On Thursday, the editorial board at the New York Times, reacting to the growing firestorm over the release of five hardened terrorists from Gitmo in return for the Army's Bowe Bergdahl, went after Bergdahl's "army unit’s lack of security and discipline." It then incredibly claimed that a classified army report described in a separate Times dispatch that day suggested that those alleged conditions were "as much to blame for the disappearance" of Bergdahl as ... well, the sloppy editorial didn't specifically say.
On Sunday, two Times reporters continued the offensive against Bowe Bergdahl's platoon and its members, apparently wanting readers to believe that the unit's occasionally "raggedy" attire and alleged poor leadership somehow explain Bergdahl's "disappearance."
Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan had some tough words for the Obama Administration following its decision to release five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, June 8, Noonan argued “I would be sleeping better if I had a sense that the administration had a real plan as opposed to a desperate dumping.” [See video below.]
The seething anger at seeing the Obama administration being raked over the coals by critics of the Bowe Bergdahl exchange of five hardened terrorists for a soldier who left his post, including many Democrats and most prominently his fellow unit members, was apparently too much for the editorial board at the New York Times. On Thursday, they let loose with a poorly sourced and hastily drafted editorial originally entitled "The Politics of the Bergdahl Case." Tim Graham at NewsBusters alluded to this editorial on Friday in covering fake conservative David Brooks's completely predictable defense of President Obama's decision.
Several revisions later — five in all, tracked by an impressive site called NewsDiffs.org — there is a more pointed title ("The Rush to Demonize Sgt. Bergdahl"). The Times has also had to make two corrections, including an important qualification to a statement made by Arizona Senator John McCain which negated the Times's attempt to go after him (of course, the Times pretended that it didn't). The editorial went on to outrageously impugn the motives, integrity and basic decency of Bergdahl's comrades in Afghanistan and sympathizers who have had the unmitigated gall to help them tell their story to the press.
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.)
Los Angeles Times reporter Shashank Bengali clearly put a great deal of energy and time into trying to persuade readers on Thursday that the five Gitmo terrorists released in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl "may not live up to (that) description."
It only took a day for Bengali's work to be discredited. The person he seemed to believe would be among the least likely to become a threat — after all, he was supposedly just a "civilian official" — "pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan." Geez, couldn't Noorullah Noori at least have allowed a decent interval before telling the truth? Don't you just hate it when one of the guys you're trying to whitewash almost immediately turns around and makes you look like a complete fool?
Watch your backsides, conservatives, because your vituperative, ill-considered criticism of both Bowe Bergdahl and the deal that freed him from the Taliban may come back to bite you.
That was the main message from Brian Beutler in his Thursday post on the New Republic's website. Beutler argued that the compulsively anti-Obama right's inclination to believe that "a massive scandal must be lying just below the surface" of the prisoner swap "precipitated a deluge of ugly actions and pronouncements" from many conservative leaders, including "a bunch of unseemly innuendo" about Bergdahl himself.
Brian Williams glossed over the V.A. scandal during his interview of President Obama on Friday's NBC Nightly News. Williams did devote time to the ongoing controversy surrounding the release of senior Taliban leaders in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl – specifically the White House failing to inform Congress 30 days before the Islamists were let go from Guantanamo Bay, as required by federal law.
However, the anchor didn't mention that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealed that he was informed of the trade for Bergdahl on May 27, 2014 – a day before it actually happened. Williams also forwarded the President's own misleading claim about his grandfather's World War II service: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Ten years ago this month, U.S. Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun disappeared from Camp Fallujah in Iraq. After a five-month military investigation, he was charged with desertion and theft, brought back to Virginia's Quantico Marine base and then transferred to North Carolina's Camp Lejeune for trial.
Yet, a full decade later, Hassoun is as free as a bird. The accused deserter's whereabouts are unknown. No trial ever began. No punishment ensued. And our leaders in Washington don't seem to be doing a thing about this.
Last night on FNC’s The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly sat down in an exclusive interview with six soldiers who served with Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
When Kelly asked them about accusations floating around that they’re just engaging in “swiftboating” and “playing politics” by speaking out, the men voiced their frustration. One soldier told her, “I don’t know how he [Bergdahl] felt about us, but we would all die for him and he left.”
In an interview with the Fox News host on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered if "President Bill O'Reilly" would have made the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange with the Taliban. O'Reilly replied: "I would not make the deal....These are not prisoners of war, these Taliban guys, they're war criminals. We ran down last night the atrocities that the Taliban has committed over the past ten years, and it's horrifying." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer followed up: "Do you think the administration either didn't see the reaction coming or misread the reaction?" O'Reilly responded: "It's such a mystery that they wouldn't know. First of all, President Obama knows what Bergdahl did because there's a classified report on the guy....They already know what he did, and it's not good."
On Friday's New Day on CNN, correspondent Jim Acosta showed a portion of a pre-recorded interview with Obama administration National Security Advisor Susan Rice in which Acosta pressed her to correct her assertion that former hostage Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had served "with honor and distinction," in spite of reports that he deserted.
But the Obama advisor declined to find fault with her previous word choice as she dodged by arguing that Bergdahl should be considered "innocent until proven guilty."
Speaking to Rice, the CNN correspondent posed:
The Obama administration has given a fresh explanation to justify its secret deal with the Taliban to exchange five Guantanamo Bay detainees for Bowe Bergdahl: the radical Islamists who held the Army sergeant would execute him if the terms of the exchange were made public before the handover was carried out.
Yet among the Big Three network evening newscasts tonight covering developments in the prisoner-swap saga, only NBC's Nightly News hammered home the point that the Obama White House's story has significantly changed and that without a sufficient explanation from White House aides. What's more, only NBC's Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski pointed out that the administration did give a heads up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) prior to the deal going down -- which, logic dictates, unnecessarily risked a leak which could have endangered Sgt. Bergdahl's life [Listen to MP3 audio montage here; Video follows page break]: