The Bergdahl family is on my mind today as I watch the “outrage” grow over the POW trade involving their son, Bowe. The way Fox News has handled this has been especially jaw-dropping.
“Can you imagine if it turns out that he was actually collaborating?” one of the Fox “newsmen” wondered aloud.
“More revelations coming out about the left-wing father of Sergeant Bergdahl I mean, left wing doesn’t even begin to describe him,” said Laura Ingraham.
Is he an “Islamic sympathizer?”
And what’s with the beard? “He grew it out of sympathy with the Taliban.”
“If he wasn’t so light-skinned, he actually looks like a terrorist.”
“He looks like a Muslim.”
“Doesn’t he have any razors?”
A commenter on the story was disappointed that they were referred to as a “military family” since only one member of the family had actually joined the military.
I was raised in a military family. My father was a Chief Master Sergeant most often stationed at Offutt AFB in Nebraska, which is Strategic Air Command HQ. At one point in his career he was top sergeant at the base. Since I make my living imagining things, I can well imagine how I would have felt if my dad had come home from Nam and something like this had happened to him because a partisan mob wanted to count coup on President Johnson. As it was, I watched him endure years of his loyalty being questioned because he was of Russian-Polish heritage and his father was from somewhere in the Soviet Union. Maybe that’s why I find this situation so heartrending.
This Media Matters article does a good job of capturing my concerns and sorrows: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/06/04/when-fox-news-declared-war-on-a-military-family/199586
The last paragraph of the linked article reads: “So for the Obama-obsessed, the Bergdahl’s story’s a win-win: They attack Obama for securing the soldier’s release and they would have mercilessly condemned Obama for failing to secure the soldier’s release. For the critics, it’s a game. For a military family from tiny Hailey Idaho, it’s much more.”
And that’s the saddest, most shameful thing about this situation. None of the people savaging the Bergdahls have any skin in the “game”. If something awful were to happen to the Bergdahls as a result of this wolf pack attack, these folks would just say, “Who, me?” and move on to the next episode in their search for an impeachable offense to hang the president for, figuratively speaking.
To them, this is a game—it’s political theater. To the Bergdahls it must be hell. Most especially to Bowe. He was 5 years under the 24/7 gaze of people that would have killed him without qualm or conscience, were he not seen as a bargaining chip. He was in tears when the exchanged happened, probably imagining that he would soon be home where he would be free and loved.
Could he have imagined that he would go from the cold hateful gaze of the Taliban to the hot hateful gaze of his fellow Americans?