Early Morning Open Thread: More Facets

no man left behind danziger
(Jeff Danziger’s website)
.

Elliot Ackerman, in The New Republic:

I served in the Marines, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and later, in special operations in Afghanistan’s rugged Paktika Province, for a good part of 2010 and 2011, working out of a remote firebase a few kilometers from the Pakistani border. At night my colleagues and I would climb on our bunkered roof, a tumbler of scotch or a cigar in hand, and watch the drone strikes against al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership in South Waziristan. During those days, Bergdahl’s case loomed ever-present. The irony that an iconic figure in a war that had largely been deserted by the American people was probably a deserter himself was never lost on us. It seemed just our luck.

Among sailors, a crew member who brings bad luck is known as a Jonah. It’s a long-held superstition, deriving from the Book of Jonah. Then the sailors said to each other, ‘Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.’ They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. And like the hapless crew that sailed Jonah to Tarshish, we found ourselves in a storm fighting in Afghanistan. With Bergdahl’s disappearance always in the background, imaginations ran wild. Why did the Taliban in Paktika execute attacks with such unusual precision and lethality? Some hypothesized that Bergdahl had informed them of our tactics. Why did Afghan civilians refuse civil aid that they so obviously needed? Others believed rumors that Bergdahl had participated in a propaganda campaign against us. None of this could be substantiated, but over there Bergdahl became the idol of discontent for so many. He was the Jonah.

And this wasn’t only among the rank and file. One of my colleagues, a CIA case officer, was charged with collecting information on Bergdahl’s whereabouts. For months after his disappearance, his location was known with a high degree of precision. At various levels of government, certain options had been floated as to what a recovery mission might look like. After flying in and out of Kabul for endless rounds of inter-agency meetings, my colleague grew frustrated by the Army’s inaction. He questioned the efficacy of these deliberations. A senior officer pulled him aside. “No one’s serious about a rescue mission,” he said. “It’d be too risky. Maybe if Bergdahl had actually been captured they’d do something, but he deserted.”

My colleague flew back to our firebase and returned to his desk. He continued to track Bergdahl. Anytime someone in southeastern Afghanistan claimed to have credible information on Bergdahl, my colleague had to stop what he was doing and travel for hours to debrief the source, cursing all the while. Bergdahl became the idol of his discontent also. His Jonah…

(If you want the very opposite of Ackerman’s succinct and elegant report, Dubya’s Attorney-General and torture-apologist Michael B. Mukasey has an op-ed in the Washington Post. As is dissecting an animal’s scat, reading Mukasey’s frantic pearl-clutcher is in its way enlightening, but not something I would recommend before breakfast.)
***********
Apart from the ongoing GOP freakout, what’s on the agenda for the day?

111 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Then a deserter he is. No one should be forced to give up their scapegoat.

  2. 2

    Rachel Maddow’s opening segment last night on the flip-flops of the Republicans was entertaining.

    Rest in peace, Chester Nez, the last of the Navajo Code Talkers.

  3. 3
    satby says:

    I’m in a Twitter spat with Rep Steven King (R, dumbfuckistan) in support of billion. You’d think a US congressman has better things to do than stay up late being snotty on Twitter.

    I hate them all more each day, and that hardly seems possible.

  4. 4
    Chris says:

    @satby:

    It’s probably his unpaid intern.

  5. 5

    Interesting. In Afghanistan, he’s a controversial name on everyone’s lips. Back at home, he’s some guy rescued from the Taliban, and the GOP are throwing a freakout about it.

  6. 6
    satby says:

    @Chris: yeah… I’m sure. The words are all spelled correctly.

  7. 7
    PurpleGirl says:

    It is supposed to be a rainy day in NYC. I’m trying to decide what I want to do. I’m in the throes of cabin fever and a rainy day is not optimum for heading out to roam around. Halp.

  8. 8
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Okay, if I did not believe it before, I do now. YOU.GUYS.ARE.FUCKED.

    Yes, Anne. You were right. I should not have read that cowardly piece of drivel from the former Torturer in Chief. That, coupled with the ongoing smear campaign against Bergdahl, has convinced me that there is some serious, high level crazy down your way. Let’s hope the next generation or two learn the right lessons from what is happening now.

  9. 9
    bemused says:

    omg, I just got up from a lovely night’s sleep and hear MJoe mob in a rip Obama, Susan Rice, WH to shreds frenzy. I shouldn’t be surprised but it is so ugly and unhinged. Our msm is completely bonkers and vicious. I’m staying away from the Village vortex as much as possible.

    I can only hope their bubble gets burst like after the Jessica Lynch fabrication but I doubt they are going to give up the evisceration party any time soon. btw, did we ever learn the names of the Bush officials who cooked up the Jessica Lynch story?

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    What the repubs are trying to do, is cause disillusion among the democrats so they stay home in the fall. It’s okay to turn off MSM but it’s not okay to allow them to win.

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    @bemused:

    Our msm is completely bonkers and vicious. I’m staying away from the Village vortex as much as possible.

    The thing that really makes me see red is the people I see going “ah HA! Even The Liberal Media is abandoning Obama! Even they can’t cover what he’s done! That’s just how BAD and OBVIOUS this is, that even his staunchest supporters can’t stand by him! Why, we’ve got universal consensus here!”

