Looking around for some way to staunch the political hemorrhage caused by the ransoming of alleged deserter Bowe Bergdahl by releasing five Taliban chieftains, the White House is doing what it does when under threat. It is identifying an enemy and setting about to destroy them. We’ve seen this before with the attacks on “the 1%” and the demonization of private citizens like the Koch brothers. The newest target for the White House are the members of Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon who have spoken out about the facts and circumstances of Bergdahl’s alleged desertion to the Taliban.
White House aides are accusing soldiers who served with Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are “swift boating” him following his release over the weekend after five years in captivity.
NBC News’ Chuck Todd reported Monday that the White House did not expect this sort of vitriolic backlash exchanging five high-level Taliban members held at Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl, who left his Army post in 2009 in Afghanistan and was subsequently taken captive.
“They did not expect this backlash on Bergdahl himself,” Todd reported on NBC’s “Today.” I’ve had a few aides describe it to me as we didn’t know that they were going to ‘swift boat’ Bergdahl. And that’s a reference to that political fight back in 2004 over John Kerry’s military service.”
For those who were around in 2004, you know that “swift boating” is short hand for revealing the truth about an inflated military resume. It is a bad thing if the target is a liberal or Democrat but a manifestly good thing, called “fact checking” if the target is a conservative or Republican.
We can look forward over the next few weeks to the men who have spoken up about Bergdahl’s actions being publicly excoriated, their tax returns will be released to the public, their medical records and confidential personnel files will arrive on the desks of friendly reporters, they will be accused of war crimes. All of this in the service of saving Barack Obama from yet another self inflicted humiliation.