The cries of elation as Bowe Bergdahl emerged from Taliban captivity came to an abrupt halt as another reality set in. Bowe—and his family—were being transferred to a different cage. The twisted bars spun by the media, political agendas and public opinion quickly imprisoned them again.
Bowe was condemned as a deserter (or worse) before he had a chance to tell his story. His father, Bob Bergdahl, was portrayed as unAmerican with his look-like-a-Taliban beard (similar actually to the facial hair of those guys on Duck Dynasty.)
And then came the death threats. Freedom is not coming easily to the Bergdahl family.
Terrible things happen in captivity and in war. Blaming one soldier—or his family—makes no sense. Perhaps, if anger is necessary, it should shift to a larger picture, to those who involved us in the war, thus opening the battlefield to idealistic young soldiers. Perhaps the whole primal story of war and power is just too complicated for us to clearly understand.
The wounds of war are deep, jagged and unclean; the fractures are complex, not simple. Questions, some unanswerable, continue to burn, fueled by political agendas and media ratings.
But I do know this to be true: Every step that I’ve seen Bob Bergdahl make in his effort to free his son has been with an unwavering spirit of solidarity, diplomacy, gratitude, a world view of peace and grace.
I also know this: If my son were imprisoned in a foreign country—Mexico, for example—I would learn to speak Spanish. I would wear traditional Mexican clothes and swim across the Rio Grande blindfolded—if I thought it would free my son from captivity. Bob Bergdahl did not get to choose his son’s captors.