Saturday, June 07, 2014

Sacred Wilderness

Here in the Western US, mountains are considered sacred wilderness. Most mountains are government owned and considered public domain.

Young kids from Idaho, especially those on the fringe of society, grow up seeing mountains as a sacred sanctuary. No matter how bad things are in town, anyone can simply walk up into the sacred mountains for solace.

Bowe Bergdahl was a home schooled kid in the Sovereign Redeemer Presbyterian Church growing up in Hailey, Idaho with a population under 8,000.

In Afghanistan, the mountains are a military stronghold that tribal warlords have held for millennia.

A confused home-schooled kid from Idaho fighting a war in Afghanistan is likely to see the military strongholds of Afghanistan and harken back to his ideals of a sacred wilderness.

BTW, I happen to be a big supporter of home-schooling. IMHO: People who are home-schooled have a delightful independent streak that adds to the diversity of this nation.

That a home-schooled kid from Idaho ends up separated from his platoon and is captured by the Taliban does not surprise me in the least. That a kid has empathy for the Taliban doesn't surprise me either.

Empathy is a good thing.

What disappoints me is the viciousness with which the right-wing press is attacking Berghdahl.

I happen to think that Obama fumbled on this prisoner exchange.

But when I look at the viciousness with which the right wing press is going after this poor home-schooled fundamentalist Christian, I find myself sympathetic to Obama's position.

Surprisingly, the argument for releasing prisoners from Gitmo at this point in time are largely the same arguments for holding prisoners without trial at Gitmo in the first place.

The detainees at Gitmo are prisoners of war. One holds prisoners of war, without trail, during the war to prevent them from returning to the battlefield.

Prisoners of war are held in relation to the war. In normal circumstances one would expect a release of prisoners of war at the end of the war. The problem we face is that the Gitmo prisoners are terrorists who are likely to engage in a civil war against the elected government of Afghanistan or who might engage in international terrorism.

As we exit Afghanistan, we should be looking for ways to release the prisoners of Gitmo.Obama fumbled this process by not seeking advice of Congress.

Even worse, by negotiating a hostage release with the Taliban has revitalized and relegitimized a terrorist organization.

Pointing out the pathetic job done by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry did on this issue is not a bad thing.

The vicious attacks on a home schooled kid who foolishly went into the mountains is showing the right is as out of touch as the left.

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