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.

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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