Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, June 6th, 2014.


What’s the Difference Between Today’s GOP and a Bunch of 5th Grade Playground Bullies?

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Obama Administration, Republican Party

No real difference. It’s all about piling on the kid they don’t like, just because.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at one point during his captivity converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a “mujahid,” or warrior for Islam, according to secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account and obtained by Fox News.

Wow, that sourcing is solid as a rock, right? But just for fun, let’s entertain the possibility that Fox News is reporting facts. Then let’s entertain the possibility that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was humoring his captors any way he could so that they wouldn’t cut his bleeping head off. Same thing with his father, with the tweets and the beard. Would not most parents do such things to save the life of a child?

From now on, our troops sent into war will need to understand that we leave no one behind — unless you are odd and unpopular, or unless some political and media hacks, most of whom never wore a uniform, decide it’s politically useful to grandstand on your ass. Then, you’re on your own.

And don’t assume that some politician who made noises about bringing you home actually meant what he said.

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.

The last few days have made clearer than ever that there is no action the Obama administration can take — not even the release of a possibly troubled American soldier from captivity — that cannot be used for political purposes by his opponents.

In the case of former POW McCain, let’s just say there’s something very weird lurking in that balding head of his. There have long been rumors he corroborated with the North Vietnamese while in captivity, and I’ve long taken the position that none of us can know what we might do in that circumstance, and rumors tend to be inaccurate, so just lay off. But back in 2010, Sydney Schanberg at The American Conservative pointed out that something odd was going on with McCain

John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.

Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain’s role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain’s military service the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn’t talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.

The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a special forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington—and even sworn testimony by two Defense secretaries that “men were left behind.” This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number—the documents indicate probably hundreds—of the U.S. prisoners held by Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.

Maybe Grandpa McCain should just butt out now.

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