Fragging: Rightbloggers Appear to Attack Returning POW Bergdahl -- But He's Not the Real Target

tomt200.jpgGoodbye, yellow ribbon! Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been a Taliban prisoner for five years when Obama bailed him out in a swap for five Guantanamo prisoners. Immediately rightbloggers professed mortal offense that the swap had been made, on a number of ostensible grounds, but probably for only one real reason: The fact that the hated Kenyan Pretender had done it.

Are you wondering why rightbloggers thought it was a good idea to raise a shitstorm over a returning POW? The simplest answer might be the best: Because they could.

The background to this peculiar state of affairs is the decades-long and largely successful effort by Republicans to paint Democrats as weak on national defense. Obama, comprehending this vulnerability (and having it brought home to him on occasion), endeavored to be more Republican than the Republicans, so to speak, backing out on the closing of Guantanamo and winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more slowly than many liberals would have liked.

The climax of this strategy was the killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2011. Rightbloggers who used to enjoy comparing Obama to Osama had a hard time congratulating him for this operation, and some even looked for a downside to the event.

Thereafter, the brethren's view of foreign policy underwent an interesting change; though they still sometimes accused Obama of weakness on national defense, as in the case of the 2011 Egyptian uprisings and in their frequent Benghazms, they would also accuse him of being recklessly aggressive about national defense -- denouncing, for example, his free-wheeling use of the NSA and drones, which would represent a spectacular reversal on the customary conservative attitude toward civil liberties if anyone actually believed they meant what they were saying.

But this month we're back to Obama the Threat to National Security as the Bergdahl swap has become a fiesta of fist-shaking from rightbloggers with all kinds of angles.

obamaswap.jpg
Obama rescues traitor, leaves editorial cartoon avatar to die! (Via.)
So far what we know is that some members of Bergdahl's platoon said the Sergeant actually deserted, though why his alleged defection wasn't then used as a publicity coup by the enemy has not been explained. The Army is considering an investigation.

While verifiable facts have been absent, speculation in the press has been intense and wide-ranging -- for instance, that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was captured because he'd gone AWOL (circumstances "could indicate" -- Christian Science Monitor) with the specific intention of joining the Taliban (his team leader deduced this from "radio interceptions" -- CNN), and is in fact now a committed jihadist (according to "secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account and obtained by Fox News"). Also, that several soldiers died trying to rescue this traitor ("some soldiers have gone so far as to say" -- CNN). Thus he should have been left to rot, as is traditionally done with American POWs who receive bad press.

Some or all of this may not be, strictly speaking, true but, as Charles Foster Kane once said in a similar context, can you prove it isn't? Bergdahl himself has said he didn't want to be among the jihadis and was actually trying to escape, but since he is (allegedly, according to sources) a traitor, why should we believe him?

Thus what should have been a brief bit of good news became a political tsimmis, whopped up by rightbloggers and a promoted in the more credulous or click-hungry corners of the mainstream press, giving rise to journamalistic ledes like "President Obama's decision to swap five high-level Taliban detainees for a U.S. soldier who wandered off five years ago has emerged as an issue in the race to unseat U.S. Rep. John Tierney, and is dividing members of the state's congressional delegation," etc.

If you suggested that piling on a POW to gain political advantage was bizarre and unseemly, rightbloggers would explain that they're not the freaks, you're the freak. "The reason you have allegedly smart liberals like Chris Hayes moronically implying that the U.S. should pay any price to bring a missing soldier home, even if he went missing deliberately," frothed Allahpundit at Hot Air, "is because they can't make the argument they really want to make." The argument they really wanted to make, Allahpundit explained, was [imitates stupid liberal by flapping hands and going "duh I'm a stupid liberal"]. Then Allahpundit invited liberals to admit the trade was "a dumb deal," since he'd been so nice to them. Also, "Are the military's many, many Bergdahl skeptics now 'Obama haters' by definition?"

Actually, that was the theme of Diane Dimond's piece at Real Clear Politics: That the military all hated Obama, and whereas once they wouldn't trash their CiC in public, "the era of silence changed after President Barack Obama's super-secret prisoner swap." One Major said Obama was "dumb" to appear with the former POW's parents; "It's another example of (Obama's) reading the tea leaves wrong," he added, which suggests the Major anticipates a job with Fox News after he leaves the service. (A Navy Seal told Dimond Obama had been trying to "show a success to the low-information voters," which astute use of wingnut terminology suggests he has a similar dream.) In any case, Dimond did not find any of this an appalling breakdown of military discipline, but rather further proof that Obama is Bad.

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20 comments
McSalmon
McSalmon

The worst aspect of this whole debacle of government now is how bloody predictable it all is now - Obama literally can't do anything without the Republicans raising a stink about something. Nothing. This is just another data point in the chart expressing the slow decay of the nation while the GOP abuses the levers of power that it possesses. The GOP doesn't care if Bergdahl is a hero, a villain, a martyr or just another guy who got in over his head; they just want to slam him against the wall until he bleeds and scream 'See! This proves that Obama is a traitor!'



BENGHAZI
BENGHAZI

BERGHALZI. No, that's not right. Bendhalzi! Ahh, we'll workshop it. 


(PS: SOLYNDRA)

gold
gold

Turns out that Sgt Bergdhal was not held by the Taliban. He was held by the Hakkani, who are Afghan smugglers and criminals dating back hundreds of years. All they wanted was money. They also held a NYT reporter - for money. The real story is the prisoner swap, since the Hakkani didn't  want Taliban. Taliban and Hakkani do not work together. The price on Bergdhal may have been just 1 mm US dollars. So what did we actually pay in cash and why did we release 5 Taliban? Now it makes sense that the 5 were sent to Quttar and not released into Afghan. Did we also pay cash for the deal? Was Bergdhal for sale for years by the Hakkani?  Why did poor Ms. Rice have to deal with another false brief? Why do they keep doing that to her? Why didn't anyone tell POTUS Obama that it was Hakkani, not Taliban, and that the price was per ancient ransom in that part of the world?  As to Sgt. Bergdhal, he was either mental or he will face an article 32 hearing (military indictment) and then General Court Martial (felony level, like NY Sup Ct) where all manner of charges and penalties are possible. It is important to have him back; we deal with him based on fact, not rumor. If he is mental, we cure; if he deserted we punish - but we get the facts. In the Kush we have many influences, including from the Sauds. If Hakkani were willing to sell, we could have asked the Sauds to make and close the deal. We need better friends and should really re-think the Saud relationship. Either way, we have our man back, the facts will come out and once again POTUS Obama has had exceptionally bad staff support. There is an interesting story in the old testament. Moses was leading the Isrealites. Moses did not delegate at all. His wife was getting upset about this, so she contacted her father, Jethro. who went to Moses and spoke to him about how to delegate and why Moses had to delegate - but to be careful about selecting people to delegate to. Basically, Jethro explained management of a large organization. Then, Jethro went home to his herds, leaving Moses to run the operation. POTUS Obama needs a Jethro. He needs to have competent people, but he has relied on government careerists who have let him down over and over. Ms. Rice gets embarrassed by Benghazi and now this - and so does POTUS Obama. so maybe it's time to get rid of these careerists and get some people POTUS Obama can trust to use their heads for his benefit.

DrLearnALot
DrLearnALot

"Thus he should have been left to rot, as is traditionally done with American POWs who receive bad press." ~ So spot on!

dstatton
dstatton

Caught flatfooted?  I'm pretty sure Obama expected a shitstorm.  He'd get one if he greeted a Boy Scout troop in the White House and said something nice about them.


Note to Rich Lowry: the swift liars were not Kerry's "comrades".  Exactly one out of 250 served with him, and even he was not present when Kerry earned his medals.  I know, it's useless to point this out.

Al_Swearengen
Al_Swearengen

They support the troops.  Well, other than "the troops" right to due process if it's politically advantageous.

glennisw250
glennisw250 topcommenter

<i> "Let's stipulate that -- given the fog of war -- these accounts might exaggerate the harm done by Bergdahl's disappearance," said Lowry. "But there is no doubt that they are sincere, and the anger is real." </i>


Well, sure. I mean, the guy refused to drink beer with them, and had the temerity to be upset when a 3 year old Afghan kid got run over. I mean, who wouldn't be angry?

editor92
editor92

"It's interesting how much they focus on the PR aspect of this thing, isn't it?"


Hearts and minds, baby.  Assumes facts not in evidence, I know, but that's the underlying sentiment: if Obama can't gain the approval of his critics (real Americans), he's obviously incompetent.

GeoX
GeoX

@gold ...huh.  You're a crazy person, aren't you?

gold
gold

@DrLearnALot  During the US Civil War Union General Grant routinely refused prisoner exchanges even as he knew Union prisoners would be sent by the Confederates to Andrsonville prison where they would die. Prisoner exchanges were refused during WW II, Korea, Vietnam. It's up to POTUS as CinC. Harsh, but sometimes an exchange is not in the best interests of war. Here, POTUS made an exchange based on his own mindset - which was based on staff recommendations. It is turning out that the facts supporting those recommendations may not be accurate; thus, once again, POTUS is double crossed by his own staff. You may recall that the staff were against the Pakistan raid to get Bi Laden, POTUS rejected that advice and gave the go. POTUS Obama has bad staff. HE should be very careful about their advice. I am in favor of Bergdhal's return. He is our man. Either he is mental or a criminal. We can figure it out and either cure him or punish him - but he is ours. We sent him there, all of us. Next year, we surrender in Afghan. So, what are we supposed to do with the Gitmo prisoners then?  But, you are seeing very poor WH staff work that has embarrassed POTUS (again) as more facts come out.

