The world is going to continue to take the measure of Hailey and Blaine County until the final chapter of the story of the retrieval of America’s only prisoner of war from Afghanistan is written.
News arrived yesterday that freed prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would be flown back to the U.S. sometime today.
To date, local residents have responded well to the glare of publicity on the world stage. They’ve been restrained in their comments, called for compassion and given Bergdahl the benefit of the doubt as to why he left his base in Afghanistan before he was captured.
Residents have been far more restrained in their comments than the red-faced commentators on Fox News, the rabidly partisan U.S. senators and congressmen, most of them Republicans, who’ve behaved shamefully and abysmally by trying to convert the situation into an opportunity to beat up their favorite political punching bag, President Obama, in desperate search for a compelling off-year election issue.
Along with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and with the unanimous backing of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president approved the trade of five Taliban, who had been held at Guantanamo Bay prison for a dozen years, in exchange for Bergdahl’s release.
The yellow ribbons and Bergdahl’s picture are still up everywhere in Blaine County, and even now, national and international reporters are firing up their laptops and cameras to report local response to his return to the U.S. and his eventual reunion with his family.
We trust that residents will continue to demonstrate the best of our American character by responding to the attention with heartfelt goodwill, good sense and seriousness as the story continues to unfold and the last chapter is written—be it happy, tragic or uncomfortably inconclusive.