West Virginia is one of the states in the nation that has the most veterans per capita. In large part it is a deeply ingrained patriotism- everyone you know has someone who served in the military family, and it is something that is considered just part of what we do. In my small town of Bethany, a college town, where most of the kids were the children of college professors or mine or steel mill workers, out of about 20 some kids in my age group (give or take a year each way), about eight of us ended up in uniform. It’s not totally surprising- we would spend hours every day, all of us, down at the creek building forts and playing war. This was back when you rode a bicycle without a helmet and your parents would unleash you on the town and the park, and someone else’s mom got stuck feeding the whole clan lunch because, well, that was the closest house at lunchtime. All that mattered was you had to be home when mom and dad rang the dinner bell on the back deck (that is how we also got the dog to come home, so think about that for a second). At any rate, several of us from the glory days of the battles at Buffalo Creek are still in, one or two with over 20 years.

There is also the sad fact that economics drives a great deal of our state’s citizenry into uniform.

The Women’s Club in town, which does various things like planting flowers in public areas and a lot of other nice, hometown kind of stuff that isn’t worth going into detail (town picnics, selling pies at the town yard sale, etc.), tends a little Veterans memorial down by the Community center. It’s a modest little monument, surrounded by flowers and mulch, and a little patio formed of bricks, each one engraved with the name of someone from town who had served at one point or another. My mom pestered me for a long time until I finally let her buy a brick with my name on it, and it sits down there along side a lot better men than me. The whole concept of the brick and things like it make me feel uncomfortable, and maybe this is the shut-in in me coming out, but I just want to be behind the scenes on stuff like that. I always feel uncomfortable when people get all sappy on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day or the 4th and get all up in your face and say “Thanks for your service!” I know they mean well, but all I can think is “I joined the Army to get my shit together and they probably saved my life and then put me through college, so thank you!” Plus, I was no super trooper, I was just a smart-ass who most of the time did what his NCO’s told him to do. Regardless, I guess I joined the Army also because I knew it was a viable option and something I could do that everyone in town would approve of. For once.

I digress. When I read stories like this, it reminds me of the folks I have known my whole life:

Jane Drussel wears her weariness with grace. After media published images of her hanging “Welcome Home Bowe” signs at her shop, Jane’s Artifacts, she started receiving threatening e-mails and calls. As president of the Chamber of Commerce, she decided to send all chamber calls to voicemail.

“I’m tired, and I’m starting to get a little angry at the negativity,” she says. “We’re just a small community that cares about those who go out and fight for us. For us to be criticized because we care, that’s not right. They’re calling our town a traitor town. That’s offensive. We are all about family here.”

Among the comments on a Bring Bowe Home Facebook page: “Are you all in Hailey wack-a-doodle? So nice to know an entire town in the United States are (sic) supporting a traitor and deserter.”

Drussel says that’s mild in comparison with what she’s seen. In contrast, she points to a bouquet of flowers sent by a family in Texas, along with a note reading, “I wanted to let you know that there are plenty of us out here who respect Bowe for his service and sacrifice, regardless of the extenuating circumstances … there is no good reason for people to be so mean and hateful.”

Strolling the aisles of Jane’s Artifacts with her three children is Sherri Ditch, a recent transplant from Seattle. Ditch is visibly upset as she defends her new hometown.

“Let’s say something positive about people who love and support their community members, let’s talk about that,” she says. “Everyone has each other’s back here, and that’s not something you see often. It’s something special. And until we know what happened (with Bergdahl), people shouldn’t be passing judgment.”

A few streets away, Sondra Van Ert, owner of Baldy Sports, laments how events “have turned a positive thing into a negative thing. But at least this will be a good place for Bowe to try and reintegrate, a place the world will leave him alone.”

It’s just criminal what is happening here. We really know nothing concrete, yet we’ve seen some news media call for his execution, his father under siege for having a beard, his entire town under assault, and so on. It’s fucking insane. I am as disgusted with some of my veteran friends as I have ever been.

And where do these warpigs think they are going to find their next warm bodies to run through a meat grinder? Small towns like Hailey, Bethany, and every other town like us in the country. You can be damned sure people are going to be thinking twice after watching this reaction to bringing one of ours home. Who the fuck is going to sign up to get blown up in some meatgrinder when you know the Republicans sending you there under a lie aren’t going to fund the medical care you need and will then shit all over you, your family, and your town if it helps their political agenda?

I used to think that if I had kids, I would want all of them to go into the military. Do a stint in the Air Force or Navy, see the world. Fuck that noise. I’m not having any kids, but I would tell any kid from 17-21 to stay as far away from the military as is humanly possible. If me from 1989 was thinking about the military and watched what has happened the last decade, my attitude would be “Fuck that shit. My shit’s fucked up but I want all my limbs and don’t want my parents being called traitors.” Not to mention, we used to believe in not leaving people behind, even if Sean Hannity didn’t like their dad’s beard. The only possible outcome to military service is negative, these days, unless you are higher level brass.

182 replies
  1. 1
    some guy says:

    Their vileness towards thsy family does not go unnoticed by the vast majority. Just evil and brazen shitstains.

  2. 2
    Morzer says:

    I find it profoundly tragic that the GOP rants on endlessly about citizenship (usually in the context of welfare and/or immigration) and yet has no concept of what being a good citizen would mean. They are making this country smaller, sadder, meaner and madder in the cause of “proving” that their worthless ideology works. There was so much potential for good here – and they’ve managed to poison the well for pretty much everyone outside their charmed circle of billionaires, courtiers and grifters.

  3. 3
    WaterGirl says:

    Cole, I posted this in a thread earlier today, and maybe it’s a dumb idea because not a single person replied, but I haven’t given up hope that we can do something to fight the hate.

    @rikyrah: Welcome back, Bowe.

    Those are the last words in that article. Nearly all of us here at BJ have been greatly upset. Why can’t we start a “Welcome back, Bowe”, well, something.

    Take up a collection and we run a full page ad in the new york times. Take up a collection and run a full page ad in Bowe’s hometown paper, and every other Idaho paper we can afford, with our names and the state where we live so they know that people all over the country support them.

    Design a bumper sticker and sell it. Something. This impotent rage is eating me up. Let’s do something.

    Add Welcome back, Bowe in big letters to the BJ page. Encourage other blogs to do the same. Something.

    We cannot let the haters hold the floor on this indefinitely. We have to fight back.

    This is the article that led me to think about trying to do something:
    Our View: Demonizing the Bergdahls

  4. 4
    rikyrah says:

    I used to be all supportive of the military. If there was a young Black man or woman who wasn’t going to college, I thought nothing of telling them to sign up for the Military. That all changed because of Iraq and Afghanistan. I couldn’t offer that suggestion in good conscience.

  5. 5
    gussie says:

    “You can be damned sure people are going to be thinking twice after watching this reaction to bringing one of ours home.”

    Is this a bad thing?

    “I used to think that if I had kids, I would want all of them to go into the military.”

    My father fought in WWII, and Korea. He told me stay the hell away from the military. That and being a lawyer were the only two career paths he considered completely verboten.

  6. 6
    HR Progressive says:

    If this hasn’t proven that conservatives and their bluster about “Support the Troops” has been nothing more than a godforsaken marketing statement, as opposed to some sort of actual policy, I don’t think anything will.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    And where do these warpigs think they are going to find their next warm bodies to run through a meat grinder? Small towns like Hailey, Bethany, and every other town like us in the country.

    There are plenty of urban kids that use the military as a way out.

  8. 8

    One manufactured crisis to the next, what is GOP’s endgame here?

  9. 9
    rda909 says:

    As usual, I’ve not seen one “journalistic” outfit describe the fact that 100% of all this hatred is coming from Republicans/Libertarians. Just “people” out there.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    bago says:

    I know my dad’s bear always brought all the boys to the yard. (typo in post)

  12. 12
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: All these people who want to carry their weapons around all the time, let’s offer them a one-year stint in the military. Oh, they’re not interested? Funny, that.

  13. 13
    WaterGirl says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: What’s their agenda?

    To beat us down until we stop voting and stop fighting.

  14. 14
    Baud says:


    There it is.

  15. 15
    madmommy says:

    This whole episode is sickening, but not surprising to me. The right wing doesn’t think past the end of their nose. It’s all about “winning the day” with nary a thought to the short and long term consequences of their words and actions. They spout on endlessly about personal responsibility but never, ever take it for themselves. I went off on a co-worker the other day when she started in on why he should have been left to rot. She sounded like a parrot that has been watching nothing but Fox News 24/7. I bite my tongue every day because usually the stupidity I hear is from customers and I need my job. But this little dipshit was talking out her ass and had no clue about what the facts were, only what Hannity told her on TV that morning.

  16. 16
    Morzer says:


    I’d say make the ability to carry weapons with more punch than a hunting rifle dependent on active status in a National Guard unit. Mandate a review of status every year with a full psychological profile for stress, PTSD, you name it. Keep weapons locked up in the armory when they are not being used in the line of duty. No exceptions.

  17. 17
    Anne Laurie says:


    There are plenty of urban kids that use the military as a way out.

    Yeah, I believe that’s why recruiters no longer turn down applicants with gang tattoos or ‘minor felony arrests’ on their records.

    ETA: On second thought, most of those urban kids live in a ‘town’ bounded by a few square blocks, or the limits of their housing project. Even 40 years ago, I had classmates in the Bronx who considered anything outside our parish terra incognita, but we didn’t have kids from the next parish over ready to jump or shoot us if we wandered outside “our” turf…

  18. 18
    Jennifer says:

    You echoed what I posted over at roy’s – this should turn away potential recruits.

    The sickest thing about it is this: they are accusing this guy of being a “deserter” when, if I correctly understand the meaning of that word in this context, would make ALL POWs “deserters”. Maybe the guy DID wander away from his post – that would make him AWOL and at worst guilty of dereliction of duty. But it’s impossible for him to be a “deserter” unless he was free to return and just chose not to do so.

    Rwingers being assholes and not understanding the meanings of words, however, is unfortunately nothing new.

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    @Morzer: You like the words “well regulated militia”? Awesome, we’ve got a well regulated militia right here. Sign the papers for the national guard and get your gun.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    There are two social welfare systems that Americans are happy to pay for: one is the military, the other is the prison system. Both warp American society and American politics.

    American friends of mine who’ve lived abroad for extended periods are always shocked when they return by how militaristic their native society is, from cadets parading at high school games on upwards and outwards. They forget, then they remember.

  22. 22
    Schlemizel says:

    I’ll disagree with you on one point JC. There are thousands of kids in thousands of small towns who will swallow the horror stories and think to themselves “Well I ain’t no chickenshit traitor so it won’t happen to me!”

    They will continue to provide bodies for the future meat grinders, because they are tru-belevers ™.
    It doesn’t hurt that there are few other options for a small town kid who is not yet ready to go off to college.

  23. 23
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    everyone you know has someone who served in the family,

    I’m guessing you meant “served in the military,” but damn if that isn’t a nice Freudian typo.

    During the Vietnam War days, I was pretty noisy against the draft (not sure I would do the same again, but it seemed the right thing to do then). But I have never had anything against the military per se; I had a cousin and a brother who were in the Army during ‘Nam, and another brother who was in some military-type school or camp, which did him a world of good. I sob like a baby at Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day/Remembrance Day ceremonies, and major anniversaries such as the one we just had of D-Day’s 70th. You don’t even want to come near me when the WWI centennial stuff starts happening.

    I grew up in a town not quite as small as Bethany, WV, or Hailey, ID, but still a fairly tight and cohesive community (complete with its War Memorial in the park). What you have described is what Oak Park, IL’s reaction would have been, I think. And I never wanted children of my own, but I just want to co-sign everything you said about advice on staying away from the military. Not because of the military itself, but because of the terrifying, imbecilic, hypocritical view of the military among our own home-grown RWNJs.

  24. 24
    sherifffruitfly says:

    it’s always useful to determine the extent that we white folks are willing to go to, to be against Obama.

    rejecting giving healthcare to millions in THOSE states, ok yah we hate him that much.

    appears that we’re approaching the boundary of our commitment to anti-Obama-ism with trashing the POW. it seems like about 50-50, but we’re coming up to the boundary of our white commitment to Obama-hate.

  25. 25
    Schlemizel says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    The end game is them back in total control and completing the destruction of human life on this planet. I thought that was obvious.

  26. 26
    raven says:

    @Anne Laurie: Recruiting criteria are dynamic, a few years ago they loosened them because they needed bodies. There is a big RIF coming down and they will get more and more picky.

  27. 27
    Baud says:

    Oh wow. On Rachel, the LV Sheriff’s said that the entire shooting of the cops at Cici’s was captured on video. I don’t know if I hope that leaks or not.

  28. 28
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Oak Park was pretty high-class compared to Villa Park and Lombard. We had lots of people join up.

  29. 29
    WaterGirl says:

    @sherifffruitfly: In the old movies where the mob goes wild and wants to string up the prisoner, it seemed like they all settled down when the sheriff confronted them and eventually they realized they had gotten out of hand.

    I don’t see anything like that happening here. They are so rabid in their hate for Obama that they are eating their own with Bowe B. and his family. And I don’t see it letting up.

  30. 30
    raven says:

    @Baud: They have the WalMart video too.

  31. 31
    Kristin says:

    @madmommy: I was thinking the same thing. None of these people would be calling Hailey to make threats, etc if the right wing and its media water carriers hadn’t planted the ideas in their heads. The whole thing is disgusting.

  32. 32
    Patrick says:

    What is @some guy:

    Their vileness towards thsy family does not go unnoticed by the vast majority. Just evil and brazen shitstains.

    Are you sure? I haven’t seen any polls either way. But I have lived long enough to not be surprised at how dumb people can be. And the way the MSM is reporting it, I wouldn’t be surprised if most people are against this POW. Yes, the MSM is slanted to the right, but it also means that the low-information types will buy it.

  33. 33
    Morzer says:


    That’s why I think their endgame is dementia. There’s nothing but hate and rage left for them to believe in. They’ve hollowed out everything that was vaguely decent about themselves just to win the short-term game – and now they aren’t even doing too well at that. The GOP is a dying animal lashing out every which way in the hope of damaging something else before it all ends.

  34. 34
    Schlemizel says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    back in the late 90s when my kid joined he said there were several guys that we stuck in an “intake company”, time that did not count against enlistment and did not provide for any leave while waiting to get to boot camp. In order to get out a recruit had to do 10 sit ups, 10 pull ups and get their paperwork signed by an officer whose office was in the building they lived in, These losers were not able to complete one or more of the tasks.

    According to the boy it was obvious that these guys were not fit for service but the recruiter needed to make his numbers & rejects apparently didn’t count against them. He made him understand all the things I tried to tell him about the Army before he went – too late of course.

  35. 35
    Baud says:


    It just struck me how little video we have of these mass killings, given the ubiquity of video cameras and phones these days.

  36. 36
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: I don’t think we had anybody signing up in Berwyn.

  37. 37
    jayjaybear says:

    I’m actually afraid for Bergdahl’s life when he gets back. I wouldn’t put it past some creepy “patriot” to decide God wants them to summarily execute “the traitor”.

  38. 38


    I find it profoundly tragic that the GOP rants on endlessly about citizenship (usually in the context of welfare and/or immigration) and yet has no concept of what being a good citizen would mean

    They don’t care about citizenship as a responsibility, only as a bloodright. To them, people who don’t have the right bloodlines (i.e. aren’t white, preferably descended from people who were here at the time of the Revolution) you don’t really deserve to be a citizen in the first place. That’s the citizenship they care about: being a member of the right genes club.

  39. 39
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: I’d go easy on that “losers” shit, some of my best friends fall in that group while college fucks sat it out:

    Project 100,000 was initiated by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in October 1966 to meet the escalating manpower requirements during American involvement in the Vietnam War and ended in December 1971.[4] Promoted as a response to Johnson’s War on Poverty by giving training and opportunity to the uneducated and poor, the recruited men were classified as “New Standards Men” (or pejoratively the Moron Corps) and had scored in Category IV of the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which placed them in the 10-30 percentile range.[5] The number of soldiers reportedly recruited through the program varies, from more than 320,000[5] to 354,000, which included both volunteers and conscripts (54% to 46%).[4] Entrance requirements were loosened, but all the Project 100,000 men were sent through the normal training processes with other recruits, and performance standards thus were the same for everyone.[6]

    Project 100,000 soldiers included those unable to speak English, of low aptitude, with physical impairments, and those who were too short or too tall, over or under weight, among other categories. They also included a special category – a control group of acceptable soldiers. Each of the different categories was identified in their official personnel records with a large red letter stamped on the first page of their enlistment contract. Human resources offices had to prepare reports on them, to be submitted monthly to Department of the Army. The monthly reports did not include the identity of the soldiers.[1]

  40. 40
    raven says:

    @WaterGirl: You did during Vietnam. These are just the one’s who died:


  41. 41
    Cacti says:


    I was thinking the same thing. None of these people would be calling Hailey to make threats, etc if the right wing and its media water carriers hadn’t planted the ideas in their heads. The whole thing is disgusting.

