"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
The Obama administration’s clumsy attempt to bump the VA scandal from the front page with a story about “bringing one of our soldiers home” has clearly resulted in an enormous political blunder. What they failed to understand is that to the American population at large and to the military community in specific, not every soldier is a “hero,” and all “prisoners of war” are not created equal. In other words, in this case the Obama administration once again failed to do its homework. Specifically:
*They failed to realize that this particular one-for-five deal wouldn’t inspire massive celebrations at home, and would generally be seen as the bad deal that it is.
*They failed to anticipate the very real anger on the part of the military community (veterans and active duty) which would result from their characterization of Bergahl’s military service as being “with honor and distinction.”
*They failed to recognize that the deal would embolden our enemies to do more of the same. As reported by Time magazine, the Taliban hs now been “inspired” to additional kidnappings of Americans (presumably soldiers but who knows?) as a result of the Bergdahl deal.
The Obama administration – from the President on down – also miscalculated (or chose to ignore) the predictable public response from Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers and the family members of those who lost their lives as a result of Bergdahl’s “absence” from his unit. An article written by Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay posted at mcclatchydc.com
earlier this week tells the tale. Its title is “Anger explodes over treatment of Bergdahl’s release as veterans, troops call him a deserter.” Here are the highlights:
*“From military forums across the country, a groundswell of anger is rising over the Obama administration’s silence on perhaps the most controversial question surrounding the deal that freed Bergdahl in exchange for five senior Taliban members: Was he a deserter?”
*“Military-related blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages were filled with screeds from commenters accusing Bergdahl of being a “traitor” or a Taliban “collaborator.” The online publication The Daily Beast published a nearly 2,000-word first-person account by a former Army infantry officer who said he was privy to details of Bergdahl’s disappearance and who stated flatly that “he was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.””
*“The mother of one of six soldiers who’ve been identified as being killed in circumstances related to the search for Bergdahl was furious over the opaque handling of the case, telling Army Times that the Pentagon “really owes the parents of these fallen soldiers the truth.””
*“Michael Waltz, who as an Army major commanded U.S. Special Forces in eastern Afghanistan at the time Bergdahl disappeared, said the sergeant deserted and shouldn’t have been accorded POW status."
“He just walked off after guard duty and wandered into the nearby village,” Waltz told McClatchy in an interview Monday. “This guy needs to be held accountable when the time is right, of course. Every American deserves to come home. I’m happy for his family. But he needs to be held accountable.””
“Waltz...said the enthusiasm for Bergdahl’s return should be tempered by knowledge of his actions, which Waltz said jeopardized the lives of thousands of U.S. troops who were redeployed to prevent the Taliban from taking him across the border into Pakistan’s tribal area, where they, al Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups have bases.”
““Men and women were diverted by the thousands,” he said. “Every soldier who was in the province where he was deployed was told to stop what they were doing and to look for him. It went on for at least weeks. We were receiving a lot of conflicting information about whether he was over the border or not.””
“Regular U.S. troops set up checkpoints along the border, and Waltz said his Special Forces units swept towns and villages looking for Bergdahl. He said they were lured into ambushes and booby-trapped homes because the Taliban knew about the manhunt and were able to mobilize.”
““The soldiers he was with, the soldiers who were in that country and the soldiers who didn’t get to come home are owed an explanation,” Waltz said. “I don’t personally believe that he should be in the same category as the Americans who were in the Bataan Death March (during World War II) and the aviators who were shot down over Vietnam. He needs to be held to account.””
*“Angry commentators took special aim at National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s televised remarks Sunday that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction.” They also bristled at Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s surprise visit Sunday to Afghanistan, where he praised the operation that freed Bergdahl but never mentioned the desertion issue before an audience of U.S. service members who undoubtedly have seen the debate swirling around the case.”
““Hagel hopped up on stage saying, ‘Oh, it’s a great day. We got him back.’ Crickets. Crickets,” said Fred Wellman, a retired lieutenant colonel who as spokesman for Army Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq handled the communications on many crises that reflected poorly on the U.S. military.”
“They’re really underestimating the fury over this,” Wellman said. “It’s a tidal wave of anger.””
For the entire article, see: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/06/02/229148/anger-explodes-over-treatment.html
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