Disclaimer: I have no idea what kind of guy Sgt. Bergdahl is, or how he wound up in the hands of Taliban sympathizers, but I do know a smear job/swift-boating when I see one, and I find the right wing’s attempt to smear Mr. Bergdahl absolutely disgusting …
Whether he deserted or not is for the military to sort out …
and what the hell ever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? …
How about everyone just does the old stfu dance for a little bit and we all wait for the facts on this whole matter first? …
P.S. to Chris Matthews …hey Tweety, I caught yer’ over the top, frothing at the mouth, take on this last couple of days … shame on you sir, you turned into one the same zealots who are perpetrating this whole ‘swift-boating’ venture … the same crowd you make your living at calling out … shame on you … and Chris, considering how much time you spend trying to look young and hip on your “news” show by your constant pop culture references to EVERY story, you really did just came off looking like an angry old white guy … maybe you should just stick to your usual self aggrandizing, name dropping and book selling … it’s actually, hard as that is to watch, much more flattering to you … and maybe, just maybe, as a good reporter, you should wait for the facts before pronouncing a verdict upon Mr. Bergdahl … just sayin’ …
P.P.S. … also worth the read … Ronald Reagan Gave Iran 1,500 Missiles for Hostages. Obama Trades Five Guys? GOP Heads Explode. or Politicians Delete Digital Praise of Bowe Bergdahl Release or The right’s unhinged Bergdahl hypocrisy: The ultimate way to savage Obama
Forward: from: Slate
… The first point is politically important. Many columnists and congressmen make a big point that America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists. Well, sometimes America does, but the key thing here is that the Taliban delegates, with whom U.S. officials have been negotiating in Qatar over the fate of Sgt. Bergdahl, are not terrorists. They represent a political faction and a military force in Afghanistan; they are combatants in a war that the United States is fighting. In other words, Bergdahl was not a “hostage” (another erroneous term uttered by Rogers). He was a prisoner of war, and what happened on May 31 was an exchange of POWs.The United States and practically every other nation that’s ever fought a war have made these sorts of exchanges for centuries. In recent years, American officers have turned over hundreds of detainees to the Afghan government, which in turn freed them in exchange for favors of one sort or another from the Taliban. During the Iraq war, American commanders frequently made similar swaps. The Israeli government (which can’t be considered soft on terror) trades prisoners with Hamas and Hezbollah all the time. In the most dramatic case, Gilad Shalit, an Army private abducted by Hamas, was traded for 1,027 Palestinian and Arab prisoners, 280 of whom had been serving life sentences for terrorist attacks against Israel.
The following repost from Stonekettle Station is maybe the best response to the right wing’s latest ‘attack Obama’ (“Bergdahlhazi”) campaign I have seen yet, and is definitely worth reading and sharing …
And while I don’t agree with every word he chooses in his piece, I do agree wholeheartedly with his assessment of what has taken place …
Negotiating With Terrorists
Are we really going to do this?
Is this what it’s finally come down to, is it really?
Look at yourselves, you silly selfish bastards.
Look. At. Yourselves.
Go on, do it, find a mirror and look into your own dead zombie eyes and see the empty void looking back. This revolting, disgusting display of hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy, is this what we’ve finally become?
Are we now so filled with foul bilious hatred, are we now so consumed with soul-destroying fear, do we now despise our own selves so much that we would actually protest the return of one of our own? Is that it?
Is that what we’ve become?
If so, then the sooner America collapses of its own maggot-ridden gangrenous rot, the better.
No. No, don’t you dare look away. Don’t roll your eyes and dismiss the question. Don’t change the subject. Don’t click on to another story you find more palatable. You started this. You look into your own rotten soul and you answer the question.
Is this who we are?
Because the utter unmitigated, unhinged, unbounded yellow-eyed hypocrisy that defines this sick twisted morally bankrupt philosophy has finally, today, reached its zenith. There is nowhere left to go.
I didn’t think these people could dishonor the spirit of this country any more than they already had, but I was wrong.
Oh, I get it. I understand that frightened people become more and more irrational, especially when they are allowed, encouraged, to feed incestuously on each other’s fear. And I get that they are afraid. I can see it in their faces, I can hear it in their voices. I get that they’re afraid of change. I get that they’re afraid of the future. I get that they’re afraid of the past. And I get that they’re afraid of the present. I get that they’re afraid of losing power and privilege and prestige. I get that they’re afraid of their capricious and childishly vengeful god. I get that they’re afraid of different races and different cultures and different accents and different religions and different sexual orientations and different viewpoints and different politics. I get it, they’ve screamed their small fears over and over and only a dead man could possibly miss it.
