Bergdahl and the War on the Individual
Normally I wouldn’t want to add to the excessive focus on what may be a giant distraction, but count me in with the “WTF” sentiment regarding the Bergdahl swap. (California Lawyer has written a great article outlining some of the odd questions, which you can read here if you missed.)
I don’t like the Obama administration, but I’ve always felt they knew how to massage the message. Sure, it had some misfires (like “Pajama Boy”), and it’s certainly easier to get your message out with a sympathetic media, but I would give them credit for knowing how to spin things.
The swap of a possibly deserter/druggie/traitor in exchange for not one, but five, count ‘em, five high profile terrorists, smacks of insanity. This is like trading Richard Simmons in exchange for Hitler’s top lieutenants, including Goebbels.
Is it just a distraction? From...
- The VA scandal?
- Economic malaise?
- Kids in mobs running amok across the country and committing two dozen murders alone in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend?
- Immigration reform?
- Net neutrality?
- The Ukraine?
- The EU imposing negative interest rates?
The thought has occurred to me that someone on the inside is trying to derail and sabotage Obama. I envision a President Biden before Obama’s term is officially up, if things keep going the way they are going.
TF Metals Report memer SS121 suggests this is a set up for Obama’s willing exit from the presidency.
On a simpler conspiracy note, perhaps its simply as simple as getting the NeoCons riled up to ensure a Jeb Bush victory in 2016.
The left has been lulled to sleep for Obama’s reign, and the right has woken up too much. So it’s time to swap puppets and put someone in to put the right back to sleep, perhaps. The left will suddenly be outraged by drone attacks again if another Bush is in power, but the left/right split will still keep Americans divided. And nothing will change.
I’ve got another theory, which actually can work in conjunction with any of the other theories above.
The Subtle Message the Bergdahl Exchange is Really Sending
Why five terrorists? Wouldn’t one have done just fine? Some are reporting that a ransom was requested for Bergdahl’s release - why not just pay it?
I’ve seen comments by young progressives who are excited by the Bergdahl exchange and the prospect of Gitmo closing. Back when I was a young idealistic progressive myself, I was more of the civil libertarian sort of progressive. Guantanamo Bay concerned me, not because we had prisoners, but because I felt (and still do) feel that all prisoners of war deserve due process.
Being held indefinitely for years without a formal charge is an un-American thing to do, even if those POWs are evil killers. They should be charged and tried in a court of law.
So what Obama did in releasing five known killers was to not only side-step due process, but completely overwrite any sort of concept of accountability or rule of law in regards to those prisoners. We’re talking mass murderers who have basically completed a short prison sentence and are now free - more free than most Americans who are in prison on non-violent drug charges.
This is clearly not an even exchange - five mass murderers for one possibly traitorous American. But this theatrical exploit sends a very subtle but crucial message. The message is this:
The individual has no worth.
I’ll repeat: Exchanging five mass murderers for one crappy soldier is a message designed to imprint upon us the lack of worth of an individual.
Now, you might scratch your head at this, given that the White House spin has gone on and on about how a “child” needs to be returned to his “parents,” or that we leave no-one behind.
Yet, we’re being sold that this “child” has now become as important and precious as the bravest, most self-sacrificing hero. In essence, Bergdahl, a complete and utter failure as a soldier no matter how you spin it, is a) just as worthy as a war hero and yet b) equivalent to five terrorists in value.
I was recently at a technology conference, and I was frankly disturbed by the clear and loud trend towards “hive mind” when it comes to problem-solving and getting things done.
“Collaboration” is the buzz-word. "Community" is more important than the individual. Breaking people out of their personal “silos” is the hip thing to do. And instead of an employee using her personal expertise to solve a technology issue, she’s relegated to running feel-good kindergarten style group brainstorming exercises to do work she would normally just finish on her own.
Individual expertise is passe - everything needs to be crowdsourced now.
One presenter actually bucked the trend and cited a New Yorker article explaining why group brainstorming actually isn’t a better way to do things - that people are more creative as individuals than groups.
This message is not being sent out to Americans today, however. Even the quest for entertainment superstardom is predicated on the idea that anyone can be a star, because it’s not about talent and hard work, but just wanting to be one.
I’ve made the observation that a large number of young people at the technology conference are really excited about the idea that they are part of some great “community” and something bigger than themselves. Conversely, I also noticed how many of them (men especially) were timid and unable to assert themselves individually.
Our public schools have done such an apparently good job of squashing competition in order to give everyone a prize, that everyone’s self-esteem has actually suffered because of it.
All that said, America still has a very strong streak of individualism.
If Obama had exchanged Bergdahl for one junior-level terrorist who hadn’t actually killed anyone, I don’t think people would have been happy, but the outrage would not be at the level it is.
People are outraged because five top terrorist leaders were seen as being equivalent to one sorry excuse for a soldier.
But this is the message that the elites want you to get - that you, as an individual, are no longer going to get special favors or treatment if you happen to do a good job. You aren’t going to get any gold stars, accolades, or rewards for being a stellar contributor.
You can just sit around and do nothing - or worse, desert your post and end up being the reason for the deaths of six other servicemen who try to find you - and you’ll still be treated on par with a national hero.
The message here is: Be mediocre, be lazy, be selfish, and lack integrity - and you’ll be treated just the same (if not better) than the guy next to you who worked his ass off.
And get ready, because this terrible exchange rate - between worthless humans - is going to play out in every area of our lives. We’re going to be paying through the nose for everything: Bread, gas, Internet access, housing.
We’ll also seeing this awful rate of exchange coming into play soon with a currency near you. One dollar for five Ameros. Or whatever it is that’s coming. Worthless paper for more worthless paper.
But that’s the inevitable result of leveling out the playing field.
UPDATE: Megyn Kelly interviews platoon about Sgt. Bergdahl's desertion: