The saga of the Bergdahl family, where a son spends five years in Taliban captivity only to be accused by his former comrades of deserting his post and a father takes to Twitter for sympathetic postings about terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, keeps getting stranger.
During a disturbingly weird news conference Sunday, the parents of the Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, freed on Saturday in an Obama administration swap for terrorist ringleaders suggested Bergdahl was in no condition to speak to them, that Afghanistan and Idaho have a lot in common, and that they were not interested in taking questions from reporters.
Instead of talking with their son by telephone, the Bergdahl’s addressed him through the cameras and microphones of an international press corps gathered in their Iowa hometown.
When they said they loved him and were proud of him, they sounded almost like parents anywhere might sound after being afraid for a son’s life. But there was more — a suggestion Bowe might not remember English, for instance — that just seemed strange.
In fact, they sounded almost as disoriented as Cindy Sheehan used to in her glory days, when her grief for her son’s death in Iraq in 2004 led to an anti-war activism that made her a darling of the liberal left for just long enough to make her a national laughingstock.
(On that note, the Bergdahls would do well to steer clear of the lefties who are going to want to lionize their son, unless they want to see him running joke campaigns for California governor or vice president on the Peace and Freedom Party ballot.)
It was especially weird when Robert Bergdahl noted how much his son had done for the people of Afghanistan.
“Most of all, I’m proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people and what you were willing to do to go to that length,” Bergdahl said. “I’m so proud of how far you were willing to go to help the Afghan people and I think you will have succeeded.”
Bergdahl didn’t explain what he meant by his son’s efforts to help the Afghan people, and it wasn’t clear how an Army sergeant who disappeared from his guard post in the middle of the night five years ago was in a position to help anyone when he was supposed to be a prisoner of war.
Bergdahl also didn’t quite explain why he and his wife had been unable to speak to their son by telephone beyond comparing him to a diver who’s been under deep water pressure and must rise slowly to avoid getting the bends.
And while Bergdahl refrained from using Arabic to praise “Allah,” as he did during Saturday’s Rose Garden appearance with President Obama, he did make some odd observations, such as likening Idaho with its valleys and mountains to Afghanistan. Such terrain, he said, produces tough people.
That’s might be true, but it’s doubtful the people of Idaho liked the comparison much. Would you?
Bergdahl ended the news conference without taking any questions from the media, noting that “there will be a time for interviews and books and whatever,” though “that’s still a distant future thing.”
“It isn’t over for us,” Bergdahl said. “In many ways it’s just beginning.”
Unfortunately for him, that’s probably very, very true.
Check out the news conference here:
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