Sarah Palin, Fox News and the GOP have displayed truly stunning hypocrisy by politicizing the prisoner exchange that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after five years as a prisoner of the Taliban and attacking Bergdahl himself as a traitor. They've even attacked his family.
|Sarah Palin has attacked Bowe Bergdalh personally yet again
Hiding behind her Facebook page, Sarah Palin again slagged Sgt. Bowe Bergdalh, this time for having difficulties speaking English after not hearing a word of English during the five years he was held as a POW by the Taliban in Afghanistan. She suggested he use Rosetta Stone and learn to speak "KickAss." I refuse to link to Palin's page or promote her hash tag directly, but HuffPo has the story, including quotes from Palin's ridiculous hypocritical attack.
“Sympathizers now tell the media Bergdahl can't be held to account anytime soon because he can't be interviewed ... claiming he's forgotten how to speak English. Really?” Palin asked in a Facebook post Wednesday. “Then # Call 1-800-RosettaStone.”Palin, and much of the GOP, have already convicted Bowe Bergdahl of disloyalty and desertion at the least and treason at the worst, despite the fact that not one of them knows the true circumstances of his disappearance or what he might or might not have said while a prisoner or whether any statements he made were a result of torture and the threat of death, tactics the Taliban is known to commonly use on prisoners and threats backed up by grisly executions, beheading is their preferred method, posted to YouTube. Some, including Fox contributors Ann Coulter and Ralph Peters, have even suggested that Bergdahl should be executed, though only one American has been executed for desertion since the Civil War.
|Bob and Jani Bergdahl
The attacks don't stop with Sgt. Bergdahl. Fox News bashed Bowe's father, Robert Bergdahl, as well. Bill O'Reilly, Brian Kilmeade and other Foxers slammed the senior Bergdahl, saying that because of his long beard, "he looks like a Muslim." In fact, Robert Bergdahl and Bowe's mother Jani are conservative devout Christians who home schooled Bowe and his sister Sky. As a sign of solidarity with his imprisoned son, Robert Bergdahl swore to not shave until his son was returned to him, and for five years he kept that promise. For this patriotic act of honor the idiots at Fox have attacked him for purely partisan political reasons. The Fox Fux have so inflamed the GOP base that the Bergdahl family has received multiple death threats which the FBI is taking seriously...
William Facer, a spokesman for the FBI's Salt Lake City division, said Saturday in a statement: "The FBI continues to monitor the situation in Hailey, Idaho. We are working jointly with our state and local partners and taking each threat seriously."Not to mention the hypocrisy of these guys with long beards lauded as GOP heroes...
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It's not at all unusual for US POWs to be forced into making declarations of disloyalty. In fact, it's common. The military understand this. However, McCain's fellow POWs were particularity upset with McCain's actions. In his autobiography, McCain himself admits telling his VC captors soon after capture, "I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital." He did give valuable information and was taken to the hospital. The VC didn't know they had captured the son of the highest ranking Naval officer in Asia, Admiral John S. McCain, Sr. commander of Air Forces for Western Sea Frontier and the South Pacific Force, until McCain told them soon after his capture, in a bid to get special treatment. It worked. Unlike most American POWs, McCain did not endure years of torture at the hands of the VC. After that the VC referred to McCain as the "crown prince" of POWs and gave him special treatment while other POWs were tortured for years.
Phil Butler, who had known McCain since their Naval Academy days, says of him, "John allows the media to make him out to be the hero POW, which he knows is absolutely not true, to further his political goals." Air Force lieutenant colonel John Dramesi, a highly respected career officer who was imprisoned with McCain says of him, This business of my country before my life? Well, he (McCain) had that opportunity and failed miserably." Contrast McCain's behavior in captivity with real heroes like former GOP Senator Jerimiah Denton (R-AL), also a POW in Vitenam, famously blinked his eyes in Morse code during a forced admission recorded by the VC, spelling out "Torture." It is because of the valor of so many compared with the cowardice of McCain that so many former Vietnam POWs despise the man.
The GOP hypocrisy in this case, and particularly the nonsensical ranting of Sarah Plain and the stunning hypocrisy of John McCain, is obscene. America has always done whatever it takes to get back American POWs. Never has the alleged conduct of a POW been a consideration in repatriation. The credo for American troops is "Leave no man behind." Apparently the GOP would like to change this credo to "Leave no man behind, unless Barack Obama has secured his rescue, in which case, screw the disloyal traitor. Let him rot in a Taliban prison." McCain's hypocrisy is even more extreme. Not only was John McCain himself released as part of a prisoner exchange, but just a few months ago when asked about this specific hostage trade deal, trading five Taliban commanders for Bowe Bergdahl, he told CNN's Anderson Cooper...
“Obviously I’d have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing [Bergdahl] home, and if exchange was one of them, I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider."McCain, who's political career is littered with flip-flops of political expediency, claims his statement then and his condemnation now of the very same deal he previously supported are somehow perfectly consistent.
One final note. The one and only claim the GOP is making that has any merit is that Barack Obama did not notify them before negotiating a deal for Bergdahl's release, but even this claim is dubious. Putting aside the fact that this deal was widely reported in the media in 2012, senior Republicans, who now claim they were blindsided, knew about this specific deal as far back as 2011...
If there is any one power on which the President of the United States stands on firm constitutional ground, it is the power of the Commander in Chief of all armed forces. The law requiring the president to inform Congress of any prisoner swap 20 days in advance is prima facia unconstitutional, and Obama said so in a singing statement at the time he signed the bill. The Constitution the GOP claims to love also specifically authorizes the president, and not Congress, to conduct foreign policy. The GOP sponsored law and the subsequent squealing is nothing more than smoke and mirrors to obscure a naked unconstitutional power grab.
Obama administration officials first discussed with senior House Republicans the possibility of swapping five terrorism detainees from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in late November 2011, according to senior GOP aides.
The possible prisoner exchange was discussed again during a briefing on Jan. 31, 2012, after senior House Republicans sent two letters to the Obama administration seeking more information on the possibility of the swap, said the aides, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter....the details of the Bergdahl prisoner exchange, including the release of five specific Taliban commanders, have been public since the spring of 2012.
Late last year, State Department negotiators put together a tentative deal in which five Taliban prisoners would be transferred from Cuba to house arrest in Qatar, where their families could join them. The administration discussed this specific deal with senior Republicans in Congress for YEARS. They moved when they did because the most recent video released by the Taliban showed a gaunt Bergdahl in obvious medical difficulty and a delay might have proved fatal.
|Still from the most recent Taliban video shows a gaunt, unhealthy Bergdahl
Update: A retired Marine Corps officer tells me that it's highly unlikely that Bowe Bergdahl will ever face a court martial. Men who have served as POWs are almost never prosecuted. There will be an investigation, but almost certainly no court martial.