Bergdahl Homecoming Includes Complimentary Reservations On A Swiftboat To Hell

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(h/t Illustration by the very talented Mario Piperini)

In that noblest of American judicial traditions “guilty until proven innocent,” a handful of politicians and their fan clubs, with the aid of a few Republican strategists, have determined that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is guilty of desertion, treason, and not being an American superhero.  Should he have the temerity to return to his hometown, everyone there has decided to not smile, wave or say “Hey!” because some of the rush-to-judgment mob have said mean things to them on Facebook and the Twitter.

I don’t know anything about Bowe Bergdahl aside from the fact that he voluntarily put on an American uniform when his country needed him.  Which means I know as much as 99.9% of the people who are calling for his head on a stick.  And, if, in the end, it turns out that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl did anything demonstrably dishonorable, we have laws to deal with that.  Just as we had laws to get him home.

On the other hand, Sen Lindsay Graham has put Bergdahl’s Commander-in-Chief on notice that if he lets one more Gitmo prisoner loose without Congress’ blessing, a Congressional hissy fit to beat all Congressional hissy fits will ensue.  Happily, no more men are left behind so that should save us at least one histrionic impeachment pitch.

Congress, not usually aficionados of international law on a good day, don’t seem to have realized yet that ending hostilities in Afghanistan will require future transfers of prisoners on a timeline not necessarily of their own making.  And, judging by recent statements, they are also probably a little fuzzy on the legal niceties of imprisonment in Guantanamo.

See Guantanamo houses two separate types of prisoners: there are prisoners of war and alleged terrorist criminals.  And, despite the Bush administration’s rather cavalier attitude toward international law and their one-size-fits-all approach to imprisonment and due process, there are actually differences in the legal dispositions of each type of prisoner.

The five Taliban who were traded for the release of Sgt. Bergdahl were prisoners of war.  They may, indeed, have done terrible things as soldiers but, soldiers do terrible things—that’s War.  Nevertheless, prisoners of war were, indeed, the apropriate choices for a prisoner swap. 

And, if this administration, or any other, cares to observe international law regarding prisoners of war more such people will be leaving Guantanamo in the very near future, at the official cessation of hostilities.  Should Congress decide that they don’t like that and try to obstruct that traditional process a very dangerous new precedent would be set that would imperil any American soldier captured in combat in the future.  If the US doesn’t play by the rules, why should anyone else release our prisoners-of-war?

For all of those reasons and, I’m sure, a few more, President Obama attached a signing statement to last year’s defense bill that contained Congress’ most recent obstruction to closing Guantanamo - the 30 day notice amendment—that makes no sense and interferes with constitutional executive powers of the President and Commander-in-Chief.  And the President said so.

Meanwhile, the president is on a diplomatic trip to Europe and is missing out on the latest outbreak of Obama Derangement Syndrome, so in lieu of his calming presence:

The administration briefed Congress amid a swirl of rumors about the circumstances of Bergdahl’s military service and the events that led to his capture. The White House pushed back on some press reports that suggested Bergdahl left a note at his base that included statements critical of the U.S. and the Afghan war.

“We were told today that is not true. There was no statement,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee and a strong critic of the White House’s decision-making on the swap.

Well now, if that allegation was false, how many others might be?  We. Don’t. Know.  Despite the fact that Howard Kurtz thinks:

What most of the MSM have reported about Bergdahl and the circumstances surrounding his release are facts.

Really, Howard?

And just because a Republican strategist offered his services to network with some of Bergdahl’s platoon-mates who kind of think he might have deserted doesn’t mean Bergdahl’s being unfairly tried in absentia.  After all, that effort yielded such incriminating evidence as that of Cody Full, a former member of Bergdahl’s platoon:

He wouldn’t drink beer or eat barbecue and hang out with the other 20-year-olds. He was always in his bunk. He ordered Rosetta Stone for all the languages there, learning Dari and Arabic and Pashto.

Sounds guilty as hell, eh?  This from a guy who heads his Twitter page with the following quote:

Those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else.

But Kurtz won’t stand for us calling that siphoned off nonsense “swift-boating.”  No, sir.  That’s comparing apples and oranges, says Kurtz, who goes so far as to quote MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, in case some liberals question Kurtz’s FoxNews credibility:

Even Chris Matthews has challenged the administration’s spin last night, declaring on MSNBC: “Wait a minute! The swift boating of John Kerry was a dishonest PR campaign!”

And this speculation and hearsay obviously isn’t dishonest?  If I were these platoon-mates, I think I’d probably zip it right now.  If they convince enough people they might find themselves trying to recall and substantiate such quotes for a military tribunal.  And there won’t be any Republican strategists or Fox News talking heads helping them “craft” their statements, if that time comes along.