    … just like Even The Liberal Media Had Had The Last Straw with IRSgate, and Benghazigate, and NSAgate, and all these other things. Somehow, it’s all Central To Their Point and the myth of liberal media endures. You’d think at some point, it would occur to folk that the media is not liberally biased and especially not Obotically biased – they’ve been bending over backwards to accomodate the Goopers since day 1.

  12. 12
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Law professor tells senators: If money is speech, outlawing prostitution is unconstitutionalI’m not sure but my wife tells me that if I know what is good for me, I had better STFU.

  13. 13
    debbie says:

    Listening to Sean Hannity implying that Bergdahl actually collaborated with the Taliban, giving them positions to bomb, has finally gotten me to give up all hope for this country. At this point, what’s even worth saving?

  14. 14
    bemused says:

    @Chris:

    Media is dishing out scripted faux reality show crap. There’s not even a smidgeon of actual news or journalism to be found right now.

    Joe is having another epic tantrum. I should turn it off but it’s like watching a train pileup.

  15. 15
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @Chris: Yeah. Depressing, ain’t it? Back in the Bad Old Days, at least the inmates trapped in the USSR knew that what they read in Pravda was bullshit. Here in the USA, what’s our excuse?

  16. 16
    Betty Cracker says:

    @debbie: The good news is that Fox News recently posted its lowest ratings since before 9/11, and Hannity’s show in particular is tanking.

  17. 17
    Hill Dweller says:

    I’ve yet to hear any of the hacks in the Village explain what right we had to hold the 5 Taliban superheroes after combat operations end in Afghanistan later this year. They were going to be released, regardless of Bergdahl’s status.

  18. 18
    debbie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Small comfort. There are a million others waiting in the wings, like cockroaches.

  19. 19
    Botsplainer says:

    I want one, just one of those coiffed pundits to step out of a cab or out of a restaurant or out of a doctors office and get punched in the face so fucking hard they lose teeth.

    It would put such a smile on me to see it happen to O’Reilley, Hannity, Will, Joe, etc. that I’d get stuck.

  20. 20
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @debbie: I wonder if Bergdahl can sue Hannity for slander. I can only imagine the death threats to which his family has been subjected. This is sad.

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    The media doesn’t depress me. This is who they are now. I prefer my adversaries to be out in the open than hiding behind a false face.

  22. 22
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Don’t really know how he stacks up otherwise, but I do find myself wondering from time to time how it is that Shep Smith hangs on to any vestige of sanity at FOX?

  23. 23
    C.V. Danes says:

    The difference between us and insufferable a-holes like Ted Cruz and Mukasey is that we don’t leave anyone behind, even if they are insufferable a-holes who would.

  24. 24
    Botsplainer says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Public figure, so no. All Hannity has to do is claim “I’m a dumbass when it comes to analysis” and he wins, free to continue to maliciously slandering people.

  25. 25

    @Chris:
    Good. Nobody but the talking heads gave two tugs of a dead rat’s tail about any of those supposed scandals, either. They’re freaking out the normals the same way the Teabaggers are. My mother, the ultimate Totebagger, has washed her hands of anything but Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes. She’s not even that liberal, but she would like journalists who actually do journalism. Any journalism. At all.

  26. 26
    Betty Cracker says:

    @debbie: There will always be millions of rage-o-holic wingnut assholes, it’s true, but I don’t think they’re necessarily winning. We’ll have to see how this Bergdahl issue plays out, but I’m not convinced at all that the wingnut media narrative will carry beyond the 27%, even if it’s taken up by Jake Tapper, et al.

  27. 27
    Kay says:

    @bemused:

    You know, I understand this:

    During those days, Bergdahl’s case loomed ever-present. The irony that an iconic figure in a war that had largely been deserted by the American people was probably a deserter himself was never lost on us. It seemed just our luck.

    That makes sense to me, for people who were there. It’s understandable.

    But I don’t understand people here doing the same thing- rather than making him iconic for “desertion” (or being deserted) they’re making him the dumping ground for all of their fears, anger, uncertainty about the war and the Cuban prison and the role of the US in the world. One would hope they could check themselves and dial it back at some point prior to “leading an angry mob”.

  28. 28
    Kay says:

    Has super-genius conservative lawyer Michael B. Mukasey ever put forth a solution for what we’re supposed to do with the prisoners who were tortured and thus can’t be tried and convicted within any process?

    What was the conservative lawyer plan to solve the problem they created? They’ve had more than a decade to come up with one. The cowboys all rode off into the sunset and left a huge mess behind them. Now they’re all going to chime in and criticize the single person who has to solve it?

    Were we supposed to stay in Afghanistan forever and thus continue to put off any reckoning on how to actually end the war?

  29. 29
    D58826 says:

    Between now and the time of the final pull out from Afghanistan, I hope the soldier son/daughter of one of these screamers is taken prisoner. Lets see what they say then. I’ll bet the tune changes very quickly. I know it’s an unchristian thought but at this point maybe they deserve it.

