Since when does America abandon their captured troops? Since Obama Derangement Syndrome, that's when. The unbelievable spectacle that unfolded over the weekend has swept politicians, show hosts and commentators into an irrational rejection of one of America's basic values, a sickening spectacle that reminds us what the term "knee jerk" means.
An American prisoner of war has been freed from captivity. According to the unbreakable code of the Unites States Armed Forces, this is a course of action that our nation always pursues. We do not abandon our heroes. This is not subject to the judgment of pundits, talking heads or commentators. It is not (normally) a political issue.
The very idea that a judgment should be made by anyone outside the chain of command to leave one of our prisoners to rot in Afghanistan or anywhere else is preposterous. But how could such a state of affairs come about?
The root of this rush to madness is the decision that was made five years ago by the political conservatives: President Obama can do nothing right. No matter what decision he makes, it is to be condemned. If there is no good reason to condemn it, a reason will be made up. Lies will be told. Information will be distorted. Obama cannot do anything right.
So our political commentators on both the right and the left (fewer on the left, but still) have leaped to the conclusion that they know better than the Commander in Chief and the sacred code of the battlefield: do not leave anyone behind, no matter what.
The ceaseless quest to resolve the loss of Americans missing in action since the conflict in Southeast Asia stands in direct contradiction to the mindless attack on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. In their zeal to throw him to the enemy, commentators are attacking his family and assuming facts that are by no means proven.
One of the worst in this respect is Chris Matthews on the left-leaning MSNBC program Hardball. Matthews has been resorting to trigger words and emotions, constantly asking "What if" questions that have no answers right now. What if Bergdahl was a deserter? Forget about him then! Despite the liberal leanings of MSNBC, Matthews is not to be outdone by the Right Wing, and his uninformed and emotional rants about Bergdahl stand up to the competition.
Think about this: if your child was about to enlist, as mine did, how would you feel if you believed that some reporter or commentator could see to it that your son or daughter was left to die in a prison? What do you think this will do to young Americans' desire to enlist?
My son carried his wounded commanding officer to safety out of a fire-fight in Afghanistan. How do we like the second-guessing of journalists who would prefer that the man were left to bleed or to be captured instead of taken to safety?
Matthews has all kinds of what-if questions for the released detainees from Guantanamo, none of whom has been charged with a crime. He prefers that we just keep them imprisoned until we can come up with a good reason to charge them. How is this ethical? And with regard to Bergdahl, isn't he innocent until proven guilty? The detainees may have their reputations, but Matthews even went out of his way on his show to be rude to a guest who pointed out that there was no evidence against them.
Well, find some! That was Matthews' response. Let them live out their lives in prison and who cares about the Uniform Code of Military Justice, anyway? They are enemies of America--that's reason enough for them to rot in Guantanamo, right?
Matthews has also conflated the idea of deciding not to rescue a POW with the idea of investigating the circumstances under which he was captured. But as a guest on another MSNBC program said, we don't outsource our justice to the Taliban. Bergdahl has been recovered alive, and there will be an investigation with legal representation and testimony. He could be court-martialed. He could do prison time.
But Matthews and, of course, the entire cast of characters on Fox News (and their guests) overrules that possibility and says that Bergdahl should simply be left in Afghanistan to fend for himself. His parents should never see him again. After all, in Matthews' uninformed opinion, unencumbered with evidence, he didn't deserve to be rescued.
We are on a very real "slippery slope" when cases are decided in the media and the public is expected to accept the judgment of someone who has never spoken to Bergdahl, never spoken to his parents, knows nothing for sure except what is being said (this is called hearsay in a court of law) and is emotionally worked up over the situation.
I heard commentary this week that left me stunned and appalled. The people on the political right who ostentatiously call themselves Christians, like Ann Coulter with her diamond cross dangling over her cocktail dresses, have forgotten that "greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend." It is even being hinted that it was unethical or wrong to send troops on missions attempting to rescue Bergdahl.
Aren't you glad that MSNBC doesn't have the right to command our military? Wasn't it a good idea to shield them from the political influence of unhinged talking heads? Would you like Matthews to message an officer on the battlefield and tell him to leave a wounded man alone and retreat without him?
This article would not be complete unless I acknowledge the steadfast rejection of these ideas by Rachel Maddow, also of MSNBC, who is as appalled as I am by this turn of events. Her blistering commentary on Tuesday night ought to shame those who are making stuff up and judging from the gut, but I fully expect the usual suspects to be on this same tear tomorrow, and so it goes.
This whole incident would not be happening if it were not for the unbridled demonizing of President Obama and the reckless, irresponsible lying of "journalists" who are trusted to adhere to some sort of ethics. I minored in journalism in college--a long time ago now--and you would think that the ethics, fact-finding and objectivity that are taught in any textbook for Journalism 101 have gone completely out of style, except for Maddow and her impassioned stand against this vicious stupidity.