- Posted June 3, 2014 by
The Missing Angle on Bowe Bergdhal
I’ll begin by providing some credentials that may add a shred of credibility to my opinion. I served honorably for three years with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines and two years with Special Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force. I completed one tour in Fallujah, and one in Ramadi with the former unit. During my time in Ramadi, I was wounded in action and was a first hand witness to the unfathomably fierce nature of the men and women on the ground that has earned the Marine Corps and United States armed forces their respective reputations.
The Honorable Lindsey Graham mentioned in a letter that he was worried about the implications that this situation would have regarding our enemy's incentive to kidnap Americans. While that is a seemingly valid thought, our enemy needs no new incentive. He is a man who is unable to reason beyond his misinterpretation of the Quran. The issue of terrorism has no root in the state of Israel and Palestine, the United States’ presence in the Middle East, or the names of the terrorists we release. It is purely rooted in the misdirection of young Muslims who seek meaning and appreciation, and have no other way of finding it. Their incentives are far more fundamental than the supposed tactics of this war. Releasing a few prisoners may motivate some, but no more than the words of the Imams who recruit them.
Senator Graham is also missing the symbolic meaning of Bergdhal’s release. During my time in Fallujah, I was personally involved in the recovery effort of an abducted sniper team from 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve unit. The story of their ill fate needs no mention here, but the significance of their disappearance was eye opening. The entire theatre of war came to a halt. All operations were shifted from the proactive pursuit of our enemy to the recovery of those Marines, dead or alive. While we all felt a deep sense of sorrow for the loss of the brothers that most of us had never met, we all felt some sense of security in the fact that our commanders’ promises of coming home, one way or another, would be kept. As a Marine on the ground in one of the worst cities in the world at the time, the one thing that I, and my fellow Marines, could take comfort in was the notion that regardless of what happened to us, the United States government would stop at nothing to recover us. That sense of security was the one thing, above all, that gave us the confidence we needed to stand toe to toe with such a fanatical and primitive enemy who would stop at nothing to make a mockery of everything we stood for, given the chance.
The essence of my point is that no matter what incentive our enemy may have, he will never be any match for anyone fighting for a nation of free men and women who value the lives of those who have fought and died for them. President Obama may have broken a law, but rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men. It must be understood, regardless of Bergdhal’s honorability, that the message that this administration’s efforts send to the men and women on the ground will do more than eclipse any incentive the enemy may have.