    Graham is talking up impeachment. Duncan Hunter is referring to John Kerry as a deserter. Bergdahl must have told the Taliban what targets to hit (as if an E5 would have that kind of info on anything other than the outpost he was stationed at) since the Taliban’s aim improved. Gee guys maybe practice makes perfect. Since these outposts sit there w/o moving it seems reasonable that eventually the Taliban would find the range. If there was concern that Bergdahl gave away information about the outpost why did the commanders move the darn thing. It’s not like that spot of ground was covering the holy grail.

  30. 30
    RaflW says:

    Along the lines of human & group interaction, a friend was on a traveling Broadway show. 2 busses of actors, musicians and techs. He said (from multiple tours’ experience) “Every show has it’s asshole.” They had some rather odd musician who had a hard time making friends, was occasionally late to the bus, and pretty quickly he had an empty seat next to him whenever the rest of the crew could arrange it.
    Eventually he quit she show. Within days, the 2nd weirdest person, who was part of the gang and reasonable well liked, was ostracised and became the tour’s asshole. I’m sure the sudden and complete demotion of the former #2 oddball was a surprise for that person.

    I thought of that story as things started to trickle out about Bowe being disaffected and a loner at his base. He was the tour’s asshole, and so all manner of ill omens were his “fault.”

    All that said, he may also be a deserter and a traitor. Or he may be an outcast who got high on hash and needed to take a leak and got lost. Let’s take the time to find out, ok?

  31. 31
    RaflW says:

    @Kay: Compassion and empathy gap for those dudes. Canyon, rally.

  32. 32
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @D58826:

    Between now and the time of the final pull out from Afghanistan, I hope the soldier son/daughter of one of these screamers is taken prisoner. Lets see what they say then. I’ll bet the tune changes very quickly.

    Well, no, because they’d just know their own kids are all right. Bergdahl… he was a weirdo, everyone knows it, and his dad has a funny beard. Not like me.

    It’s all about dividing humanity into the worthy and the unworthy.

  33. 33
    bemused says:

    @Kay:

    Swiftboating and scapegoating is the rightwing game plan and has always worked very well with media aiding and abetting, willingly and happily keeping up the bombardments. I keep hoping it’s mainly the 27% or so that eat this up and the majority of us are as sick of this latest Benghazi type scandal as CNN’s ridiculous coverage of the missing Malaysia plane. Most days, I believe the majority of Americans have just enough critical thinking to see through the sensationalism of the 24/7 “news” assaults but it’s not easy for busy people to ignore the noise.

    CNN has given Lara Logan her job back. Sigh.

  34. 34
    Matt McIrvin says:

    This is really hitting me hard because my cousin is going for this so hard on Facebook. He hates Obama with a passion and passes on every right-wing pass-it-around meme, I knew that, but I thought he was a better person than this. This is just evil.

  35. 35
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay:

    What was the conservative lawyer plan to solve the problem they created? They’ve had more than a decade to come up with one. The cowboys all rode off into the sunset and left a huge mess behind them. Now they’re all going to chime in and criticize the single person who has to solve it?

    Sounds like everything is going according to the “conservative lawyer plan” to me.

  36. 36
    D58826 says:

    @bemused: actually CBS. CNN has enough to answer for

  37. 37
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Not to mention that none of their children would ever join the military. They’ve seen to that.

  38. 38
    bemused says:

    @D58826:

    Oops. I knew that but still had CNN on the brain.

  39. 39
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Kay: yes. We were supposed to be there “as long as it takes”. “Resolve” was the plan, even though it looked a lot like colonialism.

  40. 40
    RedKitten says:

    People piss me off. As some of you may know, there is a shooter on the loose in Moncton, New Brunswick, about an hour or so north of me. He’s killed three RCMP officers so far. During one of the cop-shootings, which took place on someone’s lawn, the homeowners, instead of hunkering in the basement like sensible people, were gawking out the window and taking fucking video of it happening. And of course, the video’s gone viral and is all over Facebook and even CNN has it up. It adds absolutely NOTHING to the story, it’s not informative, it gives absolutely no insight into the situation, it is sensationalism in its purest form. And the morons who took the video are being rewarded with interviews and fame. I swear to fuck, I just cannot deal with the idiocy.

  41. 41
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m not so sure about that, actually. My sense is that this is getting traction with people whose kids would be in the military.

    I think they just haven’t thought that part through, about whether their kid might be the target next time, and what “POW/MIA – You Are Not Forgotten” and all the nice words on Memorial Day actually mean.

  42. 42
    Suffern ACE says:

    Our Army is very weak if the desertion of one private brings it to its knees. Or it could be that after ten years of dealing with us, the locals finally figured out out tactics. Who knows. Human beings are funny that way. They sometimes figure out what other humans are doing without magic.

  43. 43
    D58826 says:

    @RaflW: Having been the class ‘asshole’ in high school I can say it’s not a fun experience. Of course there is a huge difference in that I could go home in the afternoon to a loving family. This guy, if that was what was happening, was stuck in a very small place 24×7 under enemy fire and not sure if the platoon had his back.

