By Andy Weddington
Saturday, 04 November 2017
Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly. Mahatma Gandhi
From Abraham Lincoln I adopted the practice of writing when angry but then putting it away - to calm and think.
Then take another look when rational thought is not overwhelmed by emotion.
After sleeping on the sentence the judge handed down to Sergeant (now Private) Bowe Bergdahl, U. S. Army, a shortened, tempered opinion; through the lens of U. S. Marine Corps Core Values: Honor. Courage. Commitment.
Sergeant Bergdahl voluntarily joined the U. S. Army.
He made a conscious decision on the battlefield in Afghanistan to not only abandon his post but to surrender to our enemy.
Despite his decision, the U. S. Army searched for Sergeant Bergdahl.
Soldiers were killed and wounded during searches.
President Obama traded five high-value enemy captives for Sergeant Bergdahl. And attempted to sell his service as honorable.
Nowhere in my education, training, and thinking is there a single element of Sergeant Bergdahl's conduct that conforms with the definitions of honor, courage, commitment.
To the contrary.
With this morning's news, there was mention the judge, a colonel, cited President Trump's (harsh) comments about Bergdahl as an element of mitigation in sentencing.
Not a lawyer (I) but strange.
President Trump's remarks were offered while a (improbable long shot) candidate for President.
So what, many a veteran shared the sentiments.
Bergdahl was fined $1,000.00 a month for 10 months, reduced to Private, and awarded a Dishonorable Discharge.
Insulting, ever so mildly, to all who serve honorably; especially in combat (conquering God knows what hardships, fears and demons). More so when profits come Bergdahl's way.
Marine Corps Core Values aside.
Core Army Values ...
Bergdahl was not involuntarily captured. Worse than cowardice, he deserted. Is not duration in enemy hands moot?
To the charges, he admitted guilt and apologized.
Apology? So what.
Do Core Army Values matter?
As a news anchor noted this morning, a general (four-star) will review sentencing.
Will Core Army Values matter?
Essentially, review might be charted in a Venn diagram - with circles labeled: Easy; Hard; Right; Wrong. For Gandhi add: Silence; Truth. The intersections telling. Encircle all with Core Army Values.
At the moment, gut sense is it sure feels as if those towing the Core Values line, on and off battlefields, are the ones, the innocent, being punished.
For morale, and more importantly fighting effectiveness of the force, that is not good.