gold
gold

@dstatton  You are correct. The poor level of staff work at the WH has routinely embarrassed POTUS Obama. Hillary gave him Benghazi and Kerry gave him Ukraine. Sebelius gave him Obamacare and Shinseki gave him the VA crisis. POTUS should fire people publicly, loudly, for incompetence. He is too loyal - which means soft. Holder gave him Fast and Furious. The WH staff gave him the IRS scandal. POTUS Obama gets blamed for what are clearly staff failings. Yes, if he met Boy Scouts it would come out that the scout leader was...(fill in the blanks). The staff would insure a screw-up.  I wonder about the loyalty of Clinton people to POTUS Obama. He should have fired them all and kept them out of government. Poor Ms. Rice gets fabricated briefs and loyally announces them - and then gets the rug pulled out.  It is like the Clintons can't get enough revenge that POTUS Obama was simply the far better candidate. That aside, all the opposition has to do is wait for the next staff fumble and blame it on POTUS Obama. POTUS will not fire the staff, won't place proper blame: he just takes the lumps. Nice guy, but not how you run an organization. You fire people, loudly -- and be careful about that staff. POTUS Obama's worst political enemies work in and around the WH ostensibly "for" him. Ouch!

gold
gold

@editor92  Agree and disagree. POTUS Obama has had the worst staff work of any recent President, worse even than Nixon's - at least Nixon knew the score. POTUS finds himself trying to respond to failures that were delegated out to people POTUS thought competent. He has to delegate and rely on staff. The staff routinely fail - POTUS gets the blame. He should have fired Hillary very publicly for Benghazi and Kerry for Ukraine, loudly fired the entire top level at HHS for Obamacare and should have prosecutions (grand juries) at work on the VA.  Terrible, amateur WH staff work that gets blamed on Obama. Very sad. Best thing POTUS Obama did was reject staff pessimism and go after Bin Laden.

gold
gold

@GeoX @gold  Take out the crayons. More bad staff advice: John Brennan (Fordham U.) runs the CIA; used be a security/intell advisor to POTUS. Remember POTUS said Al Queda was on the run? You do remember, yes? He got that from Brennan. A few minutes ago AL Queda took Mosul. Get out your Iraq maps. See where Mosul is? The Iraqi army ran away. Baghdad is the largest city in Iraq; Mosul is the second. Al Queda hasn't run anywhere and is more powerful than before. Remember how Al Queda was not in Iraq?  Next they go for the oil fields - should be on your map. Now, what can you buy with oil money from, say Pakistan? Once again POTUS gets humiliated by his staff. Disagree? You might remember when Bill Clinton came to DC he used to have trouble at his cabinet meetings. He kept falling asleep. Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen was serving as Treasury secretary. He took Clinton aside and acted like Jethro in my above description. Who is POTUS Obama's Jethro? People like you? So who pays for Al Queda's logistics? Are they still on the run?  Your ad hominem just flies away, doesn't it?

DrLearnALot
DrLearnALot

@gold @DrLearnALot And your evidence is...your own mindset? What are these facts you speak of? So far I have only seen speculation and a dedicated smear campaign against an American soldier who has not been accused or tried for any crimes.

gold
gold

@gold @dstatton  Let me add that Mosul fell to Al Queda today. Rememer how the WH said that Al Queda was on the run? Actually POTUS Obama said that based on staff work that told him that. Al Queda just took a city with a population of over 1 million. POTUS has to start firing staff so that he gets the truth for a change. So when Al Queda takes the Iraq oil fields, does that mean they are still on the run? Remember how Al Queda was not in Iraq? What can Al Queda buy from Pakistan when Al Queda has Iraq oil money? I wonder if today WH staff and Cabinet are still telling POTUS that Al Queda is on the run. Why should NYC be concerned? Indeed. There is no history, is there?

McSalmon
McSalmon

@gold @editor92 In light of the intelligence fuckup that was 9/11, the incompetent doofusi sent to reform the Iraqi government after the occupation, the moron he placed in charge of FEMA during Hurricane Katrina, the loathsome assholes who started up the campaign of torture, the poor regulation of the financial sector that led to nigh Ecomaggedon, Scooter Libby, Monica Goodling, John Yoo and at least a half dozen fools and charlatans that escape my mind, I put it to you, that Obama doesn't hold the title to having 'the worst staff work of any recent President'. 


That honor goes to Reagan.

GeoX
GeoX

@gold @GeoX Yeah, keep explaining your conspiracy theories through huge, manifesto-like blocks of text.  That's a great way to convince everyone you're mentally stable!

gold
gold

@DrLearnALot @gold Read what I wrote. I wanted him back. Either he is ill and we cure him or he deserted and we try him. The facts will tell. Further, Ms. Susan Rice was again sent out to be humiliated in the press by what was essentially a false brief. Very poor staff work by POTUS people. Maybe you think Susan Rice likes to be humiliated.

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