  44. 44
    Dave says:

    @D58826: He wasn’t even an E-5 he was a PFC at the time the it’s a joke to think he knew enough to improve their targeting; it’s almost certainly practice makes perfect on the part of the Pashtun in the are,

  45. 45
    D58826 says:

    @bemused: I have the problem of the keys on the keyboard randomly rearranging themselves

  46. 46
    bemused says:

    @D58826:

    My keys transpose for me.

  47. 47
    Kay says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Right, but we’re supposed to give them all kinds of deference as legal eagles who are incredibly brilliant. My husband refers to John Roberts as “the smartest lawyer in the world”, sarcastically, because of the fawning over his brilliance. When Alito came along and they started proclaiming HIS brilliance he said they need a new level, because John Roberts is already the MOST BESTEST lawyer, ever, in history.

  48. 48
    D58826 says:

    @Dave: Beginning a long serving civilian my command of military grades is a bit weak. I had seen him referred to as an E5. Maybe that was after one of the automatic promotions promotions

  49. 49
    Patrick says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I think they just haven’t thought that part through, about whether their kid might be the target next time, and what “POW/MIA – You Are Not Forgotten” and all the nice words on Memorial Day actually mean.

    Exactly. It’s not any different than people in support of the 2nd amendment, who then are all upset when a gun nut shows up with an AK outside a park where children are playing. Be careful what you wish for!

    As I understand today’s GOP/FoxNews, next time we have a POW there should not be rescue. Instead the soldiers in his unit should simply hold a vote as to whether he should be rescued. Mind-boggling when you consider the consequences.

  50. 50
    Botsplainer says:

    @Kay:

    What was the conservative lawyer plan to solve the problem they created? They’ve had more than a decade to come up with one. The cowboys all rode off into the sunset and left a huge mess behind them. Now they’re all going to chime in and criticize the single person who has to solve it?

    LOL

    No conservative lawyer ever has a plan to solve anything wrought by his policy choices. Their id all about antagonism and punishment, and this extends from political predisposition to professional development to office relationships to personal relationships.

    They are, first and foremost, assholes, and when they do manage to solve a problem or mitigate issues for a client, it is generally by accident. Most of the time, they tromp about like Godzilla, writing shitty letters to colleagues over perceived rule slights and making up facts like the good Christians they are.

  51. 51
    amk says:

    So, bj too is now driving the deserter narrative? sick.

  52. 52
    Dave says:

    @D58826: Yup he is now at time was an E-3. It’s policy to promote POW’s automatically once they hit service requirements and they don’t have to go through the process for the promotion. That’s the thing the Pashto aren’t dumb they know where your base is and are pretty good at figuring out your procedures and what not. Nor are they the Legion of fricken Doom ya know. The absurdity around this has just been too much for me. That’s not directed at you just in general. My disgust levels are pretty maxed out.

  53. 53
    FeudalismNow! says:

    There seems to be two different memes traveling through the social media swamp. There is the right wing Bergdahl was a traitor working with Obama and the Taliba-Qaeda (because they are all terrists, y’know) and there is the displeasure of Bergdahl being referred to as a hero. Teahadi’s are all on board the crazy train of conspiracy theories. Most of the ‘he’s no hero’ crowd are from ex- military or military families. It fits in with the Jonah theory pretty well. The MSM is doing it’s best to stoke both sides. My local station was running a piece last night headlined “More Questions around Release of POW war hero Bergdahl” so the Facebook and twitter Wurlitzer fired up.

  54. 54
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay: You cannot be serious.

  55. 55
    Kay says:

    @Botsplainer:

    He’s pissed off because Obama announced he was closing the prison in 2009. His contention is that Obama “didn’t understand” the issue. They say it all the time in Right wing legal circles, and I just think it’s bullshit. “The issue” with torturing people and then not being able to convict them is not that complicated. They fucked up. They were all puffed up with war-fervor and ego and what they thought was a chance to put in their pet legal theory and they started a process they don’t know how to end.

    Which isn’t that surprising. The process they threw away took 200 years to build. They thought they could invent a new one on the fly. The arrogance of that is just breath-taking.

  56. 56
    Cervantes says:

    @Kay:

    They were all puffed up with war-fervor and ego and what they thought was a chance to put in their pet legal theory and they started a process they don’t know how to end.

    Yes, and I’d add cupidity to the list.

    And, as we can clearly see, shamelessness.

  57. 57
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @FeudalismNow!: There’s a third one, which is that Taliban POWs are all terrorists, so they should stay in Gitmo eternally and we should never do prisoner swaps with them. That’s at least consistent with Bush-era attitudes, though not with what these same people were saying a year ago.

    But, if taken seriously, it makes being an American POW in this kind of war an unusually dangerous thing. It’s get rescued in a hail of bullets by Seal Team Six, or nothing. And since a bunch of guys already supposedly got killed trying to rescue him, we’re not so sure about Seal Team Six any more.

  58. 58
    Cervantes says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Seal Team Six did try to rescue Bergdahl. They could not find him; either their intelligence was incorrect or he had left by the time they got there. Some Afghans were killed in the engagement; no Americans unless you count the “combat assault dog.”

  59. 59
    D58826 says:

    @Dave: Didn’t take it that way. I agree this has gotten to the point that we need a much much mush larger shark to jump. It is just extremely depressing.

    There are issues with these types of trades. There are mortal and ethical questions about endangering the many for the one but the coast guard answers the SOS without first checking on the morality of the one in danger.

    There will be more of these events in the future, not because of Bergdahl, but because of a world in which failed states and non-state actors exist and can command the world stage by doing something horrible – see Nigerian girls kidnapped.

    But we have to discuss them like adults not like 5 year olds having a tantrum. I realize its not going to happen. The right has invested to much time/effort and emotion into Obama/liberals are not real Murkins. The new committee on Benghazi is just another example, They aren’t going to find anything new but it allows the GOP to spend more months selectively releasing the same olddocuments but just with a few different congress critters.

  60. 60
    Suffern ACE says:

    Sixth graders to learn that powerful adults just don’t really care about them. I wish them well, although I’m not all that hopeful. (Warning: kos link, for those who hate that site). If anything, I hope they at least can collectively waste the time of some executive at the testing company.

  61. 61
    D58826 says:

    @Matt McIrvin: There seems to be a disconnect here (not for the first time). The right is wringing its hands over the deaths of 6 soldiers who may or maynot have died as a result of search operations for Bergdahl. But. lead by Generalissimo Cruz they wanted to use special forces/seals to launch a military rescue. Seems to me that such a raid would risk American casualties and very likely get Bergdahl killed in the process. But then I don’t have the vast military experience that the Generalissimo has

  62. 62
    Suffern ACE says:

    @D58826: once we had recaptured the hostage, we were to resurrect Patton, who would shoot him without trial, like a real man would.

  63. 63
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @FeudalismNow!: I can understand the “he’s no hero” aspect of it. I suppose part of the problem is the whole automatic characterization of soldiers as heroes. People do that because these people are more or less voluntarily being sent into harm’s way at our behest. They’re making a huge sacrifice, and building hero tales around that is perfectly understandable.

    But it also means that these human beings, who are fallible in the way human beings are, have to live up to an impossible fairy-tale characterization of the mighty hero while being shot at. And when they don’t, there’s this unresolvable cognitive dissonance, a double bind, and it goes to nasty places. It’s really a terrible thing to do to a person.

    I think I don’t necessarily want a world of heroes, I want a world in which we can be decent to people who aren’t heroes.

  64. 64
    Botsplainer says:

    @Kay:

    When the torture shit first came up, as a semi-wingnut, I thought that enshrining it as acceptable was bad. I could see certain mass attack scenarios that could justify awful acts bereft of civilization to gain information quickly. Thing was, my thinking then (and now) is that to ensure minimal or no use of those methods would be to force the decisionmakers to think real hard about prison terms and to have to rely on the pardon power of the executive as to their actions. That way, your average 22 year old corporal wouldn’t be in a pre-excused position, nor would a spook or contractor with psychological disorders in the sociopathic to psychopathic spectra feel a free hand to coercive ky question over bullshit.

    Sadly, they took up the model diametrically opposite mine.

  65. 65
    Joel says:

    @bemused: fewer and fewer watch “the news”. I joined their ranks ling ago. It’s time for the format to just die already. I highly recommend Frontline if you’re hankering for actual TV journalism.

  66. 66
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Well said.

  67. 67
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cervantes: I count the combat assault dog. Poor pup.

  68. 68
    Someguy says:

    I’m glad that we’re embracing Bergdahl. He seems like a wonderful if confused guy, and using him as a tool to fuck over the right is fun. It’s terrible how all those troops who were in his platoon are shilling for the Republicans – total Swift Boater operatives but what do you expect when the military votes 80% Republican. They can’t be trusted and as was pointed out yesterday, they really don’t have a basis for knowing what he was thinking or feeling, or even how it went down.

    Maybe he can be talked into speaking at the Democratic nominating convention next year. I’m sure the nominee – Elizabeth Warren – would be stoked to have him.

  69. 69
    D58826 says:

    We are looking for logical/reasonable/understandable reasons for all of this but I think it comes down to one simple fact – the right hates Obama, for what ever mix of reasons, with such blind hated that the goal is to destroy him as a man and as a president. It doesn’t matter the collateral damage to the country (default on debt) or on people (Bergdahl). It doesn’t matter that it makes no sense what the outrage is or that Obama or any president has absolutely no control over the event. My sister hates Obama with such a blind passion (hate to visit never sure what will set them off) that she blamed him for the failure of BP to shut down that well in the Gulf. Each day is simply one more insult that Obama is still president. That I think is it in a nut shell, everything is just window dressing

  70. 70
    bemused says:

    @Joel:

    Of course I know where to find actual journalism. I’m talking about a whole lot of people who aren’t paying that close attention due to busy lives, working and who are maybe not as interested in finding out who, what, how as some of us political junkies. They just catch bits of evening news or hear Fox in waiting rooms and businesses and are getting predominately garbage with every little to counteract that.

  71. 71
    D58826 says:

    well certainly didn’t see this one coming

    Charles Krauthammer says he supports President Barack Obama’s deal to bring Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home.

    “Had the choice been mine I would have made the same choice,” Krauthammer told Fox News’ “Special Report” on Wednesday. “It’s a difficult decision, and I would not attack those who have done otherwise.”