    Bill O’Reilly calls Dr. George Tiller “baby killer” 24 different times on air. Anti-abortion nut Scott Roeder guns Tiller down in the doorway of his church.


  42. 42
    bago says:

    @Baud: Usually the phone is busy calling 911.

  43. 43
    sublime33 says:

    I used to watch This Week on Sundays and they always had a segment that showed those who died in overseas conflicts that week. They would show the name, rank and home town. A disproportionate number were from towns you never heard of. In Illinois, they were more likely to be from downstate towns like Piper City, Jerseyville or Eureka Illinois and rarely from Naperville or Arlington Heights Illinois even though 70% of the population is from the Chicago metro area.

  44. 44

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    One manufactured crisis to the next, what is GOP’s endgame here?

    They have none. The GOP isn’t even thinking two moves ahead, much less to an endgame.

  45. 45
    Schlemizel says:

    I posted this earlier. NPR reported that the guy they killed in WalMArt was a 31 YO with a concealed carry permit. When the loons came in shooting into the ceiling & telling everyone to get to the back of the store he decided to be the ‘good guy with a gun”. We all know the only way to stop a good guy with a gun is a bad guy with a gun looking for the chance to shoot first.

    The NRA and the ammosexuals killed that guy the same as if they had pulled the trigger.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Violet says:

    In general, what seems to be the response from current military and veterans? Are they in support of getting Bergdahl or leaving him behind? Just curious if that demographic leans one way or the other on this issue. Anyone know?

  48. 48
    WaterGirl says:

    @Morzer: See, I think we have something going on at two levels here.

    We have Karl Rove and company, who have one agenda: To beat us down until we stop voting and stop fighting.

    Then we have the pawns in the game, all the little people who don’t question what they are told and line up to crap on this family and fight for their right to have guns.

    I think we sane and rational people haven’t come up with an effective response because we get distracted and don’t strategically think about what/who we are fighting. We can try to fight Karl Rove and company and we can try to fight the vile pawns in the game, but we can’t fight them with the same strategy.

    We have to pick our fight and take it to them, and I don’t mean with guns.

  49. 49
    bago says:

    Since this is being read, the footer of the web page is at least 6 months out of date. Ain’t 2013 nowhere, son, unlessin you got a time machine.

  50. 50
    ralphb says:

    @WaterGirl: Count me in if you get anything going. As a veteran, I’ve not been this angry in a very long time.

  51. 51
    ralphb says:

    @WaterGirl: Count me in if you get anything going. As a veteran, I’ve not been this angry in a very long time.

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    A number of my OPRFHS classmates were killed in VN, although maybe not as many as you would guess (we were the Class of ’60, so already a bit long in the tooth and/or with a bunch of exemptions by the time Nam got really hot). I had already been gone for a few years by then, so don’t know how many of my contemporaries actually did either volunteer or get drafted.

    I’m going back in Fall of 2015, partly for my 55th HS reunion and partly (mostly) for a family reunion in our home town. Last time I was there I didn’t visit the War Memorial but I will make a point of it next year.

    You have mentioned a couple of times that Oak Park was “high-class.” Please believe me when I say we didn’t think of ourselves that way — at least, I don’t think we did (but maybe that’s like fish not realizing they’re wet) — although we were, and still are, happy to grab the Ernest Hemingway/Edgar Rice Burroughs/Frank Lloyd Wright mantle whenever useful.

  53. 53

    And that’s my concern as well. The message from the right seems to be this:

    “If we don’t like the rumored circumstances under which you become a POW, we’ll demand the US Government leave you to die.”

    1) If I’m considering military service, that’s a new risk to joining, and something I have no control over. It also has a ring of calvinball to it – what won’t they like? What if I’m doing what I was told, but they just don’t like what I was told?
    2) If I do become a POW, whatever confidence I may have had that my country would come and find me, is now gone. My will to resist is likely to be a lot lower. My will to not side with my captors may as well.

    This action by the right violates a very basic, very fundamental contract between citizens and those who fight for us. We would never tolerate the reverse happening – a soldier refusing to protect a fellow citizen that he didn’t like. The absoluteness of military service needs to work both ways.

  54. 54
    Baud says:

    Robert Costa ‏@costareports 1h

    In tiny Coldwater, MS, I stood w/ McDaniel in the mud as he spoke w/ militia members, a few steps from Sons of Confederate Vets

  55. 55
    Kristin says:

    @Cacti: Nope. But, that’s why they want to claim that the shooter is “mentally ill,” because it distracts from looking at the actual cause.

  56. 56
    raven says:

    @sublime33: That is now. The majority of people in the combat arms are overwhelming white and, therefore, the casualties are more from small rural places.

  57. 57
    guachi says:

    I’m down with pitching in some scratch to do… something… for Bergdahl, his family, or his town. Twelve and a half years in the Navy and I’m sickened, beyond the usual RWNJ nonsense.

    I amped up my pushback on FB to some of my wife’s friends after the second time I saw someone post that Bob Bergdahl claimed the White House in the name of Allah. It was just so stupid. That and the fact that, as an Arabic linguist, I knew what they were saying was nonsense. But my experience didn’t matter. They “knew” what the father had done.

    It’s so repulsive. This really was a bridge too far. At least with my in-laws and on Facebook, I’ve finally gone on the offensive rather than just reply to their idiocy. I’ve even created a RWNJ list just for them.

  58. 58
    Schlemizel says:

    sorry, Raven. You may be right. More suckers than losers, they got suckered into a deal they were not prepared to carry out. Its not really their fault. But, as the boy stated it the reason he went SF was because he did not want to get in the shit with the average recruit. Thats not all their fault either. Maybe we need a smaller military.

  59. 59
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: I had no idea. I don’t recognize any of the names, they must be older than me or we ran in different circles. I was pretty anti military and anti ROTC back then.

  60. 60
    beltane says:

    @WaterGirl: There are no responsible, respected leaders on the right. None. There is a hate-crazed mob of psychos who can’t be counted on to be housebroken, and there is cadre of well-dressed apologists for that mob who know how to use a fork and knife but who have no clue as to the real meaning of their beloved word “civility”.

    If these genteel defenders of right-wing extremism really want to make their case to the rest of us, they should leave their sheltered enclaves in NY and DC and go and live among their own kind.

  61. 61
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I wouldn’t be all sensitive about it, Elmhurst had a higher SES than the surrounding towns and villages too.

  62. 62
    Svensker says:


    Oh, God. Never could stand her, obviously, but now I fucking hate her.

  63. 63


    The end game is them back in total control and completing the destruction of human life on this planet being raptured. I thought that was obvious.


  64. 64
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @WaterGirl: I’m in

  65. 65
    raven says:


  66. 66
    WaterGirl says:

    @🌷 Martin: Don’t forget this one:

    What if I read too much and they think I’m weird?

  67. 67
    Morzer says:


    I guess I am looking at the overall impact and effect – although I am not so sure KKKarl and his KoKlowns are exactly sane themselves. He was pretty close to losing it altogether on Fox when Ohio decided to vote for sanity in 2012.

  68. 68
    dmsilev says:

    entire town in the United States are (sic) supporting

    As a minor side note ‘the United States are…’ was standard usage when the country was first founded. It was really only after the Civil War that ‘the United States is…’ became the more common usage. Fitting, really, since it seems like a lot of the wingnuts want to bring us back to the antebellum era.

  69. 69
    theBuyjaysus says:

    @raven: @raven: @raven: dkd@raven:

  70. 70
    karen says:

    Cannon fodder. That’s all the RWNJ sees them as. Cannon fodder whose tours should be forever until they’re “lucky” enough to be killed.

  71. 71
    Mike in NC says:

    Was at the town recycling center on Saturday when some old guy pulled up near my car. He noticed the “US Navy Retired” plate on my hatch and thanked me for my service. I said, “Um, sure thing” and then he had to slip in a slam against Obama pardoning deserters. I rolled my eyes and drove away.

  72. 72
    Kristin says:

    @Svensker: She is garbage. There is nothing redeemable about her.

  73. 73

    @Baud: Lots of video is captured. The police round it up very quickly. I have a memo in my office that requires that I ensure all video of a crime is secured and made available to police immediately. Part of those instructions are to change the password to access the video so that I’m the only one who can access it (no leaks). All that is in place with the expectation that it’ll happen some day.

  74. 74
    theBuyjaysus says:


  75. 75
    theBuyjaysus says:


  76. 76
    theBuyjaysus says:


  77. 77
    Kristin says:

    @Kristin: I was standing in line at the airport a couple years ago, and some guy was commenting to me on how inefficient the TSA was and, “imagine if the government gets its hands on health care” or something like that.

    I moved away from him and didn’t respond. People like that can’t imagine that every stranger doesn’t agree with their point of view.

    Edit: Oops, that was supposed to be a response to Mike in NC.

  78. 78
    NotMax says:

    In large part it is a deeply ingrained patriotism- everyone you know has someone who served in the military family, That patriotism is not excluded as an attribute of those not in or affiliated with the military should not need to be said, yet must be.

  79. 79
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Bruce Anderson sounds familiar, so does Joe Bonetti (although they might have been a year or two younger). I would have to dig out my yearbook for some other names, but I am quite sure there were others from my class who served and died, and I always thought they died in service.

  80. 80
    Steve from Antioch says:

    Yes, the reaction is as terrible as it is predictable. Among friends who have served, the ones that are Fox/Beck fans, almost all are on the he’s a traitor bandwagon. Among the rest the reaction is “bring him home, even if only to execute him if he’s found to be a deserter or deserter.”

    I can’t think of another issue off hand that has so cleanly split my military friends.

  81. 81
    Baud says:


    I’ve never experienced a problem in my dealings with any private corporation.

  82. 82
    The Very Revered Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    @WaterGirl: I’m down. Keep us posted on what we’re doing next, but as a vet and a teacher, I want to participate. This kid deserves better than he’s getting, and unless people like ourselves speak up, the voices of hate are going to be the only ones he hears.

  83. 83
    Morzer says:


    For your own sake, don’t even try and read the comments that go with it. It’s like an open sewer of ignorance, malice and human degeneracy.

  84. 84
    skerry says:

    My father was born and raised in WV just down the road from Cole. He enlisted in the USAF right after high school. Served 4 years as ground crew for tankers. Did 18 months on a 12 month unaccompanied tour in Guam, the closest he got to any “action”, while Mom and I lived with his parents. Earned himself a good conduct medal. Never went back to WV to live. Got a union job, provided a nice living for his family and has a decent retirement.

    He was sitting in a McDonald’s in a small town in a very red county in Indiana last week. Drinking his 10 cent senior coffee and reading the newspaper. Three men in a booth near him were discussing Bergdahl and how he should be shot as a deserter. Said nasty things about the parents too.

    Dad finally had enough (it takes a lot – he’s pretty easy going) and went over to them. He asked if they were veterans. Turns out all 3 had deferments during Vietnam. Told them to shut the hell up and read them the riot act. Manager finally came over and told the 3 guys that they had to leave. They objected. Turns out the manager was a vet, served in Afghanistan. The men finally got up and left.

    There are enough people from small towns in this country who are fed up with the right-wing talking points. The tide is going to turn. I just don’t know when.

  85. 85
    NotMax says:

    (Fixed for blockquote fail.)

    In large part it is a deeply ingrained patriotism- everyone you know has someone who served in the military family,

    That patriotism is not excluded as an attribute of those not in or affiliated with the military should not need to be said, yet must be.

  86. 86
    Baud says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Still surprised nothing has actually leaked.


    Awesome story.

  87. 87
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Aw, please, let the rest of us in on the secret?

  88. 88
    karen says:


    There are no responsible, respected leaders on the right.

    None left. Every time a member of the GOP does something decent, they’re threatened to be primaried. In order to make it into the GOP you have to wear a coat made of the skins of dead immigrant children. Anything else makes you a RINO.

  89. 89
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I also depended on their home of record, where they lived when they went in. There were a couple of guys from Villa Park that lived elsewhere when they entered the military.

  90. 90
    Kristin says:

    @Baud: For example, the private healthcare/insurance system.

  91. 91
    Morzer says:


    Mad props to your father. I’d have been worried that the three gobshites might be carrying lubricated metal man-dildoes to deal with any criticism.

  92. 92
    Schlemizel says:

    Both my wife & I have 1st cousins on the wall. One of my best friends from high school is there too. Me? I was 4F but still protested the war. The well to do have always had a way out. If not out of the service at least out of some of the worst parts. One thing that made the Roosevelt kid special was he could probably had family pull strings and gotten a nice desk job in DC. But that was a war with actual shared sacrifice. We have not had once of those since 1945. Instead they are fought on the backs of the poor, the disadvantages and the bold looking for excitement.

  93. 93

    @raven: My dad, who was a lifeguard, decided that he’d rather spend his time in a can 300 feet underwater than hump through a jungle. He knew he couldn’t shoot anyone, but he wasn’t claustrophobic and he knew he could pass the test to get on a sub, so he figured it was a win-win. Someone needed to chase the Soviets around the North Atlantic, after all.

    I think he was about as good of a soldier as Cole: “I was just a smart-ass who most of the time did what his NCO’s told him to do.” Sounds pretty spot-on.

  94. 94
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Great question. When they get a chance to run the White House, they make a huge mess. They will never get my vote. I hope there is a strong backlash against them this November. Can you imagine the nightmare of them controlling the Senate?

  95. 95
    raven says:

    @skerry: My brother-in-law refueled tankers and B-52’s on Guam 65-66!

  96. 96
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Violet: You have seen the response from the veterans who post here. We are supposed to get our people back. End of story.

  97. 97
    raven says:

    @🌷 Martin: There was nothing easy about the Silent Service.

  98. 98
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @raven: Yes, that could skew the results. I attended my high school’s 25th, 40th, and 50th reunions, and I know there were names of guys we saluted in memoriam who are not on your list.

  99. 99
    MomSense says:


    To threaten and intimidate us if we speak out against the insanity of gun madness.

  100. 100
    karen says:


    I mentioned that in comments the day that the new narrative went out that Bergdahl was a “traitor.” That was before Fox news was inciting murder.

  101. 101


    Still surprised nothing has actually leaked.

    I’m not. The criminal code I would be violating for not adhering to the memo is spelled out pretty clearly.

  102. 102
    Baud says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    I wasn’t talking about you, silly. The police, on the other hand….

  103. 103
    raven says:

    @skerry: 10 cent coffee!!! We’ve walk past McD’s every morning for 15 years on our way to our coffee joint and we’re lucky cuz we pay$50 a month.

  104. 104


    That patriotism is not excluded as an attribute of those not in or affiliated with the military should not need to be said, yet must be.

    I guess I would say that it’s a deeply ingrained style of patriotism. There is definitely a school of patriotism that says the highest example of patriotism is to serve one’s country in the military, especially during wartime. People who believe in that style of patriotism but who can’t serve- they’re physically incapable or just didn’t have a convenient war to serve it- seem to be forced to prove their patriotism by overt, extreme support of the military. The desire to serve is admirable, but the need for those who didn’t serve to prove their patriotism by excessive support for the military seems like the kind of thing that makes patriotism the last refuge of the scoundrel.

  105. 105
    Schlemizel says:

    The worst beating I ever saw a man get was when I took a couple of friends out for drinks when one had just gotten back from Viet Nam. The other had been back a little over a year and they had a brief discussion about places they had been. This guy at the next table started in about all the stuff he had done while their. It smelled funny to me & I got the vibe from my friends that it was not going over with them. They tried to ignore him a couple times but he came over & kept talking. Finally they asked where he had been. I didn’t hear his answer but I had to pull them off him because I was convinced they were going to kill him. Apparently the town he was in was the safest place to be in country. It was where even the VC went for R&R.

    I have never had any desire to BS about being in the service.

  106. 106
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: There are a huge number from Columbus, GA. Many of them were GI’s who were at Benning.

  107. 107
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: We ran convoy’s to Sa Dec, a small town on the Mekong on the way to Cambodia. I learned when I came home that it was a VC R&R location but that didn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of shit going down in the area. My guess is the dude was out of line on more than his duty station.

  108. 108
    skerry says:

    @raven: We’re almost related! I’m honored.

  109. 109
    raven says:

    @skerry: I spent one lousy ass night on the runway there on my way home. We flew from Than Son Nhut to Guam commercial and they had us unass the craft and wait for a 141 for the second leg. Ass holes.

  110. 110
    AliceBlue says:

    I hate that woman with a white-hot passion, so much so that I scare myself.

  111. 111
    Baud says:

    OT: WTF?

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — An attorney for Donald Sterling says the Los Angeles Clippers owner has pulled his support from a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and will pursue his $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA.

    Attorney Maxwell Blecher says Monday that Sterling “instructed (us) to prosecute the lawsuit” and the deal’s off.

  112. 112
    mainmata says:

    @raven: True that. I know a couple of kids personally that lived in urban and periurban neighborhoods but who were smart but unfocused and potentially lost that joined the military (Air Force and Army) and got totally transformed. Neither got injured/traumatized fortunately and have become successful young men.

  113. 113
    skerry says:

    @raven: The reason my father’s tour in Guam was extended was because they let him come home mid-way because I was bitten by a black widow spider and the doctors said I was probably going to die. I wasn’t a year old. I lived.

    Something got messed up in the paperwork about his dates of service and he ended up staying almost 6 months longer than he was supposed to. 50+ years later, he still blames me.

  114. 114
    dp says:

    My son was born in 1989. Until he was twelve, I would have been proud for him to attend a military academy or join ROTC; I seriously considered it myself when I was young. But when I saw this country’s reaction to 9/11, it became apparent to me that those who were running the country considered military personnel as nothing more than a perishable commodity that could be spent for their own perceived political gain. At that point, it was game over, which is sad for the country and the military. These latest nitwits are just reaffirming the attitude of their leadership.

  115. 115
    Schlemizel says:

    Some of the best people I hired took the military discipline and are dedicated to doing things well. OTOH the worst goldbricks I have ever had to deal with got their training in the military. I think a lot has to do with the person that goes in.

  116. 116
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I believe you. Probably true of a lot of bases and their surrounding communities.

  117. 117

    @NotMax: I may not have been clear. This is a small community. If someone’s son or daughter is in the service, everyone gets updates. It used to infuriate my mother that I would write to Bill Chambers (the owner of Chamber’s General Store and a WWII vet who I loved to death and as a young kid would spend every day helping him stock shelves and dust and then eat a root beer float at 1:30 every afternoon) and tell him what was going on and send him pictures, but I never wrote her. I just called her collect once every couple of weeks from Kuwait.

    Oh, fuck it. It boils down to the fact that I live in an area where we still have the feeling we are all somewhat in it together. Not like the rest of this fucked up country the GOP is trying to impose on us. I’m an atheist but every time the Church has a fundraiser or pancake supper, I go down and donate. Why? Because it’s my town and these are my people and I had Mrs. Chambers in 2nd grade and Mrs’ Pyles husband was my science teacher and their daughter Wendy is married to Paul, who I was in the fire department with and whose brother Carl I used to cut grass with for money in the summers.

    That’s what I mean when there is a deeply ingrained sense of patriotism and sense of community (although sadly, that is fleeting here, we have fewer kids, more transient faculty, etc.). I hope that makes sense.

  118. 118

    @raven: I think it depends on the person. If you are not well suited for that job, you are going to be fucking miserable to the point of suicidal. Weeks at a time with no windows, no fresh air, weird fucking hours, etc. My dad said it was pretty easy for him because he was unusually well suited to it compared to a lot of the guys around him, but also in part because he knew nobody would be shooting at him as that was the alternative. Basically, every day he took solace in the fact that he wasn’t you. It might be boring and miserable, but he’d emerge not having killed anyone, not having been killed, or maimed, or psychologically scarred as his father had been. His name would never need to go up on a memorial in DC.

    He hates when people thank him for his service, because he sees his service as an exercise in finding a place where bullets wouldn’t be. My daughters elementary school was recognizing vets at an event one time when he was visiting, and thinking they’d just line them up and say something nice, they unexpectedly asked each of them to say something about their service. I warned my wife as soon as I realized that he was going to say something – my dad isn’t shy, and he’s no authoritarian. He tempered it as best as he could, but he basically told the kids not to be duped into someone’s war, to speak up and protest, that they’re too important to be someone else’s meatshield. It was a nice little hippie rant to little kids and their parents in the middle of an ‘honor our vets’ ceremony.

    The guy next to him was about to give a nice standard boilerplate ‘honor to serve’ talk, which just devolved into gibberish. He agreed with my dad, but wasn’t prepared for that and didn’t quite know how to square his considered comments with his emotions. My dad got a lot of ‘that was a great speech – say that more often’. I was shocked. He says he usually gets that reaction.

  119. 119
    kindness says:

    You all are giving Republicans more credit than they deserve. They lucked out because they went for the bottom feeders.

    Republicans want to discredit Democrats and make this president a footmark of history. So they spin even dumb stuff to take the air out of the room. The MSM swallows the bait whole and that takes a week plus off the 4 years a president has. Plus if they can make their shit stick they think it’ll help them the next election. The anger, the hate? Tools to get the marks to not use reason but gut to make decisions & actions.

    That the military guys out there are crapping on this poor kid so much…I am shocked at that one. Figured they’d understand more than civilians. Not shocked I’m wrong.

  120. 120
    JaneE says:

    These people think nothing of destroying a family, or a whole town with their ugliness and hatred. Bowe Bergdahl doesn’t even matter one whit to them except as an excuse to hate on Obama for being president while black.

  121. 121
    NotMax says:

    @John (MCCARTHY) Cole

    Appreciate the thoughtful response, and read the original post as meaning that the patriotism expressed itself in relations to/with the military but also saw that it was open to being read otherwise, in the sense of being joined at the hip.

  122. 122
    J says:

    @jayjaybear: I worry about this too. At the very least, there will be a large number of crackpots who will see it as their divinely appointed task to make his life and that of his family absolute hell.

  123. 123
    Shadowboxer says:

    The only possible outcome to military service is negative, these days, unless you are higher level brass.

    Somewhere McChrystal just snorted.

  124. 124
    Lyrebird says:

    @WaterGirl: I wholeheartedly agree, as you may have seen, I don’t read often enough to stay on top of things. I hope we do something, for the town if nothing else. If it ends up FP’d on more than one day, more people will see it.

  125. 125
    Roy G. says:

    Goddam it Cole, you made me delurk to say that is the best thing you’ve ever written. Thanks.

  126. 126
    Ruckus says:

    @🌷 Martin:
    Asked to be transferred to subs but they told me I’d have to add an additional 6 yrs on top of the 4 active I was already doing. Thought about it for about 3 seconds and declined. Did spend 6 weeks on board ship once under way without going out side the entire time. You get used to it, the routine, the schedule, the no sunlight, not that big a deal, especially when you consider, like your dad, that no one was shooting at me.

  127. 127
    Lyrebird says:

    @WaterGirl: I’ll put this in the open thread, too, in case you read that. (If someone else knows how to contact WaterGirl and could share this, great.)

    I just put a paper note in the mail to Jane Drussel with my full name and contact info, asking her if there’s an ambulance drive or some such thing going on where some concerned readers could pitch in to support the town. (She’s the head of the CoC so she’d know.)

    Will report.

  128. 128
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yeah, but that’s here. I was wondering if there had been some kind of a poll. Seems like everything is polled, so wondered if it had.

  129. 129
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @🌷 Martin: My son-in-law was in the Silent Service while he was dating my daughter. The long periods with no contact, and no ability to let her know where he was or what he was doing were pretty trying, but they got through it, and he got out.

    She once made the mistake of flying somewhere to try to meet up with him at a port of call. The Navy, of course, had other plans.

  130. 130
    taylormattd says:

    Thx John

  131. 131
    Mnemosyne says:


    I haven’t seen an official poll published, but given the frantic backpedaling by some of the establishment Republicans (like Krauthammer and Brooks), I suspect they’re out there, and they ain’t good for Republicans. Someone here compared this to the Terri Schiavo brouhaha, and I think they’re right.

  132. 132
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Ruckus: especially when you consider, like your dad, that no one was shooting at me.

    Here in New England, between Groton (CT) and Portsmouth (NH) lots of people still remember the USS Thresher.

  133. 133
    Matt McIrvin says:

    The early polls I’ve seen say that the public are about 40% in support of the swap, something like 43% against, the rest can’t-say/not-sure. But if you ask them if they’re worried the prisoner swap will endanger us you get like 70-80% agreement with the worry.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that 43% are OK with making death-threat calls to Bergdahl’s family. But this is not a fringe thing; a lot of people agree that we should have left him in the cage. Media are reporting this as “a red flag for Obama” but it doesn’t sound like Nixon-in-Watergate, impeach-and-convict levels of opposition.

  134. 134
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Some polls:

    You’re all wrong about veterans; that last poll says most of them think we should have let Bergdahl rot.

    I think the bad guys are winning this one.

  135. 135
    Violet says:

    @Matt McIrvin: From your last link:

    But among veterans who were polled, the split was much more lopsided. Only 6 percent were sympathetic to Bergdahl, and 33 percent blamed him. But the major difference among veterans was that by 68 to 16 percent, they said Obama made the wrong choice.

    Ugh. You’re right.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    You’re all wrong about veterans; that last poll says most of them think we should have let Bergdahl rot.

    If you click through to the full story, IBT is not giving the full results (as usual). From the USA Today story:

    Indeed, most Americans say they believe the United States has a responsibility to bring a captive American soldier home, regardless of the circumstances: 56% say Bergdahl was entitled to those efforts even though he left his post in 2009; 29% say he wasn’t. (emphasis mine)

    I’m still convinced the problem isn’t that Bergdahl was brought home, but that Obama was the one who did it. Period.

  137. 137
    mclaren says:

    And where do these warpigs think they are going to find their next warm bodies to run through a meat grinder? Small towns like Hailey, Bethany, and every other town like us in the country. You can be damned sure people are going to be thinking twice after watching this reaction to bringing one of ours home.

    Excellent! That’s what we need. Let the threats and insults flow, and let the gullible dupes from these mostly-southern small towns start to think twice and then thrice and even four or five times before they sign up to become expendable pieces of human toilet paper to get thrown away in the latest endless unwinnable war waged by some gutless Dick-Cheney-type punk in a three-piece suit to jack up his election numbers.

    More of these foolish gullible would-be volunteers for America’s death squads in uniform need to be reminded of the way America’s leaders really think of them:

    “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.” — Henry Kissinger, quoted in Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, The Final Days, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005, Chapter 14.

  138. 138
    Concerned Citizen says:

    This country does not support veterans. You’ll see advertisements about it, but capitalism discourages investment in workers. No one hires veterans, my whole family is veterans and they do not get hired.

    Infantry is totally fucked. Intelligence Is still fucked as it doesn’t directly apply to a specific decision, so corporate assholes won’t hire because there is no direct translation.

  139. 139
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Matt, most people and many veterans have been fed a lot of bile and vitriol. And as Cole has said the long range problem is how to recruit after this bullshit.

    For those of you without a military background, let me fill you in on something. Soldiers & Sailors go AWOL and UA everyday. For lots of dumb or good reasons. And there’s something known as the UCMJ that commands use for discipline. If you’re in the military the military owns your ass, 7x24x365. NOTHING you do or don’t do is your decision.

    There’s a very good reason for this ridiculously strict discipline. We drill this into our people for their safety, and the safety of the unit. It really does not matter if you are on post abroad, stateside or even on leave (yes, you’re controlled where you can go on leave too), where you go and when you go is not your call.

    Commanders deal with AWOL and UA all the time. AWOL happened in Afghanistan today. It happened at Joint Base Lewis McCord. etc.. It will happen tomorrow. Anc commands deal with it daily. Soldiers & Sailors put up with it daily.

    The reason the discipline is strict is to try and prevent a Soldier or Sailor from being injured or killed or captured.

    I’ve no idea what happened with Bergdahl 5 years ago. Nobody does. And that includes his BF buddies, who didn’t notice he was gone until muster.

    I’m happy for his family, friends and community he’s been released from enemy captivity. I’m happy our President had the balls to proceed damn well knowing this shitstorm was going to come. I’m happy for the US Army, they got him back.

    It’s up to the rest of us to ensure those who don a uniform and go into harm’s way at our democratic behest are respected and cared for whenever and however their voluntary service ends.
    That battle will never end, and it depends upon all of us to answer the call.

  140. 140
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne: I want to add two quotes to that. The first is pointing out the appearance of that magic number again.

    Among those who say the U.S. has a responsibility to do all it can to return an American captive soldier, roughly a quarter (27%) say the Bergdahl exchange itself was the wrong thing to do.

    The second is to show that even among veterans, a larger percentage say that the US had a responsibility to do all it could to return Bergdahl than the opposite

    And when it comes to U.S. responsibility toward Bergdahl, 37% of veteran households say the country was not obligated to do all it could to secure his release because he walked away from his post; 47% say the U.S. has a responsibility to do all it can to return an American captive soldier, no matter what the circumstances. Non-veteran households are more likely to back U.S. efforts to free captive soldiers, regardless of the circumstances (60%-26%).

    (EDIT: I meant to add that the demographic breakdown shows that most people are neutral or mildly symapthetic towards Bergdahl, except for old, male conservative Republicans who loathe him.

    I should also add that the referenced poll differentiated between respondents with veterans in their household and those without, but did not necessarily poll the veterans themselves)

  141. 141
    Morzer says:

    @Concerned Citizen:

    I saw one estimate that 1/3 of all homeless people in the US were veterans. I wish I didn’t believe it.

  142. 142


    And that includes his BF buddies, who didn’t notice he was gone until muster.

    This can not be said enough. In my platoon if we thought someone was at risk the NCO’s had the most stable motherfuckers in the unit around him 24/7. And that was in peacetime, when someone got dumped.

    How many Regenery Press books are going to come from these guys?

  143. 143
    Ruckus says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    People in the military die while not in combat all the time. A lot of the work is dangerous, in hostile places, shit happens. A sailor was lost off the carrier America while we patrolled behind her on plane guard duty. His body was never found. We had a guy in boot camp that came within minutes of dying from slashing his wrists but he was found when another guy had to go to the barracks to get something. And that guy had the common sense to stop the bleeding while yelling for help. Those are two that I know directly of, there were/are more.

  144. 144
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Ruckus: And all the minor and major injuries that happen even when everyone is doing stuff correctly during peacetime. Hell, I’ve got scars and, god knows, I wasn’t doing manual labor.

  145. 145
    Mnemosyne says:


    Also, the Republicans do their own, private polling that is not for public consumption. Those are the polls that I’m speculating show that ordinary Americans are not as willing to throw an American soldier under the bus as Republicans are.

    Heck, look at the Newsmax feed — the only Bergdahl story is that Congress wasn’t told before the swap. The story is being phased out fast because it was hurting Republicans.

  146. 146
    Ruckus says:

    I don’t care if a majority of Americans think President Obama did the wrong thing here. They are full of shit. Veterans make up less than 10% of the population, and I’m pretty sure some of those have their heads up their asses and think we should have left him there or shot him on sight. Fuck them. This is not a popularity contest. You do the right thing. Full fucking stop.

  147. 147
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Ruckus: Exactly.

  148. 148
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
    One of those lifers I mentioned the other day? He spent 3 days in intensive care after getting shocked by a piece of equipment that he was getting ready so we could get under way. I understand he actually died and they revived him. I’m one guy and that’s 1 dead, 2 within seconds of being dead that I know of. OK one more close call, one of the cooks slipped down a ladder in a heavy sea and broke his leg, compound fracture. He had to be transferred at sea to a ship with a helicopter and flown to a hospital. If someone hadn’t found him in time he would have bleed to death. That’s 4. You live and work around machinery and guns, things go wrong. The military works pretty damn hard to keep those down to a minimum but shit happens.

  149. 149
    WaterGirl says:

    Very glad to see that there are people here who would like to take some action.

    It costs 70,000 for a full-page ad in the new york times, so I guess that’s out. (holy cow-ski)

    The Idaho Mountain Express appears to be Bowe’s hometown paper — I will call tomorrow to see what it would cost to take out an ad in that paper.

    There’s a survey on the website for the Idaho Mountain Express – Do you support the trade made to secure the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl? It’s running about 15% yes, 85% no. I know polls don’t typically matter, but maybe it’s something that could help the family feel a little less awful.

    All ideas welcome! I’ll see if Cole or Betty Cracker or someone can front-page a thread so we can figure something out.

  150. 150
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @WaterGirl: Internet surveys mean nothing. We all know that.

  151. 151
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
    I like how conservatives have all these rules that make their ideas grand but 1 min with any thought tells you they are full of shit. Yeah, let’s leave POWs, fuck them. Until it’s one of them or their kids, then it’s NFW can we leave them. Abortions are horrible, we can’t have them, except if my wife needs one. Fuck them. They want rules for everyone except them, the want exceptions carved out just to suit them. Fuck that. I didn’t sign up to risk my life so they could think themselves exceptional. And I’ll bet few others did either.

