UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Friedman has partially scrubbed his Twitter bio. His Tumblr bio linked in this post remains — for now.
Late last night, Brandon Friedman, the Obama administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, unleashed a furious five-tweet barrage attacking those who dare to question whether Bowe Bergdahl served "with honor and distinction" (National Security Advisor Susan Rice's words on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday).
Friedman's tweets would already be headline news in the establishment press if an official in a Republican or conservative administration published what readers are about to see. He saved his strongest venom, couched in a question, for Bergdahl's fellow soldiers — apparently including the ones who died trying to retrieve him — after Bergdahl left his unit (HT Gateway Pundit via Hot Air):
Despite what Friedman at least implies, there really is no "if" about whether Bergdahl "walked off" — "A Pentagon investigation in 2010 concluded that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his unit prior to his capture by the Taliban the year before, a finding that led the military to curb any high-risk rescue plans, the Associated Press reported Tuesday." Or does Brandon Friedman really want us to believe that Bergdahl's platoon made that up, somehow kept all of their stories straight, and completely fooled investigators?
Also unaddressed: If the platoon is "long on psychopaths" — I'm sorry, I should say "if the platoon contingent, including those who lost their lives trying to rescue Bergdahl, is and was 'long on psychopaths'" — why are those who are still with us unafraid to tell the world their exact take on things, while it's the Army whose officers tried to shut them up with "non-disclosure" agreements?
It's quite curious that an administration flak who hangs out in HUD would be the one who suddenly decided to visibly go on the attack.
Perhaps it's because Friedman has military experience. But first, let's look at his post-military gigs (bolds are mine):
Brandon Friedman is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Prior to serving at HUD, Brandon was a vice president in the Washington, D.C., office of FleishmanHillard where he handled PR for clients in the defense and international business sectors.
Brandon joined FleishmanHillard after three years with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where he launched and managed the first Office of Online Communications inside America’s second-largest federal agency. While at VA, Brandon planned and oversaw execution of a digital media strategy for a department with over 300,000 employees servicing eight million enrolled veterans.
From 2007 to 2009, Brandon helped veterans get involved in politics as a Vice Chairman at VoteVets.org. While there, he represented the organization on national television, radio, online, and in print, advocating on a variety of defense and foreign policy related issues.
In case anyone had any doubts, VoteVets.org, "While non-partisan (cough, cough — Ed.), is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America."
We also now know where some of that money not going to patient care at the VA went.
Now to Friedman's military experience:
Prior to that, Brandon served as an infantry platoon leader and executive officer in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, completing combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2004.
Brandon is the author of the combat memoir The War I Always Wanted—recognized in 2010 by The Military Times as one of “The Best Military Books of the Decade.”
In addition to his memoir, Brandon’s writing has been featured by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, TIME Magazine, The Guardian, The (New York) Daily News, Foreign Policy, and The White House Blog. Brandon has been the subject of stories in The Washington Post, Stars and Stripes, and Government Executive magazine and he has been quoted on military and veterans issues by ABC News, the Associated Press, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, Wired, The Atlantic, and many other media outlets. He has appeared as a guest on CNN, BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and C-SPAN, as well as on dozens of radio programs.
As found at Amazon, here is Publishers Weekly mini-review of Friedman's 2007 book:
This cynical but appealing memoir by a lieutenant in the elite 101st Airborne recounts his unpleasant times fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. After a quick review of his youth (shy, smart, dreaming of glory), Friedman describes his unit's deployment to Afghanistan after 9/11 to fight the Taliban. Its mission turns out to be guarding an air base, four months of demoralizing boredom followed by urgent orders into battle. The result is an exhausting 11-hour march high into freezing mountains, where the soldiers arrive as the fighting ends. A year later, as American forces invade Iraq in March 2003, Friedman's unit advances almost to Baghdad without encountering resistance but yearning to fight. There follows three months of dull occupation duty until, to everyone's horror, a grenade kills two soldiers on patrol, and the insurgency begins.
The author accepts that America needed to fight in Afghanistan, but can't fathom why we invaded Iraq. He does not re-enlist. Given the public's waning support for the war in Iraq, Friedman's voice is likely to be heard by sympathetic ears.
A Dallas Morning News review excerpt also found at Amazon says that:
Mr. Friedman's wartime experience wasn't worthy of winning him a Medal of Honor (he did earn two Bronze Stars) or even an option for a Hollywood screenplay, but it did endow him with a wisdom beyond his years. Surviving a war, it seems, takes a bit of luck; coping with the memory and aftermath of one takes maturity.
The Amazon page additionally indicates that at the time of the book's publication, Friedman was "a contributor to the Daily Kos blog."
Apparently, seven years of involvement in progressive causes and employment in a "suck it up and salute" administration have seriously compromised Friedman's aforementioned "maturity."
It seems well within the realm of possibility that the Obama White House designated Frieman to be their appointed attack merchant precisely because he has military background — and, especially compared to previous administrations, very few others do.
If a person in a Republican or conservative administration went on an unhinged Twitter rant as Friedman just has, the estabiishment press would be all over it. It's a safe prediction that they will virtually ignore this, thereby enabling the administration's attempt to recover its footing by smearing its opponents — including those who really did serve "with honor and distinction" — to proceed.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.