Mark Jacobson may have set a new standard for dumb defenses of the Bergdahl deal. Appearing on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki today, scholar and Afghanistan veteran Jacobson suggested that opposition to the Bergdahl deal arises out of the soldier's religion and politics. He made a mind-boggling analogy: "My parents freaked out when I went to Afghanistan both times. If I had been captured. Do I want someone to say this nice Jewish kid over in Afghanistan, a little bit liberal, not really sure if we're going to go get him? Absolutely not."
What?? If a soldier, whatever his religion or politics, had served, to quote Susan Rice, with "honor and distinction," and a deal to retrieve him were on the table that wouldn't seriously jeopardize our national security interests, can anyone conceive that we wouldn't make it? The objections to the Bergdahl deal arise out of the very high national security price exacted in exchange for someone who seemingly was at best AWOL, if not a deserter. Giving the lie to Jacobson's lunacy was fellow panelist Jack Jacobs, who objected to the Bergdahl deal. Jacobs, by the way, grew up a nice Jewish kid in NYC, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam. (Video below.)
Can anyone make sense of the seeming illogic of Jacobson's argument? Or does it really boil down to Jacobson's description of himself as "a little bit liberal"—meaning he's willing to do a lot to defend President Obama's bad judgment?
STEVE KORNACKI: We've heard so much this week about the principle -- you jump off a ship, you fall off a ship, it doesn't matter. We're going to turn around the ship and bring you back. That principle, you leave no one behind, is our most fundamental obligation. Was turning down this deal and letting him stay in Afghanistan, or Pakistan where he might have been kept in, was that ever realistically an option?
MARK JACOBSON: I don't think so. I wouldn't expect any Commander-in-Chief to even consider this proposition of leaving somebody behind on the battlefield. There have been suggestions that well, because of his political views, because of his religion. You don't leave people behind because of--there's no litmus test. I was talking with someone earlier. My parents freaked out when I went to Afghanistan both times. If I had been captured. Do I want someone to say, here's this nice Jewish kid over in Afghanistan, a little bit liberal, not really sure if we're going to go get him? Absolutely not! We owe it to our men and women in uniform to be unequivocal about this point.