If you’re choosing one person who best represents America’s journalistic establishment, it’d be hard to top Steve Coll, a former Washington Post reporter and managing editor who’s now dean of Columbia University’s journalism school; a member of the Pulitzer Prize board; and a staff writer for the New Yorker.
On Wednesday, Coll posted a piece on the New Yorker’s website in which he argued that if the Supreme Court were to consistently apply the religious-freedom principle it endorsed in the Hobby Lobby case, it would have to allow an essentially Taliban-owned U.S. corporation to deny insurance coverage for polio vaccines for the children of its employees, since the Taliban believe that such vaccines, in Coll’s words, “violate God’s law.”
Watch your backsides, conservatives, because your vituperative, ill-considered criticism of both Bowe Bergdahl and the deal that freed him from the Taliban may come back to bite you.
That was the main message from Brian Beutler in his Thursday post on the New Republic's website. Beutler argued that the compulsively anti-Obama right's inclination to believe that "a massive scandal must be lying just below the surface" of the prisoner swap "precipitated a deluge of ugly actions and pronouncements" from many conservative leaders, including "a bunch of unseemly innuendo" about Bergdahl himself.
Q. When it comes to the release of five of the worst of the worst Gitmo detainees, what does Eugene Robinson know that the Pentagon doesn't? A. That President Obama must be defended at all costs and in every circumstance.
How else to explain his mind-boggling claim on today's Morning Joe that the impact on the war of the release of five senior Taliban officials would likely be "negligible." Incredibly, Robinson was only willing to put "senior" in skeptical air quotes [see screengrab after jump]. The WaPo columnist's claim sparked controlled outrage from Joe Scarborough, and energetic disagreement even from former Obama car czar Steve Rattner. View the video after the jump.
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):
Once again, an MSNBC host is playing up the idea that “there must be something larger” to justify what, on its face, seems to be a disastrous prisoner swap in the Bowe Bergdahl-Taliban exchange.
On the June 4 edition of her Now program, host Alex Wagner, ever the apologist for the president, hoped that the trade for POW Bowe Bergdahl would open up broader war-ending negotiations with the Taliban [MP3 audio here; video below]:
Euphoria over the Taliban's release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was quickly tempered by media reports that Bergdahl had abandoned his post and that his father made comments opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bergdahl's father tweeted, "I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child."
Does that include those children killed while being used as human shields by the Taliban? Where is Bergdahl's concern for women who die from "honor killings" and for girls who are denied an education?
It's not scientific, of course, but a reader poll at the bottom of an MSNBC.com piece headlined "Is Bowe Bergdahl the GOP’s new Benghazi?" seems to indicate that not even fans of the Lean Forward network are falling for the network's absurd pro-Obama spin on the prisoner swap.
By a nearly 2-to-1 margin (65 percent), readers answered "no" to the poll question, "Do you support Obama’s decision to release 5 Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl?" You can see thescreen capture taken at 9:09 p.m. Eastern below the page break
Who the hell was President Obama rescuing: Bowe Bergdahl or the Taliban terrorists themselves?
The questions arises out of the mind-boggling defense of the Bergdahl deal proferred on today's Morning Joe by Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, who argued that by dint of the deal, "the President managed to get five guys out of Gitmo, which is a goal." Well, at least President Obama didn't have to send Navy Seals in helicopters over the Gitmo fence to rescue the Talibans. He achieved his goal with a mere stroke of his mighty pen.
You really have to watch Brian Schweitzer in action to get just how much of a blowhard he is. By the end of his appearance on today's Morning Joe, even Mika Brzezinski seemed mortified by the antics of her fellow Democrat. And Bill Kristol's expression of utter disdain for the former Montana governor was worth the price of admission alone.
In the course of his appearance, Schweitzer--defending President Obama's deal for the release of US soldier Bowe Bergdahl--declined to call the five senior Taliban members released either terrorists or war criminals. Even the Daily Beast, in the person of reporter Eli Lake, has called the five "some of the worst of the worst," and "considered [by the Pentagon] to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated." When talk turned to domestic politics, Schweitzer dabbled in some anti-Ted Cruz birtherism, repeatedly alluding to the Texas senator's birth in Canada. View Schweitzer's clown act on the video after the jump.
“Those who came here insulting Islam and the Koran, I will take revenge on them,” said a Taliban suicide bomber with a chilling smile. Moments later he drove a truck loaded with 10,000 kg of explosives into U.S. Forward-Operating Base Salerno in Khost, Afghanistan, killing two U.S. soldiers.
It was all captured on a Taliban propaganda video narrated by an Al Jazeera reporter. (Video below.) It’s currently available for anyone to see on YouTube. More shocking, the Taliban have their own YouTube channel, though it is mostly dormant.
This AP report is a perfect example of how the western media hasn't the temerity to call things like they are, a perfect example of how it soft-sells the truth for fear of violating those vaunted codes of politically correct conduct -- and why we could lose this war with a radical Islam that isn't afraid of how they are perceived by their enemies. The weakness this time is displayed in an AP report titled "Ministry: Taliban spokesman arrested", in which the AP can't even call the Taliban a terrorist organization and treats these murderers as if they were just another normal government entity by according them the respect of the kind of language you'd reserve for the spokesmen of any legitimate government.
First off, at the top of the story, the Taliban is described merely as an "insurgent movement" instead of a terrorist agency.