Bowe Bergdahl: Innocent, guilty? It’s enough to make one’s feet hurt.

What is good today? My feet are doing well. They hurt like hell. But they are doing well, a foot doctor told me so.

I drove to the VA Hospital today some 80-something-miles away in Houston, bad knee and all. This was my semi-annual checkup with the podiatrist. He clipped my toenails. Those on my right leg are hard to trim because I still have to wear that damn knee brace. I go back to the knee doctor next week. And to the sleep doctor. And to my primary care doctor. Were they all in one place, say the Houston VA Hospital, I could just pitch a tent in the lobby. But, of course, the appointments are in three different locations.

A good foot report is good news for a diabetic. The pain in my feet now are likely a byproduct of that diabetes. I really don’t know why they hurt so badly. Perhaps it stemmed from tight socks in shoes for a total of three hours on the road. Maybe it was the Coney Cheese Dog and Onion Rings I had at James Coney Island. Maybe, but it was a good lunch. I don’t know what made my feet hurt.  I don’t even know how I got on this subject. Perhaps it is because my aching feet overtake every other thought I have. Still, my intention of “soldiering on” through my hurting feet and knee was to pass along this column from Chicago Sun-Times writer Neil Steinberg.

Steinberg hits at the anger I feel over this entire story over the return of prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl who was held by the Taliban. The anger isn’t at Bergdahl. It isn’t at Obama. The anger comes from the nut cases, mostly Republicans, who could give a rat’s ass less that an American soldier is back in the purportedly friendly hands of his government. The anger at Bergdahl and Obama, it’s just whipped up meanness by a political party that is falling apart at the seams. The war these days is more between the so-called “mainstream” GOP and the Tea Party. The Tea Party didn’t make much hay in the primary congressional races of late so they’re pissed, and the sweat that is staining those starched white shirts of those starched white Republicans are pissing the old-line off to no end. The GOP will eventually go the way of the Whigs, Princess telephones and ashtrays on airliners.

But yes, I am pissed too! The GOP and the media and who knows who(m) else are too freaking ignorant when it comes to the armed forces because so few have served these days. Though perhaps some who have served skip the bad parts. Most of us do that. Hey, it’s more fun to remember the time we got shitfaced in Subic City and one of our shipmates, whose name I won’t mention — it wasn’t me by the way — met us at the door of a certain joint all dressed up in a Filipina’s stripping outfit of G-string and pasties. But I am willing to bet most service members remember more than one or two fellow shipmates or soldiers who went on leave or on liberty and never came back.

Going over the hill, as we used to call desertion, is not that rare. I’ve had close friends who deserted. It wasn’t during war that they left. So they weren’t shot. Of course, I don’t think anyone has been shot for desertion during combat since Eddie Slovik in WWII. Also, it isn’t just with Bergdahl, nor just with the military, but it seems that the presumption of innocence, that has long been such a great point of judicial magnificence with our system, has seemingly disappeared. Everyone knows Bergdahl is guilty, all the Republican senators say so. Everyone knows that whomever the subject of Nancy Grace’s show tonight is guilty, because she says so.

Military trials, court martials as they are called, are already stacked against defendants because of the way trials are structured. See the Manual for Courts Martial. I am too tired to try to explain it.

Bowe Bergdahl may escape punishment once, if and when, we find out all the particulars about his escapade. Or perhaps he may be punished. Whatever happens, I hope all goes well as possible for the young man. Five years with the Taliban as a guest seems like punishment enough.

The good news, of course, my diabetic feet seem in good shape. They also are feeling better, thank you.