What’s the difference between a traitor and a hero?

The right wing reaction to the New York Times article pointing out problems with Bergdahl’s unit was to call the NYT “Outrageous” for reporting the data that they found. I’m not saying it’s right that Bergdahl went AWOL or deserted, but it’s becoming more and more likely that Bergdahl’s betrayal was a result of witnessing crimes committed by his fellow countrymen, including running over a child. The right wing reaction is that they don’t want to hear it. Betrayal is betrayal. He took an oath.

All this makes me wonder, why is Edward Snowden such a hero?

Forbes Repeats Right Wing Lie about Bergdahl Swap

Congressman Randy Forbes sent out an email which contained this blatant lie:

The Administration’s action violates a long-held principle that our government will not enter into negotiations with a terrorist organization.

I was a little disappointed. Forbes’s dishonesty is usually a bit more nuanced. He’ll often hide misleading innuendo in half-truths or push polls. He could have just said, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists” and let it be understood that he’s accusing Obama of doing so.

But perhaps after reading the comments on his blog post about the swap, he realized that most of his supporters are so ill informed, so hateful, and so ready to soak up any nonsense that justifies their world view and their hatred of Obama, that Mr. Forbes felt it would be a waste of time to craft a technically true statement or to disguise his innuendo in the form of a question. He can just lie.

It’s a lie because the Taliban, despite being a hateful enemy, is not a terrorist organization. Not everyone we hate is a terrorist, although the right wing has been confused about that for over a decade. The difference is significant. The Taliban did not storm a non-combat zone and carry people away at gunpoint. They caught an American soldier, and instead of shooting him they held him as a prisoner. If we’re going to encourage that kind of behavior, then good, because the alternative is murder.

I am not discounting the heinous crimes against humanity committed by the Taliban, and I’m not discounting the Taliban’s treatment of Bergdahl while he was in captivity. The Taliban are disgusting, murderous bigots. I am only stating that Bergdahl’s capture was an act of war, not an act of terror. And that fact makes a lie out of all the talk about how this prisoner exchange will set any kind of dangerous precedent.

It’s a dangerous lie that Republicans are telling now. And Randy Forbes, as usual but without his usual craftiness, is helping to perpetuate it. It’s way past time for a change in Virginia’s 4th District.

Lying about Prisoners and Hostages

Imagine we invade a nation and during a battle, one or a small group of American soldiers falls into enemy hands. Maybe one dope wanders into enemy territory or maybe a team runs out of bullets because despite all the yellow ribbons, politicians who talk a big talk about how much they love the military only vote to give billions of dollars to defense contractors, not to support our troops. Anyway, for whatever reason, our soldiers fall into enemy hands. But now, also thanks to those big talkers, our soldiers are murdered rather than taken prisoner because we recently sent a message to the world that if we invade your country, take no prisoners. There is no reason to do so. Their won’t be any swaps. We don’t negotiate with terrorists, and the American people are so ignorant they don’t know the difference between a terrorist and an enemy so we don’t negotiate with anybody.

“Take No Prisoners” means “Kill Everybody”. That is the future of warfare that Republicans are calling for.

But it’s not the future that they actually want. They’re just lying to get political points. Bergdahl was not a hostage, and those who took him were not terrorists. The Taliban are a group of vile, murderous bigots, but it is not they who attacked us on 9/11. It is we who attacked them one month later.

Anything the President would have done would have been spun against him. That point was well made yesterday by David Ignatius on the Diane Rehm Show,

Let’s imagine for a moment that President Obama had not made this deal, and it’s a year from now, and evidence comes to light as the Taliban is showing ever more grisly videos of Bowe Bergdahl in captivity wasting away, dying, and it comes to light that President Obama could have arranged a prisoner swap that would have gotten him home. Can you imagine the outcry that there’d be in the country?

Although Republicans may not want Americans to die as a result of their irresponsibility and dishonestly, it’s a risk they’re willing to take so they can get Democrats out of office and cut taxes for the wealthy. That’s what it all comes down to: Playing on the ignorance and childish emotions of conservatives to get elected, and getting elected to cut taxes for the wealthy. At any cost.

Reminder: “Take No Prisoners” is a Bad Thing

Bowe Bergdahl’s was captured during a shooting war, which is why he was a prisoner and not a hostage. If we discourage the taking of prisoners during warfare, we encourage in its place the murder of soldiers who fall into enemy hands.

Obama’s Right Wing enemies are more than just liars. They are promoting policies which would encourage the murder of U.S. prisoners.