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Nirek On June - 2 - 2014

Bowe captured_soldier

This is my opinion about the POW swap, 5 old guys who were in Gitmo for a long time for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl an American soldier who served his country. I think it is a good deal. Bowe deserves to be free! The Taliban guys have grown old and can’t return to the fight.

Who knows whether we put some kind of tracking device in them somehow?  Who cares anyway?

I hear McCain complaining that the President broke the law by making the swap. That grumpy old man has a poor memory. He too was a POW and should be rejoicing right now for the freedom of the last American POW from these stupid wars!

When I received orders for Vietnam in January 1969 I had been told we were fighting the Viet Cong and NVA so they would not come here to fight. Bull$hit!

I still don’t know the real reason we were in Vietnam. After several months in Nam I started to question why we were fighting there?

I saw lots of corruption while I was there. Black Market and theft were everywhere. The South Vietnamese were hired to unload boats with supplies for us infantrymen. They unloaded all right, one for the GI’s and one for them and so on and so forth. Then they brought those things they stole from the ship out to sell to us. When I got an R&R I went to the place where we departed from a day early. I was approached by an officer in the South Vietnamese Army to use my MACV card to get a small fridge and an electric fan. Both items an infantryman had no use for. That was the Black Market. They pay you $20 to buy them using your card and they get the items. Corruption was rampant there. I bet it is just as bad or worse in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’m guessing, but I think Bowe saw stuff that he didn’t like. War breeds corruption! He made a mistake and more than paid the price for  it.  He has a conscience. That’s more than the idiots who are arguing that the swap should not have been done.

POW trades have happened for almost all wars. Those who argue that we should not trade for our soldiers don’t seem to understand that if we leave them and don’t try to swap for them we will have trouble getting people to join the service. In my case , I was drafted. Today our soldiers are all volunteers.

Now remember these are my thoughts about the swap and about an American POW. I’m willing to listen to others thoughts about Bowe. Let me know if you agree or disagree. Just keep it civil.

Private First Class Bowe Robert Bergdahl, Unit...

Written by Nirek

Proud progressive Vietnam Vet against WAR! Can't stomach chickenhawks.

167 Responses so far.

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    • Nirek says:

      Kalima, Reading some of his words confirms to me that he has a conscience and did not like what was happening there. There is such a thing as conscientious objector. I believe that people can and do change with experience.

      Thanks for the link, I bookmarked it for future reference.

  1. Nirek says:

    To me, Bowe Bergdahl is a man with a conscience. We will learn more soon about what he was thinking. I think it is reprehensible that anyone would jump to conclusions about him and his actions.

  2. Kalima says:

    We ask for a certain amount of respect for other members here, and if you can’t remember that, we will be forced to remove your comment.

    This is not HP. Please read our Terms of Use. Thank you.

    • Nirek says:

      Kalima and AdLib, thank you both for keeping the Planet civil. I respect the two of you more than you know. I love the Planet, it’s kinda my home away from home.☮

      • Kalima says:

        We’ve kept the peace here for almost five years, and nothing will change that.

        I think I can speak for AdLib too when I say that we are happy to have you here contributing your thoughts and your voice to The Planet.

        Peace to you and yours.

    • AdLib says:

      Kalima, appreciate your reiterating our policy so it’s crystal clear. Simply put, if a comment contains a personal insult against a fellow member, it’s going to be removed. And we have no tolerance for trolling.

      This is hardly too high of a bar for reasonable people to clear…which is why I’d say there are so many reasonable people here.

    • Kalima says:

      I removed the offending comment, and keeping the peace here is part of my job, and not in the least offensive to anyone who keeps to our rules in our Terms of Use.

      Sorry if you felt offended.

  3. TheHandyman says:

    My, my, what a mature and erudite response. And yes, that is sarcasm…

  4. TheHandyman says:

    While the response to the Bergdahl trade by a rather large number of Americans is outrageous the self serving and out rights lies or the politicians on the right is about as low as that segment of the human species is able to crawl and still be seen above the slime they seem to relish living in.

    McCain, who continues to to stick as many appendages in his mouth as possible, stands in front of cameras and describe the five prisoners traded for Bergdahl as being “the worst of the worst” and “people who had dedicated their entire lives to destroying America” without either knowing or deliberately ignoring that the facts are that these 5 men were captured by the Pakistani’s and turned over to the US and they were members of the Taliban Government. One of the men was a well known moderate Taliban who was good at negotiating and the Karzai Govt had for years tried to get him released so that he could act as an intermediary.