What’s not “apples and oranges,” according to the Right, is Bergdahl and Benghazi.  They’re both low-hanging apples both of which start with a “B.”  Here’s Rep. Buck McKeonR-CA laboriously trying to connect the dots:

It really is ironic, because this is kind of playing out much like Benghazi, where they kind of do or don’t do something, and then kind of come up with a story afterwards of why they did or didn’t do something.

I’m “kind of” confused, did they or didn’t they?

FoxNews has already declared the prisoner swap Benghazi 2.0.

And Benghazi and Bergdahl both being “B” words is “just the beginning of the uncanny similarities” as The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank points out:

Both events happened — you’re not going to believe this — under President Obama! And in both instances, one of the people involved was — yes, you guessed it — Susan Rice! Don’t forget that Bergdahl and Benghazi both begin with the letter “B,” and although Afghanistan is in Asia and Libya is in Africa, both continents begin with the letter “A.”

Now comes word that Hillary Rodham Clinton, blamed for Benghazi, was also behind Bergdahl’s swap, which occurred 16 months after she left office. The conservative publication Human Events reports that “Benghazi Clinton has now become directly involved” in the Bergdahl affair. How does Human Events know this? Well, because “Jake Tapper of CNN wonders if Obama was briefing her,” the outlet reported.

Voilà! Clinton is “directly involved” in the Taliban exchange — because Jake Tapper wondered about it. Actually, Tapper tells me, he wondered no such thing, and the human events link provides no evidence. But, by way of confirmation, Fox’s Catherine Herridge also found it “noteworthy” that Bergdahl’s release came just as the Benghazi excerpts from Clinton’s new book had come out.

So, how do they make these leaps?  Milbank attributes it to “mental agility”:

. . . to draw parallels to the Libya attacks requires the type of mental agility that, as the liberal Web site Media Matters has noted, already has led Obama’s accusers to draw associations between Benghazi and the missing Malaysian jet, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bridge scandal, Yom Kippur and gay football player Michael Sam. How do they do it?

Jesus wept and Allen West piled on.  But then, again, I guess Allen West is a resident expert on honorable vs. dishonorable service

A burning question, of no little concern, remains, though, what does this mean for Judge Gowdy’s Trial of the Ages?  Maybe he’ll let Darrell Issa handle the Bergdahl piece of the case?

And finally, I’d like to close with a question for California voters and that question is:  Seriously? California.  Is this blockhead the best you can do?

Posted by Bette Noir on 06/05/14 at 11:47 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaNutters

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Great post, thank you. In lieu of Bergdahl media coverage, I have been watching vintage “Mr Ed” episodes—they make more sense.

Excellent post, as usual Bette.  One quick note—a bunch of the text is duplicated—it starts repeating here:

And finally, I’d like to close with a question for California voters and that question is:  Seriously? California.  Is this blockhead the best you can do?

(should be video and end, but starts again with:)

Meanwhile, the president is on a diplomatic trip to Europe and is missing out on the latest outbreak of Obama Derangement Syndrome, so in lieu of his calming presence:

Seriously? California.  Is this blockhead the best you can do?

I used to live in the district that Duncan Hunter’s father, ALSO named Duncan Hunter, represented.  Let’s just say that the rotten, worm-infested apple didn’t fall far from the diseased tree.  Except that the son seems to be an even bigger twitwaffle than his right-wing lunatic father.

Thanks @OBS, you must have caught me in mid-edit.  I don’t see it anymore.  If you still do try a re-load.

Bergdahl… Benghazi… Both Be with a gh sound in them and both are Right-Wing BS.

We have a sacred duty to bring captured servicemen home.

But, the dishonorable Conservative hypocrisy thought Bergdahl was another great chess piece to use against President Obama. When he was captured it was all about Obama abandoning the troops Now its all about Obama siding with a deserter and aiding Muslims.

But it just highlights the right-wing disrespect for Military members. Because Veterans and Active Duty Members are viewed as nothing more than pawns to Republicans, to be used and sacrificed at their whim and to advance their agenda.

But it just highlights the right-wing disrespect for Military members. Because Veterans and Active Duty Members are viewed as nothing more than pawns to Republicans, to be used and sacrificed at their whim and to advance their agenda.

Well said @Grung

As a vet at another site noted, being on active duty in a war zone is a mix of boredom and terror, without much to fill the former which requires understanding that a platoon is basically a knitting circle with automatic weapons.  His point was that gossiping is a huge part of it all, as is writing home about how much things suck, as has happened since soldiers could actually write home. 

Since Bergdahl wouldn’t drink with them, was upset about the crushing death of an Afghan toddler by their armored vehicles (which everyone else thought was funny) and he to read books, well, he didn’t fit with the typical grunt. What I would like to see publicized is just how much his former platoon-mates have been paid by these rethuglican operatives to cast their aspersions.  If it does turn out that Bergdahl merely made a stupid mistake, and is not the deserting turncoat these guys are trying to make him out to be, well, I don’t think that’s going to look too good to the non-27%.

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