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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