Thursday, June 05, 2014


From James Taranto's Bergdahl thing:
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.


  1. redoubtagain2:15 PM

    It's chickenhawks all the way down.

  2. dstatton2:17 PM

    Behind every new ginned up scandal is the thought, "OK, this is the one! This time we got 'em!"

  3. glennisw2:19 PM

    He actually compares Bergdahl's youthful despair ("the horror that is america is disgusting") with Kerry's reports to Congress
    ferfuck's sake! Bergdahl's words were written in private correspondence to his family! Are we demonizing what people write in their letters home now?
    Please note: we only know what Bergdahl wrote his family because someone other than himself decided to release the emails to the press. I'm sure his family had good intentions, allowing Michael Hastings to quote the emails, not realizing what utter bastards the Republicans would be about it, but the fact still stands that these are Bergdahl's private words and thoughts released without his permission.

  4. Derelict2:34 PM

    Oh! The untreatable whiplash cases Bergdahl is producing on the right!

    With some of the consulting work I do, I spend an awful lot of time with active-duty military. And while my father was alive, I also spent time with his veteran friends (WWII and Korea). I'm constantly astounded at how most of these military and ex-military people support Republicans. There is no amount of spitting on the troops (as Taranto and others of his ilk are now doing), or slashing of active-duty pay and support, or draconian cutting of VA benefits by Republicans that can get these men and women to understand that the GOP really doesn't support them, their missions, or their care after the battle.

  5. Derelict2:40 PM

    He (and the Swift Boaters) also seem to forget that America was pretty fed up with Viet Nam by the time Kerry came forward.

  6. Bigby2:41 PM

    "Due Process? What's that? If a soldier isn't a Republican, fuck'm! If if they ARE but go against our exploitation of them, fuck'm harder (e.g. Tilman)! Fuck their grieving parents (Sheehan), fuck their community, fuck their service!".

    P.s. we are the Real Patriotic Americans.

  7. More to the point does any sane, adult, person in the US not know that our behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan has been less than stellar, less than purely humanitarian, and certainly from the point of view of the grunts less than devoted to the cause of the actual Iraqis or Afghans? I mean--what are they arguing about when they criticize him for his emails? Did he not see a child run over by his co-workers? Is he unaware of the drone strikes and the deaths at weddings of the wedding guests? If he saw those things and was disgusted who can blame him?

  8. I can't wait until the release of the new POW/MIA flags with "Let Them Rot" emblazoned on them.

  9. Modulo_Myself3:09 PM

    Let's see, here's a nice upstanding American, Bowe Bergdahl. He's from Idaho. Nice looking white boy, isn't he? He's home-schooled, religious, and raised reading Thomas Aquinas. Parents a bit survivalist. Excellent, excellent. And oh--what the fuck! Where are the elaborate theories about the glories of male-female intercourse, the uterus, and tax law? Jesus Christ, is he really disgusted by Army trucks running over three year-olds? And his dad--why didn't his dad go onto Fox and call Obama a traitor? He's got a fucking beard! He's learning a foreign language! Call fucking Taranto and have him dust off the Kerry shit, and do it quick! And make sure none of the religious freaks mentions Jesus and morality and gay fascism anytime soon--we might cross wires and fuck something completely up!

  10. Jay B.3:10 PM

    If only there was a high-profile POW serving in Congress who used to make propaganda videos for the enemy — maybe this hypothetical person could shed some light on the American military's commitment to first bringing home the boys, then figuring out why they did what they did. I'm sure he'd be a stalwart to principle.

  11. And if only this hypothetical former POW represented a district in which an underfunded VA hospital was making sick veterans wait scandalously long periods of time before receiving care, so he could use his position to fix the problem.

  12. Criticizing the killing of civilians is only cool when libertarians do it!

  13. mgmonklewis3:27 PM

    For some of them it's that. Others are just plain rageaholics. At this point they're at the Paroxysm of Rage equivalent of huffing spray paint from a paper bag.

  14. gocart mozart3:29 PM

    The gloves should be off.

    Perhaps Taranto had the wrong losing presidential candidate in mind.
    also this,

  15. Derelict3:30 PM

    Even then, it must be realized there are exceptions. Just ask the Fonzie of Freedom.

  16. calling all toasters3:31 PM


  17. You know, I've been paying attention to McCain pretty much since I've been able to vote, almost two decades now, and I remain gobsmacked the two-faced conman hasn't been run out of politics out of pure shame (and, yes, I know, so still). Broheim must have some real interesting pictures of a whole lot of people.

  18. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person3:33 PM

    It's always more complicated than we think. Always.

  19. And we'll hear about this for the rest of our lives, even if and maybe especially if absolutely nothing about this turns out at all out-of-the-ordinary.

  20. Derelict3:36 PM

    If he saw those things and was disgusted who can blame him?

    The same people who cheered so loudly to send him and all the other American soldiers there.

