Palin, GOP spit on returning-POW Bergdahl before getting all the facts

During Vietnam, supporters of the war attacked peace protesters claiming that they ‘spat’ on America’s returning heroes. Nobody ever came up with a verified case of a soldier actually being spat on, but that didn’t stop the story from becoming a legend amongst the pro-war faction.

So how should we interpret the following statement from the woman John McCain once tried to put a heartbeat away from the presidency?

“No, Mr. President, a soldier expressing horrid anti-American beliefs — even boldly putting them in writing and unabashedly firing off his messages while in uniform, just three days before he left his unit on foot — is not ‘honorable service.’” 

Sarah Palin was referring to the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was recently released by his Taliban captors in exchange for five of their men being held at Gitmo. The circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s disappearance remain unclear. More on that in a moment.

The first line of attack from Republicans was that the US must never negotiate with terrorists (unless of course the terrorists are Iranian, and the US using the proceeds from those negotiations to finance some other terrorists in Nicaragua).

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

After the “negotiating with terrorists” attack didn’t get much traction, now they are attacking Bergdahl’s family, or at least their Fox News propaganda arm is. The Fox News attack is based on earlier tips from sources claiming, as noted above, that classified reports concluded that Bergdahl was a deserter.

Of course, even Fox News’s best propaganda effort admitted that there are serious holes in the stories being put out there by Bergdahl’s critics:

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl left a letter the night he disappeared from his base in Afghanistan saying he wanted to renounce his citizenship, according to sources, and previously expressed his disillusionment with the Army, telling his father in an e-mail he was “ashamed” to be an American.

That account, though, is being called into question amid conflicting claims over whether Bergdahl left a note behind. U.S Army officials who have read the investigation document said there was no reference in that report to a letter.

Oh, so never mind. But hey, let’s write a story about it anyway!

Let me put this delicately, is it really wise for any politician to launch a nasty personal attack on a returning POW based on what an anonymous source told a journalist four years ago?

It does not take much imagination to understand what the purpose of such an anonymous “leak might have been. If I were a POW, and the bad guys wanted to trade for my release, then I would really hope that my government was telling the press that they considered me a troublemaker and a nuisance they are happy to be rid, of and not that I am irreplaceable and they want me back at any cost.  There could be very well be something else going on here, with regards to the details of the hostage trade, about which we are not fully aware.

At this point only the administration knows if the anonymous briefings about the Pentagon report are genuine or not. But it seems rather unlikely that an administration as political as the Obama administration would have allowed Bergdahl to stand next to the President without a thorough examination of the file. Not to mention, why would they go to the trouble of negotiating the release of five Gitmo detainees for a deserter?

It feels as if something else is going on here, something we don’t know about it. But in any case, before the GOP and the media colletively spit on this American prisoner of war, perhaps it would behoove all of us to actually get the facts, then decide.

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92 Responses to “Palin, GOP spit on returning-POW Bergdahl before getting all the facts”

  1. Joe Huang says:

    I know I had written yesterday that would be my last response, but I just found the transcript for Pres. Obama’s press conference, and want you to point out where in the transcript did he politicize the release by painting Bergdahl as a hero who served with “honor and distinction” ??

    If there was any politicizing, it was the GOP and the Right-Wing media with their incessant attacks, interviews with Bergdahl’s platoon members, etc., etc.

    But at least I got you to admit that this whole smear campaign had little to do with Bergdahl, but everything to do with Obama.

    (press release transcript follows)

    6:16 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. This morning, I called Bob and Jani Bergdahl and told them that after nearly five years in captivity, their son, Bowe, is coming home.

    Sergeant Bergdahl has missed birthdays and holidays and the simple moments with family and friends, which all of us take for granted. But while Bowe was gone he was never forgotten. His parents thought about him and prayed for him every single day, as did his sister, Sky, who prayed for his safe return.

    He wasn’t forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military, which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin. And he wasn’t forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.

    As Commander-in-Chief, I am proud of the servicemembers who recovered Sergeant Bergdahl and brought him safely out of harm’s way. As usual, they performed with extraordinary courage and professionalism, and they have made their nation proud.

    Right now, our top priority is making sure that Bowe gets the care and support that he needs and that he can be reunited with his family as soon as possible.

    I’m also grateful for the tireless work of our diplomats, and for the cooperation of the government of Qatar in helping to secure Bowe’s release. We’ve worked for several years to achieve this goal, and earlier this week I was able to personally thank the Emir of Qatar for his leadership in helping us get it done. As part of this effort, the United States is transferring five detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. The Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security.

    I also want to express gratitude to the Afghan government, which has always supported our efforts to secure Bowe’s release. Going forward, the United States will continue to support an Afghan-led process of reconciliation, which could help secure a hard-earned peace within a sovereign and unified Afghanistan.

    As I said earlier this week, we’re committed to winding down the war in Afghanistan, and we are committed to closing Gitmo. But we also made an ironclad commitment to bring our prisoners of war home. That’s who we are as Americans. It’s a profound obligation within our military, and today, at least in this instance, it’s a promise we’ve been able to keep.

    I am mindful, though, that there are many troops who remain missing in the past. That’s why we’re never going to forget; we’re never going to give up our search for servicemembers who remain unaccounted for. We also remain deeply committed to securing the release of American citizens who are unjustly detained abroad and deserve to be reunited with their families, just like the Bergdahls soon will be.

    Bob and Jani, today families across America share in the joy that I know you feel. As a parent, I can’t imagine the hardship that you guys have gone through. As President, I know that I speak for all Americans when I say we cannot wait for the moment when you are reunited and your son, Bowe, is back in your arms.

    So, with that, I’d like Bob to have an opportunity to say something, and Jani, if she’d like as well. Please.

    MRS. BERGDAHL: I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported Bowe. He’s had a wonderful team everywhere. We will continue to stay strong for Bowe while he recovers. Thank you.

    MR. BERGDAHL: I’d like to say to Bowe right now, who is having trouble speaking English — (speaks in Pashto) — I’m your father, Bowe.

    To the people of Afghanistan, the same — (speaks in Pashto) — the complicated nature of this recovery was — will never really be comprehended. To each and every single one who effected this, in this country, in the service branches, at the State Department, throughout the whole of American government, and around the world, international governments around the world, thank you so much. We just can’t communicate the words this morning when we heard from the President.

    So we look forward to continuing the recovery of our son, which is going to be a considerable task for our family. And we hope that the media will understand that that will keep us very preoccupied in the coming days and weeks as he gets back home to the United States.

    Thank you all for being here very much.


    6:23 P.M. EDT

  2. Joe Huang says:

    Obama’s Waterloo? Just for getting the last POW out of Afghanistan??
    You’re clearly deluded. This will be my last response to you, but do me a favor – let’s wait six months and see whether indeed this will be Obama’s Waterloo. I would be extremely surprised.

  3. iizthatiiz says:

    The overwhelming evidence of Bergdahl’s defection isn’t in question, the accused will get his say during the court-martial investigation.

    It was Obama who politicized these events .. and did so knowingly, refusing to inform Congress of his plans as required by law, while dozens of WH staffers were kept fully informed. Obama knowingly and wittingly attempted to rewrite the narrative, painting Bergdahl as a hero, who served with “honor and distinction”. He turned it into a campaign circus moment. Honorable soldiers, aware for years of the true facts behind Bergdahl’s desertion spoke out, and derailed the despicably narcissistic agenda that Obama had promoted to the nation.

    This was Obama’s ‘Waterloo’

  4. Joe Huang says:

    What’s strange is that the story about Bergdahl is not some newly discovered news. It was covered by an entire article in the Rolling Stones back in 2012
    It only got to be an instant flash point the moment President Obama announced that he secured Bergdahl release, because then Bergdahl became yet another in a long list of foils to denigrate the president, going as far back as Ayers, Rev. Wright, Susan Rice, Eric Holder, Kathleen Sibelius, etc., the list is endless. But it’s all political theater – chest thumping and faux outrage. This time, though, smearing a soldier captive by the Taliban for 5 years without even waiting to hear his side of the story or the results of an army inquiry, strikes me as particularly mean-spirited and un-American, and in the long run it will hurt the Obama haters, just like shutting down the government back in 2013.

  5. Joe Huang says:

    You still haven’t answered my question- what cover-up ?? For most sane people, having a press conference doesn’t qualify as a cover-up.

    As for the army not classifying Bergdahl as a POW, that has nothing to do with the circumstances of his capture by the Taliban. You should really checked the facts before quoting some Right-Wing source. The Army decided in 2004 that they would not classify any soldier capture in Iraq or Afghanistan as a POW, because by doing so, they would be elevating their foes as enemy states, rather than as terrorists or enemy combatants.. Therefore, the Army decided to classify any soldier in such circumstances as “Captured/Missing”, etc. Internally, within the army, their status remains the same as POWs in previous wars. If you don’t believe, do a Google Search on the subject – it’s been mentioned numerous times.

    I don’t know where you get your news, but it’s awfully slanted to one-side, with a strong case of amnesia. The administration has been telling members of Congress about the proposed trade since 2012, and they did not object, the only one who did in a half-hearted way was John McCain, who said that he has to see the details. The only reason the trade didn’t go through was that the Taliban did not agree (they wanted 21 internees and millions of dollars). When the agreement was finally reached, it had to be carried out immediately. So, what’s the Republican complaint ? You didn’t give us 30 days warning – sounds like they want to score rhetorical points more than they care that an American POW is finally coming home.