  152. 152
    Groucho48 says:

    Well, this is anecdotal, but, the main forum I post on, an off-topic gaming forum, has a lot of rabid right wingers on it and they, early on, were all over the Bergdahl thing. If anyone, anywhere had something bad to say about the guy, they managed to dig it up.

    But, after a few days of those of us not on the rabid right posting what a crappy thing it was they were doing, and how, as a general principle, if Bergdahl was a bad guy, WE should be the ones to judge him, not the Taliban, most of them left the thread. That’s as close to admitting defeat as we ever get over there.

    If those guys are reconsidering, than, just about anyone can be made to reconsider. Just need to present them with facts and with general principles on how we deal with our troops. I know, I know.)

    If only the MSM would do that, this issue would disappear in a week. The right is acting like it’s hippie punching and lots of folks are going along with that, because who doesn’t like to punch a hippie? But, once they realize it isn’t hippie punching, it’s veteran punching, they change their opinion. That’s what I think the different numbers in those polls mean. When you are talking about Bob Bergdahl, the weird hippie, everyone wants to dump on him. But, when you abstract it to a generic American soldier, that changes the whole frame of reference.

    I know it’s unlikely the MSM will do much in that direction, but, hopefully, some of the veteran’s groups might start talking about this disgraceful and disgusting treatment of a serving soldier and POW.

  153. 153
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @WaterGirl: Thank You

  154. 154
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I know that. But if it was my son who had been a POW, I’m not sure I’d feel that way.

  155. 155
    Gretchen says:

    @WaterGirl: great idea: you can carry a gun if you’re part of the well-regulated militia: i.e. a veteran. So all these guys can have all the weapons they want as soon as they pass out of the military! That would shut it all down pretty quickly.
    I also like your “welcome home” newspaper idea. However, I have a distinctive, easily found name, and these gun nuts who hunt down and threaten people who disagree with them really scare me. I would love to be the John Lewis who courageously faces down the brutes with greater strength. I hate it that these nuts have me thinking it’s not safe to oppose them.

  156. 156
    Mnemosyne says:


    Speaking for myself, I think I’d rather do a donation somewhere than just put money into an ad. Maybe something like Fisher House?

    ETA: IIRC, they send a postcard to the person if you donate “in honor” of someone.

  157. 157
    spender says:

    @Kristin: @Kristin:
    I went there and look at the comments! Those folks have the same internet connection and yet get everything wrong.
    How depressing.

    Sarah Palin
    Bristol posted an answer to supporters of Obama’s terrorist negotiations to free the Taliban’s Dastardly Dream Team in exchange for the sketchy “I’m-ashamed-to-be-American” Sgt. Bergdahl, who is accused by his fellow soldiers of deserting and denouncing America before going AWOL – a decision which cost other soldiers their lives as the Army mounted extensive operations to find Bergdahl after he ab… See More

    49 of 7,135
    View previous comments

    Jan Abdelkhalek: The Bergdahl family is creepy. Terrorist sympathizers. Let the court martial be announced in Pashtun since he conveniently forgot English. Bowe is a traitor and soldiers were KIA looking for this deserter.
    June 6 at 10:27pm · 4

    John Webster: We as Americans should be outraged, we have never negotiated with terrorist, until OBAMA got in office
    June 6 at 11:21pm · 5

    John Webster: SARAH for President, Mc Cain for Vice
    June 6 at 11:21pm · 1

    Felix D. Rodriguez :I remember years ago there was a rumor that Obama was running with the terrorists before he got elected into office. … it sure as hell seems the rumors were right. There’s been shooting sprees within our own Military, more shootings in schools, He h…See More
    June 6 at 11:40pm · 4

    Felix D. Rodriguez: Impeach president NOW!
    June 6 at 11:41pm · 8

    TonyandPom Spicer Spicer: Piss on Bergdahl, he deserted, took up with the enemy and Obama swapped him for 5 high ranked terrorist. Way to go Obama, stupid move, you deserve to be impeached and charged with war crimes you and Bergdahl. The Feds better watch Bergdahl and his family close, I smell a rat.
    June 7 at 12:04am · 5

    TonyandPom Spicer Spicer: Ya Obama you are the first President to negotiate with terrorist, I hope your proud of your self because I’m deeply offended and embarrassed for America, your decision made America look weak, now terrorist will capture American soldiers and hold them f…See More
    June 7 at 12:16am · 6

    TonyandPom Spicer Spicer: My final comment, those 5 men that you Mr. President exchanged should have been executed, now the US has to look over their shoulder even more. Damn it, what was you thinking. Bergdahl should be court marshaled, hell, you should have left him there, his own comrades said he was a deserter, in other words he’s not worth pissing on. Damn it to hell.
    June 7 at 12:23am · 5

    Glenn Ellerbe 18 U.S. Code $2381
    (Legal definition of Treason)
    “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suf…See More
    June 7 at 1:06am · 13

  158. 158
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    what is GOP’s endgame here?

    They have no endgame, only endless, implacable, unappeasable spite. They are Lemongrab.

  159. 159
    Chris says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    The numbers are the only thing that surprises me. I figured that it would at the very least be split, with all the Gooper veterans on the “hang him” train of thought.

    A decade or so ago when I was just beginning to follow politics, I’d expected that veterans would be as repelled as I was by the whole swift-boating thing – that surely even among Bush voters who agreed with W’s policies, there’d be some blowback at the sight of an actual war veteran getting his service dragged through the mud by an administration of draft-dodgers.

    As it turned out, nope. Oh sure, not every veteran I knew was a Republican. But among those that were, it was all praise and glory to George Bush, that good and patriotic nice man, and Kerry was just a DFH who probably faked those injuries anyway, and even if he didn’t, he went to anti-war rallies so it doesn’t count. (You’d think the fact that he was willing to serve even though he didn’t agree with the war would make it more honorable/patriotic, not less – along with the fact that he could easily have avoided the draft if he’d chosen to – but apparently not).

    All that to say that yeah, the tribal insanity among GOPers trumps pretty much everything including any sense of military brotherhood. Bergdahl was liberal scum (actually Paultard scum, but they’re not making the distinction) who sympathized with the enemy e.g. the civilian population; his father said something in Arabic at the White House; he has the potential to make Obama look good about something (or rather, believing that he was scum gives them an excuse to hate Obama); and Fox News has told them he’s a traitor. That’s all Republicans needed, veteran or not.

    The only question was whether the nationalist madness would spread beyond GOP ranks like it did for the “Ground Zero Mosque.” I guess it has.

  160. 160
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gretchen: Yeah, I thought about that, too. There’s always “Gretchen Z. from Pittsburgh, PA” or something like that.

  161. 161
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: That seems like a good idea, too. I would love it if people would keep suggesting ideas and then we can do some research, make some decisions and come up with a plan.

  162. 162
    dogwood says:

    I think the mass murders over the past few weeks and the bergdahl fiasco as put me over the edge. In 08 I supported Obama over Clinton for 2 reasons. The first was simply that I liked him better than her , and I admired his temperament. I’ve always admired people like the president because they have the virtues I aspire to but woefully lack all too often. I still stand by that reason. The second reason I supported him over HRC was that I thought the Dems in Congress would be more likely to support him in tough times than they would her. I didn’t buy the song and dance about bringing the country together, but I did think he just might be able to bring the party together. We’ll I was wrong about that. The Democrats represent the majority of the voters and their agenda is favored by a majority of the country but politically they behave like frightened backbenchers. They refused to establish the narrative on the ACA and wouldn’t defend the law. It’s the Republicans who should have been on the defensive for refusing health insurance for millions of Americans. Now Rightwingistan has established the narrative on the POW and the Dems will leave POTUS to swing in the wind as usual. I’m as disgusted with the MSM as anyone else here, but they are mostly lazy and unimaginative. Republicans give them coordinated talking points and a plethora of on screen gasbags at the drop of a hat. No wonder they love these guys. Democrats do nothing and then whine, or like DiFi they race to the press to agree with the teabaggers. Democrats sat around whining that no elected Republican would denounce the birthers, but no elected Democrat showed a much outrage either. We will be governed by these butters until Democrats figure this out.

  163. 163
    A Humble Lurker says:

    Shorter: both sides do it!

  164. 164
    dogwood says:

    What’s happen to the Bergdahls is shameful, but the parents are true-blue right wingers. You don’t get to speak at the Idaho Republican convention unless you are a bonafide Obama hater. Thus far the family hasn’t retracted any of their anti-Obama rhetoric. And it seemed obvious to me where they stood when they didn’t mention the president at the White House gig. They might be out bad mouthing Obama again real soon. That will really give the right wing a headache.

