Kos: Critics of Bergdahl Swap Are 'A**holes' and 'Chickenhawks'

Two of the leading lights of the lefty blogosphere weighed in Tuesday on the Bowe Bergdahl matter. Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas, who served a three-year stint in the Army just after graduating from high school, blasted the anti-Bergdahl rhetoric of bloodyhanded neoconservative "chickenhawks" who aren't ashamed to opine despite being "wrong about everything in the last decade."

Kos claimed that since the Afghan war "is now over," the five Taliban exchanged for Bergdahl had to be released anyway "under international law." From Moulitsas's post (emphasis added):

...It feels like deja vu, seeing our nation's blood-thirsty population of chickenhawks zero in on a new target...In their minds, this is worse than Hitler because either Bergdahl was a deserter or because he wasn't worth five Taliban officials or a combination of the two.

 Yet our nation has always subscribed to "leave no one behind," whether alive or dead. It is a foundational principle for those of us who have served—we will lay everything on the line, including our lives, and in return America will make sure, no matter what, that we get to return home. It is sacrosanct...

The military will investigate the circumstances surrounding his capture...If [Bergdahl] acted negligently or maliciously, then he should be dealt with appropriately. But under no circumstances do we leave our own behind. Period.

Second, the Taliban officials were prisoners of war, officials in the Taliban government. The war is now over. Hence, under international law, they must be released. It's as simple as that...

 ...It's been a while since we'd heard the squawking of those chickenhawks, always so eager to send our people into combat, yet unwilling to serve their nation themselves.
The same chickenhawks who cheered the filibustering of increased spending on veterans health, yet now are pretend-outraged at the problems at the VA. The same chickenhawks who scream about American "exceptionalism," yet don't think our American prisoner is worth five Taliban officials we would have to release anyway.

Being wrong about everything in the last decade hasn't chastened them. Having the bloods of hundreds of thousands hasn't shamed them. And now they've decided to die on this hill, arguing against the repatriation of our only POW in Afghanistan.

 Assholes, the lot of them.


Salon's Joan Walsh viewed the right's reaction to the Bergdahl trade as "shrill partisan hackery" and blatantly political "opportunism" that "reflects growing concern that the right’s Benghazi dishonesty isn’t working with voters."

From Walsh's piece (emphasis added):

Of course Republicans are going to compare the prisoner swap that won the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to Benghazi. They both start with B. It leads to their favorite words that start with I: investigation, and possibly impeachment.

...The shift to Bergdahl reflects growing concern that the right’s Benghazi dishonesty isn’t working with voters.
Even conservative analysts have chided colleagues for Benghazi overreach. Sure, Trey Gowdy will continue with his election year partisan witch hunt, but the right is wagering the Bergdahl story might hurt Obama more...

The partisan opportunism over the Bergdahl deal shouldn’t be surprising, but it is, a little bit. This wasn’t some wild radical idea of the Obama administration; it was driven by the Defense Department and signed on to by intelligence agencies...

 ...[T]he right’s official talking points are mixed: Some critics focus on rumors...that [Bergdahl] was a soldier disillusioned by the Afghan war who deserted his post. Wrong-way Bill Kristol has dismissed him as a deserter not worth rescuing, while Kristol’s most prominent contribution to politics, Sarah Palin, has been screeching on her Facebook wall about Bergdahl’s “horrid anti-American beliefs.”

But missing and captured soldiers have never had to undergo a character check before being rescued by their government. Should they now face trial by Bill Kristol before we decide whether to rescue them? Is Sarah Palin going to preside over a military death panel for captured soldiers suspected of inadequate dedication to the war effort?

Other Republicans accuse the president of breaking the long-standing rule against “negotiating with terrorists” to free hostages. They’re wrong on two counts: The U.S. has frequently negotiated with “terrorists,” to free hostages and for other reasons...

 Besides, this isn’t a terrorist-hostage situation, it’s a prisoner of war swap, and those are even more common: President Nixon freed some North Vietnamese prisoners at the same time former POW Sen. John McCain came home from Hanoi...[P]risoner exchanges are particularly frequent when wars are winding down...

 ...As President Obama said Tuesday morning, “This is what happens at the end of wars.” Imagine the outrage if the president brought the troops home from Afghanistan but left Bergdahl behind.

 It’s shocking to see conservatives argue that the Taliban should have the final word on an American soldier’s fate, even if he’s accused of desertion...

 It may be that the terms of the Bergdahl deal merit congressional investigation, particularly about whether Congress was sufficiently consulted on the deal... Congressional investigations are one thing; shrill partisan hackery is another...

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters