OP-ED: The Shameful GOP Bluster on a Rescued Soldier

By Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick

Few things could have spoken more shamefully of political leadership by the Republicans than the combination of responses to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the rampant terrorism in Iraq by the ISIS.

One hardly need to defend the rather klutzy lack of communication with appropriate Congressional leadership in relation to the swap of terrorist leaders for an American non-commissioned officer.  

On the other hand, it might have been expected that the same loudmouthed right-wing accusers of both the Sergeant AND the swapped terrorists could have seen the humanitarian side of rescuing a soldier who had volunteered for dangerous duty for lack of a draft knocked off by President Richard Nixon.  Those critics still had the chance to put the hit on Obama, but could not resist the chance to help with the media roundup that suggested the soldier was somehow questionable himself.

Instead, both the media and partisan loudmouths not only helped with the persecution and prosecution of the freed prisoner by quoting one or two other soldiers, but joined in the mob justice action that has resulted in death threats to the Sergeant’s family but worse.

It smells to high heaven of the sudden “swiftboating” of then naval officer John Kerry and the publication of smear book later found to be fraudulent in a court action.  But the worst of it is that the power of accusations came right from the top of the Republican party with a smattering of help from the Democrats.

The only word for this action is simply:  Shameful.

We don’t know much of the facts of this young man’s condition or other circumstances when kidnapped by the Taliban, and the only allegations came from one or two men somehow scooped up by media to present allegations with no evidence or understanding of any of the complexities.  And the biggies in the GOP, eager to make the case against Obama rather than find out if they soldier was OK could hardly wait to scream their accusations.

Perhaps these accusers might have waited until the young man was returned to the United States and listened to the military medical types explaining the situation on television today.  Had they done so, they might have learned something called “facts”.

In the end, the swap may or may not have been an uneven deal, but reality is that one of our volunteer soldiers, for whatever reason, was caught and kidnapped in a war we have had trouble justifying and was entitled to the benefit of any doubt instead of being lumped together with political partisan palaver.

The media-political and other right-wing opportunists should hang their heads in shame….and indicate whether they will help to protect the Sergeant’s family -- already targets of death threats.

                                                          * * *

Honick is president of GMA International Ltd with offices on Bainbridge Island, WA.  He is an international consultant to business and writes on a variety of public affairs issues.

Comments powered by Disqus