For the next few weeks — at least until something else shiny distracts the nation — the case of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will serve as a national Rorschach test.
One set of Americans will look at the details surrounding the soldier, who until last weekend had been held captive by the Taliban since 2009, and see a man worthy of scorn and perhaps military court martial.
Other Americans will examine how the Obama administration went about freeing Bergdahl and see a president who gave too much to the United States’ enemies in exchange for a soldier who may have deserted his unit.
Other Americans will despair at the larger picture in Afghanistan, one that captures a U.S. invasion and 13-year occupation that places huge strains on U.S. soldiers and their families.
Still others will defend the president for doing what he can to fulfill the promise to never leave a man behind.
At this early stage, the facts are few amid the rumors, innuendo and political grandstanding.
The New York Times reported Thursday that a military report alleged Bergdahl “had wandered away from assigned areas before — both at a training range in California and at his remote outpost in Afghanistan — and then returned, according to people briefed on it.”
In order to gain Bergdahl’s freedom, the United States released five members of the Taliban from the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
We’d like to think there are other Americans who will hold their judgment on Bergdahl and this episode until more is known.
Until more facts are established, we hope they will keep in mind the words of Mark Twain, who once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”