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June 06, 2014

New York Times Editorial Board: Republican Psychopaths are Smearing Bowe Bergdahl

Of course.

The Rush to Demonize Sgt. Bergdahl

Four months ago, Senator John McCain said he would support the exchange of five hard-core Taliban leaders for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. "I would support," he told CNN. "Obviously I’d have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing him home and if exchange was one of them I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider."

But the instant the Obama administration actually made that trade, Mr. McCain, as he has so often in the past, switched positions for maximum political advantage. "I would not have made this deal," he said a few days ago. Suddenly the prisoner exchange is "troubling" and "poses a great threat" to service members. Hearings must be held, he said, and sharp questions asked.

This hypocrisy now pervades the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and has even infected several fearful Democrats. When they could use Sergeant Bergdahl's captivity as a cudgel against the administration, they eagerly did so, loudly and in great numbers. And the moment they could use his release to make President Obama look weak on terrorism or simply incompetent, they reversed direction without a moment’s hesitation to jump aboard the new bandwagon.

Let me explain this to the New York Times:

We now know what had long been rumored, that Bergdahl's platoon-mates were certain he had deserted.

The confirmation is new -- their speaking out publicly is new -- but the rumors that they believed this are not.

These rumors appeared in the comments at this blog long ago, in 2009 or 2010. They had appeared on milblog comments boards. (They probably were published in the main posts of milblogs, too.)

Most people didn't say anything then for reasons that should be obvious to the New York Times: Because we didn't feel we should say anything negative about a soldier held in enemy hands based on second-hand rumors.

We didn't know if it was true or not, and we didn't wish to jeopardize Bergdahl. I think this will be the Army's reason for ordering people to sign non-disclosure agreements: Because if it got out that Bergdahl was a deserter, and thus of very low value as a hostage,* they might just kill him.

Thus, prior to this, while people had heard these things (and tended to believe them), they were unwilling to publicly state that Bergdahl seems to have laid down his armor and his weapon and gone traipsing off into the Afghan wilds with just a compass and a knowing smile.

The Obama Administration, on the other hand, had all of these facts at its disposal. They knew the truth of things.

It is one thing for people to remain silent about an allegation they don't know is true, out of simple human decency and human modesty about knowing that rumors is true.

It is another thing to use my silence -- or McCain's silence, or any other person who'd heard the rumors but chose to keep mum about them -- as a post-facto justification for the Obama Adminstration's lies about the matter.

Because McCain kept silent when this was still officially Top Secret, are we now required to continue pretending, forever, that a fiction created to protect Bergdahl is true?

And are we further required to act as if it's true, as far as giving up important Taliban terrorists in exchange for a deserter?

The New York Times' position is this: You pretended along with the lie to spare Bergdahl's life for five years; now that he's in safe American hands, you must continue pretending along with the lie to spare Obama's political standing.

There was no "rush" to demonize "Sgt." Bergdahl,** New York Times. People kept silent about things they knew to be true (in the case of Bergdahl's platoonmates and Army senior commanders) for five years, and people kept silent about things they heard and believed to be true (in the case of people who'd read most of this stuff, in less conclusive form, in the form of heard-it-from-people-in-Bergdahl's-company rumors).

Now, having held still our tongues for five years, people at long last tell a five-year old truth, and the New York Times claims it's a "rush" to demonize him?

And a classified military report shows that Sergeant Bergdahl had walked away from assigned areas at least twice before and had returned, according to a report in The Times on Thursday. It describes him as a free-spirited young man who asked many questions but gave no indication of being a deserter, let alone the turncoat that Mr. Obama’s opponents are now trying to create.

This is, get this, a lie. Let the Weekly Standard inform you of the New York Times' shabby, partisan lies:

Now the Times article summarizing the classified report about Bergdahl -- the article the editorial is basing its conclusions on -- actually says this about the report's conclusions: "It stops short of concluding that there is solid evidence that Sergeant Bergdahl intended to permanently desert." There is a huge semantic difference between stopping short of providing solid evidence he was a deserter and saying Bergdahl "gave no indication of being a deserter." The report being referenced was also written two months after Bergdahl's dissapearence. Certainly, new facts have come to light since then. This report, while an important piece of the puzzle, might present an incomplete picture.

