Friday, June 13, 2014


So the only American prisoner of the Afghan War, Bowe Bergdahl, is home. The Obama Administration has brought him out of Taliban captivity and the outrage of the neo-fascists of the Republican Party and Fox News (sorry for the multiple redundancies) have gone entirely over the edge in their fury.

First they were furious that five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo are headed for a year of restraint in Qatar after more than a decade of incarceration in America's Gulag. Going into default mode the various Republicans and Fox propagandists did what they always do which is spread fear about something about which they know absolutely nothing factual. But then the Republicans chose fear-mongering as their default position right after defending Hitler and his Nazi's blew up in their collective face in 1941 and Fox News is merely the ultra-right wing extremist propaganda ministry. Fox News' whole reason for existence is sowing fear amongst the uncritical. Facts only get in the way of a good panic.

The five Taliban officials swapped are Islamic fundamentalist extremists with connections to both  al Qaeda. All have been out of circulation since 2002. At least one was cooperating with NATO troops when he was arrested and rushed off to Guantanamo. The people to whom they were most closely linked in al Qaeda are now dead and the Afghanistan to which they may return in 2015 is a very different place than it was in 2002. One is a member of current Afghan President Hamid Karzai's tribe and a friend of the out-going president. Not only that but by the time their detention in Qatar ends these five would have to be released under the rules of war anyway.

May they be dangerous in the future? I'd say that the odds are better than even that they will. While Fox has been at pains to claim that these five have received good food and medical treatment at Guantanamo their coverage has conspicuously failed to mention the maltreatment and even torture that the prisoners have endured there in the past decade plus. In fact if you listen to Fox News you'd be even more angry that these five men might turn around and bite the hand that has afforded them such a nice, extended Caribbean vacation. Again Fox and the Republicans for which it propagandizes quickly dispense with messy facts when fear will serve their purposes nicely.

These five Taliban are religious extremists. They are fanatics who have endured more than a decade of incarceration for their beliefs and affiliations. That imprisonment and their probable mistreatment are unlikely to have softened their fanaticism or made them friends of the United States. They are religious fanatics in exactly the same mold as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and Donald Wildmon who are also enemies of the United States though they flaunt their false patriotism at every turn.

So on one level we do have something to get our soldier returned to his family. On another level we need to insure that we are not facing these fanatical thugs in the near future. To accomplish both goals, we made a deal with Qatar for a prisoner exchange. Not only is the exchange necessary and the five Taliban restricted to Qatar for a year but we would have had to release them at the end of this year under our international treaties anyway. In effect these five Taliban will be kept out of Afghanistan five months longer than they might have been had they not been exchanged.

The reaction by the neo-fascists was both typical and hilarious in it's craven rhetorical reversal. The same Republicans who have been attacking President Obama for not obtaining Bowe Bergdahl's release turned one hundred and eighty degrees and began attacking the President for obtaining his release. Some of that was simply the standard knee-jerk, right wing reaction. If President Obama accepts the Heritage Foundation's prescription for providing health insurance to Americans it's suddenly a socialist plot against the Constitution. If President Obama brings Bowe Bergdahl out of Taliban captivity as those very right wingers were demanding then it's a dangerous trade that puts American lives at risk. President Obama could personally find a cure for all cancers, with one sweep of his arm return all undocumented immigrants to their home countries while with the other arm building an impenetrable border wall and arrange for Canada Geese to ferry tar sands oil to Texas refineries and Fox News ans the Republicans would find some obscenity in each act.

Ratcheting up that vitriol is the fact that there are now five fewer prisoners in our Gulag on the tip of Cuba. The right wing must have its Gulag no matter what. Any diminishing of the number of prisoners is an offense against their perverse view of vengeance that flouts the Constitution and our laws for which they profess such undying love. Ultimately the hysteria over releasing prisoners from Guantanamo seems to have it's roots in two neo-fascist dogmas. First is the aforementioned insistence that anything President Obama does must be opposed as if it were the total destruction of the nation. Second is the fear on the part of these right wing scum that if Guantanamo detainees are released and do not return to the fight against our colonial ambitions or endanger Americans it exposes all the fear-mongering they've done over closing Guantanamo and relocating the prisoners there to the continental United States as the fraud it actually is.

There has been some fuss by Democrats as well as the expected paroxysms of the Republicans over a law passed requiring that Congress receive thirty days advanced notice before any prisoners can be released from the Gulag at Guantanamo. Hidden behind those reservations are both Congress' reasonable jealousy over its ability to conduct review of the Executive Branch and the unreasonable desire to quash any release of prisoners. However, even the Republicans in Congress are soft-pedaling that issue because as eager as they are to tie up President Obama in "scandals" both of the Republicans' imagining (e.g. Benghazi, IRS) and own making (e.g VA) they know that prohibiting the Constitutionally established Commander in Chief of U. S. Armed Forces from obtaining the release of a captured soldier by releasing inmates of a military prison isn't going to get very far beyond a lot of noise. Let them take this one to the Supreme Court. Even Scalia won't be able to find that Congress could inhibit any president from acting as Commander in Chief.

Still the scum at Fox News and most of the neo-fascists who call themselves Republicans have truly outdone themselves when it comes the venom spewed on Bowe Bergdahl and his father. There is some question regarding whether Bowe Bergdahl left his post before his capture. Some of those who served with him say that he did. An exhaustive Army investigation of the circumstances of his capture was inconclusive on his motives or actions largely because Sgt. Bergdahl was unavailable to answer the investigators' questions. Yet the certainty of the critics within his unit may be questionable as well. Before Bergdahl left the camp and became a Taliban captive he reported that members of his unit deliberately rand down at least one Afghan child in their vehicle killing the child. According to the Army, Bergdahl became disaffected when his superiors refused to act against the soldiers involved in this murder of a child. Might not the criminal who ran down a child in a military vehicle have an interest in defaming Bowe Bergdahl, the only witness to his crime willing to come forward? Might not that thug's "band of brothers" take up the cause to defend their friend? I don't know. I don't know what happened in Afghanistan five years ago. I do know that we don't have all the information yet about everyone's motives especially those who are eager and vocal in their attempts to "swift boat" Bowe Bergdahl.

That said nothing but nothing prepares us for the vitriol directed at Sgt. Bergdahl's father. He vowed to grow his beard until his son was released in the same way that countless men have vowed for less consequential things like their sports team winning some ephemeral game. Yet tune in Fox News and the senior Bergdahl's beard is a "Muslim" beard. That he learned Pushtu in order to communicate with his son's captors becomes evidence that Mr. Bergdahl is somehow less of an American than scum like Meghan Kelly and Sean Hannity. If we didn't know that Fox employees are vicious, craven bastards one and all, we certainly do now.

Bowe Bergdahl, regardless of his actions five years ago, is back in the United States, his native land. The U. S. Army will investigate his disappearance and capture further than they could five years ago and take appropriate action in his case as it does in the case of any other soldier accused of dereliction of his duty. He is where he belongs now. His father is free to grow his beard or shave it as it pleases him and to learn any language he damned well pleases. If members of Sgt. Bergdahl's unit have reason to fear the information he may provide about their possible criminal acts I hope that the Army is as assiduous in prosecuting those crimes as it may be in dealing with Sgt. Bergdahl. Perhaps a few of those who loudly "as sounding brass" proclaim themselves "CHRISTIANS" will find in Bowe Bergdahl's return an echo that brings to mind the following:

"But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry,"

Let us rejoice that our son, America's son, who was lost is now found and let Fox News and the Republicans choke to death on their own bile.