Reading about Bowe Bergdahl in the papers since his release from captivity on May 31, made me think of another soldier, whose memorial service I attended on June 9. Jack had been in Special Forces for many years. He had learned Arabic and Farsi as part of his training, which included joint training with the British, the Saudis, the Australians, and others in parts of Africa he didn’t talk much about.
. . .
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), an organization that includes those who fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan, decided six years ago that continuing the war in Afghanistan was wrong on several counts:
“[T]here is no battlefield solution to terrorism, and any escalation of the war in Afghanistan will only serve to exacerbate the plight of the Afghan people, destabilize the region, and further the breakdown of our military . . . Iraq Veterans Against the War calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all occupying forces in Afghanistan and reparations for the Afghan people, and supports all troops and veterans working towards those ends.”
I am sorry that Bowe Bergdahl became trapped in a quagmire not of his making. But today’s US military, for all the patriotic nonsense that is spewed forth by many well-meaning people, is an instrument of war that serves the interest of politicians and the corporations that make money off of war. It is likely to destroy Bergdahl, just as it destroyed Jack, though in a different way. It is a multi-headed beast that destroys the “better angels of our nature.” And it has destroyed the lives of many fine Americans, who too late discover that being a “Universal Soldier” is not the way to a peaceful world.