I get that they are so consumed with rage and so filled with naked hate and so programmed with their diseased ideology that it poisons their minds like a computer chip submerged in acid.
I get that they are so utterly terrified of the world that they piss themselves in abject fear at the mere thought of going to the grocery store without a goddamned gun stuck in their pants like an extra oversized prick.
More than anything, I get that they are afraid of Barack Obama, everything about him, every single thing about the president terrifies them. Obama stalks their feverish nightmares and he is the very symbol of their shameful impotence – so much so that they’ve written him into their precious bible, in a starring role as the devil, the destroyer of worlds.
I get it.
And I get that it’s an uncontrollable mindless tic, a raging xenophobia, a political PTSD, and they know that it’s wrong but they can’t seem to do anything about it.
It’s just how their crippled minds work.
I know that I’m supposed to cut these people some slack. I know that an objective person would try to empathize. I know I should try and see the world through their eyes, to meet them halfway, to treat them as if their gibbering insanity is, if not okay, at least reasonable. Understandable. Sane. And I try, with varying and limited degrees of success, but I try because I understand they are afraid and they just can’t help themselves.
But this? This, right here, this is the limit of my patience.
With this, they can no longer claim that it’s a difference in political philosophy, or a clash of competing economic theories, or the debate between big government and small, or civil rights, or taxes or the national debt or jobs or gay marriage or abortion or any of the bullshit excuses they’ve used to justify their unhinged rage for the last five years.
No, it’s hate pure and simple.
It’s hate for hate’s sake, hate driven by unreasoned selfish fear and nothing more.
When these capering lunatics stand in front of the nation, the world, and without a single shred of decency, without the tiniest modicum of self-conscious shame, without any apparent awareness of their own boundless hypocrisy, and loudly protest the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the clutches of our sworn enemies, I have to say no more.
I’ve reached the limit of what little tolerance I have for this insane hatred.
They say it’s because Bergdahl is a deserter, that he could be a traitor.And maybe he is. Maybe he’s both.
And maybe he isn’t.
We don’t know. No one knows, except for Bergdahl himself.
And Bergdahl has neither admitted his guilt nor proclaimed his innocence as yet. There’s been no Article 32 hearing, no trial, no court martial. The military and the intelligence agencies haven’t even begun his debriefing. All we know for certain is that an American soldier was taken captive by the enemy, held for years, and returned as part of a prisoner exchange. That’s it. That’s what we know. We don’t know what events led to his capture, not all of them, not yet. We don’t know the details of his captivity. We don’t know the particulars of his release beyond the broad details that have been published in the press.
Nevertheless, Bergdahl has been condemned by the popular media, by social networks, by pundits and politicians, not because they know more about the situation than you or I do, but solely because they hate the president. If Obama was behind Bergdahl’s release, then Bergdahl is a traitor, Q.E.D. because the president must never, ever, be allowed even the slightest acknowledgement of patriotism.
This condemnation isn’t about Bergdahl, it’s about Obama.
Certainly, some of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers say he deserted. That he was disillusioned with the war, with America, that he left his guard post and walked away into the desert in some foolish and quixotic attempt to reach China. They say that men, good men, real heroes, died searching for Bergdahl after he disappeared.
And those soldiers, they’d probably know, wouldn’t they?
And, yeah, if I was one of them I’d be damned resentful too and I have no doubt whatsoever that I’d use this blog to protest those who would attempt to paint Bergdahl as a hero – if I knew for certain that he deserted, if I’d lost friends searching for him.
I don’t begrudge those soldiers one iota of their resentment, they earned it with their own blood.
And let’s say it’s true.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that Bergdahl is indeed a deserter, that his capture by the Taliban was a result of his own cowardly actions.
Last time I checked, the punishment specified for violation of UCMJ Article 85 (or Article 86 depending on Bergdahl’s intentions) isn’t to throw him to our enemies!
Ultimately, Bergdahl will have to face his accusers, and if the allegations of desertion are proven true then he will answer for the crime of desertion as specified under the Uniform Code of Military Justice – which technically could include the death penalty since the desertion is alleged to have occurred during time of war and in the face of the enemy. Far more likely, of course, if Bergdahl is convicted of desertion he’ll probably get little more than a bad conduct discharge and forfeiture of any benefits. It’s unlikely that he’d see prison time – and, really, how would that even be a punishment compared to what he’s already been through? Likely he won’t ever face a hearing and he’ll be administratively separated from the service at the Army’s earliest possible convenience.
But, and here’s the thing so pay attention, even if Bergdahl is tried and found guilty of desertion, even if he’s found guilty of treason as some would have it, he’ll go to prison – we won’t give him back to the Taliban.
There is no crime so great that leaving him in the hands of our enemies is the indicated punishment.
He was, he is, one of ours. Period.
For better or for worse, he’s one of ours, and we don’t leave our people behind – not even the deserters.
We Americans sent him into the meat grinder and it is our sacred obligation to get him home, no matter what.
Even if he was dead.
We’ve been digging through the jungles of Southeast Asia for the better part of four decades, trying to make good on that promise for the men we left there. We’ve spared no expense to return home little more than tiny moldering pieces of bone. Some of those dead men were heroes, some were hardened professionals, and some were just soldiers doing their duty, who came when called and who did their best to survive a horrible conflict they couldn’t understand and wanted no part of. Some were steadfast and some were cowards and some were fools. But they were, each and every one, ours. And we have done our best to bring them home.
And what? We should do any less for Sgt. Bergdahl?
The staggering hypocrisy of this becomes immediately apparent when you realize that the very same folks who would grant an unconditional pardon to the traitorous Edward Snowden, a man who provably and self-admittedly gave aid and comfort to our adversaries during time of war and who continues to do so to this very day, these same people would proclaim Snowden a hero and leave Bergdahl to die unlamented in a Taliban cave – solely because they despise Barack Obama and for no other reason.
For the last two years, these very same people have been screaming for Obama’s impeachment, because the President ordered the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American who publicly renounced his citizenship, declared his allegiance to our sworn enemies, and who then actively took up arms against the United States and loudly encouraged others to do so as well. These same people would sacrifice untold numbers of American soldiers to capture a self-declared terrorist and give him a trial because they simply cannot and will not acknowledge that the president did the right thing, but these very same people would condemn Bergdahl and leave him to rot in Afghanistan without so much as an Article 32 hearing, solely to further their blind hatred of Barack Obama.
For the last eighteen months these very same people have been screaming for Obama’s impeachment. Impeachment? Hell, some of these silly sons of bitches, including sitting members of Congress and members of the military, have marched on the White House demanding the actual overthrow of the United States government and the imprisonment or death of the President, because four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya. They are outraged, outraged beyond logic, beyond prudence, beyond reason, because they believe Obama didn’t do absolutely everything possible up to and including an armed military invasion to save those men. But these same people, these very same people, would leave an American soldier to die at the hands of the Taliban and they refuse to cheer his safe return, solely because they hate Barack Obama beyond all rational bounds and they will not allow this administration any victory no matter how small – even when they themselves have been condemning Obama for leaving an American serviceman in the hands of our enemies.
For them, Bergdahl be he a captive or a free man, is nothing more just another way to attack the president and they can spin their hypocrisy in any fashion necessary.
They are angered by Bowe Bergdahl’s release, because they say we don’t negotiate with terrorists.
But what they conveniently fail to mention are those pictures of Cheney and Rumsfeld with Saddam Hussein, back when we were giving the murderous Iraqi despot money and guns in his war against Iran and which he later used to invade Kuwait. Or that part where we armed Osama bin Laden with Stinger missiles and all the guns he and the Mujahidin could carry into Afghanistan. Or that part where these people’s beloved patron saint, one Ronald Reagan, sold arms to our mortal enemies in Iran, a nation the US Congress and that very same President had publicly labeled a terrorist state, the very same terrorist rat bastards who took our entire embassy staff hostage and held them for over a year. Or that part where that very same administration took the profits from that arms deal with terrorists and used it to finance still more terrorists in the jungles of Central America. And the really, really amusing part is that the same people who are right now shouting “we don’t negotiate with terrorists!” are some of the very same people, name for name, who were personally negotiating with terrorists in Iran, in Iraq, in Libya, in Afghanistan, in Colombia, in Nicaragua, in Somalia, and in Beirut.
We don’t negotiate with terrorists?
Jesus Haploid Christ, we do business with terrorists on a daily basis and have all the way back to WWII when we contracted with the Mafia to run arms into occupied Sicily.
We don’t negotiate with terrorists, what a fucking joke.
Answer me a question, if we can sell arms to terrorists, to our own enemies, then you tell me why we can’t negotiate with those same terrorists for the return of our own people.
