War hero industry
The controversy surrounding the return of American soldier Bowe Bergdahl to his home is a telling sign that fissures in the military-industry complex are beginning to be felt by those outside its opaque walls. Bergdahl, who had disappeared on 30 June 2009 from his post in Afghanistan after sending emails to his father about his acute disappointment with the US army and its role in the South Asian country, has been branded a ‘deserter’, who broke army law and breached martial code of conduct. The conservative backlash against a US soldier who has returned effectively underscores how the Republican lobby, the national security apparatus and the arms nexus creates the war hero in the image of its twisted fantasy and imperial perversions. In sharp contrast to this cartoonish and aggressive war mercenary is the actual ground level experience of the soldier who is left in the worst of circumstances and is expected to carry on serving a fatuous cause, that of jingoistic nationalism. Bergdahl’s words are scathing: ‘The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.’ At a time when the world is waiting for the American president to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay, one of his oldest election promises, and NATO troops are expected to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year unless the next head of state signs the bilateral security agreement, the brouhaha over Bergdahl’s return in exchange for Gitmo detainees, alleged Taliban terrorists, is symptomatic of how blinded-folded the conservative clique is and how willing its is to hold hostage the nation’s precious men in the service of a perverse military-industrial complex that disallows war-like situations to die down. If there’s a take away from this controversy it is the sympathy of Bob Bergdahl, the soldier’s father, who learned Pashto to communicate with his son’s captors.