Bowe Bergdahl and a White House unhinged

June 11, 2014

The CNN feed was reporting that 5 years in captivity Army Sargent Bowe Bergdahl had just been rescued by U.S. Special Forces.

But my “Hell Yeh!” of the good guys sticking one to the Taliban quickly turned to a giant wrench in the gut as I realized that CNN’s definition of the word “rescue” was nothing close to Merriam-Webster’s.

As the broadcast continued I learned that Bow Bergdahl had not been rescued at all. He had instead been released in a trade for 5 top Taliban commanders being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

I was stunned. I had studied Barack Obama for years, and I knew he was hard core left but I never dreamed he would actually allow a blind adherence to ideology to put American lives and national security at risk.

And then I heard that there would be a Rose Garden announcement with Sgt. Bergdahl’s parents and I realized my worst dream had been realized.

There really was no low too low to which this President would sink to further a political agenda. (He had promised to close Gitmo and if Congress wouldn’t go along then he’d just start emptying it on his own.)

The immediate narrative was “America leaves no soldier behind”. Of course that conveniently left out that Bowe Bergdahl left America and his unit behind the moment he walked off post in war time leaving his weapon and uniform behind.

I was most certainly happy for the family, but there was no celebrating the enormous consequences of the President’s “I’ll do what I want” attitude.

And as it turns out, I was not alone.

Within days, members of Bergdahl’s unit who were there the morning he walked off post began pushing back against the Susan Rice talking point that Bergdahl had served with “honor and dignity”.

And though the White House is trying with all its might to label Bergdahl a prisoner of war, the Department of Defense, knowing full well the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, never designated him POW. He was at best a hostage, at worst a traitor.

Yet that is not stopping the White House political machine from now attacking those who dared correct the narrative.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf when questioned about Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers accounts, sniped at the reporter “that was not the case” and that he should “Go Google it on the web and you’ll find a ton of conflicting reports”. Such is the state of professionalism in the Department of State these days.

Long time Democrat strategist Donna Brazile denounced the soldiers speaking out as nothing but a “PR campaign by Republicans” meant to “muddy the waters”. Such is the state of blind adherence to west wing talking points.

And what would a White House smear campaign be without The New York Times? In a page one story, the Times does its best to save the White House by going after Bergdahl’s unit as “undisciplined”. Such is the state of journalism at the Times that Bergdahl isn’t really responsible for his actions, it was those undisciplined hellions that made him do it.

Never mind that Obama ignored the rule of law, or that the first two spin attempts, “Bergdahl was in immediate health danger” and “the Taliban threatened to kill him” have both now been proven false. The truth is always the first casualty in political warfare.

But in his arrogance to defend his mistake at all costs, President Obama is destroying something even more valuable than the truth: credibility within the ranks of the military he commands.

And that is the worst casualty of all.

PUBLISHER’s NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the June, 11, 2014 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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