  72. 72
    Cacti says:

    @Someguy:

    I’m glad that we’re embracing Bergdahl. He seems like a wonderful if confused guy, and using him as a tool to fuck over the right is fun. It’s terrible how all those troops who were in his platoon are shilling for the Republicans

    Red flags immediately went up for me when I this comment from one of his “brothers in arms”.

    “He wouldn’t drink beer or eat barbecue and hang out with the other 20-year-olds,” Cody Full, another member of Sergeant Bergdahl’s platoon, said in an interview on Monday also arranged by Republican strategists. “He was always in his bunk. He ordered Rosetta Stone for all the languages there, learning Dari and Arabic and Pashto.”

    He was disliked for not being “one of the boys”.

    He was the Willy Santiago of his unit, a la A Few Good Men.

    So much so, that after his abduction, he became “responsible” for every US death in the province for the next four months.

  73. 73
    bemused says:

    @Someguy:

    I just read some comments from the people in the Afghan village who saw and talked to Bergdahl when he left the base. They said they tried to warn him not to head toward the Taliban base, described him as being hazy and refusing water and food. If true, he appears to have been having some kind of psychological crisis five years ago. Reintegration may never happen for him.

  74. 74
    Cacti says:

    @bemused:

    I just read some comments from the people in the Afghan village who saw and talked to Bergdahl when he left the base. They said they tried to warn him not to head toward the Taliban base, described him as being hazy and refusing water and food. If true, he appears to have been having some kind of psychological crisis five years ago. Reintegration may never happen for him.

    The wikileaks cables say that he was nabbed by the Taliban while taking a crap, and they were laughing about it on their radio chatter.

  75. 75
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Someguy:
    Excuse me? The Democratic convention you speak of will be held in 2016.

  76. 76
    D58826 says:

    my head hurts – from the daily beast

    Body Language Expert: Bowe Bergdahl Seemed Reluctant to Leave Captors

    also from the daily beast

    Bergdahl had also twice tried to escape, so the militants guarding him had stepped up their numbers, further complicating any potential rescue attempt.
    “A rescue mission would have been fraught politically as well as tactically,” according to a senior defense official briefed on the Bergdahl case.

  77. 77
    WaterGirl says:

    I keep hoping there will be some other shiny object that will pull attention away from this story so we can leave this behind and leave these people in peace.

    I doubt that will happen, though. I believe the blitz on this issue is because, for just a minute, it appeared that the return of this soldier might just be the spark for the conversation this country needs to have on these wars.

    And that apparently just cannot be allowed to happen.

  78. 78
    bemused says:

    @Cacti:

    There is so much about Bergdahl we don’t know and it could be a long time before there are answers. Yet the rightwing made a split second pivot so fast you’d think they’d have whiplash from bitching that Obama isn’t doing enough to bring Bergdahl home to swiftboating him, his whole family, his home town and Obama and the WH. They never care about getting the facts, only how to win the war against Dems.

  79. 79
    GregB says:

    Lynching Sgt. Bergdahl.

  80. 80
    WaterGirl says:

    I think President Obama needs to make a speech when he gets back from his trip, and I think that speech needs to contain the words “angry mob” and “shameful”. And the phrase “this is not who we are”.

  81. 81
    D58826 says:

    If this story takes any more twists we allwill suffer broken necks

    Bergdahl had left his base without permissions on at least one prior occasion, and had come back! This is according to a report in the Army Times. In fact, his fellow soldiers failed to report it at the time. The implications of this are huge. It means that it would be impossible to prove desertion under UCMJ Article 85, because you cannot prove he intended to leave permanently. :

    IK think its time to take up very serious drinking

  82. 82
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @D58826:

    It means that it would be impossible to prove desertion under UCMJ Article 85, because you cannot prove he intended to leave permanently.

    This has been the case since the beginning. Unless Bergdahl confesses to each of the elements of desertion, there is no way he can be convicted of it.

  83. 83
    mcjulie says:

    @D58826:

    the right hates Obama, for what ever mix of reasons, with such blind hated that the goal is to destroy him as a man and as a president. It doesn’t matter the collateral damage

    I’m reminded of this article about the “Men’s Rights Movement” basically being a hate group:

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-.....-movement/

    One of the weird things about hate group members is that they actually hate EVERYONE. Their hatred is more focused on the ostensible target, but nobody is really immune. That’s how you get somebody like Elliot Rodger who would prefer to slaughter a sorority, because women are the center in the target of his hate. But if he can’t do that, he’ll just kill whoever he finds.

    There’s a major contingent on the right that is like that about liberals — breathtakingly unhinged hatred aimed at all things liberal and Democrat, but if you assume they’re Republicans, they will tell you that they hate Republicans too.

    Not every Republican voter is like that, of course. But it’s disturbing how many of them are like that, and also disturbing that “regular” Republicans are so willing to let completely unhinged hatred set the tone for their politics.

  84. 84
    Waynski says:

    @RaflW:

    All that said, he may also be a deserter and a traitor. Or he may be an outcast who got high on hash and needed to take a leak and got lost. Let’s take the time to find out, ok?

    THIS! Changing gears to the detainees, I’d add that even the Nazis got trials, because we didn’t fucking torture them. Plus, after twelve years in GITMO, what could these guys know that’s of any use to the Taliban? They’re operationally useless. They’re like Billy Batts in Goodfellas, “A lot’s changed since you been away, Billy.”

  85. 85
    D58826 says:

    @mcjulie: Agree. They certainly were unhinged about Clinton. Obamas race is just the hot sauce that pushes it past anything we’ve seen before

  86. 86
    CaseyL says:

    The more I read about Bergdahl, the more it seems he was coming apart mentally, had wandered off, and got nabbed while in the latrine.

    It also seems to me that most everyone on duty in Afghanistan is coming apart mentally.

    The GOP, RWNJ, and Wurlitzer machines… well. They’ve been without redeeming qualities for quite some time. Expecting any humanity out of them at this point is like looking for unicorns at a brothel. I’m beyond disgusted, beyond enraged; I want them all to DIAF.

  87. 87
    Cervantes says:

    @WaterGirl: Earlier today, in Brussels:

    I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody’s child and that we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back.

  88. 88
    GregB says:

    @CaseyL:

    The rightwing and mainstream Wurlitzers have been pumping weaponized mental illness 24/7 since 2009.

    It is starting to show in mass hysteria.

    It’s pretty fucking creepy to see. This is the same unhinged mania that preceded the folly in Iraq.

  89. 89
    Chris says:

    @Cacti:

    There are many right wingers who watch A Few Good Men and think Jessup was the real hero. His speech is the best remembered part pf that movie, and often cited unironically.

    I noted in an earlier thread that Berghdal had protested a pattern of shitty, even criminal treatment of the local population. Once he said that, I’m quite sure he wasn’t “one of the boys.” Especially if it’s true. I doubt if cops are the only ones with Blue Codes of Silence.

    I do love how his learning the local language is a point against him, too.

  90. 90
    Hal says:

    Dick Morris: Obama’s Real Goal — Close Gitmo

    Gosh, where could Morris have gotten that impression? It’s not like Obama has been saying he wants to close gitmo from the beginning. A real Sherlock Holmes, Morris is.

  91. 91
    Debbie says:

    @Botsplainer:

    I’m a dumbass”

    At long last, Hannity speaks the truth.

  92. 92
    D58826 says:

    I would like to see the Army appoint someone to lead the investigation who has a spotless reputation, is respected through out the military and is RETIRED. The last being the most important. He/she can conduct a complete investigation and let the chips fall where they may. He doesn’t have to worry about his next promotion.. Of course if G. Washington was conducting the investigation and the results didn’t suit the elephant then he would be accused of treason also. Its like Benghazi – its not that questions aren’t answered, its that they don’t like theanswers.

    This remindfs me ofJohn Walker Lindh, the American kid found with the Taliban in 2001. We couldn’t get our hands on Bin Laden, the hijackers were dead but SOMEBODY had to pay and this poor benighted soul was the one. What ever his sins and crimes may have been all the anger and frustration were dumped on him.

  93. 93
    Suffern ACE says:

    @D58826: Yeah. That plus Lindh was raised by permissive parents in California, so the ‘concerned’ busybodies from other states could just blame liberals for anyone who converted to fundamentalist forms of a religion. It was a win fest for everyone.

  94. 94
    Ajaye says:

    @D58826:
    Yes. That is true, but why oh why must the msm follow the right every single time employing the same talking points, memes, hyperbole, conventional wisdom pap, and “balance” consisting of reciting one official line from the WH followed by two or three quotes by Republican politicians followed by a discussion between the news host, 1 rwnj of any qualification, 1 Republican operative, one conservative pundit and moderate Democrat who can’t get a word in edgewise or bolsters right wing mythology by engaging in the debate on their terms wimpily repeating variations of bland Democratic talking points instead of calling everyone out on hypocrisy,double standards, outright lies, blatant partisanship, hyperbole, foolishness, general hatefulness,lack of critical analysis and creation of “impeachable” nontroversies out of the thinnest gruel.

  95. 95
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris:

    There are many right wingers who watch A Few Good Men and think Jessup was the real hero. His speech is the best remembered part pf that movie, and often cited unironically.

    It’s part of the danger of the Aaron Sorkin approach to political fiction. He wants the guys on what he considers the wrong side to have as strong arguments as he can possibly give them, because the story is more interesting that way, and so that he himself can have some empathetic connection to his characters and not just be an ideological hack who writes strawmen. His TV shows, which are full of liberal speechifying, always have the conservative character who gives the speech about how liberals think they’re idiots but they’re not idiots, they just disagree. It’s irritating totebaggerism to some degree, but it’s also probably better writing than some of the possible alternatives.

    So Jessup, for all that the story insists he is wrong, gives a speech that actually has a raw emotional appeal to it. And a lot of people inevitably took it at face value.

  96. 96
    nellcote says:

    After letting a special unit devoted to monitoring domestic terrorism fall dormant following the Al Qaeda attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced this week that it was reviving the group. The Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee will focus on extremists motivated by antigovernment and racial hatred, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement Tuesday.

    http://www.splcenter.org/blog/.....goes-wild/

  97. 97
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Ajaye: They’re trying to get the eyeballs of the Fox News crowd. Do many people even watch these shows who are under 60?

