Having had ample opportunity for practice on how to conduct dastardly and dishonest smear jobs on Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald the US State-Corporate media has put their crosshairs on the head of the just freed from five years of Taliban captivity Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. The twin travesties that are the unnecessary and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced plenty of lamentable moments that show just how depraved and bereft of morality that the United States of America has become since the transformation intoThe Homeland.
There has been the evisceration of the Constitution at home with the rise of the security/police state and the ongoing horrors abroad including the fiendish sado-sexual torture at Abu Ghraib prison, the razing of Fallujah to avenge the ambush of four Blackwater mercenaries by the locals, countless civilian deaths by bombing, errant drone attacks, sectarian violence unleashed by the US invasions and American soldiers having a good old time mowing down civilians. There has been the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, record suicides by military members and veterans and the current Veterans Administration scandal where underfunded facilities that are overwhelmed with the casualties of those damned wars and resort to cheating and cover-ups to hide the shameful treatment of veterans and now the gross rush to slime Sgt. Bergdahl as some sort of traitor – primarily undertaken by a gaggle of cowards who never had the guts to serve.
Rushing to capitalize on the latest election year opportunity to attack President Barack Obama – a war criminal by definition of the job he holds – Republican opportunists and the war propagandists in the corrupt media, particularly the neocon flagship Washington Post are in a frenzy today. One thing about the Republican swine, they have ample real offenses to go after Obama hammer and tong with were they so inclined but as those involve the extrajudicial killing of American citizens, killing innocent women and children in drone attacks, presiding over the mass domestic spying and data-mining machine that is the NSA Stasi, giving free passes to Wall Street criminals who wrecked the US economy and pushing for hostilities with a Russian nuclear power but they don’t.
It is always silly horseshit like Darrell Issa’s limited Benghazi dog and pony show that never asks the questions about covert arms trafficking, or the five year running jihad against Obamacare which is nothing more than a blowjob to corporations sold under the guise of health care “reform”. And this week it is going after a military veteran who while he technically deserted his post and ended up being captured by the enemy was obviously the victim of the same sort of mental trauma that has contributed to the overwhelming of the Veterans Administration system.
The coordinated smear campaign against Bergdahl is dishonest and despicable and there is no better condemnation of it than by Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo who smacks it out of the ballpark in his Monday column “Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: Prisoner of the War Party” from which I excerpt:
Is US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a traitor or a martyr, a coward who walked away from his unit or a symbol of how a misconceived war used US soldiers as pawns in a losing geo-political game?
This is going to be the issue as the prisoner swap with the Taliban takes incoming fire from Republicans like John McCain and others opposed to “negotiating with terrorists.” Yet the real issue goes deeper than that: Bergdahl was profoundly disillusioned by the war, and his capture by the Taliban would never had occurred if he hadn’t walked off base – in plain language, deserted, as this 2012 Rolling Stonepiece by Michael Hastings makes clear. In his last email to his parents, sent just before he walked, Bergdahl wrote:
“The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.”
Bergdahl goes on at length, indicting a military system that punished competent soldiers and rewarded the “conceited brown-nose shitbag” who’s “allowed to do whatever [he] wants.” In spite of his pro-military outlook, which had prompted him to join up in the first place, he realized he had joined “the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies.” Bergdahl was no anti-military hippie: he’d long wanted to be a soldier and even tried to join the French Foreign Legion before enlisting in the US Army. A 23-year-old idealist who took soldiering seriously, Bergdahl was shocked to learn that the best officers “are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same.”
It wasn’t just a military machine run from afar by incompetents that riled him, it was also the nature of the mission itself:
“In the second-to-last paragraph of the e-mail, Bowe wrote about his broader disgust with America’s approach to the war – an effort, on the ground, that seemed to represent the exact opposite of the kind of concerted campaign to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of average Afghans envisioned by counterinsurgency strategists. ‘I am sorry for everything here,’ Bowe told his parents. ‘These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live.’ He then referred to what his parents believe may have been a formative, possibly traumatic event: seeing an Afghan child run over by an MRAP. ‘We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks… We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them.’”
The context of the email makes clear Bowe was going AWOL – although how he imagined he would be getting out of Afghanistan is murky, at best. Perhaps he had been driven mad by the sight of so much futile slaughter, such needless cruelty. Or perhaps he had been pushed over the edge into sanity, as indicated in his last remarks to his parents: “I am sorry for everything,” he wrote, “The horror that is America is disgusting.”
And he is absolutely fucking A correct – “the horror that is America is disgusting” and this filthy attack on his honor is evidence of exactly how disgusting that it all is. You know, I did my time in the military although in one of those very small windows since 1939 I managed to avoid serving during wartime and even during my time the military system “punished competent soldiers and rewarded the “conceited brown-nose shitbag” who’s “allowed to do whatever [he] wants”. It is like corporate America and the government, the sleazy ass-kissing rats, the cheats and the yes men/women are always the type that are rewarded while honesty is punished. This is one of the reasons why America had become the disgusting star, spangled shithole that it is today where ‘getting over’ is all that matters and the populace is indoctrinated to fuck their friends, associates and co-workers by sleazy reality television shows that reward the most dismal of traits of humanity.
Those dismal traits are fully on display by the Republicans today in particular the rare veteran in their ranks that is Senator John McCain – the strongest argument for euthanasia that exists today leading the charge. I again excerpt from Raimondo:
Then there were the congressional Republicans, led by John McCain, who caviled “You’re negotiating with terrorists!” One imagines the Taliban’s hard-liners using similar language, albeit in Pashtun.
There are indications that Republicans are determined to make the prisoner swap deal an issue. Already we have Eli Lake and Josh Rogin in the Daily Beast complainingthat the Gitmo detainees freed are so dangerous that we should all be quaking in our boots. And the Christian Science Monitor is already pointing to the Hastings piece, prefiguring the inevitable debate that promises to be remarkably similar, in broad terms rather than in the details, to the Edward Snowden episode.
Both young men were idealists who initially took the US government at its word: they believed Washington embodied the spirit of liberty and that our military and intelligence agencies were involved in a crusade for freedom designed to benefit and uplift the long-suffering peoples of the world. Upon discovering that this isn’t so – and is, indeed, the exact opposite of the truth – both Bergdahl and Snowden rebelled, each in their own way and to the extent of their abilities. The debate around their motivations, their moral status, and the circumstances leading to their disillusionment, is what separates the Regimists from the defenders of our old republic– and the pre-9/11 political culture – as we enter an election year. Although I’d like nothing better than to be proved wrong, I fear “Benghazi!” may soon give way to “Bergdahl!” as the congressional GOP’s war cry.
While the War Party bays for Bergdahl’s blood, showing themselves to be less merciful than the Taliban, most ordinary Americans are going to look at him and think to themselves: What would I do in a situation like that? What would I do if I was smack dab in the middle of an unwinnable war, a nightmare in which I was fighting not only the official enemy but also my own officers and the deluded policymakers in Washington? With the huge number of wounded vets coming home irreparably damaged psychologically as well as physically, it isn’t hard to imagine someone would be crazy enough to just take off, alone, in the middle of Afghanistan. The average American will doubtless think to himself or herself: Hasn’t he been through enough? Leave him the heck alone!
Such garbage is beneath the dignity of anyone who holds public office in America today – too bad that dignity left the building along with bravery, honor and ethics chasing the almighty dollar out the door long ago with phonies like McCain leading the charge.