We made the wrong exchange. In exchange for Bergdahl the Deserter, we sent five of the most dangerous criminals behind bars to Qatar, where they will inevitably be released to return to their Taliban rat-holes. To say this was an idiotic decision is to unfairly disparage idiots everywhere…
This “swap” is mind-boggling because of who we gave up, not because we made an offer to get Bergdahl the Deserter. I want the Deserter in custody, that way he can answer for his cowardice and be sentenced for his crimes. This will not assuage the grief felt by those families who lost a soldier during efforts to retrieve the Deserter, but it might offer some slight comfort to know that the mission was accomplished and justice was served. So the fact that we obtained the Deserter is excellent; the price we paid is abysmal, both in lives lost and prisoners sprung.
If I were President, I would have taken a completely different approach. I would’ve sent them Gwyneth Paltrow. Not alone, of course. I would have included Charlize Theron, Tom Cruise, and Kanye. I would have dressed them up in orange jumpsuits and put black bags over their heads until they got to Qatar. Once the Taliban got over their initial surprise, those goat herders would be more star-struck than pissed. I’m sure that every one of their training camps has a prized copy of Risky Business, Mighty Joe Young, or Emma on VHS for Mujahedeen Movie Night. (“Don’t forget Ali, you can’t come to movie night unless you get measured for your burkha disguise first!”)
It goes without saying that each of these brave Americans would be willing to make this trade, given that they are so well-acquainted with the cost of war. Their orders would be to overpower their captors with their celebrity, while gleaning crucial intel about the inner workings of the Taliban. In many ways, they’ve been training for this mission their whole lives. Each day, as they manage their Twitter feed and wade through mobs of camera-wielding paparazzi, they come face to face with the stark equivalent of war and desolation. Those times spent in air-conditioned trailers—stocked with anything and everything they could ever want—waiting for a director to signal the start of filming for the day, have honed their ability to handle deprivation on the front lines. All of those hours spent sipping champagne backstage before a concert have taught them the meaning of sacrifice and honor.
Does anyone remember when a fair number of our entertainers actually were hard-working, honorable Americans who understood the value of sacrifice without taking their fanciful lives so seriously? Folks like Mickey Rooney, who served in the military during WW2 and used his talent to encourage and entertain our boys in battle. J.D. Salinger, who landed on the beaches of Normandy with 6 chapters of then-unpublished Catcher in the Rye in his pocket and helped liberate France from the Nazis. Jimmy Stewart and the “Splendid Splinter” Ted Williams, who left careers, family, and fame to put their lives on the line for this country. And who can forget The King? “The army can do anything it wants with me…Millions of other guys have been drafted, and I don’t want to be different from anyone else,” said Elvis upon enlistment in the Army in 1958.
We still have the occasional Pat Tillman and Gary Sinise, but they are few and far between. For the most part, our entertainers and athletes can’t be bothered with personal sacrifice and their sense of honor has been so atrophied that they can—with a straight face—compare their superficial, shallow lives to the lives of those who stand between us and the horrors of war. So I say, swoop up Cruise, Paltrow, and the rest in the middle of the night, ziptie-and-hood them, let them wakey-wakey in the tent of the Mullahs, and see how their concept of “war” stacks up. In the meantime, we can farm out their palatial estates (see here, here, and here) to returning troops and their families to enjoy some well-deserved R&R.
The true celebrities of this Republic have never been the prating jackasses who rake in millions for entertaining; but the men in uniform who go looking for the Bad Guy, in order to protect and preserve our freedom. God bless our troops.
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