What He Said

Here’s an excellent rant from another vet who is just shocked at people being pissed we brought home a POW. Well worth the read.

Also, at least the Brass remembers a thing or two:

Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said that there was a larger matter at play: The American military does not leave soldiers behind. “When you’re in the Navy, and you go overboard, it doesn’t matter if you were pushed, fell or jumped,” he said. “We’re going to turn the ship around and pick you up.”


82 replies
  1. 1
    Chris says:

    Having just read my asshole/wingnut/ex-peacetime-Army relative bitch on social media about how prisoner swaps are always bad and it’s awful that we sacrificed five people for a deserter, I can only say it’s good to read from all the veterans who aren’t on the asshole bandwagon.

  2. 2
    The Pale Scot says:

    Chief Wright Rocks;

    Stonekettle should definitely be on the BJ blogroll, his Xmas travelogue is epic

    But Aside From That, Mrs. Lincoln…

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    Well, that’s gonna sting:

    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.

  4. 4
    piratedan says:

    @The Pale Scot: he sure as hell could replace Larison and this place would be better for it. He has the righteous rant down to an art form.

  5. 5
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    Speaking of people saying the dumbest things about our bringing Bergdahl home, look at who Rand Paul went a pallin’ around with:


    Jackson then discussed Obama’s announcement of the release of Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier captured in Afghanistan. He said that the president “could not help but smile” when Bergdahl’s father, Robert, said “allahu akbar—or whatever it is they say” at the press conference.

    Jackson continued: “I have been roundly criticized for saying the president has Muslim sensibilities. That’s not my statement—that’s just a statement of fact…In this situation you would think he would have restrained himself. But he could not help but smile when that man said ‘Praise be to Allah.'”

    (Bergdahl actually said “Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim,” which translates to “in the name of Allah, most compassionate, most merciful.”)

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    but solely because they hate the president.

    This, right here, is the absolute truth.

    None of this would be happening if President McCain or President Romney cut the deal to set SGT Bergdahl free. But the near sheriff? Well, that’s another matter entirely.

    My hatred for these vile creatures is now exceeding that of 100Kiloburningsuns, with no sign of not increasing to several orders of magnitude higher.

  7. 7
    mike with a mic says:

    Hell they’ll even turn a carrier around wake up the rescue swimmers if Oscar jumps, and that rat bastard always jumps!

    (Inside joke Oscar is what you call the rescue dummy and you cause all hell break to loose if you throw him overboard because everything stops and they have to get him. Repeatedly throwing Oscar overboard is very funny.)

  8. 8
    KG says:

    @Chris: what I don’t get is how they don’t understand that POWs are supposed to be released at some point. That’s how it works traditionally, we released German, Japanese, and Italian POWs after WWII because that’s how it has worked historically – it’s called customary international law.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    God is great. Don’t say it in Arabic, though, or you’re an atheist.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    That’s the kind of thing that makes me channel John Oliver: You realize the rest of us can hear you, right?

  11. 11
    Scotius says:

    Anybody else getting a Terry Schiavo vibe from all this? I really can’t imagine too many regualr Americans getting too worked up over how an American POW got returned. I just remember Tom Delay calling a man a scumbag who was trying to deal with his brain dead wife.

  12. 12
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I have to say that Rand Paul has a positive genius for stepping on rakes. E.W. Jackson is a kook’s kook, even by GOP standards and yet there’s Rand Paul trotting along beside him with a hopeful expression, like a chihuahua waiting for a truck to chase.

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    Just look at what Kelly Ayotte did: a few months ago, “WE MUST rescue him at all costs!” and then right after the President does so, “NATIONAL TRAGEDY!!”

    Take it away, cleek.

  14. 14
    RaflW says:

    I hope that vets are getting the message loud and clear: you are, yet again, completely disposable in the GOP win-this-minute, fuck-the-future (and the past) re-election strategy.

  15. 15
    Cacti says:

    Speaking of Republican fail…

    Gay group GoProud is shutting down after 5 years.

    I guess they just couldn’t find common ground with a party that hates them for existing.

  16. 16
    BGinCHI says:

    I hope Rachel Maddow does a piece on how Fox News has been saying that Bergdahl’s father “looks like the Taliban.”

    Because there it is, right there. “Looks like.” That is the definition of prejudice and the gateway to racism.

    The right never progresses. Now I wonder why that might be.

  17. 17
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:


    I imagine that only the usual crazies will be impressed by the GOP’s howling. Most of the country will just be glad we got an American soldier back. Of course, the worst thing about this is even if Bergdahl is found not guilty of desertion, the GOP is committed to vilifying him for the rest of his life, rather than admitting they went after a soldier just to attack the president.

  18. 18
    LanceThruster says:

    In “The Thin Red Line,” they specifically didn’t go back for the soldier that went over the side IIRC.

  19. 19
    RaflW says:

    McCain’s appearance from Feb in which he endorsed 5:1 exchange for Bergdahl http://bit.ly/1pPRy1S Spox now says he’s troubled by details

    Damn wayback machine.

  20. 20
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Scotius: I’m getting a BENGHAZI vibe from it

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    That rant is more angry sergeant major that chief warrant officer, but it is dead on. Like Cole said, “What he said.”

  22. 22
    Calouste says:


    I’m pretty sure it’s codified under the Geneva Convention.

    But yeah, the US is pulling out of Afghanistan, release the Afghans in Gitmo back to Afghanistan and let Karzai deal with them. He can lock them up over there if he wants to. I’m pretty sure there is precedent from WWII about how POWs from occupied countries that joint the Axis forces were dealt with, which would be a somewhat comparable situation.

  23. 23
    BGinCHI says:

    @SatanicPanic: The letters are almost the same. Small minds think alike.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SatanicPanic: Well, it’s sort of a melding of the two.

    The true believers will embrace it, but everyone else, the vast majority of Americans, are retching right now.

    The wingtards have allowed their hatred of the near sheriff to override their own survival instinct. They’re that gone.

  25. 25
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:


    There’s really no depth to which that pathetic old fraud won’t sink. Hell, in John McCain you have someone who was a serial adulterer, dumped his badly ill wife to chase a younger woman, sang for the VietCong, was caught kneedeep in the Keating corruption scandal – and this hypocritical old piece of dung has the nerve to stand up in public and lecture other people on how they are doing it wrong?

  26. 26
    RaflW says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): Yep. And his parents will be f*d, too.

    I wonder how this is all playing in their small Idaho town? Pretty much bedrock GOP territory. Are they looking at the Bergdahls as “not who we thought they were” or does that go to the GOP, or is their cognitive dissonance detector set at minus infinity?

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): It is a glorious rant, too. You need a senior noncom for those sorts of rants, and they’re delivered with panache.

  28. 28
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @BGinCHI: we have always been at war with Eastasia. We have never been at war with Eurasia.

  29. 29
    Cacti says:

    I see that NoiseMax is showing the right wing’s usual level of self-awareness, and invited Oliver North to comment on the propriety of the Bergdahl prisoner exchange.

  30. 30
    RaflW says:

    @Cacti: Nahh, they just can’t find any gay Republicans who are proud.

  31. 31
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:


    I would guess that most people are just happy to see the local boy come home – and they might not appreciate the GOP scum trying to paint him as a deserter or traitor.

  32. 32
    Trollhattan says:

    @mike with a mic:
    How many miles does it take to turn around a dang carrier, considering it’s about a fifth of a mile long to begin with? (Feel free to answer in whichever type of miles is most appropriate when discussing large, floating things.) Those drills must be endless laughs.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cacti: I have known a lot of combat Marines who have nothing, nothing but contempt for Oliver North.

  34. 34
    different-church-lady says:

    C’mon you fuckers: impeach him for bringing a US serviceman home. Do it. I double dog dare you. It will be delicious. Doooooooo eeeeet!

  35. 35
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:


    Will you buy a coffin for satire or shall I?

  36. 36
    RaflW says:

    @Trollhattan: I’d guess they launch a helicopter ASAP.

  37. 37
    Citizen_X says:

    @Cacti: Did he say “We don’t deal with terrorists”? Is that why all get irony meters on the country exploded?

  38. 38
    Russ says:

    My opinion of what Obama did is not changed because some people hate what the black guy did.

  39. 39
    KG says:

    @Calouste: yeah, I mean, I could understand if you were going to treat terrorists as pirates under international law and actually, you know, prosecute them… but we’re too fucking scurred to do that, so might as well release them back in Afghanistan and let them shit in Karzi’s cheerios.

  40. 40
    different-church-lady says:

    @different-church-lady: And make sure you do it BEFORE the midterms. C’mon, let your freak flags fly. GET YOUR IMPEACHMENT ON!

  41. 41

    Interesting contention made here that we’d have to let the gitmo prisoners out in short order due to getting out of Afghanistan.

  42. 42
    dmsilev says:

    @Cacti: He is admittedly an expert in giving things to “terrorists” in exchange for American hostages/prisoners. Maybe Obama should have sent a cake as well.

  43. 43
    BGinCHI says:

    Wasn’t the whole damn surge in Iraq based on dealing with elements of the enemy?

    What am I missing?

  44. 44
    The Pale Scot says:

    @LanceThruster: I’d guess that depends on the threat, the Wasp got torpedoed around that time in those waters.

  45. 45
    mike with a mic says:


    Pretty much. They hit the alarm “man overboard man overboard all hands report to your stations” at which point people come bolting out of showers half (or more!) naked with shaving cream falling, tits bouncing, flip flops flying to their station. Of the more “properly dressed” a good portion are half asleep, some people are still in gym clothes.

    While they are taking a full muster of the crew (takes a long fucking time) the ship starts tacking (making zig zags to drop speed) and launch air assets with rescue swimmers to go get Oscar. It’s a giant mess.

    Best part is the wait. A carrier with full crew, flag staff, intel, air wing, SEAL, EOD, medical, and various civilians is a huge staff. Wait till they do one of the (mandatory) full staff drills, once that shit show is over wait 20 mins so everyone is back eating, showering, shitting, sleeping, then toss Oscar and watch the chaos.

    Though I wouldn’t advise getting caught doing it, but it’s great fun if you want to spread some misery around!

  46. 46
    Bill Arnold says:

    Only tangentially related, a short story A Colder War (C Stross) is very loosely an alt-history involving Oliver North, who has a larger portfolio of ops than simply arms for hostages.
    (inquisition of dark-suited congressmen, questioning a character who worked with North): “So you’re saying we’ve got a, a Shoggoth gap? A strategic chink in our armour?”

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    There’s also the difference between risking your neck in the midst of battle to drag someone back to your lines and doing a prisoner exchange. The Thin Red Line example would only make sense as a comparison if the guy had been imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp and the brass refused to take him back because he had run away.

  48. 48
    Kay says:


    It is interesting.

    In my view, the U.S. would not be able to hold them forever. Indeed, it is likely that the U.S. would be required, as a matter of international law, to release them shortly after the end of 2014, when U.S. combat operations cease in Afghanistan. The Administration appears to have reached a defensible, hold-your-nose compromise by arranging, in exchange for the release of Sergeant Bergdahl, for the individuals to be held in Qatar for a year before they return to Afghanistan.

    Not that it matters. From what I heard on cable today, this debate will be conducted wholly on emotional grounds. How does this make us feel? Scared or sad or angry. One of those three.

  49. 49
    AliceBlue says:

    According to a story on TPM, Dianne Feinstein has joined the “we weren’t consulted!” pile-on.

    This just keeps getting better and better.

  50. 50

    @Kay: I’d cut out sadness and just say fear and anger are the only two emotions they’re capable of.

    If that guy is right, it’s a hell of a deal. Getting something instead of getting nothing.

  51. 51
    kindness says:

    I think the Allen Wests & Ted Cruzs of the world just like running around with a load of shit in their pants. They shit their pants over everything.

    Hate to be their help.

  52. 52
    Calouste says:


    I thought that at least some of the prisoners in Gitmo were held in a status similar to PoW, which the Geneva Convention more or less allows for as long as they are considered combatants even if they don’t have formal ranks etc. (but IANAL etc.). If they are held as a PoW, they can’t be prosecuted except for war crimes (and shooting/bombing/whatever American soldiers is not a war crime, however much American exceptionalism wants it to be), and must be released at the end of the conflict.

  53. 53
    ralphb says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    “I have known a lot of combat Marines who have nothing, nothing but contempt for Oliver North.”

    Now you found another. There are Boy Scouts who’ve had more mud on their boots than that garrison asshat!

  54. 54
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Mnemosyne: I took “that went over the side” as meaning someone went over the side of the transport ship in the waters off Guadalcanal, which had a healthy population of IJN submarines at that time.

    Not “went over to the other side”, I haven’t seen the movie.

  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    Boehner: Leaders told 2 years ago of possible swap

    Top members of Congress were briefed more than two years ago about the possibility of exchanging an American soldier held captive by the Taliban for five terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday.

    In a statement, Boehner said lawmakers raised serious concerns that were never satisfactorily answered about the potential swap involving Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and received assurances from the Obama administration that if a deal were more likely, Congress would be contacted


  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I don’t remember any shipboard scenes.

    Of course, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep at one point, so I could have missed something. I am Not A Fan of Malick.

  57. 57
    skerry says:

    Oliver North’s question of the day was, “Did the government of the United States, either directly or indirectly, finance a terrorist organization?”

    He was talking about Bergdahl. He seems to have forgotten his role in Iran Contra.

  58. 58
    Drunken hausfrau says:

    Love Stonekettle. Rant of all rants.

  59. 59
    LanceThruster says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    Thanks. I wondered why one of the trailing vessels was not dispatched. It was an eerie scene. Gave me chills.

  60. 60
    LanceThruster says:


    Speaking of…here is some ear candy from Malick’s film that gives this old atheist chills.

  61. 61
    Liquid says:

    Christ. Tweety is losing his fucking mind over this prisoner transfer.

  62. 62
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Liquid: can you lose what you don’t have?

  63. 63
    soprano2 says:

    Wow, that’s gonna leave a mark.

  64. 64

    Please we need to remind folks of Jessica Lynch and the “movie” of her rescue. Pat Tillman hero until he too became “disillusioned”. Stop being on the defense and start being offense. How many signing statements by Bush? Did Reagan deal with terrorists? Hell, there are probably numerous photos of Reagan, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld meeting and dealing with terrorists (Noriega, Saddam Hussein). Now the father is an “other” because of his beard and speaking “muslim”. Look how their concerted effort has made and American POW into an political football. We do not leave our troops behind. Period.

  65. 65
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Calouste: yes. They are not POWs. Pretending that they are is hopeful, but naive. I may want them to be POWs, but the purpose of their detention has been to torture them. That is why they are there. To pretend that Guantanamo was set up like any POW camp is a nice fiction.

  66. 66
    gbear says:

    I spent 8 hours in a car driving back and forth from a meeting today so I spent a lot of time flipping through radio stations. Every freaking time it landed on an NPR program, somebody was bitching either about how Obama mishandled getting Bergdahl back or else warning about how Bergdahl may be facing charges of desertion and causing the death of other soldiers. Every fricking time, I hit the scan button again. I hadn’t listened to All Things Considered for a long time and now I remember why. Christ, it sucked.

    I will say that all of the local MN-PR stuff that I was landing on was great. I’m a member because of the local stuff, and I have to just ignore the crap coming out of the village on NPR.

  67. 67
    J says:

    @KG: Even the Soviets released German POWs.

  68. 68
    TomG says:

    I just have one simple question: Aside from the soldiers who were in his unit, how many of the people who are frothing mad about this served in the armed forces?
    I agree with the general sentiment – we always bring our soldiers home, and if they are accused of a crime, we try them in a miilitary court BEFORE declaring them deserters, or criminals, or what have you.

    (I did not serve, but tried to volunteer for the Air Force and was rejected due to really poor eyesight.)

  69. 69
    Ruckus says:

    Jim Wright at Stonekettle Station deserves to be on the blogroll. And for far more than this one post.

  70. 70
    JenJen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    My hatred for these vile creatures is now exceeding that of 100Kiloburningsuns, with no sign of not increasing to several orders of magnitude higher.

    Right?? Thank you, Stonekettle.

  71. 71
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Oh, FFS, the next time we get into any military scenario, just drop nuclear ordinance and be done with it-it took Japan less than a week to declare their surrender, and the US set the precedent of being the only country using nuclear weapons in anger.

    Hopefully, Alabama won’t get it tho….

  72. 72
    Dogwood says:

    The Sun Valley/ Hailey area is definitely not wingnut territory.

  73. 73
    Bettencourt says:

    @LanceThruster: I’m pretty sure that scene is actually from FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, not THE THIN RED LINE. It’s the moment I remember best from the film, it’s really stayed with me these last 8 years.

  74. 74
    Ruckus says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):
    Who would know better about doing the wrong thing? That’s all he’s ever done.
    Don’t/didn’t security software companies frequently hire hackers because they already know more about how to get inside than the people who wrote it in the first place?

  75. 75
    Ruckus says:

    They always made the tin cans on plane guard duty and the helicopters look, in my experience on a tin can.

  76. 76
    LanceThruster says:


    I’m sure you’re right because I pulled up a script page to try to find it and came up blank. I knew I saw it, just couldn’t remember where. Thx.

  77. 77
    Paul in KY says:

    @mike with a mic: I’d say you could get a discharge for throwing Oscar overboard repeatedly.

  78. 78
    LanceThruster says:


    My other guess would have been HBO’s mini-series “The Pacific.”

  79. 79
    LanceThruster says:


    My other guess would have been HBO’s mini-series “The Pacific.”

  80. 80
    flukebucket says:

    This Stonekettle guy really should be on the blog roll. That was my first time ever reading any of his stuff and by God he is great.

  81. 81
    LanceThruster says:

    Cleaner “Thin Red Line” music link, btw.

  82. 82

    Damn you for linking to Stonekettle Station. That guy’s writing ate up an hour of my day before I even knew it and it’s due to eat up several more hours for a long while yet.

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