  165. 165
    The Lodger says:

    @dogwood: You’re talking about cognitive dissonance here. It’s not going to happen among these people, because they don’t do cognition.
    If you use the contents of your skull purely for ballast, you’ll never get a headache. End of story.

  166. 166
    worn says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Pretty good example of why we don’t legislate in this country via plebiscite.

    That said, this world can be so damn depressing.

  167. 167
    TriassicSands says:

    The only possible outcome to military service is negative, these days, unless you are higher level brass.

    Two words — Eric Shinseki.

    Even being top brass means nothing if you run afoul of the right wingers.


    Legislators, especially senators, want to be babied and pampered. It’s probably a good thing politically for a president to know how to do that and be willing to do it when the situation calls for it. Obama doesn’t seem able to do that. I don’t blame him — I’m certainly not going to criticize the president for being an adult and expecting others to act like adults as well. Unfortunately, if Obama isn’t willing to baby DiFi and others, that doesn’t mean she (and they) will suddenly grow up. So, Obama can expect tantrums from Democrats and I imagine he knows that and simply isn’t willing to start playing a game that he recognizes as nothing more than a game. I just hope that he doesn’t think that by behaving like an adult he will somehow force legislators to cut the crap and start behaving like mature, responsible individuals.

  168. 168
    brantl says:

    I am as peacefully oriented a person as I know of. I think of every war as a failure to communicate, and compromise (I’m a nicer Strother Martin). I regret every war as at least one side’s mistake, if not both sides’ mistake. I honor all men who serve, but feel viscerally that usually they have been gotten to serve in a false cause. I hope one day soon, we stop glamorizing war, and stop pushing our sons into the meat grinder.

  169. 169
    WaterGirl says:

    @dogwood: Interesting. I don’t recall whether they actually thanked the president in words, but my takeaway was that they were immensely grateful to the president. I think that’s part of what started the frenzy of hate.

    I respect what Bob B. has done for his son while he is in captivity, and I don’t care if I don’t like their politics, what is happening is shameful and I want to try to do my part to try to dilute that, even if it’s like throwing salt in the ocean. I was raised to believe we have to do what we can do.

    I also respect that Bob B. has clearly spoken out against the war, and against the war and Gitmo. I think another part of the huge backlash here is that I thought there was a chance that the whole prisoner of war return with a republican parent questioning Gitmo might actually start the national conversation we need to have. And they can’t let that happen, which is (I believe) why Karl Rove and others have jumped on this so unmercifully.

    Edit: whether I agree with his politics or not, I think Bob B. is a man of principle and I do not see him turning on President Obama for this. I guess we’ll know for sure as this plays out.

  170. 170
    Matt McIrvin says:


    The Democrats represent the majority of the voters and their agenda is favored by a majority of the country but politically they behave like frightened backbenchers.

    Part of this is sincere internal difference, though: the Democrats actually don’t have an agenda that all of them enthusiastically support. When they’ve got control of Congress, part of that control comes from Blue Dogs in conservative districts. It’s not a liberal party, it just has a liberal wing that isn’t powerful enough to set the course for the rest of the party.

    And the Democrats are probably not going to be more disciplined, because at this point the Democrats are basically everyone who isn’t crazy enough (or isn’t white enough) to be Republican. They’re not ideologically like-minded. The best we can hope for is to move the national center far enough in the directions we care about that the median Democratic member of Congress actually wants to take a good stand on them and feels safe doing so.

  171. 171
    C.V. Danes says:

    In every generation as far back as I can count, at least one male on my side of the family (including myself) has served in the military. That stopped with my son, who has elected not to join. And I’m very much happy at this point that he has chosen not to.

    And one thing that really annoys me (even though it probably shouldn’t) is all of the sanctimonious “thank you for your service” bullsh-t going around now days. I guess its better than being spit on, but if you really want to thank me for my service, stop sending our nation’s children into battle, and take care of them when they come home.

  172. 172
    Ruckus says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    if you really want to thank me for my service, stop sending our nation’s children into battle, and take care of them when they come home.

    I’ve been trying for a while to put this into words, that I always seem to regress into feeling patronized when someone says thank you for your service. That’s why it sounds phony to me, even if it is meant sincerely. It feels like just words, not the reality of what service can mean as far as loss and things that can never be forgotten.
    This is what I have been trying to say.

  173. 173
    Chris says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Part of this is sincere internal difference, though: the Democrats actually don’t have an agenda that all of them enthusiastically support. When they’ve got control of Congress, part of that control comes from Blue Dogs in conservative districts. It’s not a liberal party, it just has a liberal wing that isn’t powerful enough to set the course for the rest of the party.

    Yeah, this is something that goes unspoken too often when people talk about there being “two Americas.” Yeah, there are, but it’s not a Blue America and a Red America – it’s Red America and Not-Red America. The latter is necessarily much more diverse and disjointed, since the only thing its members have in common is the fact that the former have labeled them enemies.

    I think it was that way in the run-up to the Civil War too – lots more diversity and less ideological cohesion and fanaticism in the North than in the South. Which in turn had consequences for the aftermath of the Civil War.

  174. 174
    Paul in KY says:

    @skerry: God bless him!

  175. 175

    […] 5. The rightie hate swarm goons have been attacking Bowe Bergdahl’s home town with a vengeance. John Cole writes, […]

  176. 176
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Ruckus: Yup. And one thing I have noticed is that it tends to be people who have not served in the military who say it. In my own experience, I can’t think of a single ex-military person I know who said “thank you for your service” when he or she found out I was ex-military. Nor would I say it to them. I think it is a way for people who were not in the military to say “Thanks for doing what I couldn’t do myself.”

    It’s not a thanks so much as an apology.

  177. 177
    EriktheRed says:

    I was visiting my mom and stepdad over the weekend. We get along fine when not discussing politics (which for the most part we’ve been avoiding), but they’re big FOXheads. They turn it on every morning and every evening after he comes home from work. I go downstairs and do something else when they have it on.

    Yesterday, the usual knuckleheads on that channel were talking about how totally shitty the deal for Bowe was. My stepdad was yelling “Thank you, Obama!” at the TV screen. I held my tongue as usual, but in my head I was saying to him, “And what would you be saying about this if the guy was still in captivity and no deal was struck for him at all? It’s my understanding a lot of the talking heads on that channel you watch so much were criticising the President for him still being a prisoner over there not too long ago.”

  178. 178
    Unsympathetic says:

    I’m fairly shocked that military culture while in uniform supports Republicans mostly lockstep. One of my 2 best friends comes home from Kuwait on 7/1, they basically don’t even consider Democrats to be worthy of the same flag.

    The cognitive dissonance is astounding. Their world would fall apart if they were to actually confront the reality that Republicans don’t give even 1 shit about them.

    I guess it proves the old adage..

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him think.

  179. 179
    Matt McIrvin says:

    So far, it does appear that the US military continues to have the importance of civilian control deep in their DNA, and they do respect their command chain. But I worry about what right-wing political indoctrination of the military could do to that sense over the long term; we could be heading for a military coup.

    If they really, truly wanted to take over, and didn’t care who they killed, nobody could oppose them, not directly. I don’t know if they’d be able to hold the US forever but the carnage would be incredible, even without bringing in the nuclear arsenal.

  180. 180
    James E. Powell says:

    Aren’t the people who are calling this kid a traitor, etc., the same people who mocked John Kerry’s Purple Hearts with band-aids on national TV? They totally got away with that,didn’t they? There was no loud outcry from any veteran’s organizations, was there?

    This works for them because in the “Support Our Troops” cult there is, in fact, no real desire to support the men and women who are our troops. It is only a rhetorical device that everyone important understands to mean “support our military policy of invasion & occupation” and “Never ever cut the Pentagon’s budget.”

  181. 181

    […] Cole, who served in the Army pretty much during the same time that I […]

  182. 182

    […] I used to think that if I had kids, I would want all of them to go into the military. Do a stint in the Air Force or Navy, see the world. F*ck that noise. I’m not having any kids, but I would tell any kid from 17-21 to stay as far away from the military as is humanly possible.(Balloon Juice) […]

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  2. […] Cole, who served in the Army pretty much during the same time that I […]

  3. […] 5. The rightie hate swarm goons have been attacking Bowe Bergdahl’s home town with a vengeance. John Cole writes, […]

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