This is some excellent news and we can all celebrate the return from five long damn years of captivity of Bowe Bergdahl.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The only American solider held prisoner in Afghanistan has been freed from Taliban captivity in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Obama administration officials said Saturday.
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. special forces by the Taliban Saturday evening, local time, in an area of eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border. Officials said the exchange was not violent and the 28-year-old Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk.
Today is a time to rejoice that an American servicemember is on his way home. Everyone who serves in uniform should have no doubt that we will move Heaven and Earth to bring them home. It is also fantastic news that he is in good health and walking. Given the barbaric nature of his captors, that was far from assured. There are many back stories about his capture, captivity and release that we will be telling and talking about soon. But for now, welcome back Bowe!
The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category on the right sidebar.
Suspicion by Joseph Finder is an intriguing novel about family and being entrapped in a bad situation. This stand-alone book explores the father/daughter relationship, how technology has changed the dynamics between people, the villainess of the drug cartels, and big government at its worst. These issues are intertwined within the theme, how one small decision can change someone’s life.
The plot begins with a single dad, Danny, having financial troubles and unable to pay for his daughter’s tuition at an elite private school. In a desperate situation, he makes a decision that anyone would make, and it turns out to have some terrifying consequences. Thomas Galvin, the father of his daughter’s new best friend, is also one of the wealthiest men in Boston. Galvin is aware of Danny’s situation and out of the blue offers a $50,000 loan to help Danny cover his daughter’s tuition. Uncomfortable but desperate, Danny takes the money, promising to pay Galvin back. Everything unravels from here because the DEA informs Danny he has accepted money from a drug cartel. Danny has to make an impossible choice: an indictment for accepting drug money that he can’t afford to fight in court, or an unthinkably dangerous undercover assignment, helping the government get close to his new family friend.
Finder brilliantly shows how a single individual has no control over their life once a big conglomerate, such as the US government, the drug cartels, or even a large corporation, decides to go after them. How can someone fight and win these powerful entities with unlimited resources? Danny is portrayed in the beginning of the book as a down on his luck ordinary guy, who behaves in a “wus-like manner.” However, as the story progresses so does Danny’s backbone.
Finder commented to blackfive.net, “I ran these scenarios by lawyers and those in the DEA. This is big government at its worst, where they force you to spend money on lawyers. I know of people who have gone through the mill being sued by the government. You are put in a terrible situation where some government lawyer wants to get you. They just don’t care. I showed how my character Danny was pinned down like a butterfly in a specimen kit. Then there are the drug cartels that are one of the worst villains possible. They are not constrained by laws, perception, and morals. They are ruthless and an uncapped villain. I hoped I showed how Danny and Tom were both entrapped in a situation they could not get out of. They both are victims and had to make necessary moral decisions that changed their lives.”
A powerful quote in the book, to “understand the intoxicating sensation of defying death, of facing down our hardwired instinct for self-preservation.” Anyone from the thrill seeker to the average person can appreciate being in that kind of situation. Even someone that avoided an accident can appreciate this quote, remembering that deep breath taken after realizing possible death was avoided.
Parents will enjoy the other major theme, father/daughter relationships. The way this generation uses technology with the use of Googling, tweeting, texting and other techno-marvels lend a modern flavor to the storyline. The teenage daughter, Abby, is seen as a typical adolescent. She is at times self-centered, melodramatic, and puts more importance to her desires than concerns for her dad’s financial struggles. For example, she never wants to bring her rich best friend Jenna to her house because of the embarrassment factor.
Finder, a father himself, noted to blackfive.net, “I went through raising a teenage daughter. I have a great relationship with my daughter who is now twenty. But those teenage years were insane and difficult. I wanted to show in Suspicion that being a parent of a teenager is the hardest job of all. The way a teenager disappears into their cell phones, their texting, and putting on earphones as they listen to their music. This all partitions them off from their parent. I remember as a teenager when I wanted to call a friend there was only one phone in our house. There was never ever any privacy since the phone would only go as far as the cord. Yet, now they have a world of communications including cell phones, Facebook and Twitter. That is why I put the quote in, ‘just a phone call away.’”
Suspicion is an engrossing tale of relationships, being put in unthinkable situations, and losing complete control over one’s life. It is a very believable, intriguing, fast paced and interesting story.
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jean Vil provides security during a reconnaissance patrol near Patrol Base Boldak in Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 15, 2014. Vil, a mortarman, is assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael Dye
You may ask how I can serve as the designated liar and purveyor of propaganda for someone I disagree with on virtually every substantive issue. Fair question, but I actually despise the media more than Obama and the chance to beat them like wet dogs in a dry house trumps my distaste. Here is one of my more recent turns answering the jackals during Barry O's tenure the others are here. This is just a taste of the real campaign, which will kick off on Monday.
And rightfully so. Eric Shinseki failed as head of the VA and people died of neglect on his watch. Thankfully that led to his exit. It also seems that they have fired, and used the word fired, a bunch of folks in the Phoenix facility and elsewhere in the system. Thus far it looks like they are taking serious action and I commend them for doing so.
JEN PSAKI: I would argue the president doesn't give himself enough credit for what he's done around the world. And that's how the secretary feels too. We would not be engaged in comprehensive negotiations with Iran, which is where the program is stalled, and is rolling back, if it were not for the role of the United States, along with the P-5 +1 partners certainly. In Ukraine, we've been engaged more or as much as any other country in the world in supporting the elections process, supporting the government, and supporting efforts moving forward. Yes, there's more work that needs to be done, the point is we need to continue to stay at it.
REPORTER: Is this a potential mission accomplished statement?
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.