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Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Politics, Terrorism | 3 comments

Anger feeding on resentment based on supposition fueled by inchoate rage

David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

As with most issues over the past half-dozen years, the matter of Bowe Bergdahl’s capture and release is greatly complicated by the persistent, sick rage on the right. It’s hard to argue facts with people who treat facts as threats.

Time to revisit Michael Hastings’ 2012 article about Bowe Bergdahl and Tim Dickinson’s reread of Hastings’s analysis of “America’s Last Prisoner of War”, also in Rolling Stone the other day.

Reviewing this stuff is like stepping into a jungle. It’s the story of Bergdahl (real and imagined) that’s full of betrayal and horror, not Bergdahl himself. He is the prisoner of our own Taliban now, having survived the Taliban in Afghanistan.

It’s hard to think he’s much safer at home. It’s hard to imagine any of us is safer. The Taliban may look like monsters, but what the Bergdahl case rubs our “conceited” little noses in is the worst of America and baby! it’s bad!

Some clips from Tim Dickinson’s “13 Things You Need to Know About Bowe Bergdahl.”

Seeking adventure, instead, in American uniform, Bergdahl enlisted in the Army in 2008. His intensity alienated fellow soldiers. A friend from his unit, Jason Fry, recalled Bowe’s fierce independence and his prophetic warning:

“He wanted to be a mercenary, wanted to be a free gun,” says Fry. “He had a notion he was a survivalist, claimed he knew how to survive with nothing because he grew up in Idaho…. Before we deployed… him and I were talking about what it would be like,” Fry recalls. Bowe looked at his friend and made no bones about his plans. “If this deployment is lame,” Bowe said, “I’m just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan.”

As his tour dragged on, the hellish reality of war — including seeing an Afghan child run over by an American truck — weighed on Bergdahl, who came to see America’s presence in Afghan as “disgusting.”

“I am sorry for everything here,” Bowe told his parents. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid…

“We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.”

There was an official cover-up — one that included White House pressure on the New York Times and AP to keep Bergdahl’s name out of the papers.

[T]he Pentagon also scrambled to shut down any public discussion of Bowe. Members of Bowe’s brigade were required to sign nondisclosure agreements [forbidding] them to discuss any “personnel recovery” efforts – an obvious reference to Bowe…. As Bowe’s sister, Sky, wrote in a private e-mail: “I am afraid our government here in D.C. would like nothing better but to sweep PFC Bergdahl under the rug and wash their hands of him.”

And then there is the ever-present embarrassment that is John McCain, once a costly hot-dogger, then a beleaguered prisoner of war, and now one of the most damaging nutcases we are obliged to call “senator.”

The negotiations were also impeded by Senator John McCain, who was typically level-headed in this exchange with future Secretary of State John Kerry.

McCain, who endured almost six years of captivity as a prisoner of war, threw a fit at the prospect of releasing five Taliban detainees.

“They’re the five biggest murderers in world history!” McCain fumed.

Kerry, who supported the transfer, thought that was going a bit far. “John,” he said, “the five biggest murderers in the world?”

McCain was furious at the rebuke. “They killed Americans!” he responded. “I suppose Senator Kerry is OK with that?”

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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