For anyone who thinks Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS) isn’t real, or that the racism of the far right toward President Obama is somewhat exaggerated, consider the rhetoric involving Bowe Bergdahl.
As everyone is aware, the month of May ended with a US soldier being released from a Taliban Prisoner of War (camp?) and returned to his family. Given that he was the only POW, that should be a happy occasion, right? That means all POWs have been returned home as the war there winds down, which is a positive development. Well, not exactly, at least from the right wing perspective. There are many reasons for this. First, to get Bergdahl, a US citizen and a soldier, it was necessary to release five alleged Taliban prisoners from the prison at Guantanamo Bay. I say “alleged,” because they have been in that prison for more than 12 years without charges being brought, let alone a conviction being achieved. I’d also point out that the war will be over this year, and they, too, were prisoners of war, and since when do we keep prisoners of war indefinitely after a war has ended?
Then there are the incessant questions from Fox News and the rest of the Right Wing Fart Machine about Bergdahl’s fitness as a soldier. There are numerous reports of Bergdahl being a deserter, or siding with his captors or any number of things that sound suspiciously like the first season of “Homeland.” The only thing “Homeland” was missing, apparently, was Brody’s father growing a beard and learning to speak Arabic.
It’s extremely obvious that this entire Bergdahl story is a right wing anti-Obama hit piece, because the attacks on the soldier’s parents are so blatantly over-the-top. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly seem obsessed with Robert Bergdahl’s beard, for example. You know, because Fox News has never defended anyone with a long beard before; it’s weird.
But let’s stick with the Bowe Bergdahl story for a moment, shall we? Check out how Fox News’s James Rosen starts a story about Bowe, dated today:
U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at one point during his captivity converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a “mujahid,” or warrior for Islam, according to secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account and obtained by Fox News.
The reports indicate that Bergdahl’s relations with his Haqqani captors morphed over time, from periods of hostility, where he was treated very much like a hostage, to periods where, as one source told Fox News, “he became much more of an accepted fellow” than is popularly understood. He even reportedly was allowed to carry a gun at times.
First of all, let’s put aside another use of Fox’s favorite witness, “Sumsay,” as if we’re supposed to believe that Fox News was able to talk to an “eyewitness” who saw the only US POW “fraternizing” with Taliban captors. The implication of leading with a statement like that is that Bergdahl somehow turned. It’s hard to tell if they’re trying to invoke Nicolas Brody or a Manchurian Candidate, but either way, it’d be better if they stuck with facts and context.
These types of stories, as well as those about Bergdahl being a “deserter” or even a “traitor” have been extremely common since the release. These stories have little to no credibility, and only appear because certain folks are desperate to portray President Obama as some sort of fool and incompetent, by earning the release of a US POW in return for five Afghan POWs. This despite the fact that this deal has been in the works for a couple of years. This negativity doesn’t prove a case of ODS all by itself. No, the ODS is proven by the stories and comments made before Bergdahl was released.
For example, there’s Fox News, who reported on a video of Bergdahl the Taliban released in January of this year. The exchange was noted without comment, and the only thing said about Bergdahl was that he seemed as if his health was suffering:
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared June 30, 2009, while based in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed his capture in a video released in mid-July that year, which showed the young soldier appearing downcast and frightened.
In the latest video received by the military, Bergdahl was speaking and appeared “gaunt,” the official told Fox News on Wednesday. At one point in the video, Bergdahl references Nelson Mandela’s death. U.S. officials say the video was obtained through an intelligence intercept.
Bergdahl, who is from Idaho, was serving with a unit based in Fort Richardson, Alaska, when he vanished just five months after arriving in Afghanistan. He was 23 years old at the time and was serving at a base in Paktika province near the border with Pakistan in an area known to be a Taliban stronghold.
The circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture are unclear. U.S. officials had told The Associated Press that a soldier vanished after walking off his base with three Afghans, while the Taliban said “a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison” and was captured by militants.
It’s pretty clear that, when it was convenient, Fox News was sympathetic with Bergdahl, and even demonstrated some concern over his plight. Why didn’t they find out all of this negative stuff then, before he was released? Because they wanted to imply that the Obama Administration was too incompetent to obtain the release of the only POW in the Afghan conflict.
Other right wing media were more overt in their attempts to use Bergdahl as an attempt to smear Obama. For example, on Dec. 10, 2013, Allen West wrote the following about Bowe Berghdahl:
Then there is Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl still held by the Islamic terrorist Haqqani network, probably in Pakistan, in the same place where Osama Bin Laden was hiding. This past POW/MIA national day of recognition, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reiterated a pledge to secure the young Army NCO being held captive, but have there been any actions? Any time, attention, or even mention from the Commander-in-Chief? Nah, no camera highlights in it for him.
Once more; when West wrote the above, everyone knew about the negotiations for the release of Bergdahl. Now, on the same blog six months later, West is demanding Obama be impeached:
Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that Barack Hussein Obama’s unilateral negotiations with terrorists and the ensuing release of their key leadership without consult — mandated by law — with the U.S. Congress represents high crimes and misdemeanors, an impeachable offense.
So I call upon the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives; Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to draft articles of impeachment as no one is above the law in America. The failure to do so speaks volumes.
Yes, I know West is a psycho, but he also suffers from an acute case of ODS, and he’s not alone.
Then, there’s Jim Hoft, otherwise known as “The Gateway Pundit.” Media Matters once asked if he was “The dumbest man on the Internet?” and Hoft never fails to prove the answer an emphatic “yes.” Back on Jan. 15, 2014, Hoft wrote:
Sgt. Bowe Robert Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in 2009 in Afghanistan.
In the summer of 2013 his family in Idaho received a letter from their son through the Red Cross.
He was still alive.
But sadly US POW Sgt. Bowe Robert Bergdahl may be left behind when Obama withdraws US troops in 2014.
Today a new video from December 2013 has surfaced today showing missing U.S. soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
The Obama administration says it is willing to release five Gitmo Taliban detainees in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release.
But as of yesterday, Hoft wrote something completely different:
Barack Obama slammed vocal critics of the insane deal he cut with the Taliban today during a press conference in Great Britain.
“I’m never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington.”
How dare anyone question his preposterous deal with the Taliban!
Actually, it was the US troops who who served with Bergdahl who are most outraged about the deal Obama made with the Taliban for Bergdahl’s release.
The right wing blogs have been going crazy over the last few years, demanding that Obama secure Brergdahl’s freedom, and implying that the Administration was incompetent for not securing his release. Now, they’re saying they’re incompetent because they did secure his release.
ODS is alive and well.