  98. 98
    virginia says:

    The cartoon says it all.

  99. 99
    D58826 says:

    Peter Bergan over on CNN has a long piece about the Talaban 5. Actually it is a recap of how many Gitmo prisoners have been released and how many have gone back to being terrorists. Seems that most of those released, and the subset that went back to terrorism, were released under (drumroll please) George W Bush, not that you would know it from all the screaming the past couple of days. Funny how all roads seem to lead by to Bush and company.

  100. 100
    Mnemosyne says:

    @D58826:

    IIRC, the US government has been using an extremely loose definition of “return to the battlefield.” Giving an interview about your experiences in Gitmo counts as “returning to the battlefield.”

  101. 101
    D58826 says:

    @Mnemosyne: yes the article did saw that definitions were what is the polite word – oh yes ‘flexible’. Using their definition the recidivism rate was down in the 5-6% range not the 30% that some claimed

  102. 102
    Long Tooth says:

    “Jonah, forget the whale”.

    When my soul fainted within me
    I remembered the Lord…
    Those who regard worthless idols
    forsake their own mercy…”.

    In other words, republicans.

    Which is another reason I think the long term prospects of the GOP are bad, i.e., “you can’t fool all the people all the time”. Voters nationally are in the process of drawing the same conclusions about the republican party as Californians have already done.

    Keep in mind, California is a blue state today only because the rabid worshipers of the idol Mammon took control of the state’s republican party machinery. They’re genuinely terrible people, to the point where even voters who might be otherwise easily enticed to oppose the democratic party find them repellant.

  103. 103
    evodevo says:

    @D58826: Yes….have a good friend who is that deranged. I was angry about the Bushies, but then the facts were on my side, for the most part. It doesn’t matter what the event is or what the facts are, he is NOT interested. He just sees red whenever he hears Obama’s name. He claims not to be a Teabagger or watch Fox Noise, and he’s too educated for militia (oh, wait, he’s a mechanical engineer – those types tend to trend winger in my experience), but falls for ALL the winger conspiracy junk ALL the time. All we get from him are the latest winger scandal memes. It’s really pathetic in a way.

  104. 104
    Paul in KY says:

    @Hill Dweller: I would think they would reply ‘just reclassify them as Al-Qaida, easy-peasy’.

  105. 105
    Paul in KY says:

    @Matt McIrvin: If we treat their captured as criminal scum, they will treat ours the same way.

    Their version of Guantanamo is probably much, much rougher than ours.

  106. 106
    Paul in KY says:

    @D58826: That’s messing with my mind. He must have some ulterior motive…

  107. 107
    Paul in KY says:

    @evodevo: He probably makes a lot of money & hates being taxed.

  108. 108

    The pressure being applied on Bulgaria to stop the South Stream Pipeline should be a tell for the people here at Juice wondering what America’s interest in Ukraine is. It’s not “democracy” or “freedom”, just like the death squads in El Salvador weren’t the equivalent of our founding fathers.

    The energy corporations want to use Ukraine as a cork on Russia’s gas, somehow making Europe more dependent on US- and US-controlled energy. If the South Stream goes into business Ukraine gets cut off from Russian gas without concern for European customers to the west of Lviv, and considering that they don’t seem to be paying their bills and are actively antagonistic to Russia at least this current government deserves it, if not the Ukrainians who will suffer.

    It’s not going to work. A lot of Ukrainians will die, though, with Biden’s boy being the face of death that will visit Ukraine. The Ukrainian army is incapable of taking back Donetsk and Lugansk. As the Ukrainian economy crumbles expect the army to follow suit. As food and energy become more scarce and the IMF’s strict time begins expect territory all the way west to Odessa to start looking back to the east.

    And since the US cannot immediately replace Russian gas Europe will have the choice of taking the flak for America’s profit over using Russia’s energy. Does anyone think that Europe will embrace another depression for the sake of Exxon et al?

    Gin & Tonic can save this and stick it in my face when the people line the streets of Kiev and throw candies and flowers at the feet of the IMF bankers.

  109. 109
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @CaseyL:

    It also seems to me that most everyone on duty in Afghanistan is coming apart mentally.

    In a couple of weeks, the GOP is going to announce that they want to replace VA mental health services with Fox News.

  110. 110
    ralphb says:

    From Ackerman’s story, this does not match the NY Times analysis of the contemporaneous war logs at all. This is the propaganda put forth by Code Full etal.

    “Beginning that August, Bergdahl’s battalion lost six soldiers in a three-week period—all of these fatalities occurred on a mission that was related to, or influenced by, the effort to find Bergdahl.”

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ralphb:

    “Beginning that August, Bergdahl’s battalion lost six soldiers in a three-week period—all of these fatalities occurred on a mission that was related to, or influenced by, the effort to find Bergdahl.” (emphasis mine)

    Define “influenced by.” Note that “took place in the same timeframe” doesn’t count. Using that definition, we can probably prove that those deaths were “influenced by” the weather, or the arrival of some new recruits, or the really nasty shit that the commander took that morning.

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