    You may have noticed the one common thread that unites the chickenhawks, the ammosexuals, and the rest of the kill 'em all rightwing: None has ever taken part in (or been subjected to) the violence they all advocate. This is why it's a profound mystery to them that wiping out someone's family does not make the survivor love America. Just as it's a mystery to them why an American raised according to the god-fearing Jebus love they claim as their own would be horrified at seeing a toddler crushed to death.

  21. gocart mozart3:37 PM

    It's all a ploy to distract from FlotustalkingaboutBrownv.BoardofEducation-Gate.

  22. gocart mozart3:38 PM

    It's only cool if the civilians are American.

  23. gocart mozart3:40 PM

    Many people don't know that, oh, you said "sane", never mind.

  24. gocart mozart3:45 PM

    I hear his hometown's welcome home celebration has been canceled due to excessive death threats. Good thing they weren't planning to hand out any honorary degrees or we might have had a serious free speech violation and obligatory pundit garment rendering.

  25. Remember, these are people who freaked out because he said that kids should eat right, exercise, and stay in school.

  26. timb1174:09 PM

    To be fair, that's not what they said. they said they cancelled because a town of 8000 couldn't handle that many requests to appear (whether to celebrate or protest).

    In case you missed that, wingnuts -- the people who welcomed Lt. Calley back to America, call Oliver North a hero, and elect Allen West to Congress -- are planning on protesting the return of a American soldier after 5 years of captivity

  27. mortimer20004:23 PM

    I can see the release eligibility forms to be filled out by future American POWs. A sample:

    1. Have you ever said anything negative in public or private about the U.S. Army or any other armed service?

    2. Have you ever said anything disparaging about politicians in Congress?

    3. Have you ever heard of Bill Mauldin?

    4. Did you find any of the jokes in Good Morning Vietnam funny?

    5. Do any members of your immediate family look Muslim?

    6. Since 2009, have you ever written "commander-in-chief" without the scare quotes?

    7. Who are America's most dangerous enemies, and why do they want to raise the minimum wage?


  28. BigHank534:37 PM

    Way back in the nineties, Frontline did a piece on the Reagan/Bush efforts to free western hostages in (mostly) Beirut. One of the guys who was freed had been living in the Middle East for years and turned out to be a big Palestinian sympathizer, and he loudly criticized US policies during his post-release press conference. In one of the most amazing things I've ever seen on video, one of the former Reagan staffers repeats what he said that day: "Can we send him back and get a real American?"

    If you're not 110% on their side, you're worse than an enemy.

  29. JennOfArk4:44 PM

    It would be amusing, if it weren's so disgusting, watching all of those who had "better things to do" than join the military harping on Bergdahl being a "deserter." Because one thing you have to do before becoming a "deserter" is show up in the first place - something none of these turds who are now passing judgement ever bothered to do.

  30. Jay B.5:01 PM

    I'm loathe to wade in the Vietnam POW issue, as it's long been a item of faith by a lot of the same people who think Sarah Palin speaks truth to power. Moreover, I'm disgusted with Kerry and his careless tossing around of "treason" in regards to Snowden. But McCain is a fucking disgrace. This same policy is what got him home and he could have rotted in Hanoi. Fuck him completely and utterly.

  31. Zencomix5:02 PM

    Ask your VA doctor if John McCain's boner pills are right for you.

  32. zencomix5:04 PM

    Who's your favorite reverse mortgage salesman, Fred Thompson or Fonzie?

  33. John D.5:25 PM

    Don't worry, everyone. I'm sure John Kerry will soon stand up and smack these lying, hypocritical bastards down with all the moral and ethical force at his disposal.
    You know, the way he did to the Swift Boat liars.

  34. Gromet5:27 PM

    In my lifetime, I've seen politicians smear exactly two (2) combat soldiers and/or veterans for their soldiering -- Kerry and Bergdahl -- and in both cases the smearers were Republicans. But Republicans are the ones who love the troops?

    I'm also pretty sure Gore (D) would not have invaded Iraq for no cause and no gain and gotten 5,000+ troops killed doing it. But Republicans are the ones who love the troops?

    It's fucking weird.

  35. parsec5:28 PM

    The purpose of the military is to clean up right-wing messes. After making them.

  36. Gromet5:30 PM

    I suspect the number of soldiers who write home to praise America and the Army relentlessly are outnumbered by the soldiers who have written home to say, "The army is full of assholes and some days I have no idea what we are doing here except fucking up."

  37. satch5:39 PM

    Add to this list the names of the politicians who initially expressed their happiness at Bergdahl's release, only to turn tail and run when criticism mounted:
    Thad Cochrane, R
    Joni The Hog Butcher Ernst, R
    Jim Renacci, R
    Lee Terry, R
    Mark Amodei, R
    Paul DeMarco, R
    And a special shout out to MA's own Stephen Lynch, D, proving that gutlessness is only six times more prevalent among Pugs than Dems.

  38. satch5:43 PM

    And officially you cannot be called a deserter unless it can be proven that you left your post with no intention of coming back. At this point, nobody, least of all these wingnut fuckwits, knows any of the facts in the case, which seems to be no impediment to them in shooting off their mouths.

  39. satch5:47 PM

    Lara Logan would NEVER have let that one slip through.

  40. If his election lasts more than four terms, see help.

  41. JennOfArk5:54 PM

    Well, I figured that part goes without saying...for us anyway. I'm just repulsed by people who have never been within 5,000 miles of where Bergdahl went missing, and who have never met the man, blithely assuming not only that they know exactly what happened, but that if they had been in his position, this wouldn't have happened. Which is easy to say and impossible to prove, given that none of them signed on like Bergdahl did. Which is to say, even if he did desert his post because he just couldn't handle the fucked-up-ness of the whole situation, the asshats ragging on him now never had the balls to test themselves in that shithole to begin with. So they can claim they would not have deserted their post (again, assuming that is in fact the case) - but the fact that they never showed up for duty in the first place kind of indicates that they all knew already that they wouldn't be able to handle being in his place.

  42. Mooser6:01 PM

    Yup, it's mystery why any enlisted man would identify with the officers and politicians who kill them. What do they think, they'll be selected for a West Point scholarship for their good attitude? Or get faster medical care? Who knows?

  43. The above the fold of the paper here in Denver is "Hero's Welcome or Deserter's Shame?"

    As Pierce wrote, Bergdahl is a window, but not only on the wars and the government, but on how we very conveniently absolve ourselves of any role we have on how this country chooses to conduct itself abroad: no columnist or major newspaper has bothered to write a piece about any other returning soldier, "Hero's Welcome or Butcher's Shame?"

  44. Mooser6:12 PM

    "But Republicans are the ones who love the troops?"

    Absolutely! How would you like to come home after risking your life and health in Iraq or Afghanistan and hear that military adventurism isn't the most effective foreign policy ever? Gosh darn it, if you can't support them men (vets and active) you can at least support the mission!!

    Oh, sure, I know it's not the enlisted men who make the military and political decisions that led to America's war on Iraq and Afghanistan, but why risk hurting their feelings?

  45. Mooser6:16 PM

    "None has ever taken part in (or been subjected to) the violence they all advocate."

    Doesn't all the TV and movies count? Heck, they've probably spent more ours watching combat then Bergdahl spent in it! And they had time, unlike the men involved in it, to think about it.

  46. vista6:29 PM

    Don't know if posting this link is allowed but this guy is a very good read re: Bergdahl and the Tea Party/republicans:

  47. vista6:31 PM

    Oops look like someone already posted this and I'm unable to delete the post. Oh well.

  48. StringOnAStick6:55 PM

    I knew there was a reason why I quit subscribing to the Denver Post years, nay, decades ago.

  49. Yep. You're Graeme Frost.

  50. brucej7:09 PM

    For all the experience I've had seeing the hypocrisy of the right in action, it's still utterly gobsmacking the speed and coordination of the right wing in their pivot from 'We Must Never Leave A POW Behind' to 'Shoulda Let The Taliban Keep Him' en masse.

    It's like watching a school of anchovies all make a hard right turn at once.

    It's helpful to remember that an anchovy has a brain the size of a grain of rice...

  51. It can't be posted too many times.

  52. BigHank537:21 PM

    Republicans "love" troops in the same way that male porn actors "love" their co-stars: by giving them a thorough dicking and leaving bodily fluids all over their faces.

  53. Derelict7:36 PM

    I'd like to run this comment up the flagpole and see if it makes a splash.

  54. In the fullness of time I hope that Bergdahl, like Kerry and other vets who have seen both sides of a war, comes to serve in the government. Lots of people have been attacked and smeared by our political system but have risen above it and decided to contribute in the political sphere. I hope people step forward to help him re-integrate, come to terms with his experiences (both there and in the shit storm here) and that he decides to offer his experience to us. At any rate I hope he has a great second act after this horrible experience.

  55. Helen7:49 PM

    Bergdhal did not kill those 6 soldiers. Bush, Rummy, and Cheney did. Why is this confusing? It's like the Vietnam vets being pissed at Jane Fonda. Really?

  56. Derelict7:54 PM

    It will take its place right beside "returning Viet Nam vets were spit on!" as part of the right's mythology collection.

  57. Ellis_Weiner7:55 PM

    "Murky they may be, but the Pentagon's defensiveness on this point belies
    the administration's suggestion that the military is heedless of cost..."

    The move is from "murky" to "defensiveness." I knew Taranto was an irredeemable shit, but this takes whatever is left of the cake. Does he believe the Swiftboat crap? Does he think anyone else does? It bespeaks a level of dishonesty and moral corruption beyond the grasp of the human mind, which is what I'm equipped wif.

  58. Ellis_Weiner7:57 PM

    Nice cue for this:

  59. Derelict8:03 PM

    Some of us remember the gleeful thigh-rubbing on the right that went on after the '08 election about how Iraq and Afghanistan "would now be Obama's wars," and how those same people couldn't wait to hang the whole thing around his neck. Some (like Rush) even went so far as to root for failure--even if that meant military defeat or disaster. Just so long as it gave them something--anything--with which to sneer at Democrats in general and Obama in particular.

    Bergdahl just crystalizes all of that for them. It's the perfect win-win: Bergdahl stays a prisoner and Obama is a weak leader to hates the troops and will leave them behind; Bergdahl is freed and Obama is a weak leader who defies the law and wantonly risks men's lives to save a traitor (a traitor who, like Obama, is evidently a Muslim sympathizer).

  60. So here's the set up. Everyone is lying about Bergdahl, including the Pentagon, because WeakEvilGeniusStupid Obama is making them. Or they're in on the plot. Or something. Anyway, everyone is out to kill us.

    So even if the tribunal finds he didn't desert, these cowardly rubber chicken fuckers will yell SHENANIGANS! and then go back to trying to delete all of their Bring Bowe Home posts from the internet.

  61. I suspect if you write home praising American and the army relentlessly, you get flagged as a spy.

  62. this is a nice sentiment aimai. i hope we all learn from this.

  63. "Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?"

  64. mgmonklewis8:58 PM

    Bonus points for the ubi sunt. We appreciate the Classics around here.

  65. Derelict9:49 PM

    Spilling his terrible secret in the back of the airplane.

  66. Derelict9:53 PM

    It's the "heedless of cost" bit that catches my eye. THAT, after all, is what characterized Bush/Cheney's use of the military during their reign.

  67. satch9:59 PM

    Apropos to this, one of my favorite polls ever came out in early 2007; a Zogby/Lemoyne College poll of troops on the ground in Iraq. Almost 90% of those surveyed believed that they/"we" were there to avenge Saddam Hussein's role in the 9/11 attacks. Of course, by then even Bush had to admit that Saddam's role in the 9/11 attacks was exactly zero, but, as you say, why risk hurting the troops' feelings with the truth.

  68. Rachel Maddow...whom I love... had on her show less than an hour ago an Anderson Cooper interview with John Straight Talk McCain from 2011. They were discussing a prisoner exchange deal in the works for these exact five Taliban guys, and back THEN, Johnny Mac thought it would be a good trade if they could get Bergdahl back.

  69. Isn't that called blaming the victim? Kerry made a stupid tactical decision and he also didn't have the money at that point in the campaign to go on the offensive against the Swift Boat liars. But I fail to see how Kerry takes the blame for what is happening to Bergdahl or what happened to him.

  70. AGoodQuestion10:13 PM

    How in the world did an administration known for political competence, if for no other kind, manage to pull off such a public-relations disaster?

    I could answer Taranto's question with a question: Would bringing home an American POW in one piece count as a public relations disaster for any president before Obama? Particularly the one immediately before him?

    But I don't expect Taranto would answer me at all, because he's a shifty dishonest fuck.

  71. Look at the way they botched the killing of Osama bin Laden! They let the guy go at Tora Bora and then they ignored him for, wait, that was Bush. Ok, let me try again...

  72. The average member of the 101st Frightened Chairborne is convinced that the thousands of hours he spends playing Call of Duty, masturbating to war movies and polishing his Glock has given him more knowledge about what it is like to be a soldier than an entire platoon.

  73. AGoodQuestion10:17 PM

    Cochrane is almost certainly about to lose his renomination battle to a mouthbreathing Tea Party thug. If you're tempted to feel bad for him, remember this moment.

  74. Spaghetti Lee10:45 PM

    If you went up to Taranto and told him--accurately, I may add--that he only supports the troops when he can use them as right-wing propaganda vessels and dumps 'em like last week's trash when they fail to serve that purpose, he'd say, "yeah, and?" Rotten little piece of shit.

  75. You are forgetting Max cleland who lost both legs and an arm in vietnam but who lost his congressiinal seat to chickenhawk saxby chambliss. And the wiman helicopte pilot who had both legs blown off? She was attacked over her service as well though she won her race.

  76. AGoodQuestion10:59 PM

    Oh dear Lord, I shudder to think what kinds of bodily fluids the janitor at Rush's studio is mopping up these days.

  77. Derelict11:06 PM

    Don't forget all that play time with GI Joe. That makes them command qualified as well.

  78. JennOfArk11:24 PM

    In much the same way that visiting the Creation Museum means that he's smarter than Neil DeGrasse Tyson and listening to Rush Limbaugh bloviate about how carbon dioxide is harmless because we exhale it proves that he's right that global warming is a hoax and the 97% of scientists who believe that human activities are warming the planet are just a bunch of dumbasses.

  79. Spaghetti Lee11:47 PM

    I thought beards (the hair kind, not the gay kind) were wingnutplusgood these days, what with the duck people.

  80. Spaghetti Lee11:48 PM

    If you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to hide we'll just make something up.

  81. Jimcima11:55 PM

    Is this how US Senators are being treated in public these days? Remarkable.
    I'm not questioning that McCain is a raging asshole and deserves every bit of the shit he gets, but that's just me - are there that many angry people out there? I thought most of us didn't give a shit.
    On the flip side of that, if I were a politician, any politician, and my entire constituency (rightly or wrongly) clearly hated my guts and there was nothing I could do about it wouldn't I hate and loathe them just as much? And not give a shit about what they wanted?

  82. montag211:58 PM

    Taranto just might be one of the best examples of conservatives violating the basic precept of writing: write about what you know.

    This man is as soft as a grape.

  83. montag212:09 AM

    Oh, there are plenty of people at the ready with blame, and the right wing of this country is ready and eager to get them stirred up, partly out of political need, partly out of their sheer delight in stirring shit.

    The real surprise would have been if they didn't see Bergdahl as a ripe target for ratfucking.

  84. Soft as a grape,
    Smart as an ape,
    Nice as a tick.
    D00d makes me sick.

  85. Jimcima12:20 AM

    To be really clear, the rightwing is suggesting that the President of the United States should have looked into an American POW's politics and his family's politics and then let this American POW die at the hands of the enemy because the president disagreed with those politics.

    This is what they say should have happened.

  86. montag212:25 AM

    Yeah, it's a conundrum, but it's an old one. It has its roots in the 1946 Republican caucus election strategy. One message then: Democrats are soft on defense. It was successful, and the right wing have been riding that hobby horse ever since. Republicans support greater and greater defense spending in toto, so they never have to defend the budgetary niggling and rigging that goes on in the background with regard to VA care, or salaries. It's why, to date, we've been able to spend upwards of $150 billion on the military equivalent of a bait-and-switch scam (missile defense), but get decreasing VA budgets (in real dollars) at a time of increasing need.

    Part of this comes back to the Little Genius in the WH pushing for multiple tax cuts at the same time that he's expanding military operations around the globe (I might add, the first time in the country's history that taxes were cut in a time of war, undeclared though it might have been).

    Look, these people would fuck a woodpile if they thought there was a snake in it. There's almost no point in trying to figure out why that's not important to a lot of old vets, but, it's not.

  87. Strong as an ox!

    ... and half as smart!

  88. BigHank5312:47 AM

    Both are easily topped by Dinesh D'Souza hawking artificial Christmas trees.

  89. montag212:58 AM

    Oh, hell, despite railing about bureaucrats, they could turn that into a 30-page exercise in hair-pulling.

    I shudder at the thought of the long-form essay questions on Terry Schiavo's brain, evolution, support for Israel and Reagan's place in the heavens displacing gawd on his throne.

  90. montag21:11 AM

    In truth, lack of knowledge has never been an impediment to them. Being proudly ignorant is the bleeding red badge of courage to them. Shit, if they had any respect for the facts, that would disqualify them from membership in the Right-Wing Boys Club.

    But. as far as desertion goes, it's probably the same now as when I was in. Gone for up to 28 days, you're AWOL. After 28 days, you're presumed to have no intention of coming back and are declared a deserter. So, if Bergdahl was captured a day or two after leaving, he was AWOL, period, and he can't be presumed to have had no intention of returning because his capture made that determination moot.

    And, if the right wing wants to hang every soldier that goes AWOL, well, the military's going to need a lot more money for nooses.

  91. Formerly_Nom_De_Plume1:16 AM

    "Don't blink morse code on me".

  92. montag21:25 AM

    Oh, I think we've known that about McCain for more than three decades.

    Or roughly the amount of time he's been politics.

  93. ColBatGuano2:08 AM

    I wonder what he would have said if the Pentagon hadn't responded?

  94. Spaghetti Lee2:59 AM

    Can I just say that ammosexual is an awesome word?

  95. Jon Hendry3:16 AM

    Tammy Duckworth. Lost both legs and partial use of her right arm. An RPG hit the nose of the Blackhawk she was flying and exploded between her legs.

    Her Republican opponent (child support deadbeat, no military service) said “Now I’m running against a woman who, I mean, my God, that’s all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about. That’s why we’re so indebted and in awe of what they have done.”

    Implying that Duckworth isn't a *true* hero.

    And war criminal Allen West, "I just don’t know where her loyalties lie."

  96. Look at David Brooks' column on the whole thing? He makes up one of his patented bizarro world sociology "theories" about why solidarity between the people and the soldier is peculiarly American (!) and why we need to fake foster it since it is so unlikely in a multi ethnic society and then he blames Obama for "celebrating" the return of Bergdahl with what he calls a bizarre and embarrassing spectacle of actually noting the return and having the parents to the White House. The bad faith of his argument, its ahistorical character, and its sheer ugliness w/r/t the President is just mind boggling. And he is supposed to be the "reasonable" one.

  97. smut clyde7:53 AM

    the centrality of honor to military cultureWell, they got the "honour killings" part of it, anyway.

  98. smut clyde7:56 AM

    Inquiring minds are wondering what the fuck Taranto knows about "military culture".

  99. Derelict8:02 AM

    It works this way: You can look like you just walked barefoot off the commune from 1970--and if you're saying things like "gays bad! Taxes bad! Not-White people bad!" you're a member in good standing of all that's right with the world.

    OTOH, you can be wearing a $12,000 Armani suit and stepping down the airstairs of a Gulfstream GIV--and if you say something like "Ya, know, maybe a 39% top marginal tax rate isn't the end of civilization," you're an ultra-extreme leftwing dirt stinking hippie.

    Hope this clears things up for you.

  100. Bethany Spencer8:12 AM

    Like most armchair generals, not a fucking thing.

  101. Derelict8:17 AM

    Not really. It's the net effect of what they're saying, but what their message ultimately comes down to is, "We hate Democrat (black) President Barack Obama (D)(B) so much that we will sacrifice anything and anyone to hurt him."

  102. Derelict8:20 AM

    He's read a bunch of Tom Clancy novels. And he's watched every John Wayne war movie. What more does he need to know?

  103. Derelict8:27 AM

    It has its roots in the 1946 Republican caucus election strategy. One message then: Democrats are soft on defense. It was successful, and the right wing have been riding that hobby horse ever since.

    Holy proto-Rove! By 1946 you had Democrats haul the country out of the Great Depression (brought to you by the GOP of the 1920s) and win the biggest war in the history of the planet (a war that Republicans screeched ceaselessly about us NOT getting involved in) AND drop the first atomic weapons on an enemy AND make the US the world's first superpower--and that meant Democrats were soft on defense.

    Guess that what you get for not completely annihilating all the non-White people who came under our control.

  104. Kerry obviously figured that a decorated war hero coming home to tell the truth about the war would be honored--or, at least, listened to. That might have worked in 1973 but he obviously had not foreseen the rise of Chickenhawk Nation, where valor under fire counts for shit when you're a liberal and, ironically enough, a liberal running against a man who decided that his military commitment was something he just didn't have time for anymore.

    If there's anybody I might have voted to leave behind, it's former 2Lt. George W. Bush, except for the fact that he made sure he wasn't going to get close to any goddam war zone, thank you very much.

    This is who I'd like to see doing a tour at Guantanamo:

  105. sharculese8:56 AM

    Minor correction: it was a Senate seat.

    Even a lot of the moderate Republicans I know back home still have a bad taste in their mouth about what Chambliss did. Not that he'll ever face any consequences for it.

  106. Helmut Monotreme9:01 AM

    That's not entirely true. Allen West has been, to his discredit, very vocal on the issue of Sgt Bergdahl's alleged perfidy, and, say what you like about war crimes, Allen West did serve in the military. Now if I was Allen West, the last thing I would do is draw attention to the alleged crimes of a soldier of the US Military, but no one has ever accused Allen West of possessing anything like a sense of when to shut the hell up.

  107. sharculese9:02 AM

    And if Kerry did say something to that effect, the headline wouldn't be 'Kerry defends Bergdahl' it would be 'Kerry still bitter about 2004'

  108. And this.

  109. sharculese9:03 AM

    It's the 'irresponsible not to speculate' of cravenly slandering veterans

  110. And let's not forget Rush Limbaugh and his "fake soldiers" routine. Right-wing draft-dodgers like him are the most shameless of all.

  111. tigrismus9:34 AM

    To spindle, fold, and mutilate a phrase, he's the unreasonable person's idea of a reasonable person

  112. Brian Schlosser9:36 AM

    Bergdahl was captured by Eastasia, and since we've always been at war with Eurasia, he must be a traitor.

  113. It's Terry Schiavo all over again, only then these mooks were all armchair doctors.

  114. Halloween_Jack9:42 AM

    And it's not even the first time he's done that--as Maddow notes, he did the same thing on the Ukraine situation--and he's not the only one who does it. (And I love Maddow's aside: "John McCain, I would have to make you up if you didn't exist.")

  115. Halloween_Jack10:07 AM

    You have to think of the yellow ribbon-shaped "Support the Troops" car magnet as the equivalent of a mystic sigil that is supposed to protect the bearer from any guilt at not doing anything meaningful to support any actual troop, or voting in someone who will.

  116. Halloween_Jack10:08 AM

    That would have been Joe "Not The Cool One" Walsh, who wasn't as embarrassing for my state as Rod Blagojevich, but tried harder.

  117. It wouldn't have cost Kerry much to, at his campaign stops, made a few remarks about the know-nothings and paid liars that the Bush campaign was trotting out. Or better yet, have his surrogates do it for him. And it wouldn't cost much now to do the same with Bergdahl. And while I'm glad that Obama makes no apologies for this deal, it wouldn't cost him much to point out McCain's perfidy over this deal. I've often thought that what our side needs is a few guys like Thaddeus Stevens.

  118. Halloween_Jack10:15 AM

    WRT Bobo, I not only don't want to get out of the boat, I don't even want to look at the shore as I go past. In light of MoDo's recent reefer madness column, someone on the tubes posted a link to a column that Brooks did back in January about how he used to use the kind bud back in high school but now he's all grown up and here are his anti-drugs and yadda yadda, and one of his former stoner buddies published a reply to the effect of oh, bullshit, Dave. (It has the paradoxical effect of humanizing Brooks in a way that Bobo himself has never been capable of.)

  119. You are wrong about the cost of mounting a campaign as significant as the swift boat one. It would have cost a lot. And it would have had to take place during a period (August) when Kerry's campaign was between the primaries and the nomination. He literally didn't have the money. And what you think a few remarks at campaign stops would have done I don't know. I'm not even sure there were campaign stops at that point. And without a dedicated mouthpiece like Fox news it wouldn't have been heard.

  120. Thank you! I should have remembered that. Its that I suppressed all memory of Saxby Chambliss, really.

  121. So in other words, our side is doomed because we can't match the Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce dime for dime.

  122. Halloween_Jack10:28 AM

    It might seem obvious now what should have been done, and I have little doubt that Kerry himself has Monday-morning-quarterbacked the situation more than once (although he may have also been grateful that he wasn't in the driver's seat for the economic apocalypse in '08). But there's a reason why that sort of attack has become known as swiftboating; it was unprecedented in a number of ways. It's a perpetual problem in both war and politics that people prepare to fight the previous war.

  123. Mooser10:32 AM

    Exactly. And having absorbed all that, Taranto knows as much about the military and war as most generals and politicians.
    I have always felt that the only people qualified to lead are those who have experienced the full brunt of war, and been killed. And if somebody hasn't been killed, it's because they pushed somebody else into the path of the bullet meant for them. That's not the kind of person I would listen to.

  124. Mooser10:33 AM

    Obama bin Laden?

  125. Mooser10:35 AM

    Oh McCain is just showing the folks at home he shares their values.

  126. Mooser10:40 AM

    "It's like the Vietnam vets being pissed at Jane Fonda."

    Fortunately, their ire did not disturb Ms. Fonda too much. I wrote her and told her that if the rage of veteran's toward her was to bothersome, she could find shelter in my arms. She never responded.

  127. John D.11:01 AM

    Actually, it's called "Blaming the Pants-Pissing Coward Whose Idea of Campaigning for President Was To Never Ever Ever Fight Back in Any Meaningful Way (After Promising Democrats That He'd Do So, Of Course) and To Passively Allow Himself To Be Repeatedly Punked By Liars, Fascists, Demagogues and Chickenhawks." Glad to have cleared that up.
    As for "blaming" Kerry for what's happening to Bergdahl - nice distortion of my comment, by the way - his name was brought up Taranto himself, which means it's going to become a common meme among the usual suspects. That being the case, I don't think it's unhelpful to suggest the Dems be aware of the patently obvious, and be prepared with a few counterstrikes of their own. But of course, as usual, they won't be. Psychotic bullies on one side, gutless toads on the other. And people like us constantly, endlessly let down by the latter.

  128. I see, whining again. OK, do what you have to do. Its never won an election yet but you just keep pissing on the people actually willing to get out and do the work of campaigning. Obviously its so easy that anyone could do it and win. I've been through a lot of Democratic boom and bust cycles and the only constant is the people who want everything and a bag of chips but who don't even bother to vote when they are asked to because they don't like something about the candidate or its raining.

  129. John D.12:03 PM

    My, my, that's one hell of a lot of arrogant assumptions crammed into one comparitively tiny post, Aimai. I could give in to the urge to sink to your level & just hurl a bunch of insults back, but let me just say this about John Kerry: I remember him explicitly telling Democrats he'd be a fighter if he got the nomination for President, and guess what? He got the nomination. And his idea of fighting back in the wake of vicious GOP attacks that any moderatebly intelligent child could have predicted was to roll around in a puddle of his own piss, sobbing and boo hooing that all those unreasonable peasants he naturally expected to vote for him couldn't possibly be so gosche as to suppose he'd stain his dainty hands by actually - gasp! - defending himself when the Rethugs were swarming him. Oddly enough, I resented this at the time, and I'm still angry about it to this day.
    As far as I'm concerned, the worthless son of a bitch should have been tarred and feathered and run out of politics on a rail, but I understand certain basic realities, and that we have little choice but to support what''s available to us given the ugly political times we're living through and especially given the alternative. "Frustratingly feckless and disappointing" is still preferable to "murderous and psychotic" any day of the week, but that doesn't mean we just turn our heads and ignore the numerous betrayals and acts of cowardice we constantly see from "our" guys. The wingnuts may happily ignore whatever disagreeable realities they don't care for when it comes to their own political "leaders," but that doesn't man we should follow suit. For Chrissakes, we're supposed to be the smart ones.
    "Don't bother to vote when it's raining," indeed.

  130. Derelict12:40 PM

    I grabbed it from TBogg, who got it from someone else.
    And it is an awesome word!

  131. Derelict12:50 PM

    Just one of many, many things that made my father--a lifelong Republican--finally repudiate the party.

    That was also the election where my father and two of his friends were challenged at the polls by Republican "election monitors." As my father told the story, the half-dozen young Republican weasels beat a hasty retreat when confronted by three enraged WWII and Korea vets.

  132. Derelict1:02 PM

    I wouldn't say our side is doomed, but our side is badly handicapped by the press being universally afraid of being called "liberal."

    Face it: There is no rightwing narrative that the media will not push. None. Kerry got photographed wind surfing--and THAT got turned into something negative about him (it's an elitist and lightweight sport). Even the guy's choice of cheese on his fucking cheesesteak sandwich got turned into a scandal despite the fact that what he ordered was just as traditional as the other choice.

    At the same time, there's almost nothing a Republican candidate can do that is not swept under the rug as quickly as possible. Bush skipped out on his National Guard duty? The facts are correct as far as anyone can determine, but Dan Rather's a big ol' poopyhead liberal so nothing to see here. McCain picks someone who make Bush look like Carl Sagan? It's demonstrably true that she's an ignorant and incurious moron, but Katie Couric was practicing "gotcha" journalism 'cause she's just a liberal bitch. Nothing to see here.

    And on it goes. The wonder is that Democrats ever win anything with the media singing along to whatever tune is being played on the Rightwing Wurlitzer. Drudge does, indeed, rule their world.

  133. Fuck off you hysterical asshole. Kerry was a damned good Senator before he ran for President and he picked himself up and went back to being a damned good Senator right afterwards. He ran a pretty good campaign and nearly unseated a SITTING PRESIDENT in a time of war when many voters were simply unwilling to change their votes with so much, as they saw it, on the line. He is not and never has been a coward and he didn't spend any time boo-hooing about losing. He picked himself up and went right back to work.

  134. Gromet2:54 PM

    Oof. Yes, I forgot Cleland. And you refer to Duckworth, right? That puts it at 4-0. That's bizarre.

  135. I can't help it. Whenever I read a quote from Allen West, my brain always, always hears it in the voice of Adam West. Every time.

  136. I'm giving it another 6 years, tops, before we start hearing about the hippies spitting on returning Iraq/Afghanistan vets.

  137. Slocum5:56 PM

    Who do you think Vietnam would give us for McCain? Or is it no double take-backs? This stuff is confusing.

  138. redfeather20109:42 PM

    What I want to know is "Whatever happened to 'Innocent Until Proven Guilty' . . . with emphasis on 'Proven?' All I have heard from the Right Wing in this case so far seems to be hearsay and circumstance. (John at American Liberal Times:

  139. John D.2:54 PM

    And fuck you too, you screeching, self-righteous shill. Who the hell appointed you Hall Monitor? Kerry was - and is - a preening, ego-driven Corporate Democrat who ran an absolutely lousy Pesidential campaign, in which he repeatedly kissed Bush ass, licked Bush boot and sucked Bush cock. That was his campaign: Never make waves, never rock the boat, never ever be so rude as to - gasp! - criticize Fearless Leader. And instead of facing reality, fatheads like you immerse yourselves in games of make-believe as thoroughly as any wingnut.
    This is the depressing thing about the modern state of American liberalism: The opposition is so genuienly vile, people of good conscience have no choice but to support the likes of John Kerry, but ah, merely voting for the Democrats is no longer enough, is it? If we don't grovel before them with blind, unthinking subervience - much the way they do with the GOP, in fact - then every betrayal, every fuck up, every act of cowardice or stupidity or incompetence we see from them - of which there are many - is our fault. If we didn't want to be raped, we shouldn't have dressed so provocatvely, eh, Aimai?

  140. Even Tom Clancey realized that real life is more complicated than the novels he wrote.

    He was once asked what the difference between fiction and reality was. Clancey answered "fiction has to make sense.”

  141. Glock H. Palin, Esq.11:40 PM

    It's why they worked so hard to bring them home. Can't spit on em if they're 10,000 miles away.

  142. freq flag11:28 PM

    WRT Bobo, I not only don't want to get out of the boat, I don't even want to look at the shore as I go past.

    This makes me think of the patrol boat scenes from Apocolypse Now.

  143. freq flag11:42 PM

    Another update to the scoreboard: Jean Schmidt going on the record to sarcastically "inform" Jack Murtha, former Marine and fellow U.S. Representative, that "Cowards cut and run. Marines never do."

    Granted, she ended up withdrawing her remarks after a 10-minute rhubarb, but I'm still calling it 5-0.

  144. freq flag11:46 PM

    But Republicans are the ones who love the troops?

    A-yep...they love 'em so much, that the Bush Administration prohibited their caskets from being photographed when returning from Iraq.

  145. freq flag12:03 AM

    I'd like to have this comment buy a round for your father and his friends, then send me the bill.