    While The GOTPers continue to claim that this was all orchestrated by Obama as a political stunt it should be painfully obvious that the GOTP is for certainty doing the same.

    Anyone in office 2 and a half years ago should have known about this trade. This trade is that old. According to several very reliable sources Obama wanted to make this trade 2 and a half years ago but Clinton and Gates refused to sign off on it as being “a sign of weakness” on the part of the administration. Imagine Hillary, Mrs Iron Pantsuit wannabe being afraid of being perceived as being weak. As for Robert Iran-gate Gates the fact that Obama appointed this criminal to his Cabinet shows his own proclivity to right-wing ideals or a certain air of ineptitude.

    But Obama knew that if this deal wasn’t made now that it never would be. As this stupid, needless and unwinnable war comes to a close the release of these prisoners became inevitable and then there would be nothing to trade for Bergdahl except maybe weapons, something that Col. North and all the Reagan lovers should remember.

    Several journalists have always suspected that the forcing of an entire Brigade to sign a non-disclosure form to not discuss Bergdahl was nothing more than and attempt by what had been described as one of the worse military units in the Army to cover their asses. They didn’t want anyone to discuss the things that happened that may have driven Bergdahl over the edge such as unit trucks deliberately running over a woman carrying a child and then the following trucks running over her body as well.

    Of course Americans, unlike the Vietnam War, don’t really want to know the truth about much of anything be it our trumped up reasons for our wars or the connection between the causes of Global Warming, if they will even admit it exists, and the legal bribes almost all our elected representatives at all levels take from the owners of the Energy Companies that in their need for even more money they can’t use. Not only has the soul of a large segment of the population darkened they have also become willfully oblivious about that which really matters.

    It isn’t just Bergdahl they now hate, it is people of color, people of the opposite party, and anyone who reminds them of what Americans used to be like.

    I could go on for hours listing the ways in which this country has changed for the worse since my idealistic Peace Corps days but what’s the point? Humans have marked themselves as a dead end species. The only species who was told what would happen, how to prevent it, and yet chose not to do so believing that some imaginary Being would save them from themselves without remembering that said Being either decreed their ending or gave them the free will to alter their destiny.

    Go here to see Amy Goodman and Matthew Farrel, a journalist and Afghanistan vet tell the true story of Bowe Bergdahl.

  5. Nirek says:

    If you disagree with me you could at least be civil about it.

  6. Ponyjohn says:

    o yeah thanks

  7. Wallysmom says:

    Firstly, thanks for your service in a war few really talk about or acknowledge. We don’t know the full story and the idea of being responsible and patient until all the facts are available is the way the media and the Congress should be handling this, not rushing out to every outlet to expound on the truthfulness or patriotism of Sgt. Bergdahl. By the Republican response it seems that they are more interested in a faux scandal than the safety of one of our own.

    • Nirek says:

      Wallysmom, thank you and welcome to the Planet.
      I still do not know why we were fighting in Vietnam.
      As to Sgt. Bergdahl, I certainly agree patience is not the strong suit of the MSM. They do not report facts anymore they just speculate and get other “prominent” people to speculate. Truth doesn’t even come in to the MSM reports like it used to.

  8. SearingTruth says:

    “I only remember shutting her eyelids.”

    A Future of the Brave

  9. slightlycrazy says:

    there is a fascinating account in rolling stone’s archives written by michael hastings (the reporter who brought down mcchrystal), which really fleshes out this whole story. written in 2012, long before any of this gets political.

  10. Kalima says:

    If this is the case, and he didn’t receive counselling, then those who sent him to Afghanistan, are just as responsible. Of course the military will never admit to it.


    Bergdahl Is Said to Have History of Leaving Post


    • cognitogrrl says:

      Thanks for the link, Kalima. I see the NY Times reported that the homecoming celebration in his hometown was canceled (even tho’ Bergdahl will be unable to attend since he’s still in recovery or debriefing). However, in another story, someone in charge of the event said that the town is so small that it could not cope with the crowds expected if they went ahead with it, since his release. They made it clear that it was NOT canceled due to being ashamed of him.

      Nirek, thank you for your service in Vietnam. I agree with you that Bergdahl could have been in a bad way psychologically and decided to take a hike. Whatever it was, he is still one of our own and has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. I’m glad he’s back.

