There are some intriguing similarities between young Bergdahl and the young [John] Kerry...No, it's not just a casual slur. Taranto proceeds to connect the 2004 swift-boating of decorated naval officer Kerry with the transformation of Bergdahl into the Manchurian Candidate by wingnut propagandists. Only in Taranto's view, that's a good thing. He actually compares Bergdahl's youthful despair ("the horror that is america is disgusting") with Kerry's reports to Congress on Vietnam atrocities, and even duplicates the swift-boat team's bizarre characterization of same ("[Kerry] stood before the television audiences and claimed that the 500,000 men and women in Vietnam, and in combat, were all villains -- there were no heroes") as if it were still convincing to anyone besides diehards this far beyond its sell-by date.
Then Taranto issues some clouds of gas to suggest that, despite centuries of tradition, the top brass secretly disapproved the Kenyan Usurper's scheme to reclaim the soldier because, allegedly, the rescue efforts cost them men. (I never realized before this Saving Private Ryan was bullshit.) Not that these losses are confirmed, nor need they be; if "the Pentagon has been pushing back against claims, noted here yesterday, that the Army did take casualties as a result of the early search for Bergdahl," says Taranto, well, they have to do that, but never mind:
Today's Times features an even more detailed debunking, under the headline "Can Bowe Bergdahl Be Tied to 6 Lost Lives? Facts Are Murky." Murky they may be, but the Pentagon's defensiveness on this point belies the administration's suggestion that the military is heedless of costs when it seeks to rescue captured servicemen.Don't try to find a coherent argument in that paragraph; as they used to say in Vietnam, it don't mean a thing.
And anyway, it doesn't matter what the generals say, or even what common sense says -- what's important is what some soldiers who served with him say about Bergdahl, and if they didn't like him, then rescuing him was a bad idea. True, the soldiers themselves didn't say he should have been left behind to die, but that sort of analysis is above their pay grade -- Taranto can handle that.
If the writing and reasoning is more slovenly than usual for Taranto, it's easy to see why: Like most conservatives who haven't yet gone full Rand Paul, he expects all he has to do is put up some gush about "the centrality of honor to military culture" and blow Taps, and everyone will accept that he speaks for George Washington and all the grunts and dogfaces since Valley Forge. It remains to be seen whether, after years of deadly foreign misadventure promoted by their propaganda, many people still believe them.