By Rube Render
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Jonathan Pollard, Aldrich Ames, John Anthony Walker, Robert Hanssen and Benedict Arnold have at least one thing in common:
They all “served the United States with honor and distinction.”
While those listed above, other than Sgt. Bergdahl, were all convicted of spying against the United States, National Security Advisor Susan Rice was not available to go on the Sunday talk shows in their defense when the stories broke.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the actual swap of five senior Taliban terrorists for a soldier who was either a POW or a hostage, how the story unfolded for the American public is nothing short of astonishing. It brings to mind Casey Stengel’s remark when he took over as manager of the New York Mets: “Doesn’t anybody here know how to play this game?”
Many times when junior enlisted personnel speak of “desertion” they are not referring to the statutory crime itself. Rather they mean that one of their own has chosen to leave them and not return, particularly in a combat situation. The actual crime will be left to a court martial to decide.
Some reporter should ask Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel what he would have considered it had one of his tank crew members walked off into the jungle in Vietnam when Hagel was a young, non-commissioned officer.
It is painfully obvious that no one consulted the military prior to arranging the press conference in the Rose Garden. Columnist Massimo Casabresi, writing in Time Magazine, notes that “Obama’s move was an ultimate victory for those at the White House and the State Department who had previously argued the military should ‘suck it up and salute,’ says the official familiar with the debate.”
The military will always suck it up and salute because that’s their job.
I wait with bated breath for the press conference that will convey the anguish felt by members of the White House staff after they have arranged the trade that will bring home Edward Snowden from Russia, where he was held hostage for many months. I believe he also “served the United States with honor and distinction” prior to his decision to defect (not desert).
“The United States has always had a pretty sacred rule, and that is: We don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind,” Obama told reporters in Poland. This sacred rule also held true for U.S. ambassadors and those who were protecting them right up until Benghazi.
Rube Render is the Curry County Republican chairman. Contact him at: