From Birtherism to Benghazi, Obamacare to American Exceptionalism, FOX has whiffed on every one of its efforts to do serious damage to the Obama presidency.
Now, with President Obama's decision to exchange five Taliban detainees for one American soldier, FOX thinks they have the raw material that can be turned into a firestorm of outrage. Maybe even, by their lights, lead to impeachment.
As is their custom, FOX will come up empty and destroy what little is left of their credibility.
Here's my take on what's important.
The Soldier. When Bowe Bergdahl enlisted in the Army in the spring of 2008, he was not a typical recruit. Far from it.
He grew up in rural Idaho and had been home-schooled by his deeply religious Calvinist parents. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine were part of his study regimen. Discussion of ethics and morality was common.
When he did his basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he hung out at the Barnes & Noble book store during his free time, while others in his unit hit the strip joints.
The late Michael Hastings, in a superb article entitled, “America's Last Prisoner of War” in Rolling Stone Magazine, June 7, 2012, describes Bergdahl's state of mind regarding his unit right before his deployment to Afghanistan. “He had entered the Army for adventure, and he was shackled to a bunch of goof-offs that he didn't think were competent to fight.” Hastings reports that before leaving for Afghanistan, Bergdahl told a friend in his unit, “If this deployment is lame, I'm just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan.”
On June 30, 2009, Bergdahl walked off the base and headed for Pakistan. Within 24 hours, he was in the custody of the Taliban.
The Trade. We gave up five members of the Taliban, who had been held at Guantanamo Bay for 12 years. None of the five had been charged with any specific war crime, never mind convicted of one.
General Paul Eaton (Ret) appearing on CNN June 7, 2014 described the Taliban detainees as follows: “These are not super villains. These are five guys we chose to capture in order to get information from them. We kept them a long time without any due process.”
Since when is it consistent with American Exceptionalism to hold anyone, citizen or non-citizen, indefinitely without charging them? The question answers itself. It isn't.
The Rose Garden. Knowing full well that substantial evidence indicated that Bowe Bergdahl was a deserter, Obama chose to announce his repatriation in the White House Rose Garden, a place of great ceremonial significance, with Bergdahl's parents present as honored guests.
A number of commentators took exception, claiming such a welcome was insulting to the troops he left behind in Afghanistan. Their reaction shows why they are commentators and Obama is President.
Of course there are going to be those who are embittered by the Rose Garden welcome. We can count on FOX to find every last one of them and give them all the airtime they need to vent their anger.
The President took a higher road. He knows that Americans are a compassionate people who, when given a choice, will prefer generosity of heart over bitter vindictiveness.
Obama took his lesson from the Gospel of St. Luke. The Prodigal Son has returned. Let us rejoice and be glad.
FOX. It's all hands on deck for FOX and its affiliates (The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post) all of which are controlled by Rupert Murdoch, who's been dealing slime for decades.
The FOX message: Bergdahl is a deserter and possibly a collaborator; soldiers lost their lives looking for him; Obama is putting Taliban who have killed Americans back on the battlefield to kill again.
Who cares if it's not true? It's red meat, and that's what their audience wants.
Chickenhawk NeoCon Bret Stephens wrote in The Wall Street Journal that somebody (unnamed) formerly involved in Special Forces told him Bergdahl should face a firing squad. Really.
Maybe Bret dreamed that he was involved in Special Forces, and told himself. Or, he could have read it on the wall of one of the restrooms on the New Jersey Turnpike. Who knows.
Get some rest Bret.
When things get real crazy, we're in the Bill O'Reilly sweet spot. O'Reilly hammered National Security Advisor Susan Rice for saying on one of the Sunday talk shows that Bergdahl “had served with honor and distinction.” O'Reilly's response “… Is she a moron?”
O'Reilly also took off after Bergdahl's father. He said that it was “inappropriate” for him to use the word Allah in front of the President at the Rose Garden ceremony. Bill, don't you know that Allah means God, not only in Arabic, but in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke?
Bill, are you a freaking moron?
I will post again on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 (or before, if the news flow dictates) and, for the time being, I will post on the first Wednesday of each month.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.