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The Bergdahl Boondoggle

Originally published in Yahoo! Voices

obama-bergdahl-remarks-20140531-001A boondoggle is defined as work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value. Such it is with Bowe Bergdahl.The White House would have you believe that one of ours was captured, held against his will and mistreated for five years by the Taliban, and that the president lived up to the sacred motto of “no man left behind” by rescuing a hero, thus giving the appearance of value. The wasteful part is the loss of six lives searching for a soldier who left of his own free will.

There are many oddities. According to Fox News, Bergdahl’s team leader, former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow, Bergdahl asked for help mailing his computer and belongings home, and asked what would happen to him if his military gear turned up missing. Bergdahl left his rifle, helmet, body armor, and web gear, however, he took his compass. He also expressed disillusionment with the war in emails to his parents. He said he was ashamed to be an American and expressed sympathy for those we were fighting.

Everyone, is asking questions-a lot of questions. But are they asking the right questions? Why would a soldier send all the things that he would need on deployment home? Why would he head into a dangerous area armed only with a compass? Why was he looking for the Taliban? Either he was enormously brave, crazy, or he knew he had nothing to fear. Had his departure been premeditated? It is a huge stretch to believe that the Taliban “held” someone for five years. They brutally kill their captives. Why now? Why is he brought home now?

One must ask how the release of Bergdahl benefits the White House, for nothing is ever done for purely benevolent reasons. Obama has been under pressure to close the Guantanamo Detention Camp as he had promised at the beginning of his presidency. It has been said that his leadership style, lack of understanding, errors of judgment, and hesitation in facing growing congressional opposition are the reasons why he has failed. And of course, he has blamed the republicans instead of admitting that the administration couldn’t come up with an acceptable plan in the agreed upon time frame.

To find the answers, we have to remember that this administration is adept at the art of illusion, and masters at distraction. For all intents and purposes, it appeared that the president had resigned himself to the fact Guantanamo would not close during his term in office. He then appeared to throw himself into his other legacy objective, health-care reform. Obamacare became all consuming. But while our attention was diverted by all of the scandals that plagued White House, something else was taking place. The truth was Obama was hell-bent on getting Guantanamo closed before he left office. Enter PFC Bowe Bergdahl. Whether he was with the Taliban by force or by choice was immaterial. Here was the opportunity the White House had been looking for.

Bergdahl could have been brought home a lot earlier. Ed Morrissey writes that according to a Pentagon official there were numerous opportunities to rescue Bergdahl but were ignored because Obama was looking for a diplomatic, rather than a military scenario for releasing detainees from Guantanamo. Kind of like a “good faith” pledge. Political benefits for the White House would take precedence over military considerations when it came to the Bergdahl trade. Guantanamo was going to be closed one way or another, and using Bergdahl as an excuse to start releasing prisoners was just the ticket.

The fabricated story about the serious state of Bergdahl’s health was an excuse to get around Congress. The pictures and videos have all shown Bergdahl to be pretty healthy looking. The Taliban were not about to let anything happen to their golden goose. Gag orders were issued and everyone brought on board to facilitate the charade. Glenn Beck lays it out pretty well in his article from June 5. Prisoners were going to be freed regardless, Bergdahl was a bonus, not the reason.

So once again we are victims of Obama’s slight-of-hand. Don’t hold your breath for any real disciplinary action against Bowe Bergdahl, the president won’t allow it. There will only be the illusion of an investigation. He has presented Bergdahl as a prisoner of war, a captive held against his will for five years, a hero. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.



What is this odorless, tasteless, colorless liquid called water?

Is it a mere provision for quenching thirst or is there more?


From its abundance, it forms the seas, lakes, rivers and oceans.

It falls from the sky as rain and nourishes all living things.


Water can reveal our soul and is where our dreams reside.

It is a glimpse into the feelings and emotional state of one’s mind.


Oceans reveal the limitlessness of the spirit, peace and meditation.

Rivers are life’s journeys being either supportive or hindering.


Often a symbol of sadness, Rain can also be grace and forgiveness.

How odd that this giver of life can also bring such destruction.


Floods and hurricanes demonstrate water’s anger and wrath.

Was it abuse and neglect that brought about this fury?


Will it show forgiveness with mirror-like calmness once more?

Or will it hold its grudge until all is gone forever?


Water can present itself in variegated forms and substances.

An expert shape-shifter, constantly changing appearance and mood.


From freely flowing water, to frozen tundra, and delicate snowflakes.

To a forceful element powerful enough to supply energy to the earth.


Yet it is beautiful enough to arouse the passions of those in love.

It inspires some of the greatest works of art, music, poetry and dance.


How does one define something as mysterious as water?

One cannot, it laughs at the hubris of humankind to do so.


Immortal, water is a regenerator from the beginning of time.

It was here before we came; it will be here when we are gone.


Ⓒ 2013 Sylvia Van Peebles All rights reserved

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