    Your last point borders on the ludicrous. Yeah, the Taliban of course are going to celebrate the return of their 5 detainees. So what else is new ?
    Did you know that when Israel released over 1,000 Palestinians in exchange for one Israeli captive soldier, the Palestinians had parades with 200,000 people watching? And yet the Israeli public was completely on board with the exchange, because they are wise and mature enough to know that the welfare of one single Israeli solder is worth far more than enduring their enemies’ gloating or celebration.

    Besides, do you know that the US is going to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016, by which time all the Taliban detained at Guantanamo without charge would have to be released anyway? The second thing you should
    ponder is that the US brought the war to the Taliban, not the other way around? Once the US pulls out, it’s not likely that the Taliban will be starting a crusade against the US. This is not meant to say I approve or support the Taliban in any way, but just pointing out the realities of the situation.

    Lastly, what gives you the right to pass judgment on what Bergdahl did or went through? Did you ever volunteer to go to Afghanistan or serve in a remote outpost ine Helmand in 2009, when things were the violent? If there are questions about his behavior, let the Army conduct their hearing and reach their conclusions. In the meanwhile, have you lost your humanity that a returning solder is being smeared and convicted in absentia simply because his return was expedited by a president you don’t happen to like?

  6. LumberJock says:

    Spitting on vets was a meme of the reagan administration to mobilize the veterans of ‘Nam to his benefit – as he was cutting benefits, gutting VA and reducing manpower. At one time during the reagan admin, if a doctor walked through the waiting room, you’d been seen by a doctor.

  7. LumberJock says:

    My return from ‘Nam was at night. No witnesses in bell-bottoms with long hair wearing cheap vests. I was in grad school 3 weeks after returning. Saw plenty there. Had instructors who refused to give me an even break, but no one spit on me; yelled at me; accosted me in the airport at SFO, ORD or BHM as I made my way home. They gave me a wide berth; I had a recent face wound that had a huge bandage. My only complaint is that teachers in grad school believed all Infantrymen were barbaric, war crime witnesses in denial of political fact. I ran across a couple at professional conferences during shrubs admin; they were now republi-can’t or dixie-can’t hawks with a taste for unarmed pigeons.

  8. esmensetoo says:

    As the sister of a Navy Corpsman who served with the Marines in Viet Nam, and wife of a member of the Special Forces who served in the Congo and Central America during the Viet Nam era, who both returned to campus in conservative Arizona after their service, I can attest that much hostility toward returning servicemen was expressed by conservatives — who blamed them for “losing” the war. The idea that conservatives are especially respectful of service, and those who serve, is a myth. As Cheney’s smirking “other priorities” quip, and Bush’s disgraceful negligence of his duties in the Texas National Guard — while others fought and died in his place — amply illustrate.

  9. iizthatiiz says:

    Imagine if the White House had simply released a statement that Bergdahl was now in Army custody, and that a full investigation of the circumstances of his long absence was underway. No one would be talking about this now.

    Instead, he provided a false narrative, that got immediately torn from under his feet, when our honorable soldiers could no longer tolerate this betrayal.

    Obama has singlehandedly brought this level of outrage down on Bergdahl.

  10. iizthatiiz says:

    What cover-up??? Are you serious?

    Firstly, Bergdahl was no POW. The Army never allowed this status to be listed as such, as internally, they’ve known all along that Bergdahl was a defector. It was the White House that presented him to the publc as some kind of prisoner of war. He was not captured by the Taliban, he walked willingly into their arms.

    Every single news account that I’ve read, indicates that the two prior times that the administration presented a suggestion of trading the Gitmo 5, it was soundly, and bipartisanly rejected by Congress. That is why Obama flouted the law.

    The administration has presented excuses such as imminent health risk, and concerns of congressional leaks. Today Senator Diane Feinstein rejected these excuses, claiming NO evidence to support the administrations claims.

    The Constitution defines treason in Article 3, Section 3, Clause 1:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

    As we see video emerge of our enemy celebrating their glorious victory over America, there is zero doubt in my mind, that by returning five senior Taliban commanders Barack Hussein Obama provided aid and comfort to our enemy during time of war. He allowed a Taliban sympathizer (Bergdahl’s father) to chant the Taliban battle cry from the podium of the White House, and smiled upon hearing it. That my friend, is treachery.

    Let’s be clear about this .. it was Barack Obama who assassinated Bergdahl’s character, by presenting him to the American people as a hero. If he had not attempted to turn this recovery into a campaign event, the tone in the nation would be very different. If Obama had simply allowed The Pentagon to handle matters, he could have avoided 99% of the outrage. Instead, he sought personal glory.

  11. Joe Huang says:

    What cover-up? The Obama administration had informed Congress of the exchange plans including the names of the 5 Taliban to be exchanged for Bergdahl as far back as 2012, to which the Republicans gave their approval (if reluctantly in the case of John McCain) more than a year ago. Maybe Sarah didn’t know, but then she’s not in the government, is she? Or do you think that something as delicate as a POW exchange should be broadcast publicly on the Blogosphere? Besides, people like Sarah and maybe you aren’t interested in giving constructive advice, just in smearing Obama at every turn of the handle. What treachery are you talking about? The only treachery that I’ve seen is the wanton character assassination of Bergdahl by the Right-Wing Fanatics just so they can attack Obama. It’s pure political theater as far as I can see, but its pure meanness is breathtaking. Doesn’t it strike you as supremely ironic that the Taliban treated this serviceman (Bergdahl) better than the Palinistas? What’s happened to “due process”, “innocent until proven guilty”, and “no soldier left behind” ?

  12. iizthatiiz says:

    CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all allow their news clips to be openly distributed on YouTube, as do most of the broadcast networks. There are millions of clips available.

  13. iizthatiiz says:

    Apparently the Obama administrations cover-up of the circumstances regarding his defection led her to believe that we gave up far too much to ensure his return. As the truth has now rapidly overcome this administrations ability to contain facts from the American people, it begs the question: What is preventing you from amending your position?? Is there any treachery against this nation that you will not embrace?

  14. Frack You 2 ! says:

    Then let your huspand document this and there will be an * noteing the ONE case.

  15. Frack You 2 ! says:

    well the wingnuts on the right will finally have something to impeach him for.
    Good luck with that shit.

  16. Frack You 2 ! says:

    Just like all the other positions they have held. They are for it before they were against it.

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  18. HelenRainier says:

    Your verified source I sMegyn Kelly and Fox News? You’ve got to be kidding. The New York Times has done some investigating and found that according to military records that particular time for Bergdahl’s unit and other units in the AO was one of intense fighting and yes, there were casualties, but they were connected with specific hunts for Bergdahl.

  19. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Those men are fools. I suspect that this is a case of CYA. They can no longer participate in a court martial because of this interview, and isn’t that what you want? Or could you care less about justice and more about discrediting President Obama? You’ve gone to a lot of trouble by publishing this video on Youtube. BTW – you’ve probably broke a copyright law unless you had Fox News’ permission.

  20. iizthatiiz says:

    • Six Soldiers Who Served with Bergdahl Speak Out •

    • Kelly File • WATCH •

    While a desperate water-carrier might attempt to argue that six members of a thirty man platoon does not constitute unanimity, I would demand that anyone who would argue that provide evidence that a single member of the platoon contradicts this testimony. Otherwise your just pissing on yourself.

  21. ranchero42 says:

    The bastid! There oughta be a law against allowing Presidential mind control!

  22. HelenRainier says:

    And your verified source for all of this is?

  23. The_Fixer says:

    That is a totally non-credible blog post with equally incredible citations. You will have to do a hell of a lot batter than that to be taken seriously.

  24. Silver_Witch says:

    And I call them on it too…every single time. Blowhards and cowards all!

    Hey BeccaM – I think you should run for President!!! We need a good woman in office.

  25. Joe Huang says:

    Sarah Palin had this to say in 2009 about Bergdahl:

    “Todd and I are praying for Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, his family, and all of his fellow soldiers who are putting their lives on the line to defend our freedom and protect democracy abroad,” Governor Palin said. “The capture of Private Bergdahl and the bombings in Jakarta prove that we have not defeated terrorism, and that radical extremists will stop at nothing to attack Westerners and our ideals.”

    So what’s caused the 180 change in her position? Simple – Pres. Obama did it.

  26. tantip1 says:

    Bergdahl is being tried and convicted all without a trial. I thought you were innocent until proven guilty. As far as the 5 gitmo prisoners being released in exchange for Bergdahl they were going to be released soon anyway because once the war is over under international law all these prisoners have to be released. They say these guys are the worst terrorists in the world but they were never charged with a crime and they have been locked up for 12 years. Can you imagine being locked up for 12 years and never being charged?

  27. Blogvader says:

    Becca, read the NYT on the supposed deaths attributed to the search for Bergdahl, published yesterday.

    The story these Republican strategists are trying to sell is already unraveling, but yes, neocons don’t want to let facts get in the way of a sexy controversy.

  28. Blogvader says:

    Agreed. Everyone should read the story published by the NYT yesterday, which cites US military records that prove several of the deaths attributed to the search for Bergdahl are actually false. (Which you’d expect, given that these fellow soldiers of his are being paid to appear and sell this narrative.)

  29. Blogvader says:

    That may be, but we don’t know the state of his mental health at the time. It may have been a suicide attempt. He may have been experiencing battlefield trauma. There are several explanations that don’t fit the hysterical GOP narrative.

    Furthermore, as the NYT reported yesterday, at least four of the deaths attributed to the search for Bergdahl by the paid spokesmen on Fox are actually fictitious. Two died in an attack on an outpost and the other two died months after the initial search.

    It’s definitely best to wait for all of the facts. Bergdahl has every right to defend himself.

  30. BeccaM says:

    That’s why both Pete and I think ‘Facebook User’s’ claims are bogus.

  31. Silver_Witch says:

    I agree with BeccaM – as one of those who was a “hippie” during the end of the war there was not one among us who blamed a man/woman that served. We rejoiced at their homecoming…many of them joined us in celebration. This story has always smelled of BS.

  32. Silver_Witch says:

    I am sorry for your husband…NO ONE should be treated that way after serving his country…no one. As for your FACTS have been know, well except when they were not KNOWN.

    Governor Offers Support to Family of Captive Soldier

    July 19, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin offered her support and encouragement to the family of a Ft. Richardson soldier captured in Afghanistan.

    “Todd and I are praying for Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, his family, and all of his fellow soldiers who are putting their lives on the line to defend our freedom and protect democracy abroad,” Governor Palin said. “The capture of Private Bergdahl and the bombings in Jakarta prove that we have not defeated terrorism, and that radical extremists will stop at nothing to attack Westerners and our ideals.”

    More than 7,000 soldiers and airmen stationed in Alaska are currently deployed overseas.

  33. Silver_Witch says:

    What law is it that President Obama did not follow in regard to this exchange? Do you even know – or are you just parroting the stuff you hear on Fox.
    All of our servicemen deserve to be brought back – whether YOU agree with their actions or not. I notice today that much of the retoric about Sgt Bergdahl is quieting down…wonder if perhaps we are going to find out that all his fellow soliders are just spouting BS.
    Perhaps you should save your judgement of Sgt Bergdahl until all the FACTS are known – you know FACTS, not articles in the paper, or some guy who might or might not have served repeating a story he thinks he heard from a buddy he might have had that may or may not really exist.

  34. TallulaDuck says:

    Maybe the soldiers in Bergdahl’s platoon fueling the ugly anger directed toward Bergdahl, ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE.Their determination to discredit Bergdahl before he even has a chance to give his side of the story seems defensive and suspicious.Maybe the men in Bergdahl’s platoon had something to do with Bergdahl’s being off base camp without his weapon and it resulted in Bergdahl’s being captured. Maybe now they see Bergdahl’s release as the return of a person who could blow the whistle on them, It wouldn’t be the first group of soldiers who tried to hide or get away with a war crime. Investigation the entire platoon.
    You wont get any truth from these right wing rep jackals you see posting in their usual witch hunt frenzy on social media .. besides when has any of their witch hunts been anything but fake scandals .. oh let’s see.. NEVER

  35. BeccaM says:

    I suspect you and your father’s experience — and later recasting of events — is far closer to the truth.

    I grew up in the hippie era. Know what most of us believed? Not that the young men sent to Vietnam were baby killers or whatever, but that they were taken advantage of by the same military industrial complex that ruined another generation in Afghanistan and Iraq a half century later.

    We wouldn’t have spat on the returning soldiers. Our disdain was for the chickenhawk politicians who sent them over there. The same ones who now insist we must never end the occupations, no matter how much blood other people have to pay for it.

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  37. goulo says:

    If they are “5 of the worst terrorists”, why has the US government been unable to build a legal case against them for years and instead leaves them sitting in an illegal prison with no trial for years?

  38. pappyvet says:

    There is enough crap in both political parties to raise a stink. But don’t even think for a moment that you have in any way the ability to tell me what as a “Lib” I believe in. Or that the rightwing somehow have the moral edge on the “Nation of Laws thing.”

  39. 4th Turning says:

    Summary of Veterans Statistics for PTSD, TBI, Depression and Suicide.
    there are over 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million Vietnam veterans who fought in Vietnam; there are 8.2 million “Vietnam Era Veterans” (personnel who served anywhere during any time of the Vietnam War)
    at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. (Military counselors I have interviewed state that, in their opinion, the percentage of veterans with PTSD is much higher; the number climbs higher when combined with TBI.) Other accepted studies have found a PTSD prevalence of 14%; see a complete review of PTSD prevalence studies, which quotes studies with findings ranging from 4 -17% of Iraq War veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder)
    50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment

    out of the half that seek treatment, only half of them get “minimally adequate” treatment (RAND study)

    19% of veterans may have traumatic brain injury (TBI)
    Over 260,000 veterans from OIF and OEF so far have been diagnosed with TBI. Traumatic brain injury is much more common in the general population than previously thought: according to the CDC, over 1,700,000 Americans have a traumatic brain injury each year; in Canada 20% of teens had TBI resulting in hospital admission or that involved over 5 minutes of unconsciousness (VA surgeon reporting in BBC News)
    7% of veterans have both post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury

    rates of post-traumatic stress are greater for these wars than prior conflicts

    in times of peace, in any given year, about 4% (actually 3.6%) of the general population have PTSD (caused by natural disasters, car accidents, abuse, etc.)
    recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide are much higher than previously thought (see suicide prevention page).
    PTSD distribution between services for OND, OIF, and OEF: Army 67% of cases, Air Force 9%, Navy 11%, and Marines 13%. (Congressional Research Service, Sept. 2010)
    recent sample of 600 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan found: 14% post-traumatic stress disorder; 39% alcohol abuse; 3% drug abuse. Major depression also a problem. “Mental and Physical Health Status and Alcohol and Drug Use Following Return From Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.” Susan V. Eisen, PhD
    Oddly, statistics for veteran tobacco use are never reported alongside PTSD statistics, even though increases in rates of smoking are strongly correlated with the stress of deployment and combat, and smoking statistics show that tobacco use is tremendously damaging and costly for soldiers.
    More active duty personnel die by own hand than combat in 2012 (New York Times)

  40. angryspittle says:

    Jesus, did you misplace your meds?

  41. PeteWa says:

    I’ve told this before, but don’t mind telling it again.
    My dad was in Vietnam – my entire childhood I heard nothing of those spitting stories.
    And I personally saw nothing but friendly reunions for the returning soldiers, my father, uncles, family friends. I sure as hell would have remembered a negative reception to my father’s homecoming, long awaited, built up in my young mind as a nearly mythic experience I would have in the near future. I remember that day (and others), instead of families smiling, crying in joy and relief.
    Then, much like your link in the Boston News, sometime in the 80s I suddenly started hearing about those awful hippies and how they spit on returning soldiers.
    At first I didn’t think much about it, but as the years progressed, dad would rant about it more and more, and after awhile I just thought it was really odd, and smelled of bullshit. And it didn’t jive with my memories. At all.
    So one day, tired of his ranting, I called him on it.
    Asked him if he had ever been spit on.
    The answer, of course, was no.
    Then I followed up by asking him if he knew anyone who had been spit on.
    Again, no.
    My dad was a lifer, I grew up in and surrounded by the military.
    I’ve never met someone in real life who has said they were spit on when they returned.
    It’s a wingnut myth about how they imagine things were back then, not the way they were.

  42. iizthatiiz says:

    I would like to see Barack Obama begin acting hypocritically. It would be refreshing to see this president stand behind America for once.

  43. iizthatiiz says:

    Bergdahl’s own platoon mates have unanimously condemned him as an outright deserter, if not a defector. He certainly didn’t merit a White House grandstanding and portraying him as a hero who served with honor and distinction. It was Obama’s everlasting narcissistic desire for making everything about “him”, that brought this level of public hostility upon Bergdahl.

  44. BeccaM says:

    Unless you’ve renounced your citizenship, Barack Obama is your president, too, whether you like it or not.

    I also concur with my friend PeteWa: I don’t believe you.

  45. PeteWa says:

    I don’t believe you.

  46. BeccaM says:

    I wouldn’t hold my breath. This one’s outrage valve has been cranked full over by the wingnut media.

  47. BeccaM says:

    ‘Terrorists’? No. Those men were members of the Taliban, which until the U.S. invaded Afghanistan used to be their ruling government.

    Also, you’ve obviously confused and conflated ‘Taliban’ with ‘Al Qaeda.’

    That’s not ‘insane’ by the way. It’s just being ignorant of the facts and not caring about important details.

  48. BarryBarry says:

    Projection Vomiting upon reading this blog post, yes.

  49. angryspittle says:

    Projection much?

  50. BarryBarry says:

    Really? You are going to call her out for using the word liar? Have you read any of the other posts?

    “Fucking gopfuckingchickenhawks”: I assume you will admonish Buford2k11 anytime now.

  51. BarryBarry says:

    Relevant to your opinion of someone, but irrelevant to the actual facts of the matter. Wherether I was protesting Bush or not, Obama still did what he did.

    If you are thinking “well, Bush did it!”, then you are working at the level of a 4 year old.

    Admit it, Obama violated the law. Deliberately. For you, the result is what matters and how it got it matters not. That may be convenient for you now, but that kind of thinking has been the downfall of many in the past and leads to unimaginable atrocities.

    But then, you know this.

  52. angryspittle says:

    Au contraire, hypocrisy is always relevant.

  53. BarryBarry says:

    My whereabouts during that time are irrelevant to today, aren’t they?

    While I’m sure you were at some predecessor to the OWS protests, unwashed, smelly and probably high, it sure didn’t do anything to prevent Obama from doing what he did now, did it?

    So it seems you agree with me and that makes you so pissed that all you can do is rant senselessly.

  54. angryspittle says:

    Just where the fuck were you when Dumbya, Dick and the crew were shredding, burning and pissing on the constitution and the law?

  55. Swami_Binkinanda says:

    Why do you hate our troops?

  56. BarryBarry says:

    Ya…the New York Times, WaPo and numerous other primary Kool Aid dispensers have pretty much agreed with the soldiers in his unit and the Republicans. This guy is a deserter.

    That pretty much makes him a darling of the Libs, I know, but it makes most Americans wonder if we really got a good deal or not.

    Then there is the whole question of Obama not following the law. His excuses have fallen flat and regardless, he could have at least picked up the phone and made a few calls before hand. He does know how to use a phone, doesn’t he?

    But I don’t expect the question of the law will bother you people much. As Libs, you believe that the Ends Justifies the Means. So never mind the whole Nation of Laws thing, we are now a nation of cultish personalities.

  57. Naja pallida says:

    After Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman, there is absolutely no reason to believe any narrative that comes out of the Pentagon on this subject. They make up whatever they want to suit their political interest at the moment.

  58. cole3244 says:

    americas problems started with the reagan revolution and have continued unabated ever since.

  59. Indigo says:

    HA! You said “unhinged contingent.” I’m going to appropriate that one and share it every time one of my t-party relatives acts up.

  60. Indigo says:

    Thus somehow attaching Bergdahl to Hillary. Clever.

  61. Indigo says:

    It’s okay, I can’t think of any event where Republicans actually waited for facts before forming an opinion.

  62. Thom Allen says:

    Whoa, “traitor”? Really? You’re pretty fast to judge with limited facts. And the worst of the terrorists are already dead (like Osama and dozens of others) thanks to Obama, not shrub.

  63. Thom Allen says:

    Share those facts then, if you have them, please.

  64. Moderator3 says:

    We don’t need name calling.

  65. keirmeister says:

    Simple question: how do you know the guy is a traitor? How do you know the detainees are 5 of the “worst terrorists”? Notice I use the word “know”.

    This issue isn’t about “blame”; it’s about typical Republican faux outrage where nothing is sacred to them as long as they can try to use it to attack Democrats – particularly President Obama.

    If you understand this, there is hope for you.

  66. BeccaM says:

    Chris Hayes (MSNBC) already coined the term “Bergdhazi” last night.

  67. martin says:

    Bergdahl starts with the letter “B” as does Benghazi, I’m sure it’s only matter of time until Darrell Issa merges the two investigations

  68. Facebook User says:

    Really? This president frees a triator for 5 of the worst terrorists and you all blame republicans. You’re insane.

  69. Facebook User says:

    Wow….Let’s see who has started ALL the wars where there were BY FAR the most deaths!! DEMOCRATS….and NO I dont’ like republicans either! THEY are both worthless!

  70. BeccaM says:

    Oh, I’m sure they’ll manage. The unhinged contingent will just make up sh*t until Bergdahl’s name is mud and the Idahoan part is forgotten. I mean, just look at the trolls beginning to crawl out of the woodwork in the comments below.

  71. BlueIdaho says:

    It is a bit of fun to live in Idaho and watch the teabaggers reaction here. They hate Obama so much and they want to vilify him for the Bergdahl release. But Bowe is an Idahoan and the hate mongers can’t bring themselves to say anything against him, so far. I think there are quite a few that are about to explode, literally.

  72. Facebook User says:

    LIAR! MY husband was spit on and the FACTS have been known about traitor BOWE for Years and YOUR traitor president!

  73. Buford2k11 says:

    Fucking gopfuckingchickenhawks…I wonder if ol’ Maureen has any of that candy bar left over…Aspen luvs their weed….sorry…after reading so many comments by the insane on other sites, a good mellow is called for…

  74. BeccaM says:

    The GOPers and Tea Baggers never let facts or the lack thereof get in the way of a good anti-Obama / anti-Democrat hissy fit.

    That’s what’s going on here: Even when Obama does something that should be routine, such as the exercise of foreign policy, the political opposition goes ape sh*t anyway, happily making up stuff as they go. For instance, right now they’re deliberately conflating “Taliban” (the former ruling government of Afghanistan) and “Al Qaeda” (Bin Laden’s group) as if the two are interchangeable.

    The five men who were released? Taliban, which means they were not “unlawful combatants” nor “terrorists” — yet that second word is soaked throughout the current GOP narrative.

    Same deal with Bergdahl. The circumstances of his disappearance warrant an official inquiry and investigation.

    The GOPers and Baggers don’t care one whit about waiting for evidence. They’ve already declared him — without trial or solid evidence — to be a traitor.

  75. SFExPat says:

    Anybody besides me looked into any comparisons between what happened to Pat Tillman and this young fellow? At least this guy got away, even tho’ it wasn’t likely to a place of his choosing.
    Tillman got dead.

  76. 4th Turning says:

    “This from yesterday morning’s New York Times, which clearly demonstrates that the probability that anyone died in the Bergdahl search effort is remote at best, and much more likely, non-existent. Let’s do something virtually no other source seemed to be able to accomplish, and follow the truth crumbs to see where they lead.”

  77. 4th Turning says:

    “Fox News contributor Richard Grenell and his public relations firm have been coordinating interviews for soldiers criticizing the actions of recently-released Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
    Those critics have said that Bergdahl, who had been imprisoned by the Taliban since 2009, risked the lives of soldiers who tried to find him after he reportedly walked off his Afghanistan base.
    Several media outlets have reported on these soldiers and their concerns, including Fox News, The New York Times, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Beast. According to a report in Buzzfeed, Fox News contributor Richard Grenell and his firm Capitol Media have “played a key role in publicizing” these critics.
    Grenell served as a spokesman for former U.N. ambassador (and current Fox News contributor) John Bolton in the George W. Bush administration, and also worked for a short time on the Romney 2012 campaign.
    The New York Times reported on June 2 that “Republican strategists” arranged for the paper to interview soldiers who served with Bergdahl and have animosity towards him because they believe he is a deserter.
    One of the soldiers quoted in the article, Cody Full, sent out a tweet thanking Grenell “for helping get our platoon’s story out.”
    Buzzfeed reported that Grenell’s partner at his firm, Brad Chase, confirmed that they were behind the public relations campaign (Grenell also sent out a tweet explaining his firm offered “pro bono services” to the soldiers). Chase disputed the Times’ characterization of his firm as “Republican strategists” because he is not a Republican.
    But a radio producer who booked one of the soldiers told Buzzfeed that Grenell was their point of contact for the appearance. Two other reporters confirmed to Media Matters that Grenell put them in contact with the soldiers.
    David Zucchino of the Los Angeles Times, who posted an article late Monday quoting Bergdahl’s critics, said he had reached out to Grenell, who personally helped him contact Evan Buetow, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon.”

  78. Peter Castle says:

    All of the evidence thus far obtained points to desertion – a determination which the U.S. government reached in 2010.

    See “Obama Swaps Jihadist Dream Team for Deserter” at

  79. supersouth says:

    This article seems highly politicized, and remember sarah palin is just a talking head not a congress woman

    “Republicans and Democrats raised serious concerns more than two years ago with the Obama administration about the possibility of swapping Taliban prisoners for captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl but said promised consultation never materialized.”

    heres a quote from a CNN article this morning, maybe this is why they’re upset?

  80. slappymagoo says:

    Even if it turns out he’s a traitor, walked away from his post, deserted, left his platoon to die, why wouldn’t you want that soldier here to explain himself? Hey righties, maybe you’ll get lucky and when Bergdahl’s called upon to be questioned at a court martial hearing, he’ll show up wearing an explosive jacket shouting Allah Akbar and only the valiant efforts of Jessica Lynch who just happened to be visiting that day, will save the day and American lives by wrestling Bergdahl to the ground and THEN you’ll have the story you really want about how Obama saved the life of a terrorist and this was all a plan Obama was in cahoots on and what did Obaa know and when did he know it and let’s blame Hillary too while we’re at it.

    It’s GOOD that he’s home so you have the chance to be proven right about him.

    Unless you think you’ll be proven wrong, and there’s only value in placing suspicion upon him for political gain.

    Crazy to even think, I know.

  81. slappymagoo says:

    I blame Obama. If only he were more of a uniter. Willing to reach across the aisle. COMPROMISE, YOU FILTHY N****R!
    Aaaaaand scene.

  82. Houndentenor says:

    How did we get to the point where ever story is so highly politicized?

  83. Elijah Shalis says:

    We all know whos side the GOP was on in WW1 and WW2. They supported Germany.

  84. 4th Turning says:

    Interesting video and/or transcript. This feels like another Chelsea story?

  85. Bookbinder says:

    I also feel there is something fishy here, something concealed. Seems like his fellow soldiers are over reacting. The general intensity level is way too high. Why did he leave? Was it political or was he being mistreated by the others? The social dynamics of small groups of teenage boys, poorly supervised, in remote locations can be very toxic. See Lord of the Flies. Was he different? Was he being teased, harassed? Was he being beaten, threatened, held down and gang raped? I’m sceptical and I will reserve judgement. And, BTW, I was pretty disillusioned too. Was he a deserter? Don’t you have 48 hours from the time you miss a roll call to check in before you are even AWOL? And doesn’t the AWOL time clock stop if you are captured? Pretty big rush to judgement here.

  86. Sameboat1 says:

    I’m just glad he’s home. Hopefully we can find all five of those released and “release” them further with only one drone strike.

  87. Demosthenes says:

    One wonders if Gov. Palin even cares what the truth is before opening her mouth.

    Strike that. She doesn’t.

  88. TheOriginalLiz says:

    The GOP has never let facts get in the way of a good hissy fit.

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  90. olandp says:

    As St. Ronald Reagan said, “Facts are stupid things.”

  91. keirmeister says:

    Just when you thought Republicans couldn’t sink any further into the abyss of schmuckitude…..

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