If our people aren’t worth it, if they aren’t worth more than the value we place on arm sales and political maneuvering, then you go right on and tell me what all the shouting is about over Benghazi. Go on, I’ll wait.
If our people aren’t worth four or five terrorists sitting in a Gitmo prison cell, then you tell me why we’ve spent the last twelve years in two wars, why we traded the lives of six thousand servicemen and why we killed hundreds of thousands Iraqis and Afghans to avenge three thousand Americans. Go on, tell me why it was okay for the previous administration take a hundred enemy lives for every one of ours, but it’s not acceptable for the current administration to trade five terrorists for the life of one American soldier – especially when we gave six American lives as a down payment looking for him after his disappearance. Why were the Americans who died on 911 any more valuable than Bowe Bergdahl?
And if Bergdahl is guilty of desertion, then don’t we owe it to those six dead soldiers to bring him home and make him account for his cowardice?
These people are so eaten up with hatred, their souls are so corrupted by their poisonous worldview, that instead of satisfaction at the return of their fellow countryman they feel only loathing – because they simply cannot stand to see Obama with a joyous Jani and Bob Bergdahl, announcing the safe repatriation of their son.
The staggering hypocrisy of John McCain continues unabated, the man is a disgrace to the uniform he once wore and the honor he swore to uphold. McCain, more than any other living American, should know what it’s like when governments value politics over their own citizens. Navy Lieutenant John McCain, if he still exists inside that wretched bitter old man, that John McCain more than any other should remember what it’s like to come home as a POW under a cloud of doubt and suspicion. But Vietnam was a long, long time ago and John McCain is a rich man now and more than willing to condemn others for his own sins.
Ted Cruz, a man who wants to be President of the United States, who wants to be the Commander in Chief, is the very epitome of these intractable sons of bitches. No other American embodies every horrible facet of the moral bankruptcy that is this corrupt selfish philosophy – unless it’s his father, the turd-blossom didn’t fall far from the horse’s ass in the Cruz family.
Cruz said, “What does this tell the terrorists? That if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists?”
Cruz went on to say the prisoner swap was “very disturbing.”
What does it tell the terrorists?
This, this right here, is where we as a nation, need to say no more.
We need to stand up and say we’ve had enough. That not only are we sick and tired of being afraid of terrorists, but we’re even more tired of listening to the fearful cries of the other terrorists, the ones who practice being terrified as a political philosophy.
This madness, this crippling unreasoning fear, must be dragged into the heat of the sun and cauterized, before it kills us all.
What does it tell the terrorists?
Fourteen years we’ve been killing these cockroaches, we’ve killed thousands of them, we’ve killed their families, we’ve destroyed their country, we rooted them out of their strongholds, we hunted down their leader and shot him in the head and dumped his body into the sea.
And for what? So we can still be afraid?
All of this, all of these lost lives, all of the terrible terrible cost, all is for naught because we were willing to trade prisoners, because we’re the kind of people who would care enough about our own to want him back? Is that it?
What the hell have we been fighting for?
What were all those lives traded for?
If we can’t bring one American home alive.
Why do we have the mightiest military in the world? In the history of the world, if we have to live in fear of what the goddamned terrorists think?
If we have to live in terror all of the time.
If we can’t even go to the goddamned grocery store without a gun?
Here’s the really disturbing question: What does Ted Cruz’s statement tell the US Military?What does it tell the terrorists? Who cares. The real question is what does it tell America?
That under a Tea Party administration if you’re captured by terrorists, well fuck you, Soldier. We don’t negotiate with terrorists. Our vaunted principles, our inflexible ideology, our unbending politics and our sound-bite simple-minded doctrine is worth more than your life. We don’t negotiate with terrorists (even though we really do, don’t we? Pretty much all of the time). Besides, you’re probably a traitor anyway.
Think about that.
Think about it real hard.
Think about it real hard, especially if you’re the parent of a soldier-age son or daughter.
And then be glad, goddamned glad, that you have a president who was willing to do what it takes to get Bowe Bergdahl home.
Dead or alive, we get our people home, whatever the cost, that’s the one promise that must never be broken.
The day we forget that, the day the fear of “what will the terrorists think” becomes more important to us than that sacred obligation, that’sthe day America dies.
Whether or not Bowe Bergdahl is a hero or a deserter or just a hapless fool who screwed up under the enormous pressures of war, he’s still an American.
He’s one of ours and and there’s only one thing to say:
Welcome home, Soldier.
reposted from Stonekettle Station