Now, this is the most egregious part of the Times defense of Bergdahl -- and make no mistake, this is not a defense of Bergdahl. It is, as is everything the partisan tabloid the New York Times does, a defense of Obama.

You know who's to blame for Bergdahl deserting his fellow soldiers while on guard duty?

Bergdahl's fellow soldiers are, that's who. See, while Bergdahl was on guard duty, his fellow soldiers should have been guarding him. Per the New York Times:

If anything, the report suggests that the army unit's lack of security and discipline*** was as much to blame for the disappearance, given the sergeant's history.

Given the "sergeant's" history of deserting, the unit should have been guarding him while Bergdhal was on guard duty.

They shouldn't ever have left him unwatched, the New York Times has pronounced.

How dare these bastards sleep while Bergdahl's on guard duty, rather than guarding their "free-spirited," free-roaming guard.

This is incredible -- the New York Times claims that there is "no indication" that Bergdahl deserted, and that his unit is just as responsible for letting him desert, given his history -- his very history of serial desertion!

By the way, the New York Times hasn't even read this report they claim to faithfully digest. They draw out the conclusion that the unit might have been more responsible for Bergdahl's desertion than Bergdahl himself, but the New York Times reporter who heard a paraphrase of the report gives "no indications" of such a claim himself:

It is said...

It is said? Said by whom? An Obama mouthpiece?

..to confirm certain other details relayed in recent accounts, including that Sergeant Bergdahl shipped his computer and a journal home before he disappeared. It also confirms that he left behind his body armor and weapon — an unwieldy SAW machine gun — taking with him water, knives and a compass.

The report speculates that he most likely left in darkness after the moon had set, following one of two possible routes through the concertina wire.

While much of the report is said to focus on disciplinary problems in his unit and a lack of accountability in its chain of command, it is also said to portray Sergeant Bergdahl as a free-spirited young man who read martial-arts books, drank tea with Afghan soldiers from whom he tried to pick up Pashto phrases, and maintained a collection of throwing stars and knives, which it documents in detail.

How does that "suggest" that Berdgah's platoonmates are more responsible for his desertion than Bergdahl?

And now the hell can you take that as giving "no indication" of desertion? The guy trekked out in the moonlight with nothing but a compass, a knife, and a canteen, mazing his way through concertina wire to get out.

To the New York Times, this is "no indication" of a desertion.


And all this from a report they have not even read, but merely heard a version of from a source!

Good God Almighty -- talk about Swift-Boating.****


* Little did the Taliban know that Bergdahl's desertion made him in the view of Obama and the New York Times one of the "few good ones" in the Army, and thus as a very high value hostage.

** As "Sgt." Bergdahl was promoted in captivity -- a captivity of his own creation -- to maintain the ruse that he wasn't a deserter, it is wrong to call him "Sergeant."


*** Let me suggest that if the Army wanted these guys to shut up -- which they clearly did -- they way to do that is to document all their minor screw-ups and threaten them that if they talk, they'll charge them for bullshit that no one ever gets charged with.

And if that sounds unlikely, see the post below, in which VA whistleblowers were written up, reassigned, and suspended for reporting the truth.

Now, in this particular situation, the Army might have a good excuse for such hypothetical bullying the platoonmates -- "We were trying to protect Bergdahl's life."

But unlike the New York Times, eager to take any half-baked rumor as proof that Bergdahl's platoonmates are psychopaths, I'm not taking the Army's word on vague "accountability and disciplinary" problems in the unit.

If you want to stop someone from speaking the truth, you have to cook up some kind of threat to silence them.

Again: See the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Happens every single day in the American government. Every single goddamn day.

**** Note well the New York Times is attempting to highroad Bergdahl's platoonmates, by claiming that to report on Bergdahl is a "rush to demonization."

And yet the New York Times spares no time whatsoever in claiming that a report they haven't read proves that the platoonmates are themselves Demons.


digg this
posted by Ace at 03:50 PM

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