One of the most important themes in the new Stars Movie is the idea of following your conscious and not orders given by superiors. We see this with the actions of a single storm trooper. This storm trooper first disobeys an order to fire on civilians during a raid. Later, he helps to free a prisoner that was captured in the raid and leaves his base. After pretending to have always been a Resistance Fighter, “Fin” ultimately comes clean about who really is and denounces the first order.
Yet what happens when this is done in real life, when a single soldier with a conscious attempts to do the right thing? They are vilified, denounced as a traitor, and called coward by the War Hawks. A fictional character decides to do the right thing and is consider a hero, yet a real person does this and is considered a scumbag. To some people, this makes no sense at all, doing what is right should never be brought into question. Like “Fin,” Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl decided to do the right thing and is being crucified because of it.
When Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released from captivity after being captured by The Taliban in a prisoner exchange, a viscous campaign was started to label him as a coward and a traitor. The campaign has seemed to work. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen someone post a picture or a story of a soldier who supposedly was injured or killed looking for him, calling them a hero and Bergdahl as a traitorous coward. They say he left his fellow soldiers in the lurch and should be hung, cased closed. “Deserters aren’t heroes,” they boldly proclaim. He is called a traitor and a coward not because of being captured by the Taliban, nor desertion, but because he dared to question the morality of the War in Afghanistan and the sacred cow that is the military.
“These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live. … We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks. … We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them. … I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting.”
Of course, anyone who looks at Bergdahl and his background could see why he did what he did. Unlike most of his fellow soldiers, Bergdahl was home schooled. He read Aristotle, Aquinas, Hume, books on Zen Meditation and Three Cups of Tea. He joined the army because he thought it was the right thing to do. When he was deployed to Afghanistan though, he soon found out the truth.
“In the US army you are cut down for being honest… but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank… The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools.”
Not unlike “Fin,” Bergdahl got up one day and decided to leave and do the right thing. He left because in his heart of hearts he realized that not only was the US occupation wrong, but that the entire apparatus was wrong, fundamentally. To the blind sheep who worship the US Military, this is a man they cannot understand as they have a perverted sense of morality, so they sling mud, urged on by The State.
Many fellow soldiers though have come to the same conclusions as Bergdahl, denouncing war and the military. Some, tragically feel so guilty, that they take their own lives, ashamed at what they have done. Bowe Bergdahl isn’t a coward, nor a traitor, he is simply a man with a conscience, who did the right thing.