      • Nirek says:

        Cognitogrrl, first let me say welcome to the Planet. Second as much as I appreciate your kind words, I am not exactly proud of my service. I killed people over there. Nobody knows what it is like to take a life unless they have done so. It is something I have to live with.

        That said, I think Bowe may have had some issue with things that happened in front of him and to him.

        Thanks for your part in the discussion.

      • Kalima says:

        My pleasure cognitogrrl.

        As much as I hate the speculation and false reports in the media, I enjoy it immensely when they are proven wrong at a later date.

        Me, I like to decide once all the facts are in. From what I have read from fairly reliable sources makes me think that he should never have been sent to Afghanistan. Like you, I’m glad he is finally home and will get some much needed help.

    • Nirek says:

      Kalima, thank you for the link, you always find stories that bring more information to the subject.

  11. Jeffrey L Mooney says:

    Republicans are once again trying to invent another “scandal”. And their ignorant “base” of supporters will devour their talking points and regurgitate them at every opportunity. The only people worse than republican legislators are the people stupid enough to vote for one of them.

    • Nirek says:

      Jeff, it is frustrating when you think about those ignorant enough to vote against their own best interests. They believe the lies they hear and like you say “regurgitate” them. Kinda sad when you think of it.

  12. Nirek says:

    So now Fox snooze has people saying that Bob Bergdahl looks like a Muslim because he has a long beard.
    I take offense to that because I wear a long beard and I am the furthest thing from a Muslim.

    I have a tendency to NOT trust someone who wears a tie. Or someone who spouts Bible passages as if they were fact. (they are a good guideline)

  13. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    Nirek, it seems to me that in the rush to judgement the critics have lost site of the young man in question…..


    The more I read the more I think this young man, Sgt. Bowe Robert Bergdahl, a 22 year old Private when he was captured, had a breakdown of some sort.

    He was home schooled, very involved with his church’s youth program and loved outreach to the needy, He got a GED in his early 20’s; studied Buddhism, martial arts, fencing; did not own a car choosing to bike for environmental reasons; and then he joined the army in 2008. This decision appears to have surprised many.

    Bergdahl’s unit was sent to an outpost called Mest-Malak in Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. Bergdahl began learning to speak Pashto, and, according to Specialist John Fry, a member of Bergdahl’s unit Bergdahl “began to gravitate away from his unit”, spending “more time with the Afghans than he did with his platoon”. Bergdahl’s father described his son to military investigators as “psychologically isolated”

    He seems to me to be a brooder who had great affection for a fellow soldier in his platoon at the remote outpost where he took part in counter insurgency -- and thus saw the war’s impact on local people’s in a way that makes your Vietnam memory poignant and powerful- and from which he walked away. His friend, who he met in training and grew close to, was killed.

    We know that he mailed his most personal effects to his family a couple of days before he disappeared. His final e mail to them read: “The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting…..The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools…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… We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them…I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting…There are a few more boxes coming to you guys. Feel free to open them, and use them.”


    He walked off, leaving his weapons, and armor behind and I suspect he expected to die and was captured instead.

    Hastings, Michael (June 7, 2012). “America’s Last Prisoner of War”. Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607

    Who is Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl? http://www.kboi2.com/news/local/51336717.html

    White House defends prisoner swap in tense Hill meeting http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/bowe-bergdahl-obama-officials-capitol-hill-congress-private-meeting-107424.html

    • Nirek says:

      Murph, it does sound like a suicide note.
      When I say that America has faults it doesn’t mean that I’m ashamed of America. It means that we can and must do better. For all our faults, I still believe America is the only place for me.

      Why did the Army promote Bowe twice while he was a POW? Why is it that Senator McCain a fellow POW who broke under pressure is so intolerant of Bowe?

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        NIREK….based on your piece I did a longer article at Daily Kos at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/05/1304563/-Was-Pvt-Bergdahl-choosing-suicide I also published it at MSNBC’s HP Refugees.

        It will publish here soon.

        Your reply.

        I think that Bergdahl came face to face with the horrors in Afghanistan and he was shattered by them. I just read that there are indications that he had a deep affection for the young Lieutenant who was killed. Makes me wonder…

        I think he was promoted because that is SOP in these cases- every soldier comes up for board review on schedule and I believe that POW’s are automatically promoted.

        As to McCain…Hell’s bells…he has a pattern. He says the admin should do X. The admin does X. He then condemns the admin for doing X.

        Same thing here.

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