Winger to Taliban holding U.S. troop: kill him

More proof that the right loves war, but hates the troops. This time, it’s Ralph Peters, a Fox News (surprise!) military pundit who recently suggested that the Taliban should just go ahead and execute a captured American soldier, 23-year-old Private Bowe Bergdahl, whom he (being nowhere near Afghanistan) has decided is a liar and a deserter, because in his expert opinion, soldiers never lag behind their patrols and get pinched by the enemy. Watch:

Just wondering: is suggesting that it might be a good thing for a foreign enemy with whom we are at war to murder an American serviceman considered technical treason? A rare rightie who has actually served, Blackfive, has it right (at least for now.) [Sidebar: per several comments -- the suggestion of rare righties who have served of course excludes Milbloggers, and refers to the most vocal section of the right wing commentariat -- Vietnam avoiders like Rush Limbaugh and pretty much all of the neocon think tankers and chickenhawks like Bill Kristol, plus elected military service avoiders like Dick Cheney and all but a handful of pro-war conservative Congressmen, who somehow aren't in favor of pay raises or decent healthcare for returning vets... just to clear that up ...] Blackfive to Peters:

Hey dipshit, the fact that we have a term like “break in contact” means that it happens. Who the hell is Ralph to call this kid a liar from a TV studio in the US. The first thing we all should do in the absence of solid info, is to give the kid a freakin’ break. He deserves the benefit of the doubt and for jackasses like Peters to start calling him a liar based on a completely inaccurate concept is pathetic.

Peters, a neocon/PNACer associated with Fox News and USA Today, the Murdoch New York Post, and who figured in the “Rathergate” affair, is retired military too, though he skipped Vietnam to attend Penn State and then enlisted afterward, spending his time in Germany, and thus avoiding the nasty business of actually having to kill anyone himself. Meanwhile, Peters isn’t the only one accusing Bergdahl of essentially defecting to the Taliban (and Blackfive says his view could change based on what unfolds.) A guy called P.J. Tobia, who calls himself an “independent freelance writer” working in Afghanistan (he had been embedded with the 101st Airborne,) claims he has sources who say Bergdahl quit his unit “to find himself in the mountains.” If Bergdahl did wander away from his unit, because he was drunk, or depressed, or for whatever reason, the bottom line is that he needs to be found, and because he is one of ours, we need to be praying for him, not endangering his life. If and when he is found, his commanders will properly debrief him. It’s not for stateside armchair warriors to judge him from waaaaay over here. Peters, and Michelle Malkin and the rest of the right, who are holding their own online court martial before the poor kid is even found, ought to can it, and at least pretend they give a damn about the people who put their lives on the line for this country (and their families.) More circumspect is the blogger Bouhammer, who calls himself a friend of Tobia’s and the parent of a deployed troop. But even Bouhammer focuses on Bergdahl’s “oddities”:

He came in the Army just one year ago. He enlisted in June of 2008, went to basic training, AIT, and airborne school before being assigned to the Geronimos of the 1/501st ABN. We now know he was home-schooled, and was very active in the ballet and in fencing. Not exactly the type of person that wants to excel and be part of a high-speed Airborne Infantry Unit, if you ask me. Could it be his fellow soldiers knew of his past and harassed him? Could they have made him feel like an outsider? Who knows, and really it does not matter as what he did (if desertion as PJ implies) is inexcusable. I am confident that as the past comes to light we will see this soldier demonstrated behavior that would be considered outside the norm.

That’s all very interesting (if somewhat contradicted by other reports that say he was indeed the kind of guy who wanted to “excel and be part of a high-speed Airborne Infantry Unit…”) Who knows? And the kid may well turn out to have been in an abnormal state of mind. But that’s a far cry from his being a “deserter” who some right wing pundit says should be killed by the Taliban.

UPDATE: ABC News reports Bergdahl may not be in Afghanistan anymore. And ThinkProgress has more of Ralph Peters’ right wing nuttery.

UPDATE 2: According to Brandon Friedman at VetVoice, Private Bergdahl isn’t the only person Ralph Peters is gunning for:

Such proclamations aren’t unusual for Peters, however.  He actually has a bizarre penchant for executions.  Recently, Peters stated his lusty desire to see the U.S. government execute all prisoners at Guantanamo Bay–without regard for their legal rights, and in spite of the fact that, in his own words, “there will be miscarriages of justice.”  And in another instance in May of this year, Peters also called for “military attacks on the partisan media.”

Ralph just wants to see some executions.  Doesn’t matter who.  Soldier, terrorist, just anybody.  Somebody needs to die.  Now.

UPDATE 3: Bergdahl’s godmother hits back at his critics. And Media Bistro is reporting that Peters plans to go back on Fox and explain his comments, to of all people, Bill O’Reilly.

UPDATE 4: Dr. Rusty Shackleford writes the definitive post on Bergdahl, in my opinion, when he says: who cares how and why he got captured. And Shackleford makes another important point:

I think, perhaps, we may be confusing the term desertion with AWOL (Absent Without Leave).

Very few soldiers desert, but thousands of them go AWOL every year. The key difference being that a deserter leaves and intends never to return. Someone who goes AWOL simply leaves, but with the intention of coming back. Usually because there is some fun to be had. Say, with one of the local girls? Generally you don’t get permission from your commanding officer to visit the local red light district. Especially in Afghanistan.

Most AWOL cases are simply errors of judgment. You can’t put tens of thousands of college age men anywhere on Earth and not expect lapses of judgment.

And as far as I know, we don’t execute our soldiers for going AWOL, nor do we call on our enemies to do so for us. Bottom line — since nobody knows what happened, it’s cruel to his family, and to Private Bergdahl, to speculate (not to mention how helpful it is to the Taliban to have Americans suggesting they do to this guy what they might be pondering doing anyway.)

UPDATE 5: A dishonest winger lies about this post. And you just assumed bloggers could read…!

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16 Responses to Winger to Taliban holding U.S. troop: kill him

  1. Bouhammer says:

    Thanks for the mention, but I am not sure if you agree with my comments or not. It was not really clear. The start of the sentence with “But even…” sounds like you don’t like it.

  2. jreid says:

    Actually I found your post to be one of the more thoughtful out there, and I sort of agree with you (that probably doesn’t answer your question.) I think you were trying to say that this incident merits further looking into, and we should have sympathy for Private Bergdahl’s family, and for the troops out there searching for him (as well as for him) in the meantime. His state of mind, history, etc., are relevant, but what’s most important is finding him.

  3. Merits of the various arguments and discussions regarding Bergdahl aside… I’ll weigh in from a different slant.

    A rare rightie who has actually served

    The people you cite by name are all right wingers of one sort or another, and all, including Bouhammer, have served, except Malkin. And PJ is at least over there, not here.

    The milblogs are predominantly, though not exclusively, right wing – and the great majority of them, like myself, have served.

    Some of them, like me, for several *decades*.

  4. Maggie says:

    The lines you quote from the blog “Blackfive” were written by Uncle Jimbo (aka Jim Hanson). Mr. Hanson has served.

    (Who is served)

  5. Jonn Lilyea says:

    All of the milblogs I’ve read condemn Peters. If fact, most have been on him since before the netroots even saw the video. I mean, that’s the main thrust of your post, right?

  6. jreid says:

    In fact, all of the milblogs are not right wing. The largest sites representing veterans, including VetVoice and IAVA, have condemned Peters, not Bergdahl. There are, to be sure, lots of right wing milbloggers — and that’s no surprise — my brother served in the Army Reserves and from what he tells me, the military pretty much feeds its serviceman a stead diet of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. But I haven’t read a single blog (other than Malkin) who are endorsing Peters’ idea that this kid should be killed — and not just killed — killed by the enemy. How exactly do you justify that? BTW, nowhere in the post did I say milbloggers love war but hate troops. I said right wingers — and I think the neocons, few if any of whom have ever served, illustrate my point.)

  7. jreid says:

    Correction: not saying Malkin suggested Bergdahl be killed, just that she seems to be very much pro-Peters.

  8. Ms. Reid – I think you and I have a different idea of what constitutes a blog, perhaps, vice a website, and you really over-estimate the number of left-leaning milblog/mil-themed sites out there, but there’s no reason to completely hijack this thread on that subject.

  9. FbL says:

    — my brother served in the Army Reserves and from what he tells me, the military pretty much feeds its serviceman a stead diet of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

    For the record, they switch back between CNN and FOX in most places such as mess halls, gyms, etc. I had the opportunity to spend a night aboard a carrier at sea a year ago and they had CNN on constantly in the ship’s mess.

    And I don’t keep up on things, but last I heard only one hour of Rush Limbaugh was broadcast on Armed Forces radio, along with other talk shows and things like NPR and a great variety of programming. As to what one might hear played by an individual soldier in the barracks, that’s another story… but that’s not something official Army is feeding anyone, of course.

  10. jreid says:

    That’s interesting FbL – although my understanding is that Ed Schultz had to go to the wall just to get an hour of his show broadcast on armed forces radio (which already had Hannity, Limbaugh and the whole crew)… and NPR is news, not opinion, so having it on armed forces radio isn’t exactly indicative of balance…

  11. FbL says:

    I didn’t intend to imply Limbaugh and NPR are apples to apples, simple talking about the variety of opinion one could hear–because NPR does great straight news, but the opinion section is definitely from a more liberal/left side of things. Point was that no one is fed a “steady diet” of anything as far as Armed Forces Radio goes.

  12. FbL says:

    Ed Shultz was on AF Radio by December of that year, and Hannity was added at the same time.

    Current lineup here:

  13. Bouhammer says:


    Thanks for the response. There is a lot more info to this story than I can’t say right now and much more than the press knows about. It will come out, and when it does people will look back at my blog (and my good friend PJ Tobia’s blog) and then know what I was talking about.

    Trust me they are looking under every flipping rock for him, even though there are a few who are letting their egos get in the way. Nothing else I can say about that.

    BTW, IAVA and VoteVets are not leading milblog or large milblog sites. They are propaganda machines that are politically biased with agendas that are not 100% for supporting the troops. The largest milblog site on the web is even though it is more of a portal to all milblogs. The largest (based on readership and popularity) is which you quoted. There is none larger than them.

    Having been deployed multiple times I can tell you that all media outlets (right and left) are equally represented via AFN and military supported media outlets. Different groups generally lean one way or another, depending on their impressions on what political party best represents them and their interests. The unions, NAACP, ACLU and ACORN for example are considered to favor the Democratic party while the NRA, the Military and faith based organization are typically and for the most part lean towards Conservative parties and ideals.

    Back to the point of this thread, I think Peters make a big mistake saying what he said. Lets get this kid back to our control, investigate everything and then see if he is guilty of anything. Who knows he could be guilty of something that would get him the death penalty in our own country. But the process needs to be applied and that determination needs to be made by our military courts is applicable. The last thing we want is this kid to be IO fodder for the Taliban to broadcast all over the world like they did Daniel Pearl.

  14. JReid says:

    I appreciate all the comments, but I think this bit by Bouhammer sums it up best, at least for me:

    “I think Peters make a big mistake saying what he said. Lets get this kid back to our control, investigate everything and then see if he is guilty of anything. Who knows he could be guilty of something that would get him the death penalty in our own country. But the process needs to be applied and that determination needs to be made by our military courts is applicable. The last thing we want is this kid to be IO fodder for the Taliban to broadcast all over the world like they did Daniel Pearl.”

    Also, I think it’s unfair to say that votevets and IAVA are anti-military, when both these organizations were founded by, and are run by, veterans. I have interviewed Paul Riekhoff and other IAVA members on the radio, and find them to be sincere people who care about fellow troops. I think the idea that they are “anti-troops” is a statement of disagreement with their politics by people who supported the idea of invading Iraq.

  15. Pingback: This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here » Blog Archive » Maddow blames “right wing” for Peters

  16. howell clark says:

    While it would be very easy to agree that the premise of Mr Peters remarks being a big mistake, how well do we play chess or poker. what better a person to use publicly to plant a reverse idea. what if his statement was deliberately planted to get some time bought to allow our folks a better chance of finding our soldier? brouhammer thank you for your service to our freedom and way of life.

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