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 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 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…!