FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Boy Bowe

by

So many people are piling on deserter Bowe Bergdahl that what should be a happy hour is turning into using up our energy to play defense.  I’ve little to add to what we know…and what we don’t know.  All I have is several years experience dealing with, and safe housing, American military deserters from Vietnam.

Afghan/Iraq is a different war.  Back in the day of My Lai and Khe Sanh, despite an initial revulsion, I came to see the act of military desertion by young men (almost no women deserters then) as a rite of passage where, sometimes for the first time in their lives, they’re forced to take responsibility for their actions.

I hate using words like “existential” but for many young men the act of desertion was a response to “a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world” as Wikipedia puts it.  Circumstances differ.  You hate your sergeant.  Get a Dear John letter from home.  Or you’re just a plain FUFA, fed up with the fucking army.  But once you step over the line into that fateful 31st day absent without leave something happens to you.  Suddenly you find yourself in a moral and legal limbo.  Who to trust?  Why is that cop looking at me like that.  And what have I done?

Bergdahl is immensely lucky to have a supportive family.  I once had to go to Oklahoma to help a fleeing AWOL who had been turned in to the sheriff by his father and had to jump out of a second storey window breaking his ankle.  For most families it’s a hard thing to face.   So they have a crisis of their own.  Are they patriots or parents?

Politicising yourself – looking for reasons – in the military is usually a slow burning process.  You enlist in a burst of love of country but once in uniform you gradually discover who you are in relation to the mission and the mission’s relation to the world.  That’s what happened to the football star Pat Tillman, an army Ranger who had begun reading Chomsky and antiwar literature before he was accidentally shot by his own men in Afghanistan.  The Pentagon lied about the fatal “friendly fire”, just as it is now leaking mean-minded crap about Bergdahl.

From the little we know it seems Bergdahl, raised as a free spirit by his evil parents, became disillusioned with ground level reality of the Afghan war.  Hey, Bowe, join the crowd.

***
If you want more facts on desertion look at the 4 June issue of Mother Jones by Tasneem Raja.  Or sign up for Military Resistance a GI-focused radical daily newsletter at contact@militaryproject.org.  Or like me be a fan of Duffle Bag, the military version of the Onion, created by young veterans.
Here’s an edited sample of its latest: the Duffle Baggers understand military protocol to its back teeth.

Meteorologists Forecast Bowe Bergdahl Shit Storm

WEATHER WARNING #06-02

REQUEST WIDEST DISSEMINATION TO ALL UNITS

SHIT STORM WARNING

HIGH SPEED SHIT STORMS ARE OCCURRING OR ARE FORECASTED TO OCCUR WITHIN 10NM OF TWITTER, FACEBOOK, AND ALL ASSOCIATED SOCIAL MEDIA. FORECASTED WINDS ARE FROM 230°V290° AT 12-18 WITH GUSTS TO 23-27KT ISOLD 30KT. THE POTENTIAL FOR VISIBILITY REDUCED TO LESS THAN 5SM BUT GREATER THAN 3SM EXISTS DURING PERIODS OF BLOWING SHIT. TAKE PRECAUTIONS THAT WILL PERMIT ESTABLISHMENT OF AN APPROPRIATE STATE OF READINESS.

A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM OF JOURNALISTS REPORTING BOWE BERGDAHL AS AN AMERICAN HERO IS EXPECTED TO CRASH INTO A POWERFUL STORM OF SOLDIERS WHO SERVED WITH HIM AND CALL HIM A DESERTER AND TALIBAN COLLABORATOR.

FECAL MATTER IS EXPECTED TO ECLIPSE ALL OTHER NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUES, THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DEBACLE, THE ONGOING WAR ON TERROR, F-35 ACQUISITION, OUTED CIA CHIEFS, IRS SCANDALS, ABANDONED DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS, PENDING ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, AND ANY MENTION OF FALLEN SOLDIERS OR DEAD VETERANS.

TAKE COVER. THIS IS A WARNING. TAKE COVER NOW.

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives

 

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail