Look: I’m inclined to be more forgiving to the parents of a young man who’d been taken prisoner for being a naive, snot-nosed, entitled, ruthlessly indoctrinated piece of self-loathing shit. We’d all — well, most of us (Amanda Marcotte and others like her tend to view offspring as monsters out to steal the joy of having no real responsibilities and a drawer full of unimaginably stained sex toys that needn’t be locked up) — do whatever we could to try to get our child back if we knew s/he was still alive, and in the real world, when you aren’t Liam Neeson and the world is truly huge and traveling costs big money, you’ll likely thrash about for just about any answer. In the case of Berdahl’s father, he tried to form a bond with the captors; to learn their languages and culture; to understand their rancid cause. He deluded himself, but he also Tweeted about other prisoners being held in foreign lands, so it seems to me he was really just lost, a man who loved his imperfect son, and was willing to do just about anything to get him back. Is he an anti-war activist? Perhaps. I honestly don’t know what he was like before his son was captured. And if he was, perhaps that rubbed off on his son, which led the useful idiot to think himself a demi-Messiah, a man who was going to heal the world with empty platitudes about Hope and Change and the brotherhood of humanity — only to be slapped in the face by reality, itself in this tied indirectly if not directly to a different kind of brotherhood, one that has no interest in the pablum shoveled into this kid’s brain, and no interest in his underlying assumption that, because he cared and showed contempt for his own country, he’d get eaten last.
The tragedy here is a tragedy of progressive anti-war propaganda and our failure to name and identify our enemy. This family is just a cautionary tale, albeit one that was able to survive by selfishly making every other son or daughter who dons a uniform a target going forward. I blame them for not being smart enough to see through what it was they were being fed. But if I step back and ask what I might do to get one of my son’s back, I can’t say for certain — as much as I’d like to — that I wouldn’t have floundered around looking for any way to do and settling on the one that seemed the most promising.
All of which is a long way of saying until we know more about the father, let’s reserve judgment and show a bit of sympathy, particularly those of us who are parents. And yes, I understand how parents of other sons lost trying to find this potential AWOL soldier might not react with the same attempt at compassion — and perhaps rightly so. None of which means we shouldn’t hold the Administration in utter contempt, of course, because they didn’t have the same motivations as did Bowe Bergdahl’s father. In fact, their motivations appear far more insidious, weakminded, and detrimental to the well-being of every citizen in this country. And for that they should be curb stomped.
And if it turns out that Bergdahl’s father instilled in his son the simplistic sanctimony that he expressed in his letters condemning his own country, then it is perfectly righteous to note that, though we feel for his grief, he in many ways brought it on himself; and that the return of his son, while a blessing to the family, came at the expense of the country, and for that he should be forever contrite.
Anyway, those are my passing thoughts this morning. They weren’t easy to articulate, so go easy on me. I love this country and I detest those who were born in liberty who speak out against it and through their actions try to weaken my own. In this case though, my love of my own children is allowing me to leave a crack in the door for some sort of understanding.
God help me.