The safe release of an American POW is usually a cause for celebration. But there will be no yellow ribbons on the right for Army Sgt. Bowe Berghdal, who was released after being held by the Taliban for five years.
Sgt. Bergdahl was the last American held by the Taliban. Stories of his June 2009 abduction vary. In a video released by his captors, Bergdahl said he was captured when he fell behind on patrol. The Taliban claim that Bergdahl was captured after getting drunk and wandering off base. Other sources, including some of his fellow soldiers, claim Bergdahl deserted his post.
The White House, believing that Bergdahl’s “safety and health were both in jeopardy,” after a video of Bergdahl surfaced in January showed that his health was deteriorating, acted swiftly to secure his release. Bergdahl was freed in exchange for the release of five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Not every one is celebrating. Republicans criticized the deal that freed Bergdahl, claiming that it amounted to “negotiating with terrorists." Of course, the US has negotiated for the release of hostages throughout its history. Iran-Contra scandal, anyone?
Former Bush administration official John Bellinger said that George W. Bush would have made the same decision as Obama. Maybe that’s because Dubya negotiated with Sunni insurgents in Iraq, working with and even paying people who had killed American soldiers in the Iraq war.
Maybe it’s just wrong because Obama did it.
Things just got uglier from there:
- Former POW Sen. John McCain (R, Arizona) flip-flopped in the blink of an eye, from being “pleased” about Bergdahl’s release to objecting to the same release deal he was “inclined to support” in February.
- Sen. McCain and other Republicans conveniently forgot that they previously urged the White House to do all it could to free Bergdahl. Apparently they wanted him released, but only right up until he was released.
- Glenn Beck said the Bergdahl release is an effort to distract from the VA scandal. (Add another Obama conspiracy to the list.)
- Former House GOP leader Tom DeLay called for a House investigation into Obama’s “connections to radical Islamists,” and (of course) recommended impeachment.
- The American Family Association’s Bryan Fisher said Bergdahl’s release is further evidence that President Obama “is secretly a Muslim.”
- Fox News guest Dr. Keith Ablow said the Bergdahl exchange shows that Obama “wants out of America.”
- Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly attacked Sgt. Bergdahl’s father, Robert Bergdahl, for “looking like a Muslim.” Bergdahl said that he taught himself some Pashto to better understand his sons captors, and grew his beard to mark the five years his son was held prisoner. When called out, O’Reilly — who apparently knows how parents of American POWs should look — doubled-down on his remarks.
- MSNBC’s Chuck Todd was so exasperated with Joe Scarborough’s character assassination of Robert Bergdahl, that he got into a shouting match with the “Morning Joe” host.
- Sarah Palin advised Sgt. Bergdahl, who is said to be having some trouble speaking English after five years of being held in captivity by the Taliban, to “ Call 1-800-RosettaStone,” and learn to speak “KickAss.” (Which apparently isn’t some far flung Alaskan dialect.)
- Ugliness won out. Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, cancelled the celebration planned for his return, after receiving angry calls from people who didn’t think Bergdahl’s safe return warranted celebrating.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tweeted in response to Bergdahl’s release, "It is our ethos that we never leave a fallen comrade. Welcome home SGT Bowe Bergdahl.” President Obama, in a statement on Bergdahl’s release said, “Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.”
Perhaps right-wingers are just ticked off that they missed a chance to argue for leaving some American soldiers behind. Maybe they just can’t come out and say that they believe Bowe Bergdahl should have died in captivity. Or maybe Bergdahl has become the right’s new Benghazi, since their old obsession turned into a laughing stock and a ratings bomb.
Here’s the rest of the worst in wingnuttia this week.
- Herman Cain says God may want him to run for president in 2016, which probably just happens to be what Herman Cain wants Herman Cain to do. Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show" prayed to God that Cain would indeed run.
- Gay rights opponents are cutting themselves off from cake and mail, by refusing to accept mail bearing new stamp honoring slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk.
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R, Texas) wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Democrats — who seek to amend the constitution to give Congress the power to regulate campaign financing — are out to “expressly repeal the First Amendment.”
- Even a Fox News panel can’t help laughing at Laura Ingraham’s Benghazi obsession. Maybe that’s because Fox News’ ratings plummeted 27% after its own Benghazi obsession.
- Ingraham also thinks immigrant children ruin “our way of life” and take “our jobs.” Except for her own, that is.
- Right after passing a law requiring women to buy extra “abortion insurance,” Michigan Republican state Reps. Peter Pettalia, Roger Victory, and Ben Glardon posed for a photo-op while holding popular women’s magazines Glamour and Harper’s Bazar. “Don’t say we don’t understand women,” Rep. Pettalia quipped.
- Fox News guest Gavin McInnes said that “White liberal nerds” love "Cosmos" host Neil deGrasse Tyson so much, “he could defecate on them” and they would “dance in the streets.”
- No wonder GOProud shut down. The Texas Republican Party is poised to embrace “reparative therapy” for “patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle,” in its platform. The platform also endorses the election of Senators by state legislatures (bye-bye 17th Amendment), repealing the Voting Rights Act, invalidating “all federal acts, laws, executive orders, and court orders which restrict or infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms,” and the right to refuse vaccinations.
- Glenn Beck explained how Keurig rescued us from coffee collectivism, by offering us the ability to brew individual cups of coffee, and thus gave birth to the free market.
- Beck also ranted to his staff that “we’re in a perpetual state of Tomorrowland." Bet morning meetings at your office aren’t as much fun as this.
- Conservative activist Marjorie Holsten warned that that Common Core contains sex education material that is a plot to destroy families and gain Democratic votes. Holsten also warned that lessons about violence towards African Americans and Native Americans smack of “liberal bias,” and that teachers will be fired if they don’t “teach that Obama is the Messiah.”