If you want to see how quickly consensus wisdom can change as the facts come to light, take a look at the 180º turn in opinion on the five Taliban leaders for Bowe Bergdahl exchange.
First “President Obama hailed Bergdahl’s recovery as a triumph of years of high-wire diplomatic efforts” in a Rose Garden ceremony with Bergdahl’s parents.
UN Ambassador Susan Rice also hailed the exchange, saying that Bergdahl’s poor health was a factor in making the swap and that he had “served the United States with honor and distinction.”
All in all, it seemed like the perfect media event to distract public attention from the VA scandal. Republicans were criticized for complaining that swapping five high value Taliban commanders for one soldier was a mistake.
Then it came to light that Bergdahl was not universally loved among his comrades in arms, to put in mildly. “Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”
The revelation of Bergdahl’s desertion seemed to blindside the Obama Administration. It shouldn’t have. Never mind that it should have been able to find that out before the swap from its own internal military reports. (If not, then there’s a “thermocline of truth” in the chain of command even more serious than previously suspected.) For an Administration that claims it first learns of its own scandals from the media, it should have learned about Bergdahl’s desertion no later than June 7, 2012, when Rolling Stone published an extensive profile on Bergdahl and his status as a prisoner of war:
Bowe Bergdahl had a different response. He decided to walk away.
In the early-morning hours of June 30th, according to soldiers in the unit, Bowe approached his team leader not long after he got off guard duty and asked his superior a simple question: If I were to leave the base, would it cause problems if I took my sensitive equipment?
Yes, his team leader responded – if you took your rifle and night-vision goggles, that would cause problems.
Bowe returned to his barracks, a roughly built bunker of plywood and sandbags. He gathered up water, a knife, his digital camera and his diary. Then he slipped off the outpost.
Even those notorious right-swing shills at The New York Times report that Bergdahl “slipped away from his outpost.”
Soldiers say that after Bergdahl was captured, “over the next couple of months, all the attacks were far more directed.”
Now stories have come to light that soldier’s in Bergdahl’s unit were instructed to lie about how he came into the Taliban’s hands.
No wonder there was such an outrage among our troops over the exchange.
Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans “so dumb” they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don’t necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle — the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)
As for Rice, Ralph Peters noted “At least she didn’t blame Bergdahl’s desertion on a video.”
Then footage emerged of the Taliban handing over Bergdahl, which did not seem to indicate he was in particularly frail physical health. (Mentally? Well, Blinky McDeserter obviously has some issues…)
Even Obama’s usual defenders in the media are questioning the exchange:
Now Obama’s State Department (and liberal Administration defenders) are saying that “there are a ton of conflicting reports”. This is such a general purpose cop-out I’m surprised we don’t hear it from the Obama Administration more often. “Did the IRS target conservative groups?” “There are a ton of conflicting reports…”
The fact that liberal opinion has swung from “This was a triumph for Obama and Republicans look petty for raining on his parade” to “we don’t have enough information to judge yet” tells you all you need to know about the optics…
Also: Oh, nice job Mad: