Dear Bowe: I'm Embarrassed That I Cried for You


I was happy for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and his family. Now I'm just embarrassed.

What about you?

When the news about the impending return of America's only living Prisoner of War broke Saturday, I cried.  That's what I do when I hear that someone's son or daughter is coming home, especially one lost for so long.

I did not cry because Bergdahl was a hero -- I didn't (and don't) consider him one.

Maybe I cried because I'm a big softie. Maybe it was because I know so many Gold Star moms and I can't fathom the joy they would feel if, instead of a casket, they got to welcome home a living child.

Maybe it was because every time I picture parents reuniting with children, I envision myself welcoming home my scrawny, chicken-legged 5-year-old who still needs his "boo-boo blankie" when he scrapes his knee.

Before Saturday evening I didn't know a lot about Bergdahl. I had some vague recollection of the previously "unclear" circumstances around his capture (probably because at some point I had read this). I knew he was a POW and I knew that we wanted him back.

Mostly I was just happy -- so, so happy -- that a mommy and daddy were going to welcome home a son.

Maybe you were, too. Maybe you were one of the people who responded to my Facebook status asking folks to take just ONE MINUTE to be happy for the family before launching into speculation and political commentary.

But I'm not happy anymore. Now I'm just embarrassed that I wasted supportive emotion on these people.

Because every day that passes, I learn more about this family, see more of their confusing public actions, hear more about the real circumstances around Bergdahl's capture, and learn more about the possible ramifications of releasing five Guantanamo Bay held detainees to the Taliban as a prisoner exchange

The reports from members of Bergdahl's unit, ordered to not speak about the incident until he was safe, are very clear:

Bergdahl deserted his post on purpose. And soldiers died looking for him.

I am not an expert in military justice. And I don't know -- and likely will never know -- all the intimate details of the decisions that led to bringing Bergdahl home.

But I want to call the parents of the six soldiers whose deaths this article links to the hunt for Bergdahl and apologize. I want to let them know how sorry I am -- how sorry we all are -- for their loss.

I want to cry for the moms, dads, wives and children who are left behind because Bergdahl abandoned his post.

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