By Louis Avallone
Do you ever have a hunch or gut feeling…where you are convinced, almost instantly, by feelings that you cannot always explain? Some folks call this intuition, which comes from the latin word “intuir,” meaning “knowledge from within”. These are the times when we just “know”in our hearts and souls, irrespective of our five senses, that something feels right, or feels wrong.
This happened recently, as I watched Robert Bergdahl, father of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, speak in the Rose Garden at the White House. This is where President Obama made the ceremonial announcement that Sgt. Bergdahl had been released from the Taliban in Afghanistan, where he had been held in captivity for the last 5 years.
Subject to an Executive Order, and without any Congressional involvement, President Obama released five (5) Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay in return for Sgt. Bergdahl’s release, and the deal was done.
Even though the U.S. traditionally does not negotiate with terrorists, and even though each and every one of the Taliban men released from Guantanamo Bay is a hardened terrorist, and will likely participate in efforts to kill more Americans, the deal was done.
And even though Sgt. Bergdahl reportedly left his command post in 2009 voluntarily, just before sending his parents an email explaining, “The horror that is America is disgusting,” even while hundreds searched, and as many as six (6) fellow soldiers lost their lives searching for him after he disappeared, the deal was done.
And even though Sgt. Bergdahl is believed to have deserted the Army, proclaiming that he was “ashamed to be an American. And the title of U.S. soldier is just the lie of fools,” the deal was still done.
And even while Taliban members have killed thousands of U.S. and NATO service men and women since their regime toppled in Afghanistan in 2001, following 9/11, the President still negotiated with them, and the deal was done.
And even though negotiating with these very terrorists is demoralizing to the men and women in our military, who serve with honor and distinction, and to the memories of those soldiers whom have made the ultimate sacrifice, the deal was nevertheless done.
SO…when Robert Bergdahl is standing in the Rose Garden of the White House, and he says the phrase, “bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” (translated from Arabic, “In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate”), and when he posts online that, “Democracy is a cult in the West”, and that “I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners” and that “God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, amen!”, something’s out of wack.
Whether you call it intuition or whatever, many Americans probably just can’t find the words to explain it either, because it just doesn’t feel right, as Americans.
Arguably, “bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim”, is a common Arabic phrase. That’s not the issue. But when you place it against the backdrop of Robert Bergdahl’s online postings, and his son’s emails explaining “(t)he horror that is America is disgusting,” there’s not a good feeling to this. Not at all.
The White House Rose Garden ought to be used, instead, to praise the truly honorable service of our U.S. military men and women, particularly those killed while searching for Sgt. Bergdahl in the first place, not to honor anyone, military or otherwise, who is “ashamed of being American”.
From the Rose Garden press conference, to negotiating with the Taliban, to releasing prisoners from Guantonamo Bay, the Obama administration has undermined our national security. History clearly shows that terrorism decreases only with overwhelming military force. An an example, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, pirates regularly attacked American ships, then kidnapped our sailors, and held them for ransom. We were spending 20% of the federal budget to ransom our sailors in the year 1800.
It was not until Thomas Jefferson took office that we aggressively went after the pirates and refused to pay any ransom money to them. Not surprisingly, the kidnapping of our soldiers by pirates soon ended, and proving again the wisdom of peace through strength.
Mr. Bergdahl, you and your family have the freedom to live wherever you wish, but know this: democracy is not a “cult”, as you put it. It’s not at all.
It’s a shining city on a hill, blessed by God, and more than 1.3 million free men and women have fought and died to protect the principles upon which it was founded, including to search for your son. It is a rare treasure, and as Ronald Reagan put it, “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”
Yes, there’s something very right about that. And it’s more than just a “gut” feeling.