was captured by mujahedeen.”

If it is true that Bergdahl “just walked off,” that sounds like desertion to me, and if Bergdahl did desert, then I’d tend to believe that he believes at least some of his statements in his half-hour interview. But during the interview, Bergdahl states that he was captured by the Taliban when he was lagging behind his comrades during a patrol.

So who knows?

In any case, that the U.S. government, which spends millions if not billions of Americans’ tax dollars on propaganda campaigns to brainwash Americans here at home (yes, they use our own money against us) as well as to brainwash individuals abroad, would denounce the Taliban’s video as “propaganda” is risible; the U.S. government calling it “propaganda” constitutes the practice of propaganda itself.

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